Currently accepting applications for Spring 2016 and Fall 2016

We offer WICHE Tuition Waivers

At WSU MHPA, the 56-credit-hour curriculum offers a strong focus on the financial and policy aspects of health care—in fact, the program’s comprehensive coverage of health care accounting and finance has earned it national recognition. In 2011, the WSU MHPA program was ranked #46 in Healthcare Management by U.S. News & World Report.

We are fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), and are a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). You will learn from distinguished faculty with expertise in many aspects of healthcare management, including:

  • Comparative analysis of international health systems
  • Disability and aging services
  • Decision science
  • Healthcare management in rural settings
  • Decision science
  • Long-term care policy

Why Accreditation is important »

Information on the CAHME accredited healthcare management program.

Additional Program Highlights

  • In-state tuition rates are available to residents of the 16 western states that are members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
  • Students attending part-time are given up to six years to complete their Master’s degree.
  • The HPA placement rate for graduates since 2012 has been 88% within three months of graduation.
  • A 15-person Advisory Board, composed of healthcare executives, connects students to the local industry. Students are invited to meet with members of the Advisory Board three times each academic year.
  • Alumni events provide students with the opportunity to network with graduates of the program.
  • The HPA Association of Healthcare Students (AHS) plans and hosts networking, training, and informational seminars for students all year long.

Program Format

As part of a small, tightly knit cohort, you’ll share classrooms and exchange ideas with fellow students from all over the country and around the world- with a significant portion of each cohort consisting of international students. The varied composition of the student body combined with the intimate atmosphere of the program provides excellent opportunities for building professional networks as well as lifelong friendships.

Full-time students typically complete the program in two years, enrolling in 10 to 18 credit hours per semester. Classes are held late afternoons and early evenings for the convenience of working professionals, who are given up to six years to complete the program. A required internship provides the opportunity to gain leadership experience and make professional contacts, but those with extensive managerial experience in health care may petition for a full or partial waiver of the requirement.

Job Placement of our MHPA Graduates

Here are a few job placements of our recent graduates

  • Administrative Fellow, Dignity Health, San Francisco, CA
  • Administrative Fellow, MountainView, Las Vegas, NV
  • Administrative Fellow, Centura Health System, St. Anthony North Hospital, CO
  • Administrative Fellow, MultiCare Health System, Tacoma, WA
  • Administrative Fellow, Skagit Regional Health, Mt. Vernon, WA
  • Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Providence Health & Services, Issaquah, WA
  • Performance Improvement Manager, Emmi Solutions, Chicago, IL
  • Project Manager, Providence Health Care, Spokane, WA
  • Clinical Operations Analyst, Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi
  • Health Services Consultant, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia, WA
  • Director of Physicians’ Practice, and Multi-Department Director, Memorial Hospital of Carbon City, Rawlins, WY
  • Delivery Consultant, Cerner, Mesa, AZ
  • Performance Improvement Specialist/Better Health Improvement, Mineral Community Hospital, Superior, MT
  • Director of Nutritional Services, Providence Health System, Spokane, WA


Students are encouraged to attend several health administration conferences including American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress, Rural Health Conference, and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Conference. These conferences are an ideal setting to network with professionals. Scholarships are often available to help offset the cost of attendance.


Students may apply for either fall or spring semester. Applicants must provide application materials to both the WSU Graduate School and the Department of Health Policy and Administration.

Application Deadline

The Department of Health Policy and Administration at Washington State University observes rolling admissions. There is no official deadline to submit applications. To allow for processing, please submit your completed application no later than six weeks prior to the start date of the term for which you are applying for admission.

Admission Requirements

Prospective domestic students must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0. Prospective international students must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from an approved institution.


You must submit official transcripts – those mailed directly from the registrar of the institution you attended to the institution to which you are applying – from each of the following:

  • Colleges or universities from which any degrees have been granted to you, or from which you expect a degree to be granted. Include transcripts that show the last 60 graded semester or 90 graded quarter hours of undergraduate work taken.
  • Colleges or universities at which you have taken graded graduate-level course work after earning your bachelor's degree.
  • Students requesting transfer credit must submit official transcripts from colleges or universities showing this credit.
  • Complete credentials should be on file at least one month before registration. Transcripts are not required for course work taken at Washington State University.

Letter of Intent and Introduction (Statement of Purpose)

Letter of intent and introduction indicating career goals, commitment to a health care profession, and any distinctions in professional activity.

  • The letter should include a discussion of the student's educational background, experiences related to health policy or management, and professional interests.
  • There is no standardized letter of intent and introduction; a standard business letter sent directly to the Department Chair is appropriate.

