Frequently Asked Questions for MHSA Applicants

Travel Restriction Statement

In the event of travel restrictions related to COVID-19 or other current events, the department will conduct orientation, on-campus intensives, and related social events in a virtual setting. When possible, aspects of the global experience will be conducted virtually. If travel restrictions impact students during their first year, they will have the option to participate in their second year.

About Applying for the Program

What are the admission requirements?

Find complete admission requirements on the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences page. Each applicant is reviewed holistically by the faculty selection committee.

Is full-time work experience required before applying to the program?

Yes. Because the program targets early-to-mid career working professional, promising applicants will have 1-5 years of experience in the health care sector. If your employment status was impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic and it affects your admissions eligibility, please submit a supplemental statement so our faculty may take this under consideration

Is there any specific undergraduate degree or background/experience required?

No. Students come from a variety of backgrounds/experiences. We have had students with degrees in business, biology, history, sociology, and more. Some have worked in the field as technicians or clinicians or have advanced degrees in related areas (public health, medicine, law). The diversity of backgrounds is a microcosm of the health care field and enriches the educational experience, allowing students to learn from each other.

Is experience or current work in the health care field required to understand material/be successful in the program?

Applicants should have work experience in the health care sector. Faculty will expect students to have some level of applied knowledge of how care is organized, delivered, or financed. Experiential projects are built around current employment during the program.

Are standardized tests required?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are waiving the submission of standardized test results–if you have prior testing you would like to submit, please do so; if you had testing cancelled due to COVID-19, you may let us know in a supplemental statement.

What are characteristics of a successful student in the program?

The most important characteristics are: motivation to understand the complexity of the health care system, willingness to work diligently and develop strong management skills, and leadership potential to make improvements to the health care system. The effective health care administrator is a leader and critical thinker. The attributes for managerial leadership supported by critical thinking will be developed and honed throughout the program. However, applicants must demonstrate a capacity for strong quantitative skills and strong writing skills prior to entry into the program.

Are there any prerequisites for the program?

No. However, successful completion of a financial accounting course is strongly recommended, as are advanced Microsoft Excel skills. The successful applicant will demonstrate a strong quantitative capacity via transcripts and test scores.

Can I transfer courses from another university?

Up to 10 credits may be transferred. However, because this is a unique, sequential cohort-based program, transferring credits is not common. The credits must be from comparable courses, taken at an accredited institution, not used toward a conferred degree or certificate, and successfully completed with a grade of B or above. The decision to grant credit is at the discretion of the program director and department chair. Program faculty who teach in the subject area will evaluate course descriptions and objectives to ensure there is alignment with MHSA courses.

What is the application deadline?

The priority application deadline is January 15. All applicants, especially those who wish to be considered for a departmental scholarship, are encouraged to submit their application and all support documents by that date. The final application deadline is April 1. Application materials and other admissions-related information can be found on the Graduate School of Arts & Science webpage for the program under the “Admissions Requirements” section.

Does the program allow for part-time study?

The MHSA is a part-time, 42-credit hour program designed for professionals who would like to complete their degree while they pursue full-time employment. Based on a structured cohort model, prospective applicants should carefully review the two-year program of study to ensure they have flexibility to meet all obligations.

Does the program accept international applicants?

Yes, but there are additional requirements. Degrees earned outside of the U.S. require evaluation by World Education Services ( Applicants must have earned the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. If your first language is not English, the TOEFL is required. However, if your bachelor’s degree is from an institution where English was the language of instruction, the TOEFL requirement is waived. Also, the MHSA program does not sponsor student visas.

Is there a New Student Orientation?

Orientation is a two-part process. Students are provided an orientation manual covering a range of topics 4-6 weeks before classes begin. That is followed by an in-person session during the first On-Campus Intensive to give students the opportunity to meet colleagues and faculty, see the campus, and learn about available resources prior to starting courses.

What if I need to take a leave of absence?

If you need to interrupt your studies, a leave of absence may be granted for one year.

About the Program

Why a Master’s Degree in Health Systems Administration (MHSA)?

The Georgetown MHSA is designed for early-to-mid career working professionals, primarily in health care related fields, who seek the insight and understanding of seasoned executive-level practitioners to help them take on management/executive roles in which they can shape the future of health care delivery. With a focus on critical thinking and leadership, the MHSA prepares students for success in a dynamic world.

What are typical careers for which the MHSA is appropriate?

