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Health Systems Administration master of science degree

Carla Stebbins, Program Director 
585-475-4761, casihst@rit.edu

Program overview

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 administration 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 administration 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 administration 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.

Goals

Upon completing the MS in health systems administration, 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.

Faculty

The MS in health systems administration 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.

Curriculum

Health systems administration, MS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HLTH-700 Research Methods 3
HLTH-715 Reinventing Health Care 3
HLTH-736 Health Care Operations Management 3
HLTH-717 Bioethics 3
HLTH-737 Lean Sigma in Health Care  3
Second Year
HLTH-723 Human Resources in Health Care 3
HLTH-730 Health Care Financial Management I: Basic Principles and Practice 3
HLTH-731 Health Care Financial Management II: Concepts and Applications 3
HLTH-760 Health Care Informatics 3
HLTH-740 Health Care Leadership  3
  Elective*  3
Third Year
HLTH-796 Health Care Strategy: Analysis and Formulation 3
HLTH-797 Capstone 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 39
Electives

Students may choose one of the following elective courses.

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
HLTH-710 Health Law, Economics, and Policy 3
HLTH-725 Health Care Strategic Marketing and Communication 3
HLTH-735 Management of Risk in Health Care 3
HLTH-780 Internship 3
HLTH-799 Independent Study 3

 

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in health systems administration, 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 minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent).
  • Submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who have the opportunity to observe the applicant’s work output.
  • Complete an interview with the program chair (for those without health care experience).
  • It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of three years of experience in a health care or health-related organization. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be asked to complete a graduate level internship in health care prior to graduation.
  • 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.

 

Additional information

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.




Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters.
View this program's information from the retired quarter calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT converted its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.
 

Program overview

The MS in health systems administration is designed to provide strategic skills for today’s health care management. Now, as never before, health care is rapidly transforming. The pace of technology and innovation are changing how, when, and where health care is provided, and who is providing it. Concurrently, health care customers have high expectations for quality and responsiveness to their needs—delivered in a cost-effective manner.

To provide these strategic skills to health care management, the MS in health systems administration builds on a foundation of courses in policy and law formation, health care economics, innovation, and leadership. Additional options are provided through course selections, building an integrated program that meets the individual challenges of participating students.

The program is available online, allowing students to pursue their degree while maintaining full-time employment in locations around the world. Another distinct advantage is the diversity of our student population, allowing for creative discussion and comprehension of global health care issues and how these relate to the standards and practices of the American health care system. The ability to share information and ideas, and to contrast and compare strategies, allows students a level of creativity and scope of practice not found in the traditional classroom.

RIT provides excellent online learning support that leads the student through registration and use of distance learning tools. In addition, for select subject areas, the health systems administration program plans special learning sessions that blend presentation styles. This could be through attendance at seminars in locations throughout the country or on the RIT campus. These formats provide a combination of both distance learning and interaction with presenters who provide a strategic view of health care delivery models.

Curriculum

The program requires 48 quarter credit hours at the graduate level and can be completed in approximately two years by taking two courses per quarter. Students may take longer to complete the course work by reducing their workload to one course per quarter. However, students must complete their degree requirements within seven years of the date of the oldest course identified on their RIT course records. Students must maintain a 3.0 average throughout their academic career. Toward the end of their program of study, students will complete a capstone course focusing on a business plan/case for an innovative topic related to their work environment. The paper is developed and written within a course that is taken during the last year of study for the degree. Upon matriculation, each student works with the program chair for advice and direction to develop a plan of study.

Electives

Students must also complete a total of 12 quarter credit hours of electives. Students may fulfill electives from other concentrations or from other graduate courses offered in the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation with permission of their adviser and program chairs.

Thesis/Capstone/Comprehensive exam options

All students must complete a thesis, a capstone project, or a comprehensive exam to complete their degree program. In conferring with their academic adviser, students may choose a thesis or capstone project topic that complements the candidate’s undergraduate training, career experiences, and graduate interests. Both the thesis and capstone project are formal documents that reflect the candidate’s professional preparation and should be of an applied research genre. Graduate faculty will assist the student in selecting a relevant thesis/project topic.