Letters of Recommendation

Three original letters of recommendation are required. These letters are used to help the program assess the quality of the students' academic and work experiences.

  • Letters of recommendation can be from professors, supervisors, co-workers, or other mentors.
  • Letters of recommendation must be dated within the past 12 months.
  • There is no standardized recommendation form; recommendations can be submitted through Zzusis as part of your application, or mailed directly to the department, attention: Academic Coordinator.

GRE or GMAT Official Scores

GRE or GMAT scores are required except for applicants holding a professional doctoral degree (e.g., M.D., J.D., D.D.S.) or Ph.D. from a U.S. accredited school. Significant weight is given to GRE aptitude (verbal and quantitative combined) total scores of at least 300, or a GMAT aptitude score of at least 500. However, indications of academic ability as expressed by undergraduate grade point average and professional experience will be of greater importance than specific undergraduate background and GRE or GMAT scores. For certain professionals, we may consider accepting the MCATs in place of GRE or GMAT scores.

  • The GRE or GMAT tests must have been taken within the past five years.
  • When taking the GRE or GMAT test, indicate Washington State University as a score recipient.
  • WSU school code is 4705; there is no department code. If you did not indicate WSU when you took the test, you will need to contact ETS to request a score report be sent to WSU.
  • To request additional score reports: GRE: 1-888-473-7267; GMAT: 1-609-771-7330.

One-Page Resume

Please limit your resume to one page, and include relevant information regarding healthcare, business, and leadership experience as well as any other experiences applicable to your admissions. Your resume should be submitted via email to the academic coordinator.

International Students

Requirements for international students are listed here: admission to the Graduate School, and include official TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB scores. For the TOEFL, the minimum acceptable paper score is 600; the minimum acceptable computer score is 250; for Internet it is 100. The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7. The minimum acceptable MELAB score is 86. The Educational Testing Service reporting code for Washington State University is 4705 (for the TOEFL only).

At times, some international students may need to strengthen their English language skills with one-on-one tutoring or classes. In this case, students are directed to a number of available resources by their advisor or academic coordinator. Generally, English tutoring or classes are available for help in writing, reading, and conversation at WSU as low- or no-cost resources.

Admission Statistics

How many students apply each year?
We typically receive about 50 applications each year. For Fall 2012 we received 55.

How many students are accepted each year?
We typically accept about 20 students. For Fall 2012 we admitted 35 new students.

What is the average GPA of admitted students?
For Fall 2012 the average GPA for admitted students was 3.48.

What is the average GRE/GMAT score for admitted students?
For Fall 2012 the average GRE score was 300 on the new scale and the average GMAT score was 632.

Does the program require prior work experience?
Although it is not required to have prior work experience in the Health Care field, it is highly recommended. This type of experience can be a great resource for writing your letter of intent.

Admissions Classifications

For additional information regarding these student status classifications, see section 2.4 of the Graduate School Policies and Procedures Manual »

Regular Graduate Student

In general, admission to the Graduate School as a regular student requires a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 semester hours of graded undergraduate work or graded graduate study of 12 semester hours or more. If your GPA is below 3.0, Washington State University may grant provisional admission if a department recommends you, provided your total record indicates a high probability of success.

Departmental approval is required for any admission, regardless of grade point average. Departments may require higher levels of performance than those cited. Because of limitations within certain departments, it may be necessary to deny admission to some qualified candidates.

Undecided Graduate (UND-G)

The undecided graduate classification (pdf) is for potential graduate students who have not fulfilled the application requirements at the time of (or just prior to) registration. Under this classification, students are processed immediately and subject to the following:

  • Required to pay graduate fees;
  • Permitted to enroll in courses only with permission of the instructor and the department offering the courses;
  • Permitted to remain in this classification for up to one calendar year;
  • After admission to a degree program by the WSU Graduate School, undecided graduates are permitted to apply up to 6 hours of UND-G credits to the graduate degree requirements. Use of UND-G credits will be held to the usual time restrictions for program completion.
  • A separate application for admission is required if the student wishes to pursue an advanced degree. It should be noted that students who enroll under UND-G may or may not choose to complete applications to the Graduate School. Further, they will have no guarantee that they will be accepted if they apply.

Non-Advanced-Degree Candidate (NADC)

The NADC classification is for those students with a baccalaureate degree who wish to take graduate courses, but do not wish to pursue a graduate degree at Washington State University.




A minimum of 56 credit hours is required for HPA Program completion. The following list is a breakdown of the number of credits required for each category of courses.

