Health Care Administration, M.S. Program
The M.S. in Health Care Administration (MS-HCA) program has been designed to prepare professionals to meet the present and emerging administration and management challenges in the rapidly changing health services delivery environment. Health services delivery is undergoing rapid growth and change in the United States and around the world - a change that has accelerated in the 21st century. As a result, the responsibilities of health care administrators and managers are continuously being redefined. In this dynamic environment, health care administrators and managers must keep pace by gaining new knowledge, new skills, and new competencies.
The MS-HCA program exposes students to the latest theories, strategies, and technology in the field, with a focus on developing the professional skills desired by today’s health care employers. Students in the MS-HCA program acquire the analytical skills needed to explore new models of culturally appropriate patient-centered service delivery systems, develop the leadership skills needed to discover and implement creative solutions to problems, and cultivate their ability to participate collaboratively in diverse work teams.
The need for health care administrators and managers is growing nationally, and even more so in California. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, health care is one of the largest industries in the U.S., and the second largest employer, with more than 11 million jobs. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the average annual health spending growth (6.1%) is anticipated to outpace average annual growth in the overall economy (4.4%) for the projection period of 2009-2019. By 2019, national health spending is expected to reach $4.5 trillion and comprise 19.3% of GDP.
While clinical care personnel are the frontline of the U.S. health care system, health care administrators and managers play a significant role. They plan, direct, coordinate, and supervise medicine and health services delivery in hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations, public health agencies, and other health care organizations. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment in this field is expected to increase 17% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, with a projected need of 56,300 additional positions and an estimated median annual wage of $92,810. A master’s degree in health care administration, health services management, public health or a similar degree is the standard credential for most positions in the field of health care administration and management.
The MS-HCA program is based on the cohort model of education. In the MS-HCA program, students advance through the curriculum collectively. Students admitted at the same time will advance through the program as a group, following a MS-HCA Degree Completion Roadmap that is specific for their admission cohort. Students will enroll in two courses per semester.
The cohort model has a wide array of benefits, including:
- Mutual academic, emotional, and logistical support for program success and timely degree completion
- A clear programmatic structure; students know which courses should be completed and the semester in which the courses should be completed
- Enrollment in required courses is non-competitive
- Camaraderie and collaborative learning with colleagues
- Lasting personal ties and professional networks that aid in career development and ongoing professional growth
The MS-HCA degree is offered in two formats: the Hayward Campus-based format and the fully online format. The two formats are separate, meaning that a student cannot move from one format to the other. The curriculum is the same for both programs, as are the faculty.
Applicants in the Hayward Campus-based program are not required to have any professional experience in the field of health care. The fully online MS-HCA program requires applicants to have a minimum of two years of paid professional experience in the field of health care in the U.S.
Applicants who hold or are seeking international student visas are eligible for admission to the Hayward Campus-based program but they are not eligible for admission to the online MS-HCA program .
Most, but not all, of the courses offered at the Hayward Campus-based MS-HCA program are hybrid courses, meaning that some of the class sessions are in-person and some are fully online. In the online MS-HCA program, all of the courses are fully online.
The MS-HCA program has been designed for people who:
- Have achieved an administration or management position in the health care field and are seeking to advance their careers into a higher-level leadership position
- Are working in health care field and are seeking to develop the knowledge base and skill sets needed for an administration or management position
- Lack prior health care experience but want to prepare for an administration or management position in this challenging industry (Hayward Campus-based program only)
The MS-HCA degree program is open to applicants planning a career or advancing an administration or management career in the health services delivery field who have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Admission will be granted based upon the Admission Committee’s overall assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and academic/career potential, using the following criteria:
- Cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.50 is required and a GPA greater than 2.50 is preferred;
- Statement of Purpose in pursuing the MS-HCA degree (a 1-2 page essay double-spaced, explaining who you are, your career goals and how the MS-HCA degree will help you achieve those goals, and why you believe you will be successful in the program);
- Two letters of academic and/or professional recommendation (on professional letterhead). The letter writers should include how they know you, if they think you would be successful in the program and why they think that;
- Professional resume/vita;
- All undergraduate/graduate transcripts. (These must be sent directly to University Admissions NOT the Department.)
All applicants must submit an online Graduate Admission application declaring Health Care Administration as a degree objective at CALSTATE Apply along with a non-refundable application fee. In addition, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, 2 letters of reference and a resume directly to the Department of Public Affairs and Administration.
Please review the detailed application instructions on the Department’s website.
Student Standing and Progress Toward the Degree
There are three categories of student status, which reflect student progress toward the degree: “Conditionally Classified Graduate” student, “Classified Graduate” student, and “Advancement to Candidacy” student.
- Students achieve “Conditionally Classified Graduate” status when they have been admitted to the MS-HCA program, but have not yet completed the prerequisites for the “Classified Graduate” status in the MS-HCA program.
- Students achieve “Classified Graduate” status when they have successfully completed four of the required program courses with a grade of C or better, have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better, and have satisfied the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR). For information on meeting the UWSR, see MCC-GRADIR- Graduation Requirement in Writing Proficiency [GRADUATE] (GDRP) or call the Testing Office at (510) 885-3661.
- Students are “Advanced to Candidacy” when they have achieved “Classified Graduate” status, have successfully completed all of the required program courses with a grade of C or better and have a cumulative program GPA of 3.00 or better.
Program Learning Outcomes
The Health Care Leadership Alliance (HLA), a consortium of the major health care professional associations, has identified five competency domains in which all health care administrators and managers should have proficiency for workplace effectiveness: communication and relationship management, leadership, professionalism, knowledge of the health care environment, and business skills and knowledge. These competency domains serve as the basis of the MS-HCA program’s six program learning outcomes.
Students graduating with a M.S. in Health Care Administration from California State University will be able to:
- Analyze and think critically about current and emerging issues in the health care system and the policy environment in which the system operates.
- Communicate effectively with internal and external organizational stakeholders, both in written and oral form.
- Form collaborative relationships and interact appropriately with diverse client groups, workplace supervisors and colleagues, and other organizational stakeholders.
- Create effective and creative approaches for fostering teamwork and encouraging others to align their priorities with organizational excellence.
- Align personal and organizational conduct with ethical, legal, and professional standards.
- Apply business principles to the health care environment, including financial management, human resource management, organizational dynamics and governance, strategic planning, information management, risk management, and quality improvement.
Health Care Administration Degree Requirements (34 units)
Students must complete all of the 28 units of required courses in the MS-HCA program in residence. No transfer or course substitution units will be accepted.
Students must achieve Classified Graduate status before they will be allowed to enroll in HCA 693. HCA 693 consists of two components: a field-based project and a comprehensive Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) examination.
HCA 693 for 6 units requires two semesters of work: the semester of enrollment and the subsequent semester. In the enrollment semester, the student will receive a grade of “RP” (Report in Progress) if the student has been making adequate progress in the field-based project. Both the field-based project and the PLO examination must be successfully completed by the end of the semester immediately after the enrollment semester. If the work for HCA 693 has not been completed by the end of the second semester, the “RP” grade will convert to a grade of “F.”