What Types of Courses are Taken when Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Health Administration?

The efficient management of hospitals and other healthcare facilities depend largely upon healthcare administrators many of whom have a master’s degree in healthcare administration. According to a survey by Forbes magazine about popular graduate degrees, the master’s degree in healthcare administration ranks eighth best for jobs. Because of the heavy demand for trained healthcare administrators, the graduate degree in healthcare administration has become a prominent program among many top colleges and universities specializing medical research and allied healthcare. Besides the faculty guided residency opportunities associated with many of the degree programs, students take part in interactive coursework that focuses on healthcare policy making as well as the financial and operational management of healthcare facilities. Here are some examples of the types of courses that graduate students expect to encounter when participating in healthcare administration degree programs.

Health Regulations and Policies

Students pursuing graduate level degrees in healthcare administration do so to either work directly as hospital administrators or as healthcare policy development consultants. The latter may work for governmental or private healthcare agencies to research, analyze and make recommendations to improve healthcare policies for governments or businesses. For students desiring to embark upon this career path, university degree programs offer courses in health regulations and policy making. Unless otherwise specified, these courses focus on the healthcare systems, structure and participants in the United States healthcare environment. Students learn how to analyze past and present healthcare policies to make informed policy recommendations for the future that are based in ethical norms standard to the industry.

Health Economics

The main challenges in today’s healthcare environment pertain to the quality, access and cost of medical care. Knowing about traditional business economic methodologies and concepts help healthcare administrators better understand the rationale behind certain policies and governmental regulations. Healthcare administrators also use this knowledge to craft pricing and internal policy decisions within their organizations that work within the boundaries of the market’s economic constraints. Courses like these require students to look at challenges in the healthcare environment from a broad, strategic perspective that includes an analysis of the political, demographic and economic landscape. This type of analysis requires focused critical thinking skills and graduates use the analytical output to develop strategic organizational plans that guide future healthcare system activities and decision-making.

Financial Decision Making in Healthcare

One of the main job functions of conventional healthcare administrators is financial management, and students expect to encounter many courses on finance and accounting during their healthcare administration studies. These courses instruct students on financial management concepts that are unique to the healthcare environment. Students learn about strategic financial investment policies for healthcare organizations, how healthcare companies raise capital for new operations and the rationale for various types of resource allocations. They also gain knowledge of more tactical financial operations like internal financial forecasting, financial statement reporting and elements of accounting.


The graduate degree in healthcare administration is designed for mid to senior level healthcare professionals who want to manage healthcare facilities. In addition to the skills gained through comprehensive health administration coursework, a graduate possessing a master’s degree in healthcare administration usually has clinical healthcare experience that they can also leverage in their new administrative career.