The University of South Carolina is also featured in our ranking Top 30 Best Master's Programs in Healthcare Administration.
Master's in Healthcare Administration at the University of South Carolina
The MHA program prepares students for leadership roles in healthcare systems including careers as chief executive officers, health insurance administrators, and clinic managers. This degree is part of the Arnold School of Public Health, and the curriculum includes a variety of business competencies like marketing, finance, and human relations as well as public health topics including biostatistics, environmental health, and epidemiology. Faculty work to incorporate the history of the U.S. healthcare system as well as current health policy throughout the program. The entire program is 58 credit hours, and students have the option of full-time enrollment taking 2 years total or part-time enrollment. The last semester before graduation is reserved for a management residency where students gain valuable practical experience.
USC offers a separate track for healthcare professionals who are currently working full-time and have at least 3 years of experience. These classes meet 2 weekend days per month for each course. While students still need to earn 58 credits, 12 of them are waived due to professional experience. The coursework and topics are similar to the traditional MHA track but usually go more in-depth with advanced analysis of current healthcare policy and management techniques.
About the University of South Carolina
Since its beginning in 1801, this university has gone through several transitions including closing temporarily during the civil war and, upon reopening in 1866, becoming one of the first schools to admit African Americans in the South. About 10 years later, though, it closed again due to lack of funding, transitioning back to an all-white agricultural school in 1880. In 1906, its name finally became the University of South Carolina, and the institution began admitting African Americans again in 1950. Today, with an enrollment of about 35,000 students, the university offers degrees in 120 different areas of study. The Arnold School of Public Health opened in 1975 and has graduated over 10,000 students in fields like healthcare management, public policy advisement, and community health promotion.
USC has received recognition for its excellence in a variety of venues including being given the Carnegie Foundation's top-tier designation which is awarded to the top 32 schools in innovation and community impact. The U.S. News & World Report has included the school in the top third of all public national universities and in the top half of the programs in the country for graduate healthcare management degrees. Their business program is also ranked #1 for international business and #22 for part-time MBA.
University of South Carolina Accreditation Details
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, evaluates universities in 11 states in the southeast United States. The commission examines a number of factors including administrative policies, financial standing, depth of curriculum, program offerings, student engagement, and graduate outcomes. Accreditation tells students that the school has met basic quality standards and is effective preparation for professional life or advanced academic pursuits. It also adds credibility to degrees granted from the university, enables students to be eligible for federal grants and loans, and makes it easier for students to transfer courses between schools.
In some cases, individual programs are also accredited by outside organizations. The Master's of Healthcare Administration program at the University of South Carolina has earned this designation by CAHME, or the Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education. This group focuses on expanding the healthcare management field and establishing a gold standard for related training and practice. The commission evaluates course offerings, faculty, opportunities for fieldwork, and other factors related to a comprehensive graduate education. USC's program first received accreditation in 1991 and is due for its next review in 2021.
University of South Carolina Application Requirements
When applying to USC's MHA program, students have a choice between two application platforms, SOPHAS and HAMPCAS. Students need completed bachelor's degrees before enrolling in the program and are required to submit full official transcripts with their applications as well as either GRE or GMAT scores. A GPA greater than 3.0 with a GRE at least 295 is preferred, but the board does take into account the rigor of coursework and grades specifically in relevant courses. Demonstrated successful employment in the field can help balance out lower academic scores. In addition, the application process requires students to provide a professional resume, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement regarding future career goals.
The professional MHA option is specifically for students currently working in the field or in related fields like doctors and nurses. Applicants for this program need to use the SOPHAS platform and often can have the GRE or GMAT test requirement waived.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition rates for graduate students at the University of South Carolina depend on residency status. With the in-state designation, students pay $6,627 per full-time semester. Otherwise, tuition is $14,184 per full-time semester. Graduate assistantships are offered to help offset these costs and pay for living expenses. In this program, students work 10 to 20 hours per week in a healthcare facility and receive a stipend each semester between $1200 and $2000 depending on hours worked along with valuable field experience. Along with the stipend, out-of-state participants also gain a reduced tuition rate, equal to that of the in-state rate.
The Office of Student Financial Aid provides many resources to help students fund their education including assistance with FAFSA and federal aid loan applications. Plus, each year, the department offers the Susie James Yates Award to a second-year MHA student who resides in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia. In the field of healthcare management, numerous outside organizations also offer scholarships to students for academic or professional achievements as well as essay and research contests. Students currently working for healthcare organizations are encouraged to look into any available tuition reimbursement programs that may be offered through their employer. Also, there are some programs available after graduation that offer loan forgiveness in exchange for working in underprivileged areas.
Earning a Master's in Healthcare Administration teaches students key business principles and how these apply to the healthcare system. The University of South Carolina works hard to make their MHA program accessible for different types of students offering full and part-time enrollment options as well as a weekend-only track.