Graduate School Programs for Non-Clinical Healthcare

Lauren Higgins

Beyond the clinical routes, there are a wide variety of options of graduate level programs in the health field. This blog post will primarily focus on the Master level programs, but many Doctorate programs also exist in non-clinical healthcare academia. This list is also not complete, you can enter the healthcare field regardless of your undergraduate and graduate degrees. As the field is so broad you can find a spot that matches the skills you learn from any program. The following are a list of programs you may want to consider if interested in Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Management, Policy, or Public Health.

Masters in Public Health (MPH)

  • A Masters in Public Health consists of typically a two or three year program where you learn the skills and background necessary to effectively improve health in populations around the world. Many times, these programs will utilize case studies and existing health challenges to demonstrate the principles and ideas presented in class. A large aspect of public health is the holistic view of how to improve health. In a Masters of Public Health program you examine how the interactions between economics, politics, culture, geography, and more influence the health of a population. Public Health programs tend to push their graduates to think of how they can implement changes to improve the health of a population, no matter the scale.

Masters in Health Administration (MHA)/ Health Care Management

  • A Masters in Health Administration or Health Care Management gives students the skills to become healthcare executives, whether that be as a care provider or as an administrator. In these programs you will gain the relevant skills to successfully manage hospitals, health service organizations, work in the field of public health, or provide specialized healthcare consulting services. Similar to MBA programs, an MHA provides a holistic understanding of a health organization. Many programs offer a variety of courses including quantitative based classes, leadership development, information systems, human resources, operations, and more. Many of these programs also include a 1 year fellowship, providing real-world experience in the field. This degree is based in understanding the management of a health organization.

Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

  • While a MBA degree is not explicitly tied to healthcare, there are many ways in which a graduate education in a business school can be advantageous in the healthcare field and ways in which the degree itself can be tailored to healthcare. An MBA focuses on general business management practices and strategies. Coursework is based in developing an understanding of the financials, communications, management, and operations of businesses. There are a wide variety of MBA programs available. Many require a few years of prior experience before entering the program. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of MBA programs offering a concentration in Healthcare. This could be a good option if you are interested in more private sector organizations and would prefer a more traditional business background.

Masters in Public Policy (MPP)

  • Like the MBA, a Masters in Public Policy is not as explicitly tied to healthcare as an MPH or an MHA, however a graduate degree in Public Policy may be the best fit, depending on your interests within the healthcare field. In a Master of Public Policy program there is in-depth analysis of policies and decisions related to these policies. These programs generally include coursework in the influencing economic and political factors that influence policy creation, modeling potential impact, cost/benefit analyses, and research methods. Individuals with an MPP have worked in the public sector at local, state, or federal levels, but also have a wealth of opportunities in the private sector. As it relates to health, an MPP can provide you with the ability to understand and interpret the implications and impact from various health policies.

Masters in Public Administration

  • A Masters in Public Administration also can be useful in looking into a career in the healthcare sector. Although not specifically tailored to health, a Masters in Public Administration helps prepare students to be leaders in the public sector as managers, executives, or analysts for local, state, or federal governments. These programs emphasize an understanding of the key roles, development and management involved in policy implementation. These programs offer a diversity of courses, from finance and research to urban planning to policy and justice. A Masters in Public Health can be tailored to health with coursework in health policy and development to meet your specific needs and goals.

At the end of the day, healthcare is an incredibly large career field and you can enter through many different ways. The graduate school programs listed are not the only programs you can use to enter the healthcare sphere. Being so broad, you could apply almost any graduate degree to a successful career in this field.