Our Website Has Moved!

The new address for the University of Kentucky College of Public Health is www.uky.edu/publichealth.

New Department Addresses
Health Behavior
Health Services Management
Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health

MHA Student Shonta Winters shares her experience at
the College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

Information on MHA Program (pdf format)

University of Kentucky building
Link to CAHME

Program Overview

Developing Leaders for 21st Century Health Care

The University of Kentucky Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program was established in 1989 and has been continuously accredited since 1994. The program has more than 300 alumni who are working in healthcare organizations in Kentucky, 31 states, and abroad.

The MHA Program was integrated into the College of Public Health in 2010. In 2012, the Program was awarded seven-year re-accreditation, the maximum allowed by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

The mission of the MHA Program is:

To provide graduates with critical competencies required to succeed in post-graduate positions in hospitals, multi-unit health systems, and other complex, health-related organizations and provide a solid foundation for their future leadership development.

Our program is committed to preparing leaders for complex organizations in a healthcare environment whose hallmark will be continuous change and multiple challenges. The need for healthcare services will continue to grow as our population ages. Leaders of healthcare organizations must find ways to expand services, improve quality, and reduce costs.

These complex challenges will create growing opportunities for persons with the knowledge, skills, and creativity to address them successfully. In other words, persons who are graduates of the University of Kentucky MHA program.

The Curriculum

Our MHA curriculum is designed around a set of competencies that healthcare executives and faculty jointly have agreed are essential in the 21st century. This illustrates the commitment to a strong academic-practitioner partnership that characterizes the UK MHA program.

The MHA degree is a 54 hour program which includes foundation, core, and application/elective courses.

Required Coursework*: (54 Credit Hours Total)

Foundation Courses: 15 Credit Hours

Course No.Course TopicCredit Hours
HA 601Overview of U.S. Healthcare3 Hours
HA 621Quantitative Methods for Healthcare Management3 Hours
HA 635Management Accounting for Healthcare Organizations3 Hours
CPH 614Managerial Epidemiology3 Hours
CPH 663An Introduction to Public Health Practice & Administration3 Hours


Core Courses: 29 Credit Hours

Course No.Course TopicCredit Hours
HA 602Strategic Planning & Marketing in Healthcare3 Hours
HA 603Legal Aspects of Healthcare Management3 Hours
HA 604Healthcare Ethics & Governance2 Hours
HA 623Healthcare Operations Analysis & Management3 Hours
HA 624Information Systems in Healthcare3 Hours
HA 628Human Resources Management in Healthcare3 Hours
HA 636Health Economics3 Hours
HA 637Health Finance3 Hours
HA 642Organization Theory & Behavior3 Hours
HA 673Health Policy3 Hours


Application and Elective Courses: 10 Credit Hours

Course No.Course TopicCredit Hours
HA 660Decision Making in Healthcare Organizations3 Hours
HA 711Practicum in Healthcare Management (Internship)1 Hour
HA 785Independent Study/Capstone1 Hour
ElectivesMinimum of 5 credit Hours5 Hours

Foundational Courses

15 credits

Core Courses

30 credits

Application Courses

9 credits

Foundation Courses

HA 601 Overview of U.S. Healthcare: This course is an introduction to the health care delivery system in the United States, including composition, functioning, the interrelationships of organizations and professional groups within the system in various settings, health care terminology, and major problems and issues in the delivery of health services. (3 credit hours)

HA 621 Quantitative Methods for Healthcare Management:. This course is a survey of quantitative methods for health care managers.  Emphasis is placed upon problem selection and identification, data collection, measurement, analytic techniques, and research design. (3 credit hours)

HA 635 Management Accounting for Healthcare Organizations: This course introduces the use of management accounting techniques to decision making in health care organizations. Lectures, problems, and cases will be used to provide an opportunity to focus on the various types of health care providers. (3 Credit Hours)

CPH 614 Managerial Epidemiology: Reviews the fundamental principles of epidemiology and teaches students how to apply those principles to the management of health services organizations.(3 Credit Hours)

CPH 663 An Introduction to Public Health Practice & Administration: (3 Credit Hours)

