Samford University's online Master of Healthcare Administration (M.H.A) is the terminal degree required for executive management positions in healthcare. Samford's M.H.A. program provides a competency-based curriculum that prepares students for leadership roles within a variety of different healthcare settings. 

The degree is an online, five-semester asynchronous program. The curriculum is designed to provide competency in communication, leadership professionalism, business knowledge, and healthcare systems as well as a competitive edge in project management and quality improvement. A minimum 120-hour internship is required for students with less than five years clinical or healthcare management experience.  Students who have five years of leadership experience may elect to complete an Advanced Leadership Project with a senior healthcare executive mentor.

Application Process

Application Timeline

  • Application Opens: November 1, 2021
  • Priority Deadlines
    • January 15 (Admission  decision released before February 15)
    • March 15 (Admission  decision released before April 15)
    • May 15 (Admission  decision released before June 15
  • Application Closes: June 1, 2022
    • Admission  decision released before July 1
  • Entry Month: August 2022
The application for Samford University's Master of Healthcare Administration will open on Nov. 1, 2021.

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Admission Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree in a health or business-related field from a  college or university with institutional accreditation  or possess any baccalaureate degree and currently work in or have three years prior healthcare experience.
  • Submit official transcripts.
  • Have a C or better in an accounting course from a college or university with institutional accreditation. 
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale overall or in the last 60 hours of course work.
  • The GRE is only required for an applicant who does not meet the minimum GPA requirement. The GRE must be within the last five years, with a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 300 and Analytical 4.0.
  • Submit three letters of reference through the application system. At least one must be from a work supervisor or manager and one from a current or previous professor.  The references should provide a knowledgeable testament regarding character, ethics, responsibility, potential for success, and other attributes that predict an applicant's favorable performance in the
  • Submit a resume highlighting work experience, strengths and other accomplishments.
  • Submit an essay on reason for seeking the M.H.A. and a career goal statement.
  • Submit a video interview.
  • International applicants or American citizens who learned English as a second language must score at least 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (Internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 6.5 International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Score.

Students who do not meet one or more admission requirement(s) may be admitted on a conditional status, based upon evaluation by the program faculty.  To be considered for a joint degree, students must apply and be accepted to both programs based on their admission criteria.  Students admitted conditionally must address the unmet admission requirements to progress in the program. All conditions are clearly spelled out in the admission letter.

We use a portfolio approach to evaluate applicants and the portfolio consists of reference letters, previous professional experience, essay, interview, grade point average and academic performance in undergraduate and previous graduate work (if applicable), and standardized test scores (if applicable).  The portfolio approach allows us to take a holistic review when there is a lower GPA and evidence of experience in or motivation for a healthcare career, and strong letters of recommendation. 

Exceptions to any admission requirements will be handled on an individual basis. 

If accepted, a non-refundable fee of $500 is required to secure admission into the program. The fee is applied to the first semester’s tuition.

Joint M.H.A./M.B.A.

In coordination with Samford's Brock School of Business, graduate students can pursue a joint Master of Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.) and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). With its full-time plan of study, students can complete both degrees fully online in just three years.

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Plan of Study

Program Outcomes

Competency Domains

Upon completion of Samford's Master of Healthcare Administration, students are expected to achieve targets established in each of the competencies. Through a thorough assessment and input process from key stakeholders, the program has adopted 21 core competencies within the following five domains.

  1. Communication and relationship management
    • The ability to communicate clearly and concisely with internal and external customers, establish and maintain relationships and facilitate constructive interactions with individuals and groups. This domain includes:
      • Collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders to facilitate shared decision-making 
      • Written and verbal communication skills
      • Dispute resolution strategies and techniques to facilitate communication and collaboration 
  2. Leadership
    • The ability to inspire individual and organizational excellence, create a shared vision and successfully manage change to attain the organization’s strategic ends and successful performance. Leadership intersects with each of the other four domains. This domain includes:
      • Leadership and management theories and techniques
      • Organizational climate and culture that encourages teamwork, diversity, and inclusion in support of the organization's mission, vision, and goals
      • Change management theories and strategies to promote continuous organizational learning and improvement
  3. Professionalism
    • The ability to align personal and organizational conduct with ethical and professional standards that include a responsibility to the patient and community, a service orientation, and a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement. This domain includes:
      • Personal and professional values that support ethical and accountable leadership
      • Lifelong learning in support of professional and personal growth
      • Contribute to the community and profession
  4. Knowledge of the healthcare environment
    • The understanding of the healthcare system and the environment in which healthcare managers and providers function. This domain includes:
      • Knowledge of key entities and structures within the healthcare sector
      • Knowledge of clinical and professional staff roles, trends and issues within the healthcare environment
      • Knowledge of key trends, laws, and policies, that impact the healthcare industry
  5. Business skills and knowledge
    • The ability to apply business principles, including systems thinking, to the healthcare environment. This domain includes:
      • Business management knowledge, techniques, and strategies to support evidence-based decision-making and problem-solving
      • Financial management knowledge and strategies to support evidence-based decision-making and problem-solving
      • Human resource management knowledge, techniques, and strategies
      • Knowledge of organizational dynamics and governance
      • Healthcare Strategic Planning and Marketing
      • Information management knowledge and strategies to support evidence-based decision-making and problem-solving
      • Risk management knowledge and strategies to support evidence-based decision-making and problem-solving
      • Critical thinking skills and techniques to support evidence-based decision-making and problem-solving
      • Quality and patient safety management knowledge and strategies to support evidence-based decision-making and problem solving