Course Name


Introductory courses
Core courses
Internship (HPA 597)
Capstone course (HPA 590)
Graduate project or thesis

Total credits


Completion Time

The program is designed to facilitate both full-time and part-time participation. The time required for completion of the program will vary for each student depending upon course load. The average time for completion of the program for a full-time student is two years. Part-time students will obviously require additional time depending upon the intensity of study. According to the Graduate School, “The time limit for use of graduate credit toward a master’s degree is six years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the degree.”

Most courses are scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.



Please see the HPA Graduate Planning Sheet (HPA Policies and Procedures (pdf), page 11) for a listing of courses by category: Introductory, Core, Capstone, or Elective.

CRMJ 591- Special Topic: Healthcare Leadership (3 credits)
Broad-based, interdisciplinary inquiry into the concept of leadership.

HPA 500 – Introduction to the Health Care System (3 credits)
Orientation to delivery, financing, and organization of the health care system.

HPA 501 – Health Care Policy and Politics (3 credits)
History, methods, results, and evaluation of health care policy and politics.

HPA 502 – Law and Ethics of Health Management (3 credits)
Private health law and ethics, including professional liability, relationship of physician and patient, malpractice reform, health institutions, and health access.

HPA 509 – Health Care Economics (3 credits)
Allocating, financing, and delivering medical care services. Effective Fall 2013 semester, there is no formal prerequisite for this course; however, a refresher of the microeconomic concepts is recommended for all students by review of a text such as N. Gregory Mankiw’s Principles of Microeconomics 6th Edition.

HPA 510 – Health Care Cost Accounting (3 credits)
Basic cost accounting concepts, principles, and applications in the health care setting. Effective Fall 2013 semester, there is no formal prerequisite for this course; however, for those that want to prepare for the course, Anthony, R.N. and Pearlman Breitner, L., Essentials of Accounting 10th Edition, Pearson, 2003 is a useful self-study guide. This text is used with executive groups nationwide and has been for decades.

HPA 511 – Health Care Finance (3 credits)
Aspects of health care financial management fundamentals and managerial accounting for strategic financial management.

HPA 515 – Health Care Management (3 credits)
Introduction to the knowledge, skills and values associated with the practice of health management.

HPA 517 – Health Care Human Resources Management (3 credits)
Application of human resource management principles (e.g., recruitment, selection, performance appraisal, compensation, benefits, retention, and termination) in health care.

NSG 554 –Epidemiology and Biostatistics for Health Professions (4 credits)
Introduction to epidemiology: principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation including analysis of key elements of investigation of high risk populations.

HPA 520 – Research and Evaluation Methods (3 credits)
Basic research and evaluation methods for health care professionals. Prerequisite: statistics or HPA 519

HPA 530 – Health Care Information Systems (3 credits)
Key attributes of health care information systems and their evolution in the health care environment.

HPA 570 – Marketing for Health Care Organization (3 credits)
Basic marketing concepts, principles, and issues related to marketing public and private health care.

HPA 590 – Strategic Management and Marketing (3 credits)
Key components and processes in strategic planning. Prerequisite: HPA 511, 515

HPA 597 – Internship (3 credits)
Student experience in professional work settings. S, F grading.

HPA 599-01 – Operations Management (3 credits)
Commonly used concepts and tools for managing operations and producing value for customers.

HPA 599-02– Lean/Six Sigma & Quality Improvement (3 credits)
An introduction to concepts and tools for quality improvement through lean/six sigma.

HPA 599-03 – Professional Skills Development (1 credit)
Hands-on training of business standards, norms and etiquette for interviews, resumes, presentations, and other professional communication skills.

HPA 600 – Special Projects or Independent Study (3 credits)
Must be arranged with advisor.

HPA 700Master’s Research, Thesis (4 credits)
S, F grading.

HPA 702 – Master’s Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (4 credits)
S, F grading.



When students graduate from the Masters in Health Policy and Administration Program, they will have successfully attained all the core competencies as identified by the accrediting body, CAHME. These competencies include:


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An internship is required to assure that all students graduating from the program have substantive first-hand experience in an administrative setting within one or more health care organizations. Internships are 3-to-5 credits, with 64 hours of experience required for each credit hour. Most of the internships are approximately 4 credit hours and are completed during the summer between the first and second year.

Students who already have managerial work experience in the health care sector are encouraged to broaden their experience in different types of settings including exposure to patient care professionals and settings. However, students who have extensive managerial experience in the health care sector and wish to waive part or all of the internship requirements may petition the department for a waiver. Students with such administrative experience are encouraged to discuss possible alternative experiences with faculty advisors.