Core Courses

HA 623 Healthcare Operations Analysis and Management: This course is an introduction to organizational decision-making under conditions of certainty, uncertainty, risk, and multiple objectives. Concepts of analysis from the areas of economics, mathematics, probability, and statistics will be utilized in terms of administrative decision making in health administration. Course work includes use of various management information systems with a focus on how such systems can be used to support and inform decision-making. (3 credit hours)

HA 628 Human Resources Management in Healthcare: The course will present an overview of career development, human resource planning, staffing, training and development in the public sector. (3 credit hours)

HA 642 Organization Theory and Behavior: This course examines the interaction of external and internal resources and constraints upon the administrative decision processes in a number of organizational settings. The objective is an understanding of the practice of administration. (3 credit hours)

HA 602 Strategic Planning and Marketing in Healthcare: This course focuses on the future needs of the health care organization as contrasted to day-to-day operational management. Strategies for design and implementation of organizational change including techniques of quality and process improvement will be addressed. The strategic planning components of needs assessment, demands analysis, generation of alternative, priority setting, and evaluation form the basis of the course. Several health care trends such as restructuring, innovation in health care delivery and financing, and performance measurements will be illustrated through case analysis in a variety of provider settings. (3 credit hours)

HA 603 Legal Aspects of Healthcare Management: This course will familiarize students with the application of law to management issues in health care organizations. Skills including terminology, legal reasoning, the tools of law, and topics specific to the health care setting are addressed. (3 credit hours)

HA 604 Healthcare Ethics & Governance: This class uses case studies to examine ethical dilemmas and advance ethical decision-making. The philosophical foundations of ethical decision-making are covered as well. (2 credit hours)

HA 624 Informtion Systems in Healthcare: This class will focus on the life cycle approach to information systems development. Phases of this approach include systems analysis, design, implementation, maintenance, and evaluation. This approach has technological, financial, and human factors components. The decision-making and planning role of administration as well as the need of how to maximize the utilization of current systems is stressed. Topics include the information needs of the strategic planning process, administrative function, and clinical care. The course will involve site visits. (3 credit hours)

HA 636 Health Economics: This course applies general theoretical principles of economics to the health care sector. The basic approach is to recognize the importance of scarcity and incentives, allowing for differences specific to health. The demand and supply of health and medical care are examined as they involve physicians, nurses, and hospitals. The competitiveness of their markets, health insurance, and the role of government are explored. Special topics include regulations and planning, benefit cost analysis, and reform health plans. (3 credit hours)

HA 637 Health Finance: This course applies general principles of finance to the financial management of health care institutions. The major financial incentives that dictate how health care is delivered are studied, and proposals to change these incentives are explored. (3 credit hours)

HA 673 Health Policy: This course is designed to build on the concepts and techniques introduced in the MHA curriculum and to integrate them with a decision making focus in a variety of health care problems and settings. Case analysis will be used extensively to develop an opportunity for the student to learn to apply the appropriate skills to an unstructured environment. (3 credit hours)

CPH 605 Epidemiology (3 Credit Hours)

Application Courses

HA 711 Internship in Healthcare Management: This course offers practical field experience in a health administrative setting under the direction of an academic and a workplace supervisor. The internship is tailored to the student's background and interests. For students already employed as health administrators or who are health providers, worksite administrative practice can be arranged. The internship is arranged by the MHA Internship Coordinator. Students are also required to participate in monthly topical seminars during the academic year in preparation for the internship.  (3 credit hours)

HA 660 Decision Making in Healthcare Organizations: This course builds on the concepts and techniques that have been introduced in the curriculum and integrates them with a decision making focus in a variety of health care problems and settings. (3 credit hours)

HA 785 Independent Study in Healthcare Management: This course supports thes student’s independent research and manuscript preparation for the capstone final examination. (1 credit hour)

Electives and Other Health Administration-Related Offerings

If a student has filled the requirements through transfer work or waiver other courses that may be taken to supplement the program include:

HA 775 Special Topics in Health Administration:  An analysis of selected issues with special significance for health administration.  Prerequisite:  Consent of instructor.  (Variable credit)

