MHA Program

Leadership at all levels of the organization demands effective decision-making–analyzing and making choices–then putting them into action. Our program is designed specifically to help students improve decision-making capabilities and leadership skills, especially for the delivery of health care.

The focus of our MHA program is on the realities of today’s health care marketplace and the unique skill sets necessary to navigate and succeed in that marketplace. Our program is not easy, is not for everyone, and requires significant student commitment… just what you should expect from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

All students in the MHA program work full time: the intended outcome for graduates of the program is postgraduate employment in public health and health care services with more significant management and leadership responsibility than held previously. We measure our success by your success, so we will do everything we can to help advance your career.


The Mission of the Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program at UNC is to improve decision-making and leadership skills of emerging professionals who aspire to managerial roles as well as mid-career professionals looking to advance to higher level management and leadership positions in health and public health organizations in North Carolina, the United States, and globally. Our practice and research-focused faculty prepare students through a balance of classroom and experiential learning with a focus on health equity.


We aspire to remain a program of choice for professionals looking to develop, manage and lead effective, equitable, and responsive organizations improving the health of individuals and eliminating health inequities.

Proven Results

  • Consistently ranked in top 3 by U.S. News & World Report and Modern Healthcare.
  • Executive Master’s programs (since 1969); Health Policy & Management programs (since 1936).
  • Over 1600 graduates in leadership positions around the world.
  • Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) accredited.

Program Structure

Integrative Curriculum
HPM Executive MHA Curriculm Plan

Click image to enlarge

Each course builds on the concepts learned in prior terms and focuses on improving decision-making and leadership skills.

  • Intense BaseCamp workshops grounded in business competencies held on campus. See the Program Competency Model.
  • Applied Leadership Integrative simulations held at end of each term to test concepts learned.
  • Classes held online in real time with faculty and students, typically Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for two hours each.
  • Immediate application of new skills and knowledge to work environment.
  • Taught by a world-class faculty who use a variety of learning approaches.

Base Camps are intense sessions focused on ensuring each student has the core basic skills necessary across the curriculum. They are held at the beginning of each Fall semester. Topics covered include: Six Sigma/LEAN, effective presentations, effective writing, library search, and Excel functions.

Leadership Practicum and Journaling

An important part of the program is required courses and surveys in which students reflect, throughout the program, on program content, key learning, and experiences. Students read books on topics such as political savvy, power–its uses and abuses, negotiation, psychology of persuasion, reputation management, and self-leadership. Students apply the knowledge gained in these books to their current work settings developing daily tools that they can use throughout the remainder of their careers. Students also complete course application surveys after every semester to relate specific tools and knowledge gained from the semester to their work setting.

Built for Tar Heels, by Tar Heels

Our curriculum and content, from start to finish, is designed and managed by UNC faculty and supported by UNC staff. The integrity of your academic experience is of paramount importance and we never contract any part of that experience out to a third party.

Concentrated Program Length

  • The program is completed in 2 years (49 credit hours).
  • Three on-campus sessions per year; 14 days (8 workdays, 6 weekend days).

On-Campus Dates

Summer 2023April 29 - May 2, 2023
Fall 2023August 11 - 16, 2023
Spring 2024December 9 - 12, 2024
Summer 2024May 4 - May 7, 2024

Networking Opportunities

  • Use residential sessions to expand your professional network and build deep connections with colleagues and faculty.
  • Join an established, supportive and active alumni network.

Tuition and Fees

The University of North Carolina is committed to making education accessible and as a result, the Executive MHA program is one of the most cost-effective programs in our peer set. Additionally, about 50% of our students get some amount of funding from the department, further increasing the cost advantage of this top-tier program. The latest information on costs for the Master’s programs can be found by visiting the most current Tuition and Fee Rates document, found under the “Charges for Attendance (Tuition and Fee Rates)” heading on the University Cashier’s web site. Scroll down to the Health Affairs/School of Public Health section of the document.

Please note that tuition and fees are subject to change.

Need financial assistance? See our Financial Aid Information.

