Professionals in healthcare administration are in high demand. This has always been the case, but as populations grow and age, and the healthcare system increases in complexity, it is increasingly true. This means colleges and learning institutions of every kind have an interest in catering to those who seek a degree through healthcare administration masters programs. Masters in healthcare administration programs will help prepare you to lead in complex situations. The curriculum for the best MHA programs will align with the American College of Healthcare Executives stated guidelines and expectations.
While many working professionals are turning to online MHA programs, a traditional, on-campus degree remains the best option for others, especially students who do not have a lot of prior work experience. The mentorship, hands-on learning, and networking opportunities of an on-campus program can make all the difference in landing a lucrative healthcare administration job after graduation. For those students, Best Health Degrees has ranked the best MH programs in the nation.
Our Method: Ranking the Best MHA Programs in the US
Students who are investing in a master’s degree want to know that their time, money, and energy will show results. That’s what BHD editors feature only accredited, reputable institutions that have a proven track record of quality and return on investment. MHA programs are ranked according to five key factors: Cost, Graduation Rate, Job Placement Rate, Reputation, and Student Satisfaction. Data comes from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche.
1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers one of the best MHA programs in North Carolina. The degree program caters to healthcare professionals seeking to advance their careers. Graduates can pursue management careers in hospitals, clinics, consulting firms, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and medical group systems, among other settings. MHA graduates must complete 60 credit hours, a 12-week internship as well as an extensive research project. Students are required to submit their GRE scores as well as transcripts for each university attended. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
Located in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill is known across the globe for its pioneering teaching and research programs. The institution was chartered in 1789 and started enrolling students in 1795. The institution is the flagship of 17 campuses, which form the University of North Carolina system.
Favorite Facts: While UNC encourages students with training or experience in the healthcare field, persons with limited experience can also sign up for the online option.
2. Medical University of South Carolina
The Master of Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina is available for persons who are out to make a difference as far as the healthcare industry is concerned. It is considered among the best MHA programs as it is available in two formats: residential and executive formats. The residential format is a full-time program that is designed for students with little or no experience in the healthcare field. This is a 62-credit program that is offered on-campus. An internship session is also required before students can graduate. Students who are applying for the residential MHA format must submit their GRE scores. Graduates complete the program in 54 credit hours. No internship is required for the executive format. However, applicants must have at least one year of experience.
The Medical University of South Carolina was established in 1824. What was once a small private college meant to train physicians has grown to become a university with six colleges and a medical center.
Favorite Facts: The executive program is designed for working professionals. Students can complete the course in one or two years, depending on their availability.
3. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Master of Health Services Administration degree program is aimed at preparing students for leadership roles in the healthcare sector. The 60-credit program is one of the best MHA programs as it is competency-based. The program’s curriculum covers such courses as quantitative methods, healthcare financial accounting and cost-benefit analysis, the economics of healthcare, organizational theory and management, and professional development. Applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is one of the best learning institutions in the U.S. The institution ranks as the 4th public school and the 28th among the best colleges. The U.S. News & World Report has distinguished its MHA program as the first countrywide.
Favorite Facts: Students are required to go through a 10-12 weeks internship between the first and second years of the program.
Degree: Master of Health Services Administration
4. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa provides a comprehensive, patient-centered Master of Health Administration program which prepares graduates for complex administrative positions. It is considered among the best MHA programs as it adopts an interdisciplinary approach. This means that apart from the classwork, students have access to hands-on learning experiences, which enables them to hit the ground running once they graduate. The 60-credit program covers such topics as strategic planning, organizational policy, human resources, health analytics, financial management, and health care ethics. Students studying full-time can complete the program in as little as 21 months.
Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa is a premier public institution located alongside the Iowa River. The institution boasts of 11 colleges, and it offers more than 200 study areas. The institution is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
Favorite Facts: Students benefit from diverse learning opportunities, which include on-site visits, case studies, administrative practicums, and internships.
5. Ohio State University
The Master in Health Administration from Ohio State University is one of the best MHA programs in the country. This is because its curriculum is carefully curated to include theoretic teachings and practical experiences. The program covers four major areas: analytical skills, health systems and community, management function and skills, and leadership and professionalism. Students are required to complete an administrative residency between the first and second years of study. This, along with the mandatory internship at Ohio State University’s Medical Center, gives students hands-on experiences. Graduates of this program can work in a wide variety of settings, including consultancies, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies.
Although Ohio State University is the largest in the state, it boasts of a significantly low student to faculty ratio. The institution is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) as well as the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
Favorite Facts: Graduates of Ohio State’s MHA program are said to have a job placement rate of 95%.
6. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University offers one of the best MHA programs through its Department of Health Policy and Management. The program is available in two tracks: the executive and resident tracks. The resident track is a 55-credit, which can be completed in 21 months of full-time or 33 months of part-time study on-campus. Program applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, an updated resume, official transcripts, and GRE scores. Students are also required to go through three prerequisite courses, which include an introduction to economics, statistics, and managerial accounting.
Texas A&M University was founded in 1876 and went on to become the flagship of Texas A&M University System. It was originally meant to be a military institution. The institution’s admission rate is rather competitive, as it stands at 71%.
Favorite Facts: The executive track is designed for healthcare professionals seeking to fast-track their careers. Students can complete the 48-credit program in two years.
7. University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Masters of Science in Health Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham is meant for healthcare professionals who have been in the field for a minimum of five years. One of the best MHA programs, the program is rather comprehensive as it combines distance learning, classroom-based coursework, and hands-on experience. The 2-year program includes one year of residency learning and either an internship experience or studying abroad. The program covers such courses as policy-making, healthcare law, leadership development, health marketing, human resources management, and disaster management.
The University of Alabama-Birmingham was established in 1969. Located in downtown Birmingham, the institution offers 140 programs in 12 academic divisions. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It is ranked as the 166th best national university on the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Favorite Facts: Students wishing to undertake a dual degree may combine this program with the Master of Business Administration degree program.
Degree: MS in Health Administration
8. Boston College
Boston College’s Masters in Health Administration is one of the best MHA programs largely due to its flexibility. The online program enables students to personalize their learning by allowing them to generate professional plans that meet their individual needs. Applicants are required to be bachelor degree holders with a minimum score of 3.0 GPA. Students with a score lower than this are required to submit their GRE and GMAT test scores. Students must also submit two letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and transcripts while applying. Applicants are also required to go through a phone interview.
Boston College was founded in 1863 and was the first private institution of higher education in Boston City. It has a rather competitive admission rate of 32%. The 2020 U.S. News & World Report ranks it at #37 among national universities.
Favorite Facts: The program is designed to be completed in two years, but students who wish to fast-track their learning period can complete it in a year.
9. University of Florida
The Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida aims at preparing students for leadership roles in the healthcare field. The 57-credit hour program is meant to be completed in two years. Students need to go through 10-12 weeks of supervised internship after the first year of study. Applicants are required to have an undergraduate degree, a cumulative score of 3.0 on their undergraduate studies, a minimum GRE score of 300, and a GMAT score of 500. Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation and go through an interview while signing up for what is considered one of the best MHA programs.
The University of Florida, shortly referred to as UF, was founded in 1853. The institution awards professional, doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in its 23 schools and colleges.
Favorite Facts: UF has multiple research facilities, which include the Center for Exercise Science, the Whitney Laboratory, and the University of Florida Brain Institute.
10. University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver offers a Master’s of Science in Health Administration through its Business School Alliance for Health Management. The online and evening program is designed for working professionals who wish to enhance their skills. However, now work experience is required when applying for this program. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. GMAT test scores are also required during the application, but they can be substituted with GRE, LSAT, MCAT, or PCAT.
The University of Colorado-Denver is one of the top public universities. It is part of the University of Colorado System. The Master’s of Science in Health Administration program is among the best MHA programs alongside the nursing and physical therapy program. The U.S. News & World Report ranks it among America’s Best Graduate Schools.
Favorite Facts: The 30 credit program is CAHME accredited and is ranked #28 by the U.S. News & World Report.
Degree: MS in Health Administration
11. Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University’s Master of Health Administration program aims at preparing students for careers in such settings as healthcare institutions, insurance companies, consultancy firms, physician practices, and pharmacy benefit management organizations. Students have the choice of a residential or an executive MHA program. The coursework covers such topics as health management ethics, financial aspects of healthcare, resource management in healthcare, and strategic management. Students applying for this program must have an undergraduate degree and a 3.0 GPA score. Both programs are among the best MHA programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is the oldest university to the west of Mississippi River. The institution has an acceptance rate of 64%. Most of its popular majors include exercise science, nursing, business, and kinesiology.
Favorite Facts: The residential program is meant to be undertaken on-campus while the executive program features a combination of in-person and online classes.