The comprehensive exam focuses on knowledge of the core competencies, theory and foundation principles, and application of this knowledge to a variety of scenarios.

Semester conversion
Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. Each program and its associated courses have been sent to the New York State Department of Education for approval of the semester plan. For reference, the following charts illustrate the typical course sequence for this program in both quarters and semesters. Students should consult their graduate program adviser with questions regarding planning and course selection.

Health systems administration, MS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0626-714  Data Analysis/Metrics 4
0625-842 Breakthrough Thinking, Creativity and Innovation 4
0635-840 Health Systems Policy and Law 4
0635-820 Health Systems Economics and Finance 4
0624-770 Service Leadership 4
0635-712 Library Research 4
0635-718 Research Writing 4
  Electives 12
  Thesis/Capstone/Comprehensive Exam 8
Total Quarter Credit Hours 48
 

Concentrations

Elements of Heath Care Leadership

0635-830 Health Systems Planning
0635-882 Bioethics
0625-842 Customer Relationship Management
0625-750 Elements of Service

Senior Living Management

0635-716 Law and Policy in Senior Living
0626-891 Human Capital Strategies
0625-842 Customer Relations Management
0635-798 Aging in America

Health Systems Finance

0635-815 Finance for Operations
0635-798 Risk Management
0635-881 Strategies for Health Care Accountability
0635-881 Health Insurance Reimbursement

Health systems administration (leadership in health care concentration), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HLTH-700   Research Methods 3
HLTH-702 Graduate Writing Strategies 3
HLTH-710 Health Governance and Economics 3
HLTH-715 Reinventing Health 3
HLTH-717 Bioethics 3
SERQ-730 Service Leadership 3
HRDE-731 Team Process and Facilitation skills 3
HLTH-720   Health Systems Planning 3
Second Year
HLTH 725 Marketing Within Health 3
HLTH 795 Comprehensive Exam 0
  HLTH Elective 3
HLTH 794 Integrative problem solving 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 36

Health systems administration (healing hospitality concentration), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HLTH-700   Research Methods 3
HLTH-702 Graduate Writing Strategies 3
HLTH-710 Health Governance and Economics 3
HLTH-715 Reinventing Health 3
HLTH-717 Bioethics 3
HLTH-740 CRM in Health 3
SERQ-740 Context in Service 3
HLTH-745 Healing Cultures 3
Second Year
HLTH-747 Healing Environments 3
HLTH-795 Comprehensive Exam 0
SERQ-712 Breakthrough Thinking 3
  HLTH Elective 3
HLTH-794 Integrative Problem Solving 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 36

Health systems administration (healthcare operations concentration), MS degree, typical course sequence (semesters), effective fall 2013

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
HLTH-700   Research Methods 3
HLTH-702 Graduate Writing Strategies 3
HLTH-710 Health Governance and Economics 3
HLTH-715 Reinventing Health 3
HLTH-717 Bioethics 3
HLTH-730 Finance for Health Care Professionals 3
HLTH-732 Health Insurance and Reimbursement 3
HLTH-735 Management of Risk in Health Care 3
Second Year
HLTH-737 Lean Sigma in Health 3
HLTH-795 Comprehensive Exam 0
SERQ-712 Breakthrough thinking 3
  HLTH Elective 3
HLTH-794 Integrative Problem Solving 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 36

Admission requirements

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

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree at a regionally accredited college or university,
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above (or superior endorsement),
  • Submit two letters of reference from individuals who have the opportunity to observe the applicant’s work output,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work, 
  • Complete an interview with the program chair (for those without health care experience), and
  • Complete a graduate application.

It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of three years of experience in a health care or health-related organization as either a practitioner or manager. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be asked to complete certain undergraduate courses as a bridge for the content knowledge required for the graduate program. They may also be required to complete a graduate level internship in health care prior to graduation.

All credentials must be submitted and reviewed by faculty prior to the completion of 12 quarter credit hours of graduate work in the program.