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Applying to the MHA program

Application Deadlines Priority: Nov. 15; Final: March 1
Minimum GPA (admitted students) 3.0
Test Scores Typically 30th percentile or better
Undergraduate Majors Wide and Varied

Admissions selection criteria icon-olus-circle

Admission to our program is competitive. The selection committee seeks students with the greatest potential for success, based on the following criteria:

Academic performance: We look for a minimum GPA of 3.0. The average GPA of admitted students has been above 3.5 in recent years.

Test scores: We look for scores in the 30th percentile or better.

Motivation and potential: We look for a record of leadership among peers based on an applicant’s resume, letters of reference, and statement of purpose.

Experience: Students admitted without work experience generally show evidence of excellence in extracurricular and service activities and have completed one or more internships.

How to apply icon-olus-circle

New students are accepted for fall semester only. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis beginning on November 15, with a final deadline of March 1. Because transcripts and test scores can sometimes take several weeks to arrive, we highly recommend that prospective students submit their application as early as possible. Early applications also ensure full consideration for financial aid and other funding opportunities.


Follow the instructions below to apply to the Penn State MHA Program.

1. Complete a Graduate School Application. When completing the Graduate School Application, please designate the following campus, major and degree:

  • Campus: University Park (UP)
  • Major: Health Policy and Administration
  • Degree: MHA

All materials must be uploaded to the Penn State Graduate School application site, including:

  • Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed.
  •  GPA and Test Scores: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. The average of admitted students has been above 3.5 in recent years. GRE or GMAT scores in the 30th percentile or better are required. Scores within the last five years will be accepted.
  • References: You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in the program. References should come from personal peers and/or managers and supervisors.

Program-specific materials

  • Resume: Upload your resume to the online application
  • Personal statement: Describe your personal, academic and professional background. Why did you become interested in the health care industry? Where do you see yourself in the future and how will the MHA degree contribute to your career goals? Limit your answer to no more than 1,000 words.
  • Essay questions:
    • Essay 1 - Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What factors led to your accomplishment of each of these goals? Please limit your answer to no more than 500 words.
    • Essay 2 - Please answer one of the following questions: Describe a time when you set aside your own priorities to help someone at work. What were the circumstances? How did you assist them? What was the result? -OR- Describe a time when you were supervising another person in a manner that expanded their capacity to work independently. (Limit your answer to no more than 500 words).
  • Interview: The admissions committee will review all completed application materials and determine if an applicant will be asked to participate in a brief interview, via Skype, or in-person, to assess the potential for success in an online program and the profession.

Test waiver policy

GRE or GMAT waivers are offered to applicants who meet at least one of the following prerequisites:

  1. Penn State Integrated BS/MHA residential applicants who have achieved a minimum 3.5 GPA.
  2. Penn State Integrated JD/MHA applicants, with advisor approval.
  3. Applicants who have greater than five years of health care related work experience.
  4. Applicants who hold a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. school (Ph.D., M.D., D.O., NP, PA-C, MSN, MBA, MPH, MPA, MPS).
  5. Waivers may be considered for other situations on a case by case basis. Contact the program to discuss.

Requests for waiver consideration should be sent to, using MHA Waiver Request in the subject line. Please include your current résumé and a copy of all academic transcripts. All waiver requests are evaluated on a case by case basis.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Healthcare Administration, Management & Policy Centralized Application System icon-olus-circle

The Penn State MHA program is a participant in the Healthcare Administration, Management & Policy Centralized Application System (HAMPCAS). Prospective students may apply through HAMPCAS but will also be required to complete an application through the Graduate School.