Best Online Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) Programs 2021

By TopMastersInHealthcare.com Staff
Last Updated: March 5, 2021

The growing demand for healthcare services has precipitated the need for specialized administrators to organize healthcare organizations, supervise providers and support staff, and manage medical data. As the U.S. population ages, residential care facilities must rely on skilled administrators to manage nursing and auxiliary staff, oversee patient care, and manage medical and insurance records.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field of medical and health services managers to grow 32% between 2019 to 2029, much faster than the national average for all managerial positions. The majority of healthcare administrators work in hospitals, physician offices, and nursing care facilities. Earning a traditional or online master's degree in health administration (MHA) provides a competitive edge in fields like long-term care administration, clinical management, and health information management.

Online MHA programs offer considerable flexibility, and students can earn their degree in 1-4 years. Online MHAs hold particular appeal to working professionals who can maintain full-time employment while pursuing a degree at their own pace.

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Best Online MHA Programs 2021

1. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A public university based in North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill offers an online master of healthcare administration program. This program educates students about healthcare management methods, finance, and policies as they relate to health services management.

The curriculum aims to improve students' decision-making capabilities, leadership skills, and business plan development strategies. Students do attend a few in-person sessions on campus for the hybrid program, but these are limited to a total of 14 days throughout the year. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and three years of work experience in a managerial healthcare role.

UNC-Chapel Hill is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Program Length: 49 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $1,735 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Core competencies include: communication and relationship management, leadership and professionalism, knowledge of the healthcare environment, management, and finance & analytics

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2. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Based in Minnesota, UMN offers an online master of health administration program that features learning cohorts, on-campus coursework, and online classes.

Students work alongside each other throughout the duration of their degree, which takes about 25 months to complete. The curriculum involves integrated health systems in the areas of healthcare delivery, design, and innovation as well as health and health systems. Applicants require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • Campus: Minneapolis, MN
  • Program Length: 42 credit hour
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $1,632 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation Health care Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Principles of Management, Private Purchasers of Healthcare, Health Finance, and Healthcare Services Accounting

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3. Pennsylvania State University

Based in University Park, Penn State World Campus offers more than 150 degrees and certificates. The master of health administration in health policy and administration program provides students and healthcare professionals a chance to explore and expand on their healthcare knowledge. This program, a collaboration between the Penn State World Campus and the Penn State Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development, is best suited for applicants interested in healthcare and health economics.

Graduates pursue careers in hospitals and health systems, medical group practices, and nursing facilities, among other opportunities.

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Campus: University Park, PA
  • Program Length: 49 credit hour
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $996 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation Health care Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Leadership Ethics, Health Law, Population Health and Quality Management, Information Systems

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4. The George Washington University

Based in Washington, D.C., GW offers an online healthcare master of business administration, a partnership between the GW School of Business and the GW School of Medicine. The curriculum is 100% online and suits students in the healthcare profession, entrepreneurs, policy advisors, and those in the private and nonprofit sector.

GW accepts applicants with an accredited bachelor's degree, three years of work experience, and sufficient GMAT or GRE scores. Students may also choose to complete one of seven certificates offered by the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences as part of their studies.

The George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Program Length: 55.5 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $2,105 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Healthcare Analytics, SQL, Technology for Business in D.C.

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5. Florida International University

Established in 1965, FIU Online offers the opportunity to receive a master of business administration in healthcare in only 18 months. Students learn about finance, reimbursement of health systems, federal and global health policies and processes, and legal issues facing healthcare providers. They also participate in three residencies with classmates, alumni, faculty, and industry professionals.

FIU online applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, a 3.0 GPA, and two years of professional work experience.

Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Miami, FL
  • Program Length: 42 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $4,278 per course
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Managerial Decision Making in Health Economics, Accounting for Managers, Legal Environment of Business

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6. Appalachian State University

A public university based in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian offers an online master of health administration. Students choose from two concentrations: health care leadership or health information systems.