HA 785 Independent Study in Healthcare Management:  Supervised individual research on a topic related to health administration selected by the student. The student must present a signed Independent Study Contract to the Student Affairs Office before they will be allowed to register.  (This form is in Appendix 2 of this handbook.) (Variable credit)

GRN 643 Biomedical Aspects of Aging:  A survey of the normal age-associated changes in biological function, the major disease entities found in the older population, and how the health care delivery system presently addresses these issues.  Prerequisite:  Graduate status or consent of instructor. (3 credit hours)

PA 680 Benefit-Cost Analysis:  Principles, practices and applications of applied welfare analysis are the content of this course.  The basic theory of benefit-cost analysis is presented and the relevance of implementation analysis in policy analysis is established.  Prerequisite: PA 652.  (Same as ECO 680.) (3 credit hours)

CPH 653 Public Health Law: Overview of public health law with emphasis on topics and materials used by public health practitioners, as well as the use of law to advance a public health agenda. (3 credit hours)

CPH 751 Global Public Health: This course will acquaint students with the major issues and challenges for public health in a variety of wealthy, emerging, and impoverished nations and with the impact of local or regional issues on national and/or global levels. (3 credit hours)

CPH 758: Special Topics in Public Health: This course will engage students in readings, projects, lectures and/or discussions to address current topics of special interest or concerns.  May be repeated to a maximum of 6 credit hours.

Final Master’s Exam (Capstone)

The final exam for the M.H.A. program takes the form of a capstone project that includes written and oral components.  Capstone projects must be presented before a faculty and practitioner panel of three people.  A fourth “outside practitioner” is an optional participant.  Both the written and oral components of the project will be evaluated to determine the capstone grade.  If the student fails, a second opportunity is given to rewrite and present the project.  The student must pass the capstone exam on the second try to receive their MHA degree.  This exam also fills the role of the comprehensive master’s exam required by the Graduate School, and the Final Exam Request form needs to be filed in the Graduate School at least two weeks prior to the exam. The capstone course must be taken in the student’s final semester of enrollment and the student may not have any “I” (incomplete) grades on their record.

Course of Study

The MHA degree is a 54 hour program which is completed by full time students in 21 months beginning in the fall semester. Students with little or no healthcare management experience are encouraged to pursue full-time coursework. The program also includes a summer internship between the first and second years of coursework.

The MHA program is principally designed for full-time students; however, an alternative model of the same curriculum is available for highly qualified individuals who are working in local healthcare organizations and wish to pursue the MHA-degree on a part-time basis.


The MHA degree program is designed to provide graduate level education to individuals who, after appropriate managerial experience, are capable of assuming senior leadership positions in a variety of health services provider organizations. Examples include hospitals, community health centers, government and other public sector providers, the health insurance industry sector, home health agencies, hospitals, long-term care and mental health providers. An applicant must have a bachelor’s degree to be considered for admission to the program. Prerequisite requirements are courses in basic accounting and basic economics.

  1. Domestic application deadline is May 31.

  2. Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.75, minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0.

  3. Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), showing verbal and quantitative scores at the 50 percentile or better. Official TOEFL scores (International students only).

  4. Applicants must also submit a supplemental application to the University of Kentucky Graduate School, applications may be submitted on-line. Application deadline for International students March 15. Official GRE/GMAT, TOEFL scores and copies of official transcripts must be submitted by the applicant directly to SOPHAS. Copies of the scores and transcripts will be sent to the Graduate School by the College of Public Health.

Why Choose the UK MHA Program?

Strong Academic-Practitioner Partnerships
Lexington has long served as a regional center for healthcare in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Healthcare professionals from University of Kentucky HealthCare and local and regional health systems often speak to MHA classes. In addition, part-time work experiences and internships often are supported by local, regional, and national healthcare organizations.

Proven Job Placement
Graduates of the UK MHA program have been successful attaining healthcare positions and fellowships. The employment rate for graduates has been between 90-100% the past two years. Faculty and alumni support job placement through individualized discussions with students. This has resulted in fellowships with priority placement for UK MHA graduates.

Smaller Class Size
Class size is purposefully limited to approximately 25-30 students a year to facilitate interactive and individualized instruction and advising.