12. Virginia Commonwealth University
The Master’s of Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University is a program designed to train professionals on how to plan and evaluate healthcare policies. One of the perks that make this one of the best MHA programs is that it is an industry-specific program. Applicants have to submit a personal statement, 3 letters of reference, an updated resume, GMAT or GRE scores, and official transcripts. Applicants are also required to go through an on-campus interview.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was founded in 1838. Initially, it was just a medical department for Hampden-Sydney College. It is one of the eight institutions across the country which has been recognized by the CDC as a National Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention.
Favorite Facts: Third-year students are required to go through a yearlong paid administrative residency. This gives students a chance to gain hands-on experience as well as get mentored by qualified healthcare professionals.
13. Rush University
Rush University’s Master of Science in Health Systems Management is one of the best MHA programs that can be taken either on a part-time or full-time basis. The program’s coursework covers such topics as managerial epidemiology, healthcare and patient experience management, and strategic management in healthcare organizations. Aspiring students must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPA score of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants need to undergo a GRE test and submit their scores. Also, they are required to submit three letters of recommendation. Students have to go through a paid-internship and submit two master’s projects before they graduate.
Rush University is a private higher-education learning institution on the west of Chicago. It was founded in 1837 as Rush Medical College. The institution’s Rush University Medical Center is one of the highest-quality medical centers in Chicago.
Favorite Facts: U.S. News & World Report ranks Rush University’s MHA program 5th in the US.
Degree: MS in Health Systems Management
14. University of Washington
The Master of Health Administration from the University of Washington is designed for professionals who are just beginning their careers. The two-year full-time program arms students with rigorous academic skills and practical experience. Students have to undertake mandatory internships over summer. Applicants must at least have an undergraduate degree and one year of work experience. During application, students are required to submit a written statement, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GMAT and GRE scores. The U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked this as one of the top best MHA programs countrywide.
The University of Washington (UW) was founded in 1861 to aid the city’s economic development. Today, the institution has an undergraduate enrolment rate of 32,099 and is ranked #14 among 2018’s Academic Rankings of World Universities. Admission into the university is somewhat competitive as the acceptance rate is 46%.
Favorite Facts: University of Washington MHA students benefit from mentor programs from local healthcare executives.
15. Columbia University
Columbia University offers a Masters in Health Administration program through its Department of Health Policy and Management. This is one of the best MHA programs as its coursework includes health policy, organizational leadership and management, and public health management. Students can choose from full-time, part-time, and executive studying formats. The full-time program takes two years to complete, where students have to attend five classes every week. The part-time program is meant for people who are working. It takes 28 months to complete where students attend evening classes. Both of these programs culminate in a Health System Simulation experience during the last semester.
Columbia University is a private research institution that was established in 1754 in New York City. Admission into the institution is very competitive as the acceptance rate is 7%. Columbia University ranks 3rd among national universities.
Favorite Facts: The executive program is meant for healthcare professionals who wish to expand their networks, skills, and credentials. Students attend classes from Thursday to Sunday once per month for 24 months.
16. Georgetown University
The Master of Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University is a program that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This is one of the best MHA programs as its curriculum is guided by a focus on technical, economic, social, and policy forces that shape management agendas and the healthcare industry. Applicants are required to submit unofficial transcripts from graduate or undergraduate programs, a statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores. The 42-credit hour program covers such topics as quantitative methods, quality improvement, decision science, and community health.
Georgetown University is a private university with Jesuit and Catholic affiliations. It was founded in 1789. The university has grown to include numerous undergraduate, graduate, and professional learning institutions. These include the McCourt School of Public Policy, Law Center, School of Nursing and Health Studies, and School of Medicine. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Favorite Facts: Georgetown University is one of the most competitive in the world, with an admission rate of just 16%
Degree: Master of Health Systems Administration
17. University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh offers a Masters in Health Administration program, which is CAHME accredited. It prepares students for careers in a wide variety of healthcare settings, which includes hospitals, physician practices, consultancy firms, academic medical centers, and so on. The topic covers such courses as public health foundations, health policy and management, and organizational studies. The 60-credit program requires students to undertake courses in public health foundations, health policy management, and one other specialty area. Students are required to submit an essay and go through an internship in a healthcare organization.
The University of Pittsburgh is a public university in Pennsylvania that was established in 1787. The institution has branches in Greensburg, Bradford, Titusville, and Johnstown. The U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Pittsburgh 18th among public universities and 57th among national universities. Admission into the university is fairly competitive, as it has an admission rate of 60%.
Favorite Facts: Pitt’s MHA program is competency-based, focusing on quality of learning and application rather than traditional grades.
