Online Executive MHA Programs (5 Years of Professional Experience Required)
Experienced healthcare professionals looking to advance into leadership, management, or executive positions may want to consider enrolling in an an executive master of healthcare administration (EMHA) program online. These programs are designed for senior managers, directors, and executives with five or more years of experience, and help prepare graduates to better lead healthcare organizations from executive positions in the clinical, public, and corporate sectors. These programs offer advanced, cross-disciplinary instruction in leadership, marketing, epidemiology, operations management, economics, and quality control, among other areas. By offering courses online, on-campus requirements are minimized, enabling busy working professionals to advance their knowledge and skills during times of their choosing, and without having to relocate.
That said, some executive MHA programs schedule periodic symposiums where classmates in a specific cohort get together either in person or in a real-time (synchronous) online meeting area to interact and learn, leveraging one another’s experience.
Discover what to expect from an online EHMA program, including typical admissions requirements, duration, curricula, tuition, exceptional faculty members, and other features.
Featured Online EMHA Programs
The UCF College of Community Innovation and Education provides an online executive master of health administration (EMHA) degree, which is open to applicants who have at least three years of qualifying healthcare experience. Coursework is designed for professionals looking to deepen their knowledge of the healthcare industry and includes classes such as financial management for healthcare managers, healthcare ethics and law, epidemiology and health planning, and leadership for healthcare executives, among others. The degree also includes a capstone course to expand students’ skills in strategic management.
This program requires no campus visits and through the MYUCF platform can enjoy a number of auxiliary services. Notably, cohorts comprise 30 students or less and allow for ample networking and other opportunities to connect with peers.
- Location: Various cities in Florida
- Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Format: Fully online
- Tuition: $773 per credit
- Program length: Two years
The executive master of health administration at The George Washington University (MHA@GW) is offered through the Milken Institute of Public Health. The executive MHA program consists of eight learning modules, each of which focuses on a different core skill set. Depending on the chosen module, the executive MHA program can take between two and four years to complete.
In addition to the online learning modules, four on-campus immersion experiences (two 40-hour experiences and two 20-hour experiences) are required. Immersion experiences for MHA@GW may take place on the GWU campus in Washington, DC, or at another healthcare organization, either in the U.S. or abroad. The immersion experiences include leadership and ethics, health system analysis, and the research project presentation.
The qualifications and application requirements for the executive MHA@GW are:
- At least three years of professional experience in the healthcare sector
- Currently employment in a healthcare organization
- Undergraduate courses in financial accounting and statistics
- A statement of purpose
- Two letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts
- A resume
- Completion of a live interview (online or in-person)
Tuition for the executive MHA program at GWU totals $82,750, at the rate of $1,655 per credit hour.
Upon admission to the program, coursework that must be completed prior to graduation covers:
- Leadership and ethics
- Management and strategy
- Information technology and decision science
- Community health and quantitative methods
- Finance and economics
- Quality improvement
- Law and regulation
USC designed its online executive MHA degree program for management and mid-career clinical professionals. Coursework is all online, although students must attend two five-day residencies on the college’s main campus in Los Angeles, California. Over six semesters, students take classes in healthcare economics, operational efficiency processes in healthcare organizations, and quality of care. The degree is ideal for those seeking a career as an executive director, health service or medical manager, senior manager, or vice president of a healthcare facility. In addition to a grade point average of 3.0 or better in previous college coursework, students need to submit a transcript from each school attended, three letters of recommendation, a professional resume, a personal statement of purpose, and proof of a minimum of five years of professional work experience.
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- Format: Online with two, five-day on-campus residencies
- Tuition: $1,800 per credit
- Program length: 36 credits over six semesters
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) offers an executive master of science in health administration (MSHA) degree. The program runs for two years and, in addition to the completion of rigorous online courses, students are expected to attend three seven-day on-campus sessions in Birmingham, and a three to four day intensive capstone. The qualifications and application requirements for acceptance into the executive MSHA at UAB are:
- An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution
- A minimum of five years of healthcare-related work experience (clinical or managerial)
- Personal essays
- Three letters of reference
- Official transcripts demonstrating a competitive undergraduate GPA
- An interview
- Application fee
As of 2018, tuition and fees for the Executive MSHA Program are $29,800 per year (or $9,933 per semester) for a total program cost of $59,600. A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is required at the time of acceptance to the program and is applied to the student’s first semester tuition and fees.
Coursework for the program includes foundational courses such as introduction to healthcare systems and more advanced courses directly applicable to healthcare leadership, such as health policy, healthcare entrepreneurship, and strategic planning and management.
During the second year of the program, UAB students complete an intensive three to four day capstone experience. The experience challenges students to apply knowledge acquired through the program in a real healthcare environment. Previous destinations for the capstone requirement have included Vienna, Prague, Barcelona, and Washington, DC. While tuition covers meals and lodging for the capstone experience, students are expected to pay their own transportation costs.
