Curriculum Overview

The online Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership curriculum focuses on four content areas: Leadership & Change, Health System Management, Health Systems Research, and Interprofessional Practice. Within each, you will examine issues facing healthcare professionals every day: organizational complexity, leadership, innovation, healthcare policy and economics, effective business practices, and management of social and human capital.

Curriculum Design

The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership program is designed with the working professional in mind.

The program’s hybrid online/on-campus model includes six online classes, three face-to-face on-campus sessions, and two administrative practicum courses at your workplace. All courses are required.

You will begin your program of study with a full-day on-campus, followed by three foundation courses and a second on-campus session held at UC San Francisco. The second on-campus session completes your first quarter.

Following the foundation courses, you will complete 6 online courses and 2 quarters of administrative practicum in your workplace. During your final quarter, you will complete your comprehensive examination and attend the culminating on-campus course (207B) at UC San Francisco. Each course is described below:

Foundation Courses >

Advanced Scholarship in Health Systems Research

This Foundation course introduces research design, methods and skills essential to translate evidence into interprofessional practice, leadership and policy. Students will critique the scientific and practical merit of research studies including elements of design, sample selection, bias, data collection procedures, metrics, and interpretation of findings. The course presents a framework for executing the capstone project during the student’s two-quarter practicum at the worksite.

Health Finance and Economics

Fluency in healthcare economics and informatics is critical for successful healthcare leadership. This Foundation course introduces core content in these two major areas. Students will: 1) gain a broad understanding of how U.S. healthcare is organized and financed and explore new approaches to meet the “triple aims” driving healthcare today: the simultaneous pursuit of better care and satisfaction for individuals, improved outcomes for populations, and lower per capita costs; and 2) gain knowledge and competencies to critically assess and develop information and communication technologies within diverse practice settings. Cultural, ethical and regulatory implications of information technology will also be deliberated.

Essential Leadership: Foundations for Effective Practice

This foundation course introduces students to core concepts and principles of leadership, teamwork, change management, creativity and innovation. Using results from standardized assessment inventories, students will participate in tailored activities to strengthen their self-knowledge and skill acquisition for leadership development and professional advancement. Students will also engage in interprofessional group work and structured sessions to initiate their evidence-based capstone project. At the end of the quarter, students will attend a 2-day on-campus session. Preparation for this 2-day on-campus includes online pre-work activities throughout the quarter.

On-line Courses >

Leadership: Forces of Change

Leading teams through transitions requires a solid understanding of change management. Students will explore the evolution of leadership in healthcare. Using key organizational, leadership and change theories, students will consider the role of leadership in relationship to societal trends. Students will critically analyze leadership behaviors and their effect on organizational and staff performance and system outcomes. Interactive exercises and self-reflective activities take students through the process of developing an effective leadership style and presence.

Leadership: Environmental Systems

This course educates healthcare leaders about the built environment and its impacts on access, affordability, quality, and safety of healthcare delivery. This on-line class covers the full continuum of skills needed to impact environmental change from seeing, to determining, to influencing, to innovating. The curriculum progresses from basic spatial concepts to complex ideas, with the end-goal being the ability to answer the question: “How can I make this a better place? What change needs to happen?”

Leadership: Healthcare Policy

Forward-thinking leaders know the environment in which their team and organization function, as well as what mechanisms exist to influence that environment toward positive change. Key tenets of health care policy knowledge include regulation and licensure, education and deployment of the health workforce, public health systems, the legislative process and health legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and basics about state and federal health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. In this course, students will explore the environment outside an organization’s vertical structure and examine supports and barriers to initiating structural change. Interactive assignments will build students’ capacity to locate and apply relevant health policy knowledge through a combination of classroom and real-world team-based case studies and peer-facilitated simulations and debriefings.

Healthcare Finance, Technology and Business

Healthcare consumes nearly two trillion dollars in the U.S. and several trillion dollars throughout the world. This course builds upon knowledge gained in MHA 200B and deepens students’ understanding of how current health care financing systems and emerging trends affect market decisions and health outcomes. The course will review the underlying drivers of rising health spending, the policies that might contain costs, and the impact of policy changes on individual and population health outcomes.

Healthcare Quality, Safety and Interprofessional Dynamics

The future of healthcare calls for a new paradigm — one in which the well-being of every person is addressed by interprofessional teams in a cooperative, coordinated manner. This course examines organizational influences, workforce issues, risk management challenges, and the impact of the environment on quality, safety and satisfaction. Students will develop and evaluate strategies for managing ethical dilemmas inherent at the junction of population health, economic and political interests, and forces for social change.

Healthcare Systems Management

This course provides an in-depth look at management practices and issues across differing types of health organizations. Students will evaluate the impact of the mission, values, vision, goals and objectives on key organizational components such as use of resources, culture change, and decision-making. Special emphasis is placed on management theories and translation to governance, operational, human capital, financial, and information systems. Students will engage with faculty and peers to explore and analyze current policies and practices that reveal the values and incentive structures in the U.S. health system.

On-Campus Sessions >

Education for leadership in health care systems requires investment in face-to-face, interactive learning in small groups. Session activities will focus on knowledge and skill acquisition, creativity, strategic agility, and interprofessional collaboration to collectively create a sustainable future for health services. You will attend 3 on-campus sessions as detailed below.


Prior to the start of your first quarter, you will attend a full-day on-campus orientation at UCSF where you will meet faculty and classmates and participate in activities to prepare you for beginning your scholarly journey.

Essential Leadership: Foundations for Effective Practice

At the end of your first quarter you will attend a 2-day on-campus session as part of your foundation leadership courses (207A). These intensive sessions include activities to promote self-knowledge, lectures from noted experts to stimulate discovery of new solutions to long-standing issues in healthcare organizations, and structured sessions to focus on the development of your capstone project.

Leadership in Action: Inquiry to Innovation

At the end of your last quarter and as part of the concluding leadership course (207B), your final 1-day on-campus session focuses on integration and application of program competencies. Having advanced to candidacy for conferral of the MS degree, students will present their evidence-based project in poster and podium formats.

Worksite Practicum >

MHA 401 and MHA 402

The practicum courses are facilitated over two quarters at the student’s workplace. The goals of each course are twofold:

  1. Build professional identity as a healthcare leader: through mentored experiences, students will focus on developing interprofessional proficiency and achieve competency in performing in a leadership role experience. Online lectures and suggested readings/activities will be provided to support advancing students’ leadership skills, knowledge and attitudes.
  2. Complete an interprofessional evidence-based project (capstone): working with their worksite mentor, students will implement and evaluate an evidence-based, interprofessional small test-of-change project. Readings and structured assignments will support the development and completion of the project. The completed project will be written to meet the requirements of the Master’s Comprehensive Examination and presented at the final on-campus course.

Program Philosophy:

The Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership Program’s philosophy draws from five domains of leadership and management.

  1. Purpose (setting an organizational vision and strategic direction)
  2. Process (making decisions; managing projects)
  3. People (promoting collaboration, diversity, and teamwork; managing others)
  4. Personal (self-knowledge)
  5. Professionalism (ethical responsibility; personal integrity)

The program’s pedagogic methods leverage students’ professional expertise and experience and build upon extant knowledge and experiences in a collaborative, cooperative learning environment. Theory is infused throughout program coursework and applied in mentored practicums as well as the capstone project. Competency development is determined at the interface between acquisition and application of knowledge, skills and attitudes.