Read what some of our students have to say about their internships:

Brittany Hadley » Jessie Minier »
Danica Mitz » Justin Stovall »


Examples of Internship Sites for the Summer

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Swedish Medical Center
  • Seattle Children's
  • Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center
  • Dignity Health System
  • Franciscan Health System
  • Shriners Hospital for Children
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • Legacy Health System
  • Northwest Orthopedic Surgery Center
  • Providence Kidney Transplant Center
  • VA Medical Center
  • Signature Genomics
  • Spokane Eye Clinic
  • MultiCare Health System
  • St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center
  • Spokane Regional Health District
  • Logan Regional Hospital
  • CHAS Clinic
  • Lincoln Hospital


Graduate Assistantships

HPA Department Graduate Assistantships offer an hourly wage. The department has between two and six assistantships per year. PLEASE NOTE: Admission to the program does not guarantee an assistantship appointment. Due to limited funding, competition for such support is high. The Academic Coordinator will send announcements of vacant positions when they arise and will inform interested students about the application process at that time.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Medical Group Management Association »

The Medical Group Management Association offers a variety of scholarships.

David A. Winston »

The David A Winston Health Policy Scholarship Program recognizes student excellence and achievement based upon the student's record, recommendations from faculty and colleagues, and evidence of their interest in and commitment to health policy.

HCA Corris Boyd »

HCA Corris Boyd Scholars Program offers two $40,000 scholarships to deserving students of color entering a graduate program in healthcare management. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements and submit all materials by the deadline to be considered.

Albert W. Dent »

Offered annually, the Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship is designated for minority students enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Each scholarship is worth $5,000. Between the Dent and the McGaw scholarships, ACHE awards up to 20 scholarships each year.

Foster G. McGaw »

Offered annually, the Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship is designated for students enrolled in their final year of a healthcare management graduate program. Each scholarship is worth $5,000.

Fulbright Scholar Program »

The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Military Opportunities

The HPA department has a close connection with several branches of the military, and we have worked closely with students who qualify for waivers and stipends to ensure the process is smooth.

U.S. Navy Health Services Collegiate Program

If you would like to be guaranteed a position upon graduation working in health care administration for the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps, and you want to get paid by the Navy while you are in school, you may want to consider this program! You could receive up to $134,600 while finishing your degree. This amount includes a generous monthly salary and housing allowance ranging from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 24 months.*
If you are interested in additional information about this opportunity, please contact Devin McConnell at (509) 353-2513, or 1-877-475-NAVY, or devin.mcconnell@navy.mil.

*Navy HSCP housing allowance based on graduate school location. Increased offer amounts available in areas with a higher cost of living.

Health Professions Scholarship Program

The Air Force offers scholarships for healthcare professionals to cover tuition and required fees, including textbooks, small equipment items and supplies needed for study. You will also receive a monthly allowance of approximately $2,060 for living expenses. While on scholarship you will spend 45 days on active duty in the Air Force, and once you graduate you will serve active duty (one year for each year of scholarship, with a minimum of three years).
If you are interested in additional information, please contact Daniel E. Lee at (509) 247-3609 or daniel.lee2@us.af.mil.


Graduate School Online Application and Instructions »

International Students Online Application and Instructions »

The Department of Health Policy and Administration uses a "rolling" application cycle. Applicants are welcome to submit their materials at any time throughout the year for the next-occurring term entry date. However, complete application packets must be submitted no later than six weeks prior to the course start date for timely processing.

A complete graduate application includes:

1. Completed Graduate School Application and $75 Application Fee. Online application.

2. Official Transcripts sent to the Graduate School. (Official transcripts are those sent directly from the registrar to the Graduate School.)

3. Official GRE or GMAT Scores sent to the Graduate School.

4. For International Applicants: Official TOEFL Score sent to the Graduate School. Find more help at:

  • http://www.toefl.org
  • In the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or Canada: 1-888-863-3544
  • Outside these areas: 1-609-771-7267

5. Letter of Intent and Introduction sent directly to the HPA department.

6. Three Original Letters of Recommendation recommendations can be submitted through Zzusis as part of your application, or mailed directly to the department, attention: Academic Coordinator.

7. One-page Resume should be submitted via email to the academic coordinator.

request info


HPA Office
Phase I Classroom Building 133
Spokane campus
E-mail: hpa@wsu.edu
Phone: 509-358-7980
Fax: 509-358-7984

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link to YouTubeVIDEOS

Class of 2014 student Amardeep Nagra talks about the quality of the HPA program. (2:00)

Class of 2014 student Dane Lawson talks about the different HPA program elements. (2:02)

Class of 2013 student Jennifer Seelig talks about her plans after graduation. (:59)

Class of 2014 student Jonathan Lyons talks about how the program prepares students for careers in the health care field. (1:58)