Curriculum: Master of Health Administration - MHA

April 17, 2023
May 08, 2023
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curriculum icon Curriculum at a Glance

The Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati Online features interdisciplinary coursework provided by both the College of Allied Health Sciences and the Carl H. Lindner College of Business. The online MHA curriculum consists of 40 semester credits, including two introduction courses, nine core courses and a two-part capstone course. Students take courses part-time, between six and nine credit hours per semester.

The online MHA curriculum provides a value-driven and socially responsible educational experience which promotes leadership excellence through quality improvement, inter professional team development, cultural competency and the building and sustenance of healthy communities.

This program primarily utilizes an online-learning asynchronous approach. Our best practice approach to learning draws upon experience and perspectives in leadership, finance, quality improvement, epidemiology, health economics and health policy to provide a broad-based educational experience leading to outcomes which will benefit the students’ organizations and communities. View the program course carousel guide to learn more.


The University of Cincinnati MHA program utilizes the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) Competency Model version 3.0 to measure student competency attainment throughout the program’s 13 courses.  MHA courses address all seven domains and measure 22 competencies of the NCHL competency model.

NCHL competencies within UC MHA courses
NCHL Competency Domain Course Level of Assessment
Community Collaboration Boundary HCA 7001, HCA 7033, HCA 7081 Levels 1-5
Organizational Awareness Boundary HCA 7031, HCA 7032, HCA 7041, HCA 7099 Levels 1-5
Relationship & Network Development Boundary HCA 7099 Levels 1-5
Achievement Orientation Execution HCA 7002 Levels 1-6
Analytical Thinking Execution HCA 7001, HCA 7031, HCA 7032, HCA 7033, HCA 7041, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-4
Communication Skills I – Writing Execution HCA 7002, HCA 7099 Levels 1-3
Initiative Execution HCA 7031 Levels 1-5
Performance Management Execution HCA 7001, HCA 7041, OM 7042, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-3
Process & QI Execution HCA 7031, HCA 7041, OM 7042, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-4
Project Management Execution HCA 7099 Levels 1-3
Collaboration Relations HCA 7002, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-5
Interpersonal Understanding Relations HCA 7002 Levels 1-5
Team Leadership Relations HCA 7002 Levels 1-6
Information Seeking Transformation HCA 7031, HCA 7041, OM 7042, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-5
Innovation Transformation HCA 7001, HCA 7031, HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-5
Strategic Orientation Transformation HCA 7001, HCA 7033, HCA 7041 Levels 1-4
Professional & Social Responsibility Values HCA 7081, HCA 7099 Levels 1-4
Financial Skills Health Systems Awareness & Business Literacy HCA 7001, HCA 7041, OM 7042 Levels 1-5
Health Resources Management Health Systems Awareness & Business Literacy HCA 7041, OM 7042 Levels 1-3
IT Management Health Systems Awareness & Business Literacy HCA 7041, OM 7042 Levels 1-3
Self-Awareness Self-Awareness & Self-Confidence HCA 7002, HCA 7031, HCA 7081 Levels 1-4
Self-Confidence Self-Awareness & Self-Confidence HCA 7002, HCA 7031, HCA 7081 Levels 1-5

For students seeking a graduate certificate in Health Care, please view the following options:

Course Title / Description Credit
Introduction Course - Health Systems Management 1: Organization & Delivery
Course: HCA7001
Credit: 3

The course is intended to provide the Master of Health Administration (MHA) student and future manager with a systems perspective of US health and health care structure and function. As the introductory course in the MHA program, it is to provide the fundamentals for all courses that follow, including finance and economics, strategy, quality improvement, policy and law, and others. Topics include an overview of the history, organization, and effectiveness of United States health care and public health systems, health system governance structures, roles, responsibilities as well as determinants of health, need, access and utilization.

HCA 7002
Introduction Course - Health Systems Management 2: Principles of Leadership
Course: HCA 7002
Credit: 3

This course provides an introduction and overview to health care leadership, management and organizational behavior in health care settings.  This course integrates theory with practice utilizing different organizational perspectives. The development of leadership, managerial and organizational skills will be accomplished largely through individual work, with strong emphasis on self-reflection and self-analysis utilizing the particular tools of the course. This course aims to provide a relevant understanding of organizational dynamics such as performance, organizational culture, teamwork and individual and shared values and cultural competency. It will examine how health care leaders and their organizations relate to each other internally and to their external environments.

Core Course - Global Health Systems
Course: HCA7033
Credit: 3

This foundational course uses the subject matter of global health to teach students the critical management skill of how to analyze the structure and functions of health care systems. Once mastered, these skills can be applied to the assessment of systems at any level and in any type of community or setting. As the COVID 19 pandemic has demonstrated to all, American health care managers work in a world where global health issues are of immediate and critical relevance to strategic and day-to-day operations. The building blocks of health care systems, their impacts on intermediary and outcome variables, and key stakeholder and other analytical tools will be applied to various national systems from high and low resource nations around the world. Cultural, social, environmental and other variables impacting understandings of health and illness, and the policies and systems built to address them, will be examined. In addition to institutional health care systems, the roles played by the marketplace, transnational organizations, private entities and others in global health care will be explored.

Core Course - Health Care Finance 1: Analysis
Course: FIN7021
Credit: 3

This course covers financial and managerial aspects of health care financial management. It provides a broad introduction to key concepts, issues, tools, and vocabulary useful both for managers and policymakers. There are three main topic areas covered in the course: financial accounting, finance, and managerial accounting and the focus is on use, not the preparation, of accounting information. Topics include financial analysis and management; methods and techniques for evaluating costs and cost-effectiveness of health, medical and pharmaceutical interventions. This course is the first of a two-course sequence in health care finance.