Recommended Background or Knowledge

The Executive MHA program does not require specific prior course work. In fact, students come from a variety of professional backgrounds, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, laboratory sciences, insurance, and many others. Enrolling students, however, should have some basic knowledge of elementary accounting, college algebra, statistics, and microeconomics. Applicants without this knowledge should consider enrolling in appropriate college-level courses or self-study programs. (For a list of workbook recommendations, email us at

Employer and Student Demands

Enrolling students and their employers must recognize the demands of the Executive MHA program. Students will have to balance professional and personal responsibilities with a rigorous program of study. Employers must provide time for attendance at on-campus sessions and should not place extraordinary job requirements on the employee while he or she is enrolled. In addition, some employers have demonstrated further commitment to the program by agreeing to: reimburse full or partial tuition costs, maintain salary during attendance, not count campus sessions against vacation time, and/or reimburse travel, lodging, and/or other expenses for on-campus visits.

Graduation Requirements

  • Successful completion of 49 credit hours.
  • Capstone Course: Students must complete the Capstone Course. They must also write and submit a Business Plan or Technical Paper during the final year of study. These meet the Graduate School requirements of a written comprehensive examination and a master’s thesis.
  • Time Limitation: The Executive Master’s programs strongly discourage students from getting “off-track,” since students are expected to complete the program as a cohort, following a specific progression through the curriculum. In rare circumstances, the program may approve a change in plan; however Graduate School policy is that all requirements for the degree must be completed within five years from the time of initial enrollment in the program.

General Requirements for Application

  • Currently employed in the health or human services field and have, or expect to have, managerial or supervisory experience.
  • Three years of experience in healthcare or public health by the time classes and currently working in public health or healthcare services (for waivers, contact Director of EMP).
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Personal Statement.
  • Three Letters of Reference.

How to Apply

Start your application by creating an account and following the instructions. Applications for the next academic year are available in August. A current email address is a required field on the application since all correspondence is conducted by email. If you have problems with the online form, contact the Graduate School.

Note: To apply to the Executive MHA program, select Health Policy and Management – Off Campus.

Required Materials:

  • Nonrefundable application fee. In some instances the application fee may be waived; please see the Graduate School’s Application Fee Waiver page if you have questions or need more information on eligibility.
  • Transcripts (complete, not selected courses). One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. If offered admission, one paper official transcript for each university attended will be required. If you have questions or need more information about preparing transcripts, please see the Graduate School’s transcript information here.
  • The email address of three recommenders is required within the application for electronic submission and delivery.
  • Submission of GRE scores is not required.
  • Personal Statement (distance and master’s)
    Please upload a two page (double spaced) statement addressing the following:

    • How will this degree program at UNC-CH contribute to your projected career?
    • What is your experience working in teams and what can you contribute to a team?
    • How will you contribute to a diverse, inclusive student community at Gillings?
    • Please provide any additional information that will help us to evaluate your application.

International Applicants

In addition to the materials listed above, international applicants must submit the following:

  • TOEFL or IELTS score (no more than 2 years old). UNC is institution #5816.  For more information about these tests, see the Graduate School’s TOEFL and IELTS instruction page. 
  • The University is not authorized to issue “Certificates of Eligibility” Forms I-20 or DS-2019 for F-1 or J-1 student visas for attendance in part-time, on-line degree programs. Since courses for the Executive MHA program are principally taught online, and the program is designed to be part-time for those currently employed, students requiring a student visa to enter the U.S. would not be eligible to enroll in the Executive MHA program. Instead, those requiring a student visa are encouraged to apply for a full time on-campus degree program.

Prospective students in non-immigrant statuses that allow study may be eligible to enroll. Consult with immigration counsel for details related to your non-immigrant status. Note that students should not enter the U.S. in B-1/B-2 status for the purpose of pursuing a degree program at UNC-CH. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has prepared a useful chart of immigration statuses (.pdf) that allow study in the U.S.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines for all programs can be found here.

BaseCamp/Classes begin in August.

Additional Helpful Links

Prospective Student Information

Residency Requirements and Information

UNC Academic Calendar

The Executive MHA follows the grading scale as defined by The Graduate School at UNC.

Contact Information

Program Questions

Kim Sieler
Academic Coordinator, Doctoral and Executive MHA Degree Programs
(919) 966-7364

Karen Volmar
Director, MHA and MSPH Programs
(919) 962-0760

Mailing Address
Department of Health Policy and Management
CB# 7411
120 Rosenau Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7411

Executive Master’s Frequently Asked Questions

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