18. University of Missouri
University of Missouri’s Master in Health Administration is among the best MHA programs as its curriculum is grounded in accounting, economics, finance, and quality improvement. The 42 credit hour program takes two years to complete. 36 credit hours go the program’s coursework while the research project takes 6 credit hours. Students gain knowledge in such areas as process improvement, organizational strategy, interdisciplinary team management, and financial risk management. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They must also submit their resume, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The program is CAHME accredited.
The University of Missouri also referred to as Mizzou, is a public research institution in Columbia. It is the flagship of the University of Missouri System. It was founded in 1839 and is a member of the Association of American Universities.
Favorite Facts: Mizzou is known to provide exceptional out-of-class resources, which include students participating in faculty-led projects.
19. Xavier University
The Master of Health Services Administration program from Xavier University aims at preparing students for leadership management positions in healthcare management. Students can choose between the full-time and executive options where the latter caters to working professionals. The program’s coursework covers such topics as strategic management and marketing, health economics, applied epidemiology, and capital acquisition in healthcare organizations. Applicants must have a GPA score of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and undertake a Graduate Record Exam. The program is CAHME accredited.
Xavier University is a Jesuit private institution which was established in 1831. It is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently, it ranks #5 among Regional Universities Midwest.
Favorite Facts: Xavier is among the best MHA programs as it is among seven such programs which require a yearlong administrative residency. This enables students to gain real-world experiences in such settings as health facilities, consulting firms, and long-term care facilities.
Degree: Master of Health Services Administration
20. University of Utah
The University of Utah offers a Masters in Health Administration program through its David Eccles School of Business. Students can undertake the program on a full-time or part-time basis. The full-time MHA program requires 51 credit hours, and it takes two years to complete. The part-time or professional program requires 43.5 credit hours. It can be completed in two or three years. Applicants are required to submit an updated resume, undergraduate or graduate transcripts, essays, and GRE or GMAT scores.
The University of Utah is a public research institution that was established in 1851 as the University of Deseret. The institution has gained notoriety as its master’s in health administration is among the best MHA programs. It is currently ranked #104 among national universities.
Favorite Facts: Full-time students are advised to have 6-12 months of healthcare administration before commencing with the program. Those enrolling for the professional program are required to have three years of experience in the healthcare industry.
21. University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois-Chicago offers a Masters of Healthcare Administration on full-time, part-time, and executive models. The full-time and part-time programs are offered in-campus while the executive model is hybrid. The 60-credit hour program is aimed at providing learners with core concepts within the healthcare industry. The program covers such subjects as physician relations, healthcare finance, strategic marketing and planning, population management, and organizational leadership. This program is CAHME accredited.
The University of Chicago-Illinois (UIC) is a public research institution that was founded in 1965. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report ranked UIC #129 among national universities and #61 among national public universities.
Favorite Facts: UIC is among the best MHA programs as it includes a 12-month, 25-hours every week mentorship program which allows students to work with senior management in healthcare organizations that are in line with their career objectives.
22. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California’s CAHME accredited MHA degree program covers aspects such as ethics, policy, technology, economics, and management. Applicants are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores of not less than 153 and 144 on the verbal and quantitative sections, respectively. Applicants also have to go through a statistics prerequisite by either completing a college-level statistics course within 3 years or matriculation or undertake a PPD 502-Statistical Foundations for Public Management and Policy. Students are also required to go through a 100-hour administrative residency session before they graduate.
The University of Southern California was founded in 1880, making it the oldest research institution in California. The institution has a total of 23 schools and units. It is currently ranked #22 on the 2020 edition of the Best National Universities.
Favorite Facts: The University of Southern California has been providing a Master of Health Administration program for more than 35 years.
23. Johns Hopkins University
The Master of Health Administration program from John Hopkins University is designed to prepare healthcare professionals for leadership roles in a rapidly changing world. It is among the best MHA programs as it is not only CAHME-accredited but also a graduate member of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA). Students are required to undertake 6-7 courses per term during the first year of study while the second year is meant for administrative residency. During the administrative residency session, students are required to work full-time in a healthcare setting.
Johns Hopkins University is a world-renowned private research institute located in Baltimore, Maryland. The institution was the first research institute in the U.S., and it has gained quite a reputation for its innovative advances. It ranks #10 among national universities.
Favorite Facts: Johns Hopkins’ MHA program ranked #9 among the top ten health administration programs in 2019’s U.S. News & World Report.
