While required coursework is fairly standard across the various online and on-campus programs offering a Master's in Healthcare Administration, elective options can be quite broad, allowing students to tailor their degree to their particular interests and professional aspirations within the field. If you're looking over curricula for Master's Programs in Healthcare Administration, plan on adding some of these five electives to your potential course load.
As a hospital administrator, you may be responsible for writing grants to procure funding for hospital projects. If you enjoyed undergraduate English, consider adding a grant writing elective to your Healthcare Administration Master's coursework. In this class you'll learn how to format a grant proposal and how to make your grant as compelling as possible. The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley suggests, "A person with a master's in healthcare administration who knows how to write grant proposals is of great value in the eyes of many employers in the industry."
Ethics in Public Health
For most people, healthcare is a complicated and personal issue, and as a health service manager, you'll have to take into account your ethical obligations both to patients and to fellow staff. In an ethics class you'll work through ethical dilemmas specific to the field of health administration, discussing potential conflicts in access, affordability, or resource scarcity management. You'll probably also learn the code of ethics of the American College of Healthcare Executives. This elective will satisfy your interests if your Bachelor's coursework included lots of philosophy.
Health Information Technology
Do you enjoy working with data? Look to incorporate a healthcare technology elective into your Healthcare Administration Master's program. In a health information technology course, you'll learn to manage relational databases that track treatment plans and procedure outcomes. You may also learn to interpret health statistics or how to read medical code. As more hospitals and medical treatment facilities transition from a paper-based to an electronic medical records system, the value of IT expertise as an employee asset will continue to grow.
Public Health Policy
Healthcare decisions don't begin and end in the hospital. The laws that govern how our healthcare systems operate are decided at the state and federal level. In classes that focus on policy, you'll study the political forces at play in the development of health law. You'll gain an understanding of the concrete ways that public health policy impacts the on-the-ground operations of hospitals and medical facilities. You'll also analyze specific pieces of health legislation like the Affordable Care Act. If you're interested in political science, this is an elective you'll enjoy.
Maybe you envisioned the electives in your Healthcare Administration Master's Program as opportunities to get hands-on, out-of-classroom experience. This is the kind of work you'll find in a hospital management class. Classes in this subject emphasize the practical applications of health management through case studies, simulations, and hospital visits that clarify how real hospitals run. You'll see how employee relations such as physician-nurse interactions affect the hospital environment. You may also observe the operational differences between a for-profit and a non-profit hospital.
With classes like these on your transcript, you'll have all the information you need to find a health management job that speaks to your personal interest and skills. If you're smart in choosing your electives, a Master's in Health Administration is a great option for graduate work that translates to a rewarding career—just ask Forbes, who listed it as one of the best Master's degrees for jobs in 2014.