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Frequently Asked Questions

Also see frequently asked questions for online classes.

How do I begin my M.H.A. degree at DMU?

Apply today! Applications are accepted during the application period for the term in which you are seeking admission, with application deadlines in  June for fall enrollment, October for the spring enrollment and February for Summer enrollment.

Are there options to enroll in professional development courses if I’m not ready to apply for the degree program yet?

Yes! Individuals interested in enrolling in select professional development courses may review the requirements and courses online. Registration and completion of a professional development course does not guarantee admission to a degree program. We encourage you to contact the admission office directly for more information about this opportunity.

How will earning the M.H.A. degree benefit my career?

A graduate degree provides opportunity! The entry-level requirement for a management position within the health care industry is a master’s degree. Many of our students currently work in the field of health care, business, insurance, finance or management, but they desire to progress into higher level management positions-the M.H.A. degree will provide them this opportunity. For students with limited health care experience, or those looking to transition their career into health care, an M.H.A. degree can supplement their academic and professional experience by providing an introduction to health care delivery system and an opportunity to fine tune their business and leadership skills.

MHA program packet

Is the M.H.A. degree right for me?

An M.H.A. degree is a focused business degree for individuals who work or wish to work in the health care industry. DMU’s M.H.A. program focuses on the intricacies of the health care industry and prepares students to lead their organizations to meet and exceed the needs of their communities. The program’s real‐world curriculum and interaction among students and faculty equip individuals to become leaders in health care organizations and government. Financial pressures, policies and regulation, system complexities and the enduring need for effective, accessible health care all add up to great demand and opportunity for these leaders.

If your career goals include leadership or management within the health care system, the M.H.A. is a great option. If you currently employed or planning a career in the health care industry (hospital, health system, clinic, long-term care facility, insurance company, etc.) the M.H.A. is the right choice for your career.

Is it required that I have experience working in health care prior to applying?

No. Students enroll in the MHA program from a variety of backgrounds. Experience in a health care setting will be reviewed within the application process, but is not a requirement for admission. We value students from varied backgrounds coming together to expand their knowledge.

Is the M.H.A. degree available entirely online?

75% of M.H.A. course work is available entirely online, while 25% of the program must be completed by attending the on-campus Executive Residencies. These residencies are an essential component in preparing highly competent health care leaders. Each five‐day residency is offered twice a year on our campus in Des Moines, Iowa, allowing for greater flexibility for the working professional. All students will begin their M.H.A. coursework by attending Residency 1 on campus in Des Moines, Iowa.

Is DMU’s M.H.A. program CAHME accredited?

Not yet. As of October 2013, DMU MHA has been approved for candidate status by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). The 2013-2014 academic year will serve as a self-study year as part of the process to achieve full accreditation for the M.H.A. program.

How do your graduates rate their degree?

Of recent graduates surveyed:
100% believe they have further developed their competence as a health care administrator
91% attribute DMU MHA to helping them achieve their career goal
87% believe the courses prepared them for their desired career
85% would recommend the program to other professionals or colleagues
80% reported the degree was worth their investment of time and money
Half of all graduates have assumed a higher level of responsibility since they began the program

What is the difference between DMU’s M.H.A. and M.P.H. degrees?

The degree program you choose depends on how you see yourself fitting into the health care system. The kind of work you do – or would like to do – will influence your degree path. Each program offers a distinct course of study. The M.H.A. program emphasizes effective management and responsible oversight within the health care delivery system. The M.P.H. program focuses on identifying, resolving, and preventing health problems that affect communities and populations. Beyond these foundations, both programs challenge students to lead their organizations toward satisfying the future wants and needs of their communities.

Simply put, an M.H.A. program emphasizes the organization and professional make-up of the health care system and develops the business skills for the student to manage or lead health care organizations and cope with the changes as dictated by society, the economy, public policy and the industry itself.

Why earn the dual M.H.A./M.P.H. degree? When can I apply for the dual degree?

There is naturally some overlap between the M.H.A. and M.P.H. programs. One of our objectives is to mesh the principles of public health – intervention and prevention – with traditional health services management.

