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Applying to the MHA program

New students are accepted for fall semester only. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis with a final deadline of April 1. Because official transcripts and test scores can sometimes take several weeks to arrive, we recommend that prospective students submit their application as early as possible. 

Admissions selection criteria icon-olus-circle

Admission to our program is competitive. The selection committee seeks students with the greatest potential for success, based on the following criteria:

Academic performance: We look for a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Motivation and potential: We look for a record of leadership among peers based on an applicant’s resume, letters of reference, and statement of purpose.

Experience: Students admitted without work experience generally show evidence of excellence in extracurricular and service activities and have completed one or more internships.

Test Scores: GRE and GMAT scores are not currently required for admission to this program.

How to apply icon-olus-circle


Follow the instructions below to apply to the Penn State MHA Program.

1. Complete a Graduate School Application. When completing the Graduate School Application, please designate the following campus, major and degree:

  • Campus: University Park (UP)
  • Major: Health Policy and Administration
  • Degree: MHA

All materials must be uploaded to the Penn State Graduate School application site, including:

  • Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed.
  • References: You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of two professional references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in the program. References should come from prior faculty, professional peers and/or managers and supervisors.

Program-specific materials

  • Resume: Upload your resume to the online application
  • Personal statement:

    Personal Statement (PDF Required): Please make sure to answer all questions and limit your answer to no more than 1000 words.

    1. Describe your personal, academic, and professional background.  

    2. Why did you become interested in the health care industry?  

    3. What are your career goals?

    4. How will the MHA degree contribute to your career goals? Please feel free to share any unique or distinctive details about your life story. You may include events or individuals who have influenced you.

  • Essay questions:
    • Essay 1 (PDF Required) Please limit your answer to no more than 500 words - Describe two specific goals you set for yourself.  Explain the factors that led to your pursuit of each of these goals. Tell us what you learned, how you faced challenges and how you defined success.
    • Essay 2 (PDF Required) Please limit your answer to no more than 500 words - Describe a time when you set aside your own priorities to help someone at work. What were the circumstances? What was the impact of your decision?
  • Interview: The admissions committee will review all completed application materials and determine if an applicant will be asked to participate in a brief interview, via Zoom, or in-person, to assess the potential for success in an MHA program.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate BS/MHA students
Students interested in applying to the Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Bachelor of Science/Master of Health Administration (IUG BS/MHA) program should apply after January 1 to allow Fall semester grades to be included in your transcript. To learn more about the IUG BS/MHA admissions process, follow the link below.