The mostly asynchronous curriculum includes courses such as health law and policy, executive skills development, strategic health care management, and performance improvement concepts and application. Students study topics to prepare them for careers in healthcare fields like hospitals, long-term care, biotech organizations, and medical health equipment companies.

Application requirements include a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework from a regionally accredited university and GRE or GMAT scores.

Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Boone, N.C.
  • Program Length: 46 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $413 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Association of University Programs in Health Administration
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Foundations of the U.S. Health Care System Statistics for Health Administration, Health and Disease, Financial Management, Health Care Informatics

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7. Trinity University

Based in San Antonio, Texas, Trinity University offers an online, part-time master of science in health care administration. The executive-track program, designed for leaders already working in healthcare settings, prepares individuals for the current and future challenges in the field. Students may complete the program within 23 months. Each semester requires students to attend an on-campus residency for three days.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and current employment in healthcare, plus prior management or supervisor experience.

Trinity University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: San Antonio, TX
  • Program Length: 41 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $12,167 per semester
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Statistical Analysis in Health Care Organizations, Health Care Organization Theory and Management, Finance, Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration

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8. University of Cincinnati

AUNC-Chapel Hill offers a master's in healthcare administration program for early- to midcareer healthcare professionals in two formats: full-time residential and online executive. The residential program curriculum combines classroom and experiential learning, including a 12-week internship, and culminates with a master's paper and comprehensive examination. The online program follows a cohort model and requires three on-campus residencies per year, along with a capstone and thesis.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. UNC-Chapel Hill recommends GRE or GMAT scores in the top 50th percentile, along with coursework in accounting, microeconomics, and statistics.

  • Campus: Cincinnati, OH
  • Program Length: 40 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $754 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Candidate status with the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Health Systems Management, Health Quality, Evidence-Based Decision Making, Emerging Issues

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9. George Mason University

Based in Fairfax, Virginia, and established in 1949, the public George Mason University enrolls nearly 38,000 students each year. Mason offers an online, asynchronous curriculum for students to obtain an online master of health administration in health systems management. The program offers a health policy leadership course during the summer term and a capstone practicum.

Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation and hold a bachelor's degree with an average GPA of 3.0.

George Mason University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Fairfax, VA
  • Program Length: 47 credit hour
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $895 per credit hour
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Leadership in the Healthcare Delivery System, Organization Behavior and Healthcare Leadership, Problem Resolution and Decision Making

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10. Liberty University

Founded in 1971, Liberty is now home to more than 100,000 students, 700 programs, and state-of-the-art technology. A private university, Liberty offers an online master of science in healthcare administration among its many Christian-focused areas of study. The 100% online program highlights the study of informatics, public health, and nursing disciplines to help students better manage business needs or enter human resources and benefits management careers.

Applicants must provide proof of a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Many additional subjects and disciplines may be added to the general major curriculum for students to diversify their knowledge base.

Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Lynchburg, VA
  • Program Length: 48 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $565 per credit hour
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Courses in several areas of specialization, including leadership, accounting, finance, human resources, and public relations

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11. Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences

Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences offers an online master of healthcare administration. Designed for any healthcare professional with a business or patient care background, the program's flexible and affordable program works for anyone.

PA College's curriculum includes classes such as health promotion and disease prevention in a diverse society, healthcare policy and finance, and organizational behavior and performance improvement in healthcare.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA and submit two letters of recommendation.

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Campus: Lancaster, PA
  • Program Length: 34 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $896 per credit hour
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Strategic Planning, Innovation and Technology, and Applied Practice in Healthcare Administration

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12. University of Scranton

A public Jesuit university in Pennsylvania, Scranton offers a 100% online master of health administration that may be finished within 2.5 years. Students complete 150 hours of fieldwork and choose from two areas of specialization as part of master's in the healthcare administration program.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, have three years of professional work experience, and share three letters of recommendation.