24. University of Miami
The Master in Health Administration program from the University of Miami is among the best MHA programs. The program is meant to help healthcare professionals hone their skills in such areas as process improvement, finance, accounting, and human resources in healthcare settings. Graduates can work in a wide variety of settings, including insurance companies, healthcare systems, health care facilities, physician groups, and medical equipment manufacturing companies. Students are required to go through an off-site internship period.
The University of Miami is a private institution founded in 1925 in Coral Gables, Florida. The institution is accredited by CAHME, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the Council on Education for Public Health.
Favorite Facts: Unlike other programs that cater to students with a healthcare-related undergraduate degree, students with a wide range of undergraduate degrees can sign up for Miami’s MHA program.
25. Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis
The Master of Health Administration from Indiana University–Purdue University-Indianapolis is considered to be one of the best MHA programs. The program focusses on five key areas, which include self-development, decision making, leadership and professionalism, technical skills, and understanding the healthcare system. Applicants are required to have a baccalaureate degree with a grade point of 3.0. While applying, students are required to submit a personal statement, resume, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Students are also required to undertake three prerequisite courses in microeconomics, accounting, and statistics.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is a public research institution that was established in 1969. The institution’s acceptance rate is 80% and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is ranked #228 among national universities.
Favorite Facts: IUPUI’s MHA is the only CAHME-accredited degree program of its kind in Indiana.
Should I Get an MHA or an MBA?
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of a MHA vs MBA, chances are you have both a desire to help others as well as a number of leadership qualities. Either way, you will be well served no matter which direction you take. You will want to sit down and carefully consider what your strongest skills are and where your interests truly lay.
For many students just like you, the best option is to mix these seemingly conflicting areas of expertise into a duel degree. There are many MBA MHA dual degree programs available out there from highly competitive schools with offerings for online learning as well as traditional brick and mortar courses of study. With a dual degree, you don’t have to choose whether business administration or healthcare is for you – you really can have the best of both worlds. Of course, it’s best to keep in mind that hands-on medical work won’t be a large part of the bargain. However, you will still have the pleasure of working for the benefit of the health of your community through an administrative role.
If the question comes down to MHA vs MBA salary and pay rates, we can help you there. An MBA degree holder will earn between $90,000 to $113,00 a year. Whereas an MHA holder will earn roughly $10,000 a year less than that at the lower administrative levels. In time, the pay grades will level out, in most cases. However, that extra $10,000 can be a great help paying off student debts if you’ve gone that route and accepted loans to pay for your education.
What Will I Learn in an MHA Program?
When you commit to completing one of the many available masters in healthcare administration programs out there right now, you can expect to obtain valuable skills in the decision making processes of a major healthcare organization. The MHA will build on the skills of a bachelor’s in Health Management. These include the skills needed to make decisions about the quality, data, technology, sustainability, patient care and safety that those in healthcare leadership positions must make. You will learn to use critical data to address an organization’s position in the “Triple Aim” of healthcare; cost vs quality of care, population health, and patient-centered goals and factors.
Strong candidates for programs of this type will be in good standing, have a high-quality undergraduate record, and a well-written personal statement. Scores from the student’s Graduate Record Exam (GRE) will usually need to go back as far as five years for most if not all MHA applicants. Foreign applicants will have to meet certain language ability requirements.
Meeting the masters in healthcare administration requirements can seem daunting for many students, but there are ways to get into these programs with experience and undergrad degrees in some schools. The majority of high-level health care administrators have obtained an MHA in fields like public health, business, hospital administration, or nursing management. A bachelor’s will sometimes be considered adequate for entry-level jobs, or as a qualification to work in smaller facilities if it is linked to relevant and sufficient health care experience.
What Should I Look for in a Healthcare Administration Program?
It bears saying that any time a product or service is in high demand, there will be cheap, disreputable, and knockoff proprietors who will offer substandard products and services.
As a student seeking masters healthcare management programs, you owe it to yourself to vet the institutions you are considering fully before you apply. Your first job is to check that the school is fully accredited. Schools that are not accredited may offer quality training and education, but they cannot give students meaningful degrees. Their diplomas and certificates are not acceptable as proof of competence. You will not be able to enter a more advanced MHA program on the strength of health administration masters programs that are not accredited.
You can check to see whether the school you are considering is accredited by consulting an accrediting authority. Many such authorities exist and can provide you with proof of accreditation for the school you are considering.
These include, but are not limited to:
- The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM)
- Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
- The Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA)
- The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
Once you have obtained this information, check for online reviews from students and professionals. Look for articles that list the top healthcare administration graduate programs. The top schools for masters in healthcare administration should appear on at least a handful of these lists.
Finally, check to see that the school meets your education budget and whether or not online courses are available.