Core Course - Health Care Finance 2: Decision Making
Course: FIN7022

This course builds on the accounting and financial concepts introduced in FIN 7021. The continued exploration of the healthcare environment includes an in-depth examination of third-party payer systems including managed care plus the legal and regulatory environment, particularly for non-profits. There are four main financial topic areas covered in the course: capital acquisition and structure, financial condition analysis and forecasting, revenue cycle management and capital allocation. This course is the second of a two-course sequence in health care finance.

Core Course - Health Care Marketplace 1: Health Economics
Course: ECON7021
Credit: 3

The goal of this course is use economic analysis to introduce and to understand the basic elements and dynamics of the US healthcare system with a particular emphasis on policy implications. Over the past 50 years, the size and scope of the US healthcare economy has grown considerably. In 1960, the US spent about 5% of its gross national product on health. Current GDP on health is approximately 18%, far higher than other industrialized countries. The greater spending, however, does not seem to have purchased much better health. Why does the United States spend so remarkably on medical care for results that are not so remarkable? In seeking explanations and solutions, we will study the healthcare system in the United States and understand the factors that drive our appetite for healthcare goods and services. We will then examine alternatives to our current system, paying special attention to the ongoing legislative reform efforts coming from Washington DC.

Core Course - Health Care Marketplace 2: Strategic Success
Course: MGMT7022
Credit: 3

This course follows ECON 7021 and introduces the principles, methods and concepts of three different aspects of strategic management as it relates to health care organizations: 1) strategic planning and management, 2) competitive positioning and 3) alliances, mergers and acquisitions. Methods of evaluating and analyzing the external environment will include discussions of regulatory control, consolidation of industries, disruptive technologies and crisis/prevention management. The interaction of forces inside the organization such as structure, governance, resource management and culture will be analyzed for their impact on the organization’s competitive position and strategic direction.

Health Quality 1: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Managers
Course: HCA7041
Credit: 3
This course includes both theoretical models for health care quality work, as well as practical strategies for application and implementation of improvement initiatives in a health care setting. The course will review the Institute of Medicine’s Aims to drive safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered and equitable care. Students will learn various sources and categories of data that have proved useful in driving outcomes through quality improvement. It delineates the qualitative and quantitative quality improvement strategies employed by managers to engage in effective decision-making.
Health Quality 2: Total Quality Management
Course: OM7042
Credit: 3
The quality of health care in the United States has garnered significant attention among health care professionals and the public. Health care quality is driven fundamentally by the leadership and management practices of health care organizations. This course will review approaches to building and sustaining a culture of performance excellence in health care organizations. It emphasizes the use of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework for designing, implementing, and improving organizational practices that influence health care quality. Topics include understanding patient and stakeholder needs, strategic and operations planning, workforce practices, measurement and analysis, leadership, organization assessment, and change management.
Core Course - Health Policy 1: Health Policy & Regulation
Course: HCA7031
Credit: 3

This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the structure, systems and policies of health care delivery in the United States. Topics include the uninsured, health care professions, hospitals, long-term care, mental health, integrated health care systems, the Veterans Administration Health Systems, pharmaceuticals and technology. The course prepares learners about the basic concepts in policy analysis and advocacy in practice settings. Discussions and assignments will focus on the development of public policy concerning medical care, public health and the relationship between public decisions and the marketplace. Topics include health policy formulation, implementation and evaluation.

Core Course - Health Policy 2: Legal & Ethical Issues
Course: HCA7032
Credit: 3

This course presents an introduction to the legal and ethical issues that arise in management of health services organizations. Topics include ethics in business and clinical decision-making, tools for understanding ethics and ethical analysis, and professional and organizational guidelines in making ethical decisions.  The course examines codes of ethics and mission statements, organizational responses to ethical issues, including ethics processes, such as institutional ethics committees and institutional review boards. Additionally, the course will review legal principles and development, application and assessment, resource allocation and social responsibility. Other topics include liability, health care institutions as corporations, the nature and scope of public health authority, antitrust, fraud and abuse, privacy and confidentiality, tax implications, regulatory oversight, legal requirements for access to health care, nondiscrimination, conflicts of interest and constitutional constraints on public health initiatives.

Capstone Course - Emerging Issues in Health Systems Management
Course: HCA7081
Credit: 3

This course is the first of two half-semesters of the Master of Health Administration (MHA) Capstone course sequence. It is intended to integrate the foundational courses provided throughout the MHA program to help the student begin the capstone process. The goal of this course is to provide the student with the foundation needed to work toward developing the key competencies required for the creation of the health systems management capstone assignment in the final semester of the MHA Program. Some of the key competencies are: the ability to understand problems and emergent issues; mobilization to address issues through communication; analyze an emergent issue and synthesize current peer-reviewed literature; create best practice and evidence-based solutions to the emergent issue; seek information and apply analytical thinking skills through innovative thinking; create cost benefit analyses and financial support in order to solve an emergent issue; and, the ability to analyze federal, state, and local policies in application to resolve an emergent issue.

Capstone Course - Health Systems Management
Course: HCA7099
Credit: 4

In this course, students demonstrate how the knowledge and skills learned in their Master of Health Administration Program can be integrated and applied to analyzing an emerging health systems management issue of their choosing. This is the second course in the Capstone sequence.  The student will engage in the following processes: write a literature review through the analysis and synthesis of the identified literature; discuss best practice solutions to the emergent issue; determine implications and recommendations utilizing best practice; utilize the expertise of the mentor to further enhance the quality of the paper; and, write a publishable paper.

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