The University of Scranton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Campus: Scranton, PA
  • Program Length: 47-53 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $940 per credit
  • Accreditation(s): Founded on Jesuit principles and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Management Education (CAHME)
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Health Care Law, Human Resources Management, Health Care Economics and Policy, Health Care IT Management

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13. Central Michigan University

Founded in 1892, CMU enrolls around 23,000 students annually. One of the programs offered at CMU, a master of health administration, prepares students for senior leadership roles in the healthcare field.

The curriculum includes classes in finance, marketing, economics, planning, population health, quantitative methods, and management in healthcare organizations. Applicants must pass CMU's statistics competency exam prior to admission.

Central Michigan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  • Campus: Mount Pleasant, MI
  • Program Length: 51 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $637 per credit
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Human Resource Management; International Health Systems, Policy, and Administration; Fundamentals of Healthcare Finance

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14. Trevecca Nazarene University

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Trevecca's master of science in healthcare administration prepares students for careers in middle or executive management roles. The 100% online program, completed in 18 months, offers an optional 12-week practicum for students interested in focusing on a particular area in the field.

Core curriculum develops students' skills in innovation, information security, and value-based management. The program objective aims to heighten awareness of health care challenges, develop and equip students with necessary skill sets, and shape leaders.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

Trevecca Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  • Campus: Nashville, TN
  • Program Length: 33 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $500 per credit hour
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Principles of Leadership in Health Care, Financial Management and Budgeting, Organizational Behavior

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15. Saint Joseph's University

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph's University provides health care professionals an affordable master of science in health administration. With opportunities to focus on the general track or a career specialty such as informatics or organization development and leadership, SJU's program situates students for success, promotion, and leadership in the healthcare field.

Students master vital skills in research, laws, and industry practices to improve health care systems as well as competencies defined by the Health Leadership Competency Model and developed by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership.

Saint Joseph's University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • Campus: Philadelphia, PA
  • Program Length: 36-42 credit hours
  • Estimated Tuition Cost: $905 per credit
  • Accreditation(s): Editors: could only find the regional accreditation, not the program-specific
  • Curriculum Snapshot: Organizational Leadership, Computer-Based Patient Records, Integrative Course in Health Services

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Applying to an Online MHA Program

While medical and health services managers may enter the field with a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer to hire MHA graduates. While each program establishes its own eligibility requirements, MHA online schools generally admit students with a bachelor's degree in a healthcare, business, or social science-related field.

Other requirements include an overall 3.0 GPA, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement describing the applicant's career goals. Some schools may require a minimum score on the GRE or GMAT. International students will have to meet additional English language proficiency requirements.

Always check requirements with your intended school before enrolling. Some online MHA programs accept transfer credits from previously attended graduate programs which may reduce the time needed to complete the degree. Capstone projects or required supervised administrative experiences may increase the time needed to graduate.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a healthcare administrator do?

    The roles and responsibilities of healthcare administrators depend on the kind of medical facility or area of expertise. The majority of these professionals work in hospitals, physician offices, and nursing care and residential facilities. They supervise personnel and create work schedules, manage finances and monitor budgets, and ensure compliance with regulations and policies.

  • What is accreditation and why is it important?

    Attending a regionally-accredited school ensures students can easily transfer credits and receive federal financial aid. These schools meet academic standards established by regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In addition to regional accreditation, the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) grants programmatic accreditation to MHA degrees.The best online MHA programs hold CAHME recognition.

  • What can I do with a healthcare administration degree?

    Online MHA graduates find fulfilling and well-paying careers in fields like information management, finance, and healthcare leadership. They also work in an array of settings, including small and large healthcare organizations and the insurance industry. MHA graduates may choose to enhance their career prospects by pursuing specialized credentials, such as the certified medical manager, the certified healthcare financial professional, or the registered health information administrator.

  • How long does it take to become a health administrator?

    The length of time needed to complete an MHA degree varies depending on the number of credits taken each semester, the number of transfer credits accepted, and specific program requirements, such as internships. Online MHA programs may take as little as one year in a full-time accelerated program or up to four years part time. CAHME-accredited online programs generally include some on-campus attendance requirements.

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