Diverse Faculty Expertise
MHA Faculty represent a diverse breadth of experience, education, and research. Faculty members included respected experts on health system governance and ethics, health law, rural health, process improvement, electronic health records, and more. Many faculty members have careers that include both healthcare leadership positions and academic research and teaching.

Active Student Organization
The MHA Student Association includes all MHA students and works to enhance not only networking and friendships, but also organizes educational events as well.

Distinguished HealthCare Leaders
The Executive Seminar Series, established in 2011, allows MHA students the opportunity to interact with national healthcare leaders in a small group setting. Speakers have included Dr. Thomas Dolan, President and CEO of the American College of Health Executives; Quint Studer, founder of the StuderGroup; Mr. James Skogsbergh, President and CEO of Advocate HealthCare; Mr. John King, a past Chairman of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees; Dr. David Lawrence, retired CEO and Chairman of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, and David Lemoine, President and CEO of the Catholic Healthcare Audit Network.

M.H.A. Competencies (pdf format)

Information on M.H.A. Program (pdf format)

M.H.A. Student Handbook (pdf format)

Students enrolled prior to fall 2010Link to MHA Student Handbook enrolled prior to fall 2010

M.H.A. Student Handbook (pdf format)

Internship (Practicum or Field Experience)

Managerial experience in a health care setting is an essential component of the health administration educational process.  Administrative internships and residencies provide the student with the opportunity to apply the theories and techniques discussed in the classroom to operational health care situations under the guidance of an experienced health care professional with faculty oversight.

This sharing of educational responsibility between the professional school and experienced health care administrators is necessary to assure the quality of professional education.  This is particularly true when the goal is acquisition of operational skills through real-life experiences in settings outside the classroom.

A positive administrative internship does not happen by chance, but has to be carefully planned and implemented.  It requires active commitment to the concept of the internship on the part of the faculty, preceptors/sites, and students.  Only in this manner can effective mechanisms for collaborative efforts by all concerned be maintained.

  • All students without significant administrative experience must complete a 400-hour administrative internship.  This can be done on a full-time or part-time basis.
  • Students with clinical experience, but no administrative experience, also complete a 400-hour administrative internship.  This work can be in the same organization in which the student is employed.  Senior management will often allow a student to take on additional administrative projects in the organization.
  • Students with administrative experience may develop an administrative internship within their own organization that requires activities beyond their existing job responsibilities.
  • With the written approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, students with significant administrative experience may take an additional 3-credit course in lieu of the internship.
  • Credit for the internship includes participation in monthly seminars that provide students with important information to prepare them for their field experience.

Students should refer to the Administrative Internship Handbook for details on requirements and processes to complete a successful experiential learning experience.   The Administrative Internship Handbook is distributed at a meeting called by the Internship coordinator to begin the planning process during the spring semester and is also available from the Internship Coordinator.

Financial Aid

A growing number of scholarships, tuition grants, and part-time assistantships in local healthcare organizations are available for highly-qualified applicants to UK’s MHA Program. The faculty, along with the MHA Board of Advisors, has developed a formal plan with specific targets for further expanding these forms of financial assistance.

In addition to University and College Scholarships and Financial Assistance, program-specific support includes the following:

The Norton Scholarship for Health Care Leadership
Available through a generous donation by Norton Health Care, this scholarships is designated to support a student with outstanding potential in healthcare administration.

The Marilyn and Lawrence Prybil Scholarship
Through the support of Dr. Lawrence and Marilyn Prybil, these scholarships are for highly-qualified students who have particular interest in nonprofit, multi-unit health systems.

Tuition Differential Grants
A defined number of tuition differential grants are available each year for highly qualified out-of-state students. These grants allow out-of-state students to attend the MHA program at the in-state tuition rate. Early application is encouraged for consideration of these grants.

UK HealthCare Assistantships
UK HealthCare supports two student-assistantships each year. These assistantships provide part-time paid opportunities for students who work within the UK HealthCare Enterprise.

Additional Assistantships
Faculty support students with part-time opportunities related to research grants and funded projects when possible.

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Director, MHA Program

Dr. Martha C. Riddell

Director of Student Affairs

Marilyn E. Underwood

Support Staff

Tonya McGuire

M.H.A. Primary Faculty