Competency Evaluation

Students are evaluated at different points of time throughout the plan of study using a self-assessment, faculty assessment, and preceptor assessment. A goal is defined for each competency using the six levels and definitions below. 

Competency Scale and Definitions

  • No Knowledge (0) - An individual has no knowledge or training in the competency.
  • Novice (1) An individual’s primary focus is understanding and gaining information in order to comprehend the skills needed. You have the level of experience gained in a classroom setting or on-the- job training. You are expected to need help when performing this skill.
  • Advanced Beginner (2) - An individual who has been involved in enough real-world situations that the recurrent competency is easily identified.
  • Competent (3) – People with considerable experience develop competence in solving problems within the learned guidelines and rules. You are able to successfully complete the competency as requested. Help from experts may be required from time to time, but you can usually perform the skill independently.
  • Proficient (4) - Can perform the actions associated with this skill without assistance. Recognized within the organization as someone who can assist when difficult questions arise regarding this skill.  You are able to reference and use materials in this competency and help others do the same.
  • Expert (5) – Experts work intuitively analyzing, recognizing patterns, critiquing and solving problems with ideas and expertise. You are known as the expert in this area. You can provide guidance, troubleshoot and answer questions related to this competency.

Retention and Employment Rates


2019-2021 Rates
  2019 2020 2021
Retention Rate* 100% 100% 100%
90 Day Employment Rate** 100% 100% 100%
* Percentage of students who graduate within two years for M.H.A. (full time), three years for M.H.A. (part time) and joint M.H.A./M.B.A. ** Percentage of students with full-time employment with 90 days of graduation

Experiential Learning

Every aspect of the M.H.A. experience is designed to provide students with a sound foundation in competencies needed by any healthcare leader through both in-class and out-of-class environments.

Students with less than five years of clinical or healthcare management experience are required to complete a 120-hour internship. Students who have the minimal five years of experience may elect to complete an Advanced Leadership Project with a senior healthcare executive mentor. 

These internships are designed in an effort to suit students ultimate career goals. The experience could be in any setting including physician group practices, hospitals and health systems, insurance companies, healthcare policy, consulting firms and more. Because the desired path of every student will be different no two internship experiences will be identical; however, every student will receive the same opportunity to customize the experience for maximum benefit.

Accreditation

The Commission on the Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) has reviewed and approved Samford University's Master of Healthcare Administration program’s eligibility for CAHME candidacy. This review and approval is a critical initial step in the multi-phase process toward the attainment of CAHME accreditation.

Samford University is accredited by the Commission on College of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission  Statement

Our mission, as part of a Christian university, is to nurture and prepare early career healthcare management professionals to serve across diverse healthcare settings.

An interprofessional experience is a hallmark of our program. This experience is grounded in our interprofessional curriculum and interdisciplinary faculty. Practical experiences alongside healthcare leaders and executives are tailored to a student’s interests and professional goals. Educational experiences inside and outside the classroom provide the knowledge and skills students need to be successful healthcare managers, administrators, and leaders.

We strive to prepare professionals that are committed to promoting health and well-being for those they serve as part of an interprofessional and collaborative healthcare team. Program experiences focus on core competencies and lifelong learning so that graduates are positioned to advance their career and answer their calling. Our program is provided by highly qualified faculty engaged in scholarship, practice, and service to the healthcare management profession and community.

Vision Statement

We aspire to prepare influential and visionary healthcare professionals who make a positive impact on their communities.

Core Values

  • Christian-Based Education: We are committed to integrating our Christian faith and beliefs in our delivery of healthcare administration education.
  • Excellence: We pursue excellence within the department through opportunities for achievement in scholarship, service and research.
  • Practice-Ready: We are committed to preparing students who are ready to practice upon graduation.
  • Respect for diversity: We are committed to respecting the differences in others by learning to appreciate the different cultures of the populations that we serve.
  • Integrity: We are committed to operating in an environment that values honesty, fairness and the highest ethical standards to sustain a community of trust.
  • Empowerment: We encourage personal accountability for success through shared governance in academic pursuits.