Traditional health care (treatment of an isolated, single patient) is becoming an event of the past. The new system of delivering care needs to be built on a model that blends the fields of health care administration (designing and managing systems to deliver efficient and effective health care) and public health (a data driven process with a population and community-based focus). A dual M.H.A./M.P.H. degree prepares students to respond and succeed within the new demands of the system.

You will need to choose a primary program to begin your coursework at DMU. After successfully completing a minimum of 9 semester hours in your primary program (M.H.A. or M.P.H.), you may complete the application for admission consideration for the second program. You should plan to be in close contact with your faculty advisor if applying for the dual degree option.

What if I don’t have a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average? Will I be considered for admission?

The program recommends a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for best consideration for our program. Applicants with below 3.0 GPAs are encouraged to apply and in doing so, highlight the strengths of their application file. Our admission review is based on four basic criteria: undergraduate GPA, work experience (preference for health care and/or management experience), admission essays (writing ability, motivation, knowledge and understanding of the health care industry, etc.) and letters of recommendation.  Experience that can add to the applicant’s profile include prior graduate degrees, certifications, volunteerism, and leadership experience. Each individual application is reviewed for the student’s ability to be successful within the program.

Do I need to submit GMAT or GRE scores?

No, the M.H.A. program does not require submission of graduate testing scores (GMAT or GRE).

What kind of undergraduate degree do I need to qualify for admission?

We require a bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university.

Can I transfer credits from another program or receive credit for a previously earned master’s degree?

Students with previously earned graduate credit may apply for transfer of up to 12 semester hours of coursework. Transfer coursework is subject to approval of the Dean and/or Program Director, and will only be reviewed if it was completed within the past 4 years at a grade of B or better. Students must apply for transfer credit within one term of enrolling in a master’s degree at DMU. Requests for transfer credit will only be processed once an applicant is admitted to the degree program.

I have a full-time job and a family – is it really possible for me to earn an M.H.A. degree?

Yes. The majority of our students are employed full‐time while enrolled in the MHA program. These students have families and numerous other commitments that come with working your way up the ladder in the health care industry. The program’s structure – with its mix of online and on‐campus courses also allowing for full-time or part‐time enrollment – provides exactly the flexibility needed to manage this busy lifestyle.  An additional bonus to this lifestyle is being able to apply concepts from the classroom directly to your workplace environment.

How will the Executive Residencies fit with my career demands?

The Executive Residencies are scheduled in 5-day blocks each January and September. They begin on Wednesday afternoon and conclude Sunday by noon. Students are typically taking several personal days from work to travel to Des Moines to attend the Residency. We’ve found this schedule maximizes your time on campus while minimizing your time away from home. All students will begin their degree by attending Residency 1 on campus. The second residency is completed about half-way through your degree, and the final residency in your final term.

How long does it take to complete the M.H.A. degree program?

As a part-time student enrolled year-round, taking an average of two courses each semester, you can complete the program in about 3 years.  As a part-time student taking courses only during the fall and spring semesters (taking summers off), you can complete the program in about 4 years. A full-time student can complete the degree in just two years. It is important to note that your ability to complete the degree within this time frame is dependent on when you start the program, how many credits are taken each semester and your flexibility to take courses when they are offered. You have up to seven years after your date of acceptance to complete all degree requirements.

View sample degree plans for completion timeline.

Do you accept international students?

To be eligible for admission to the M.H.A. program, applicants must be either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S. International students should review the information for international students prior to application.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are accepted during the application period for the term in which you are seeking admission and are reviewed following the application deadlines in February, June and October. Applications received following these posted deadlines will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Applicants may be eligible for enrollment in select professional development courses while they complete their file for admission. 
Term Application Period Begins Priority Deadline Deadline
Summer 2015 November 1, 2014 February 1, 2015 March 1, 2015
Fall 2015 March 1, 2015 June 1, 2015 July 1, 2015

How do I apply?

Visit the how to apply section of our website for information on submitting your application and materials to DMU. Applications are also accepted via HAMPCAS.