MHAP Program

USU Courtyard

Master of Health Administration and Policy Program

Welcome to the Master of Health Administration and Policy Program!

The Master of Health Administration and Policy (MHAP) is a vibrant and growing program focused on interweaving the dynamic elements of health policy with a core focus on health administration. The program leverages its ideal location in Washington D.C. to facilitate access to health policy leaders and create unique administrative residency opportunities. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

Program OverviewYear 1 - The MHAP didactic phase is located on the campus of USU, located in Bethesda, MD and easily accessible by public transportation and the beltway. At the end of the didactic phase there will be an opportunity to create a capstone project and use this as a platform to demonstrate knowledge via an oral/poster presentation. Year 2 - Putting education in action is more than classroom learning. During the second year, students apply what was learned in an administrative residency, bringing value to a hosting organization, preceptor and yourself. At the end of year two, there is a graduate management project that serves as a platform to share the knowledge students gained and apply it through an oral presentation.

The capstone and the graduate management project are culminating events that we believe are at the heart of the MHAP Education. Please contact us if you have any questions.


Beth A. Hawks, PhD, MHA
Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Medical Service Corps
Program Director
CAHME Accredited

Since the program's inception, all of our students have graduated from the MHAP Program within two years (100% graduation rate).

As of June 2019, all of our graduates fulfill healthcare administration and health policy positions following graduation from the MHAP Program (100% employment rate upon graduation). 

Here is a snapshot of what some of our graduates are doing in their utilization tours.

  • Medical Operations Officer [Army]
  • Medical Operations Planner [Army]
  • Assistant Director of Operations [Air Force]
  • Practice Manager [Air Force]
  • Department Head [Navy]
  • Executive Assistant [Navy]
  • Administration Officer [Navy]

The success of our program is credited to the caliber of students within our program.  Here is what our alumni have to say about the MHAP program (alumni survey administered in 2019).

What part of your educational experience did you find most valuable?

- "The interaction with the instructors. Being able to talk to a CDR as a human being and not necessarily as a person of rank made the learning experience. The ability to challenge someone much higher ranked than myself and have it be welcomed as part of the academic process showed us how military leader justify their decisions."

- "The location of the school and the exposure to the the government and the policy making process."

- "The academic environment; graduate level debate; administrative residencies; having classes with healthcare providers/physician."

- "The practical projects and group dynamics. The joint faculty and student body. Interaction with students from other programs. Diversity in ideas."

- "I spent a year at the RAND Corporation, it was an unparalleled learning experience and set me up for success in policy making at the Pentagon."

The MHAP competencies are based on a model that draws from the National Center for Health Leadership and the Joint Medical Executive Skills Institute, along with a policy dimension. There are 23 individual competencies covering 5 domains.

PMB Competency Wheel

Every component of the curriculum is based upon our competencies, and upon graduation, our students are able to apply these competencies they developed in order to achieve success in their healthcare management careers.

Our mission is to prepare uniformed service members and federal government employees for mid-level healthcare management, leadership and policy advising positions within the Military Health System (MHS) and federal healthcare organizations.  The program actively engages with the MHS and National Capital Area healthcare systems to ensure graduates meet the unique needs of the federal healthcare sector. The MHAP program accomplishes this through excellence in faculty scholarship, teaching and a commitment to student professional development. The program employs an interdisciplinary and competency-based approach focused on leadership, military readiness, policy, transformation and execution.

We will be the premier provider of health policy and administration education for the Military Health System (MHS), federal health policy partners and Allied Host Nation / foreign partners through a sustained commitment to leadership in academics, research and scholarship.

