Program Overview

Industry Ties

The Penn State MHA is centered on the practice of management and leadership in health care contexts. To that end, our deep industry ties—including a guiding board of visitors and several key strategic partnerships —serve as a guiding light for our curriculum. These ties are fostered by an expert faculty committed to improving health and health care delivery and by an alumni base that is among the most active and committed in the field.

Competency Model and Curriculum


Our curriculum is competency-based, with specific emphasis in three areas: industry Context, professional Content and leadership Capabilities. These three Cs—or C3 as we refer to them—frame the six competency domains outlined in the model shown below:

C3 Competency Model


Coverage of the competency model in the program focuses on practical, participant-centered learning, with many courses relying on case studies and project-based assignments. For more information on courses and for a typical course sequence in the MHA Program, please access our courses page.

A Focus on Practice


In addition to the practical elements of the classroom experience, students complete a 10-week residency between the first and second years. Students are placed with leading health care organizations and work on projects suited to their personal and professional development.

"During my residency, I found that what I was learning in the classroom was directly applicable to real world settings. The experience helped me to see that I was developing the necessary skills to make an impact on health care organizations and contribute to improving the delivery of health care services." Jared Stanger, 2014

Capstone Project

Students complete a capstone project during the last semester of the program. Health care organization partners “hire” a team of MHA students as consultants to work on an important strategic problem they face. Students work with the organization to analyze the problem and recommend appropriate solutions and are generally given the opportunity to present their analysis to senior leaders of the organization.


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