Weber State University (WSU), located in Ogden, UT, offers a CAHME-accredited executive MHA (EMHA) program that can be completed in just five semesters. While the majority of coursework for the WSU program is completed online, students are required to spend one-and-a-half days on campus each semester, for a total of seven-and-a-half days. In order to complete the program, students are expected to present final projects on campus. The qualifications and application requirements for the EMHA at WSU are:
- An undergraduate degree in a health administration (students admitted without this degree may have to complete leveling coursework)
- GRE/GMAT Scores (for professionals with less than five years work experience)
- No professional experience is required (two years of supervisory experience is preferred)
- Official college transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation
- Application fee
- College transcripts reflecting a minimum GPA of at least 3.0 (lower GPA applicants may still be considered)
One of the draws of the WSU EMHA program is its relative affordability. As of 2018, the flat rate tuition for the EMHA program was $35,500. Even factoring in travel to Utah, the total cost of the WSU program is competitive with other university EMHA programs.
Coursework for the WSU program is a blend of foundational coursework and electives. Foundational MHA courses include health systems and the healthcare economy, human resources management in healthcare, and executive decision making for healthcare leaders.
To help students specialize their expertise, electives include:
- Long-term care administration
- Medical group management
- Healthcare entrepreneurship
- Comparative international health systems
- Executive leadership seminars in healthcare
Students who are eager to earn the prestige that comes with an Ivy League degree may consider enrolling in the Brown University executive master of healthcare leadership (EMHL) program. The EMHL program can be completed in 16 months, which includes online courses and five “in residence” sessions on the Brown University campus in Providence, RI. On-campus sessions run for a total of five weeks, and detailed schedule of on-campus sessions is available online. The total cost of tuition for the class entering in 2018 was $86,700, which does not include travel expenses to and from campus.
According to the EMHL applicant profile, this program is intended for students who “possess significant responsibility in the healthcare industry.” In addition to strict experience requirements in terms of years worked, applicants to this highly selective program are expected to “demonstrate a record of organizational responsibility and professional achievement.” Many applicants will already have some graduate-level education.
In addition to proof of professional and academic experience as described above, applicants to the Brown EMHL program should be prepared to submit the following:
- Personal statement
- Transcripts demonstrating GPA
- Three letters of recommendation
- Synopsis of a proposed Critical Challenge Project (CCP)
The CCP is extremely important to admission as the student’s proposed CCP will span the entire duration of the EMHL, and will also be the capstone experience for this program. The application synopsis for student’s CCP must be 200 words and address a critical challenge in healthcare. The CCP synopsis should draw on the applicant’s experience, and explain their vision for the future of the healthcare industry.
With no electives, all enrolled students will follow the same course of study. Courses in Brown’s EMHL program include:
- Healthcare policy: yesterday, today and tomorrow
- Management and marketing for healthcare transformation
- Navigating the regulatory maze
- Financial decisions in the changing healthcare landscape
The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) offers an executive master of healthcare administration (EMHA) that requires 40 credit-hours to complete, including a three-credit capstone project. The credits for the EMHA can be completed over the course of 22 months, or five consecutive semesters, including a summer session. Students are expected to complete two classes per semester and two to three classes during the summer session. In addition to online courses, students must attend two immersion sessions on campus in Las Vegas, for a total of four days, and must present their final capstone project on campus at the end of the program.
Applicants to the EMHA program at UNLV must meet one of the following experiential requirements:
- At least three years of management or administrative healthcare experience
- Five years of clinical experience
- A terminal clinical degree in healthcare (MD or PharmD)
- A JD
Applicants must also provide the following:
- Proof of minimum of a bachelor’s degree (in any field)
- Three to five letters of recommendation (including one from a current employer)
- Official transcripts
- A personal statement
- Some applicants will also be asked to complete an interview
Tuition for the UNLV EMHA program as of 2018 is $32,715 for Nevada residents and $37,467 for out-of-state residents. Neither tuition estimate includes travel expenses.
The 12 courses required for graduation from the EMHA program are as follows:
- The US healthcare system: programs, politics and policy
- Epidemiology for healthcare managers revised
- Management of healthcare organizations and systems
- Healthcare finance and accounting
- Human resources management of healthcare organizations
- Healthcare economics
- Operations and quality management of health services
- Information systems in health services management
- Advanced healthcare finance
- Strategy of healthcare
- Healthcare law and ethics
The final required course is a capstone project, in which students must demonstrate masterful knowledge of their chosen healthcare administration topic.
Located in Bowling Green, KY, Western Kentucky University (WKU) offers an executive master of health administration (EMHA) that requires three campus visits per year over the course of the two-year program. The executive MHA program does not require a thesis or capstone project, but students must take two courses in a concentration area.