The MHAP consists of both a didactic phase and a residency phase. The first year is the didactic phase, and it is composed of 5 academic quarters totaling 61-credit hours. During this rigorous year, students will engage in an in-depth approach to the study of health care management, health policy, public health, applied science, and leadership. In this first year, students are exposed to a dynamic cohort of professionals from all military services through team activities, simulations, and field trips to seminars and lectures at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and throughout the Washington D.C. area. Students are exposed to guest speakers from the Department of Defense (officials within the Military Health System) and leadership from local hospitals and the State Department. The second year of the program consists of an Administrative Residency in the National Capital Area. The program curriculum is outlined below, and you can find course descriptions here. Additionally, please see the academic calendar for term start and stop dates, and please see page 59 of the PMB Handbook for the program's grading policy.  

Faculty and Residency Preceptors focus on continuous student development of the MHAP core competencies. Throughout a students’ time in the MHAP program, faculty and preceptors provide specific objectives within each course to target competency progression and assessment.  They provide constant review and feedback, pre and post knowledge testing, and observation checklists. Please click here for the program's most recent Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Methods.

Year 1

Pre-Fall Courses

PMO530 Behavioral & Social Sciences Applied to Public Health (4 credit hours)

PMO1010 Diversity and Leadership (2 credit hours)

PMO401 Seminar in Health Administration and Policy (1 credit hour)

PMO592 Healthcare Information Technology (2 credit hours)

Fall Courses

PMO533 Decision Making in Health Services (2 credit hours)

PMO526 Health Systems (4 credit hours)

PMO1011 Quantitative Analysis & Methods for Health Leaders and Executives I (3 credit hours)

PMO103 Fundamentals of Healthcare Finance (2 credit hours)

PMO528 Global Health I** (4 credit hours)

Winter Courses

PMO523 Fundamentals of U.S. Health Care Policy (3 credit hours)

PMO598 Healthcare Economics (3 credit hours)

PMO1012 Quantitative Analysis & Methods for Health Leaders and Executives II (3 credit hours)

PMO401 Seminar in Health Administration and Policy (1 credit hour)

PMO535 The Law of Healthcare (2 credit hours)

PMO527 Principles of U.S. Health Care Management (2 credit hours)

Spring Courses

PMO 1026 Current Issues in Healthcare (2 credit hours)

PMO 1027 Managerial Epi (3 credit hours)

PMO401 Seminar in Healthcare Administration and Policy (Accreditation) (1 credit hour)

PMO529 Health Care Financial Management (2 credit hours)

PMO576 Human Resource Management in Health Care (3 credit hours)

PMO1007 Advanced Seminar in Global Health Policy (3 credit hours)

PMO532 Quality Assessment and Improvement in Health Care (2 credit hours)

Summer Courses

PMO1005 Strategic Planning & Marketing for Healthcare Systems (3 credit hours)

PMO401 Seminar in Health Administration and Policy (Capstone) (2 credit hours)

PMO998 Foundations of Leadership (1 credit hour)



Year 2


PMO1015 MHAP Residency (12 credits)


PMO1015 MHAP Residency (12 credits)


PMO1015 MHAP Residency (12 credits)

[MHAP GMP Proposals Due]


PMO1015 MHAP Residency (12 credits)


PMO1015 MHAP Residency (12 credits)




The 12 month Administrative Residency provides practical experience in healthcare administration and policy leadership. Preceptors and the Director of the MHAP collaborate to provide a customized residency experience that will meet not only the requirements for graduation, but the professional development needs of the individual resident and sponsoring agency. 


The 2019 - 2020 Administrative Residency Handbook, which details the residency process to include the Graduate Management Project can be found here.

Our students are among the brightest and most capable that our military services have to offer.  While we take a whole-person approach in evaluating applicants desiring to attend the program there are, however, a number of requirements necessary to admit qualified applicants.

Below is a listing of requirements and preferred (as applicable) scores or outcomes for each criterion.

- Have completed a bachelor's degree in an undergraduate program (preferred grade point average is 3.0 or higher).

- Early- to mid-career military officer in an active status.

- Completed the GRE within the past five years of the application cycle.  Preferred minimum score is 290 for the revised GRE.

- Have approval (or in steps of attaining approval) for entry into graduate training program from your respective military service.


We also weigh three factors in determining admission criteria.