MHSA graduates take on a variety of managerial roles in a range of organizations that finance, regulate, supply, and provide health services. These include health insurance plans, organizations involved in health service investment, government agencies, advocacy groups, consulting firms, and supply companies. The largest employers of program graduates are hospitals and health systems, but increased opportunities are expected in medical group practices, ambulatory care centers, home health services, long-term care institutions, freestanding diagnostic centers, and wellness programs. A significant number of graduates work in consulting organizations and professional associations. Health care is a dynamic and still growing field. New opportunities are continually emerging for which this degree provides an excellent foundation.

Is the program accredited?

The MHSA program is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). Accreditation is evidence that programs are high quality, competency-based, and responsive to the needs of students, employers, and a dynamic health care industry.

How long will it take to complete the program?

New cohorts are admitted each August and are scheduled to graduate 21 months later.

What is a blended/hybrid program?

The MHSA program provides students with a unique environment that combines four week-long, in-person On-Campus Intensives and five twelve-week virtual semesters. This flexible approach offers academic rigor, exceptional teaching, and connection to the Georgetown campus and overall learning community. The majority of coursework is offered in a virtual learning environment using web-based technologies to provide interaction with faculty and the cohort.

Each semester includes two courses delivered in weekly real-time sessions via Zoom, typically scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST. A third course consists of either self-paced learning activities or individual/group integrative seminars with opportunities for faculty interaction. The combination of in-person intensives, face-to-face virtual learning, and online collaboration provides students with a rich learning experience and the opportunity to develop and sustain personal and professional relationships with peers who bring a wide range of health care industry perspectives.

What are On-Campus Intensives and what is their purpose?

Each August and April, On-Campus Intensives (OCIs) bring students together face-to- face for a full week. OCIs typically occur in year of the program. Each of the four OCIs is a truly intense experience, with a fully-packed schedule consisting of academic classes, site visits in and around DC, experiential learning, and social opportunities that enable students to build and sustain strong relationships with each other and faculty.

The OCIs include opportunities to get to know the Georgetown campus, as well as to take advantage of health systems and policy resources unique to our nation’s capital.

What is the Integrative Seminar (longitudinal curriculum)?

The Integrative Seminar series is centered on a competency-based experiential project that runs throughout three academic terms. This experiential methodology allows students to demonstrate mastery of course competencies in real-world scenarios and advance the mission of a health care entity. Depending upon the needs of the organization, the culminating assignment will vary, but may include the development and formal defense of a comprehensive strategic plan, marketing plan, or business plan. Students will also deliver capstone presentation based on this work during the final OCI week.

Is there a residency or internship requirement?

Because the program was designed for students with full-time employment and because of the hybrid modality, there is no residency or internship. However, students do complete an experiential based project throughout the second year. Faculty work closely with students to ensure projects support their career objectives.

Does the program have a global or international component? Is it mandatory?

MHSA students have the opportunity to participate in an optional comparative health system Global Experience over Spring Break, involving site visits, engaging with health system leaders and academic faculty, and team-based activities. Previous trips have included São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; Singapore; and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

What is the Professional Coaching Program?

Upon beginning the program, students assess their career aspirations and leadership skills. Based on these findings, students develop a Professional Development Plan (PDP). According to the goals identified in the PDP, students may have the option to work with a professional career coach. Students work in partnership with the coach to determine expectations, but the PDP should guide the interactions.

Are there other forms of career support?

Upon enrollment, students join our learning community of faculty, 400+ alumni, peers, and industry partners and immediately gain access to an extensive network of contacts. Also, the Department of Health Systems Administration, Graduate Career Center, and Healthcare Executives of Georgetown University student organization provide a number of career development seminars and programming opportunities.

About Tuition & Financial Aid

What is the tuition?

For the latest information on tuition and fees, please visit the Office of Student Financial Services’ website.

Is financial aid available? If so, how do I apply?

Complete information on need-based financial aid and supplemental loan programs is available on the Office of Student Financial Services’ website. The Office of Student Financial Services can help you apply for need-based financial aid, download applications, search for scholarships, and obtain detailed information about the many options available for meeting graduate school costs. The Office of Student Financial Services can also be reached by phone at (202) 687-4547. Apply for aid and start working on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible! Be sure to include Georgetown University’s school code, 001445, on the FAFSA form.

Are graduate assistant or research assistant positions available?

Our program does not offer any assistantships.

Are additional scholarships available?

A limited number of departmental scholarships are available. Applicants who apply by January 15 will be given priority consideration. Therefore, early application is strongly encouraged. For questions related to departmental scholarships, please contact the Program Director. Your application for admission serves as the application for department awards. They are separate from FAFSA and any scholarship sources affiliated with the Office of Student Financial Services, which may require their own separate application. Additionally, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) maintains a listing of scholarship opportunities for health administration students.

I Have Other Questions, Who Should I Contact?

Feel free to reach out to the Associate Director of Graduate Studies with any additional questions or to request more information.