Qualifications and application requirements for the program at WKU include:
- Five or more years of healthcare experience
- Applicants with less than five years experience must submit GRE scores and may have to complete an interview prior to admission
- Submission of application materials to two entities: EHMA program and the WKU graduate school
- A resume
- Prerequisite course worksheet
- Personal statement
- Two letters of reference from immediate supervisors in the two most recent positions held
- Copies of official undergraduate transcripts.
The executive MHA program at WKU requires completion of 42-credit-hours at a cost of $588 per credit-hour, for a total of $24,696 in tution for the entire program. This estimate does include the cost of travel.
Coursework for this program includes 33 credits of core courses, six credits of electives, and six credits in the chosen concentration area. Core courses include:
- Biostatistics for public health
- Public health administration
- Health behavior
- Healthcare organization and management
- Strategic management and marketing of health services
- Healthcare human resources administration
- Healthcare quality and accountability
- Healthcare preparedness and leadership
- Ambulatory care/rural health
- Special topics in health services
- Principles of environmental health
- Healthcare systems design and behavior
- Health systems informatics
- Decision making in healthcare
Florida Atlantic University (FAU), located in Boca Raton, FL, has an executive MHA program designed to be completed in 15 months. While both online and on-campus options are available at FAU, the online program is offered with no on-campus requirements.
To be eligible for the FAU executive MHA program, applicants must submit the following:
- Proof of bachelor’s degree in any discipline
- Transcripts demonstrating a 3.0 GPA for the latest 60 undergraduate credits
- Proof of a minimum four years of work experience
- A current resume
- Three professional references
- Two letters of recommendation.
- GMAT or GRE scores as determined by the FAU application committee (this requirement may be waived due to work experience and/or a graduate degree)
For the online executive MHA program, admitted students should expect to pay $900 per credit-hour, which amounts to $27,000 total to complete the degree.
The EMHA track at FAU includes courses such as:
- Global issues in healthcare delivery
- Organizational behavior in healthcare
- Health policy
- Health law
In addition, students can earn a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification by completing the current topics in healthcare management course.
The University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill offers an executive track for its master of healthcare administration that has an expected duration of two years. Over the course of the program, students must attend three on-campus sessions in Chapel Hill each year, which include six days in the fall, four days in the spring, and four days in the summer.
Qualifications and application requirements for admission into UNC’s program are as follows:
- A minimum of three years of managerial experience in healthcare
- GRE/GMAT scores for those with less than a doctoral degree
- Preferred: working knowledge of financial accounting, statistics, microeconomics and calculus
- Three letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts
- Personal statement
The cost of attendance for this program depends on the students’ residential status. In-state students pay $780 per credit-hour, while out-of-state students must pay $1,600 per credit-hour. At a total of 49 minimum required credits, students should expect to pay between $38,200 and $78,400 in tuition and fees.
The UNC program requires a total of 14 courses, which are taken in the EMP Distance Learning format, plus two case camps and two leadership practicums. Executive MHA students also complete a capstone project, which includes working in a team in coordination with a healthcare organization.
Core courses required include:
- Statistical methods for healthcare practice management (HPM)
- Public health concepts
- Health law
- Healthcare reimbursement
- Advanced financial management of healthcare
- Advanced analytics in healthcare administration
Professors to Know in Schools with Online EHMA Programs
Judith Bentkover, PhD
Dr. Judith Bentkover is a Critical Challenge Project Adviser for the executive master of healthcare leadership program at Brown University. She’s also a professor of the practice of health services, policy, and practice in the School of Public Health. Notably, she was the first executive and academic director of the executive master of healthcare leadership program. As the former President and CEO of Innovative Health Solutions—a consulting firm providing research and strategic analysis to healthcare manufacturers, providers, and payers—Dr. Bentkover has worked throughout Europe and Asia, earning considerable experience and knowledge of various healthcare systems.
Leonard H. Friedman, PhD
Dr. Leonard Friedman is a lecturer and program director at MHA@GW. Prior to joining the faculty at GWU, Dr. Friedman was a professor in the Department of Public Health and coordinator of health management and policy programs at the University of Oregon. During a long career in academia, Dr. Friedman explored organizational responses to cataclysmic events, system approaches to reducing medical errors, and the roots of organizational excellence in healthcare. Over the years, Professor Friedman has taught classes in healthcare management, organizational theory and behavior in healthcare, healthcare law and regulation, strategic management, and leadership in healthcare organizations.
Margaret S. Thomas, MHA
Margaret S. Thomas is an assistant professor in health policy and management at UNC, where she has taught for more than 16 years. Ms. Thomas teaches financial management, financial leadership, governance, and strategy for the executive MHA and the DrPH programs at UNC. An alumni of UNC, Thomas earned her own MHA in 2000. In addition to her work at UNC, Thomas serves on the board of a Georgia public health advisory non-profit, and provides consulting services to the boards of professional services firms, healthcare entities, and other nonprofits.
Featured Executive MHA Programs
Wake Forest University
MS in Healthcare Leadership
Online Master of Health Administration (MHA)
University of Central Florida
Executive Master of Health Administration