Health Systems Management Master of science degree

93ce2716-0c1c-4243-84df-8fd4c57e3455 | 80247


Online Option

By pairing your knowledge of the complex health care industry with strong management skills, the MS in health systems management prepares you to create solutions for the challenges that are facing this ever-changing field of the business of health care.

Innovative ways to deliver patient care, gathering and analyzing heath care data, enhancing the patient experience, reducing costs, and improving the health of populations are just a few of the challenges facing health care professionals in an industry that is complex and ever changing.  

Today’s health care leaders need to manage the business of health care all while improving the quality and responsiveness of patient care. To meet these challenges, you need an advanced degree that combines the leadership and organizational management curriculum of an MBA with the specialized knowledge that comes from managing within an intricate health care industry. The MS in health systems management gives you the skills you need to excel in clinical and business leadership positions across a sophisticated, evolving industry.

Plan of study

The MS in health systems management provides students with a breadth of knowledge in areas key to the effective management of health care organizations, such as change and innovation, leadership theory and application, bioethics, and human resources. Students complete business and leadership courses that prepare them to tackle issues involving financial management, quality improvement, operations, and strategy formulation. In addition, course work in research, health care operations, and bioethics enhance your insight and experience in the health care industry. You’ll be well prepared to develop and implement plans that shape the health care organizations of the future.

A distinct advantage of the program is the diversity of its student population, allowing for creative discussion and comprehension of global health care issues and how they relate to the standards and practices of the American health care system. The ability to share information and ideas, and to compare and contrast strategies, allows students a level of creativity and scope of practice not found in the traditional classroom.

The MS in health systems management is an online program, allowing students to pursue their degree while maintaining full-time employment. The program consists of 12 courses and a capstone project. Courses cover timely topics in health care administration, such as Health Care Operations Management, Health Care Informatics, Human Resources in Health Care, Health Care Strategy: Analysis and Formulation, and more.


Upon completing the MS in health systems management, you’ll be proficient in:

  • demonstrating knowledge of health care delivery in the U.S. and identifying trends impacting the system;
  • demonstrating the ability to lead an organization working with teams to develop strategies which implements change to meet needs;
  • demonstrating knowledge of efficient and effective financial planning for health care operations;
  • applying systems theory to develop a culture that delivers high quality services with desired health outcomes; and
  • making reasoned decisions based on personal and professional ethics.


Accelerated format

A new accelerated format reduces the length of the program's courses to seven-week sessions, permitting students to complete their program in half the time of traditional semester-based programs.

Flexible start dates

The program offers five start dates that enable full-time employees to choose the best time to begin the program that works around their professional and personal commitments.

Certificate options

An advanced certificate in health care finance and a certificate in health systems administration are also available. Courses in the health care finance advanced certificate may be transferred to the MS program. These programs present a great way to test drive the program and earn a credential in a short amount of time.


The MS in health systems management is led by a team of faculty who are experts in health administration. Faculty members are accessible, offer constructive feedback on course projects and assignments, and are at the forefront of providing an educational experience in which students can learn and directly apply classroom theories and concepts to the real-world practice of health care management. An advisory board made up of health administrators from around the country guides the development of the program to ensure the curriculum addresses today’s most pressing challenges for health care leaders. 

Industry outlook

Health systems administrators direct the operations of hospitals and health systems. They oversee programs, services, facilities, staff, budgets are more. It’s a field in great demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical and business leadership positions in health administration will grow by 17 percent by 2024, much faster than the national average. 

RIT Online

RIT offers online programs that are taught by the same expert faculty as those on campus. You’ll earn a prestigious RIT degree while you study in small class sizes that encourage group interactivity. To learn more, visit RIT Online.