(1) Is the applicant a good fit for the MHAP Program?

(2) Will the applicant add diversity and perspective to the classroom?

(3) Is the applicant academically ready for the challenges of quality graduate education?


Ready to apply[select GEO Application when prompted]

Questions?  See our Program Contacts page for appropriate points of contact.

Residencies may be of the more traditional nature, exploring the operations of hospitals or more policy-focused. The best residency option combines the best of both worlds. Residency opportunities may include government agencies, think-tanks, private, public, or non-profit hospitals, medical group practice management organizations, consulting firms, information systems organizations, managed care organizations, or industry interest groups. Possibilities may include: TRICARE Management Activity; Department of Health and Human Services; Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; US Public Health Service; Logistics Management International; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; Department of Veterans Affairs; Intrepid Center; COCOMS; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); Public Health Service; Service Surgeons General Offices; Kaiser; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; The Advisory Board; Center for Naval Analysis; CDHAM; Henry Jackson Foundation; RAND; or Inova Systems.

Residency sites are selected that offer our residents the opportunity for hands-on involvement in challenging administrative and policy-based issues. Residency sites are selected based on the expectation that the host site management is willing and able to commit the time and resources that our students deserve. You may use existing sites as options if they are willing to take another resident – or – you may suggest sites as well if you have specific interests or know someone who would be willing to be your preceptor. Faculty may also suggest potential sites. All sites must be approved by the Residency Director as meeting the academic standards required for the residency year. Identification of potential sites is the responsibility of the student, but faculty and staff are ready and willing to help! If you have an idea for a residency you might legitimately desire, your first step is to inform the Residency Director so we can get the ball rolling.

Preceptors are carefully selected based on their commitment to, and mutual interests with, the resident. During the residency period, the preceptor serves as the resident's direct supervisor, providing careful oversight, mentoring, and support. The MHAP faculty places a tremendous level of importance on the role of the preceptor and an appropriate preceptor/resident match. Preceptors are making a personal and professional commitment to the student and are selected through a carefully scripted process including interviews with the MHAP Program Director, Residency Director, and faculty members. Preceptors are approved only if they demonstrate the ability to create an environment conducive to creative learning experiences and professional development of the resident. Preceptors are also expected to make the necessary time commitment to serve as a mentor to the resident, involving the resident in daily meetings and activities, meaningful activities, and assisting the resident in the preparation and design of their graduate management project.

For further information, please contact our Residency Director, LCDR Austin Haag (301-295-3833) or the Program Director, LCDR Beth Hawks (301-295-0800).

The Graduate Management Project (GMP) is a two-part project which entails a formal academic manuscript and an oral presentation.  This project is specific to the student's year in residence and serves as the culmination of the student's learning -- it demonstrates the skills and competencies gained in the program.  Not only is the GMP a useful demonstration of the student's mastering of abilities pertinent to their career in healthcare management, but residency sites often cite how useful and relevant the student's GMP is for aiding residency sites as well.  You may find more information about GMP here.

Prior GMPs are listed below.


  • OPM Automated Data Collection Tool Pharmacy Cost and Workflow Recommendations - residency conducted at  United States Office of Personnel Management 
  • DoD Global Health Engagement Amidst the MHS Reform - residency conducted at The Center for Global Health Excellence (CGHE)

  • Reducing Surgical Tray Defects in the Sterile Processing Department to Improve Overall Quality and Service 

    Improvement of ICU Multidisciplinary Rounding Workflow to Reduce Average Unit Stay for Patients 

      Design and Integration of Babyscripts: A Mother and Baby Mobile Application to Increase Patient Education and Reduce Complications During and After Pregnancy   

  -  residencies conducted at Anne Arundel Medical Center 

  • New Medicare Card Rollout Initiative and Potential Recommendations for Similar Projects - residency conducted at The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 

MHAP Program Director
(301) 295-0800
MHAP Program Manager
(301) 295-3831
Ready to apply[select GEO Application when prompted]