  • Health Care

  • Scientific and Technical Consulting

  • Research

  • Management Consulting


Health systems management, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Research Methods
This is an introductory graduate-level survey course on research design/ methods and analysis. The course provides a broad overview of the process and practices of social research in service-related contexts. Content includes principles and techniques of research design, sampling, data collection, and analysis including the nature of evidence, types of research, defining research questions, sampling techniques, data collection, data analysis, issues concerning human subjects and research ethics, and challenges associated with conducting research in real-world contexts. The analysis component of the course provides an understanding of statistical methodology used to collect and interpret data found in research as well as how to read and interpret data collection instruments.
Reinventing Health Care
This course discusses reinventing health care in our country. Specifically the course will review the current status of American health care including research into population demographics and health and the concept of wellness and prevention. Following this a review of international health care models will occur to consider best practice as alternative care models for consideration for the US. Third the students will develop, for their area of interest and expertise a strategy for incremental or radical innovation in how we provide health care to our constituents.
Health Care Operations Management
The health care industry is large and growing. Faced with raising costs and quality issues, health care organizations are under unprecedented pressure to improve efficiency and quality. Consequently, there is a significant opportunity for health care organizations to better manage their operations. The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to analyze health care organizations using both qualitative and quantitative principles of operations management. Students will learn to apply operations theories via case studies and issue analysis of their active work environments.
This course will provide students with an ethical framework consisting of knowledge of the principle theories and moral philosophers and their methods to approach decision making. Ethics will be further explored giving consideration of cultural norms and how this influences societal ethical decision making; a review of the ethics of the professions of health care; information about gaining access to the organizations ethical principles and an understanding of personal ethics. Using these as a foundation personal and professional ethics will be explored, developed and a decision making rationale developed through a sequence of exercises requiring ethical decision making related to finance, human resources, clinical issues and personal morality.
Lean Sigma in Health Care 
This course teaches the principles Lean-Sigma and the application of its process improvement methodologies (and tools) in a health care environment. The curriculum examines the current challenges encountered in the healthcare industry and how the application of Lean-Sigma techniques can improve overall performance. A specific focus of the course is to learn the methodology used to obtain desired results of streamlining operations and enhancing administrative effectiveness in the clinical, administrative and service segments of health care.
Second Year
Human Resources in Health Care
This course focuses on the changing competitive health care environment that has made human capital an organization’s key asset, with HR largely responsible for cultivating it. Specifically, students will learn the impact that human capital has on the HR division and function of health care organizations. The focus will be on how the “New HR” has become more strategic and fundamental to a health care organization’s success and the need to meet the demands of highly skilled, educated and credentialed health care professionals.
Health Care Financial Management I: Basic Principles and Practice
This course provides a basic understanding of health services financial management. We begin with elementary accounting concepts and then focus on financial statement preparation and analysis. Special topics areas include discounted cash flow, risk, capital investments evaluation, debt/equity financing, and financial decision making models such as break-even analysis, cash flow forecasting and the like.
Health Care Financial Management II: Concepts and Applications
Health Care Informatics
This course is intended to explore current challenges in the health care system and how the ability to understand and apply health data can improve the quality and cost of health care services. The course will include a review of current and future data collection, storage and exchange practices; and utilize applied case studies allowing students to demonstrate their ability to use health care information technology systems and data analytics to improve patient and provider outcomes.
Health Care Leadership 
Highly trained clinical and administrative professionals drive the nature of work in health care. The purpose of this course is to provide students the opportunity to study leadership theory as it is applied in health care organizations. Leadership theories and applications geared toward professionals working in health service organizations will be emphasized. Students will learn to apply leadership theories via case studies and issue analysis of their active work environments.
Third Year
Health Care Strategy: Analysis and Formulation
Having an effective organizational strategy is an essential component of all successful entities. Yet, practicing managers often engage in strategy formulation with very different conceptions of strategy and the strategic process. This course reviews the historical development of modern strategic theory and practice, with a focus on the works of Porter, Minztberg, and Barney. More importantly, the course will address and utilize various analytical frameworks which infuse the strategic process with intellectual rigor while retaining the essence of strategy that is innovative and creative.
This course serves as a culminating experience in which students are expected to apply knowledge gained from their graduate experience to the real field of health care administration. The fundamental goal is to facilitate the research and development of a critical and creative recommendation to a problem or opportunity. Students will work under the guidance of a practicing health care administrator and the course faculty to develop a well researched, effectively written paper. This final course serves as a turning point for the student—from education to professional practice.
Total Semester Credit Hours
Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
Health Law, Economics, and Policy
This course provides an examination of the roles and responsibilities of policy makers on the health care system. Students will compare and contrast the regulatory functions of varying levels of government, the political process and economic impacts as they relate to health care systems. Students will then examine control issues and regulatory dynamics, the legislative process, economic functions and regulatory trends in the United States as well as an assessment of health systems’ strategies and responses to the regulatory oversight. The course also provides an overview of legislation as it applies to health facilities and administrative law using case studies.
Health Care Strategic Marketing and Communication
This course is designed to build innovative, customer-centered, thinking within the future leaders of the health care industry. This is accomplished with an introduction to the role of strategic decision making through the core principles of marketing (the 4’Ps). Students will also experience basic data base management, conducting an internal and external environmental analysis, primary and secondary data gathering and interpretation and the creation of a marketing plan to meet an unsatisfied market need or build volume for a health care product or service. Finally, the role of corporate communication will be interwoven throughout the course as it supports marketing success.
Management of Risk in Health Care
This course identifies the risk inherent within health care institutions, organizations, agencies and for individual providers. The management of risk is explored as part of a strategic response of an organization or individual within health care. Specifically the risk inherent within health care organizations; in communications and sharing of data; in the embracing of new technologies and drug treatment therapies; and the expectations of corporate compliance will be discussed. The role of quality assurance will be reviewed as a strategy to control risk. This is a required course in the Health Systems Administration program and assignments/ applications are focused on healthcare issues.
This course provides the student with the opportunity to apply their graduate coursework to the world of work. Students will be placed or seek out internship opportunities in a work scenario similar to their ultimate career choice in the field. A mentor for the student must be identified in the place of the internship. The role of the mentor will be to work with students to develop a plan for the internship, facilitate the internship experience, and verify the student's accomplishment of specified outcomes as a result of the internship. Once the mentor approves of the plan of work and student accomplishments at the conclusion of the internship they will send this final report to the student's program advisor.
Independent Study
Independent Study will provide students with the ability to study in a specialized area with an individual faculty member. Students, with the assistance of a faculty advisor, will propose a course of study. Independent Study students must obtain permission of an instructor and complete the CHST Graduate Independent Study Form to enroll.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in health systems management, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent). Applicants with GPAs below a 3.0 are encouraged to apply.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who have the opportunity to observe the applicant’s work.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 88 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

Certain countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes under US Export Controls, which prohibit virtually ALL exports, imports, and other transactions without a license or other US Government authorization. Learners from Syria, Sudan, North Korea, the Crimea region of the Ukraine, Iran, and Cuba may not register for RIT online courses. Nor may individuals on the United States Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals or the United States Commerce Department’s table of Deny Orders. By registering for RIT online courses, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, under the control of, or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list.


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Additional Info

Maximum time limit

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program.