General Questions

What is an MSHA?

It is the acronym for Master of Science in Health Administration and one of the degrees that will help you achieve success in a career focused on improving the health of others.

How is an MSHA different from an MBA?

In both degrees, students develop the advanced management and financial skills necessary to run a large company. An MSHA is focused exclusively on health care and is a better fit for students that know they want to work in this industry. At UAB, our MSHA is an inter-disciplinary degree where students take classes with the School of Health Professions, the School of Public Health, and the Collat School of Business. All courses have a healthcare focus and students learn more about the application and interworking of the healthcare system than those who pursue a healthcare-focused MBA.

What is the average class size?

The UAB MSHA Program enrolls 30-35 students each fall with diverse backgrounds, education and experience levels.

What is an administrative residency?

The administrative residency is a hallmark of the UAB MSHA Program. All MSHA students are required to complete a 9-12 month administrative residency prior to receiving their MSHA degree. Administrative residencies are also referred to as fellowships by some organizations. An administrative residency is a full time, paid experience that provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a health care setting. Students receive mentorship from executives in the organization during the administrative residency to develop their leadership skills further.

UAB employs a unique program called the Preceptors’ Conference each fall for second-year students. Over 40 organizations and health care leaders come to UAB to meet, socialize with, and interview our students during this unique event. A strong network of UAB MSHA alumni around the country also seek MSHA students as residents.

Will I receive a graduate degree before I begin my Administrative Residency?

  • MSHA single-degree students will not receive their degree until successfully completing the Administrative Residency/Fellowship component (9-12 months).
  • MSHA/MBA dual-degree students will receive the MBA degree at the completion of the didactic portion of the program (end of second spring semester) and the MSHA degree upon completion of the Administrative Residency (9-12 months).
  • MSHA/MPH dual-degree students will receive the MPH degree at the completion of the didactic portion of the program (end of second spring semester) and the MSHA degree upon completion of the Administrative Residency (9-12 months).
  • MSHA/MSHI dual-degree students will receive the MSHI degree at the completion of the didactic portion of the program (end of second spring semester) and the MSHA degree upon completion of the Administrative Residency (9-12 months).

Application Questions

What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the UAB MSHA Program is December 1st of each year. It is recommended that you start the application process in October to ensure there is enough time to get all of the materials in for the application. A new cohort of students is only admitted once a year with classes beginning in the fall.

What are the application requirements?

Prospective students may apply to the UAB MSHA Program through the UAB application system or through HAMPCAS (Healthcare Administration, Management & Policy Centralized Application Service). Links for both of these options may be found on the Residential MSHA Admissions web page. In order for an application to be considered complete, prospective students must complete the online application (includes essays and resume), provide official transcript(s), and request at least 3 letters of reference online. Only complete applications will be considered for an on-campus interview invitation.

Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

We no longer require the GMAT or GRE for admission to the MSHA Program.

What is the GPA requirement?

The minimum undergraduate GPA is 3.0 on a 4-point scale (either overall or in the last 60 hours of coursework). 

Is an interview required?

An on-campus interview is required prior to an admissions decision. The interview process typically begins in January and will last a half day. During that time, prospective students will be able to meet with MSHA Program leadership, faculty members, current students, and alumni as well as tour the facilities and campus.

Do I have to wait until my interview to visit?

No! If you are planning a trip to Birmingham and would like to schedule a visit to the department and campus, please reach out to Pam Armstrong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The MSHA program also hosts Recruitment Days in the Fall and Spring.

What work experience is necessary?

Work experience is not a requirement for the UAB Residential MSHA Program. Some students entering the MSHA program may have some work experience while others apply directly after graduating from college. However, we do encourage applicants to gain as much experience in health care as possible. Those experiences do not have to be paid opportunities. The Admissions Committee will review your resume and essays for evidence of leadership, community service and any prior exposure to the healthcare industry as a volunteer, intern or paid part-time work experience. It is recommended that applicants identify and emphasize their health care experience, leadership experience and potential during the application process.

What prerequisites should I have?

Applicants will have received their undergraduate degree from an accredited institution or be on track to graduate prior to enrolling in the UAB MSHA Program. Some exposure to accounting and finance will be helpful, but is not required. Experience with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word is highly recommended.

Am I eligible for in-state tuition?

If you are currently a resident of Alabama, you are eligible for in-state tuition. The state will not grant in-state tuition for those who moved to Alabama for the purpose of going to school. Alabama participates in the Academic Common Market, so out-of-state students may be eligible for in-state tuition under certain circumstances. For more information about the Academic Common Market, visit the Academic Common Market page.

Curriculum

What is your curriculum?

The first 21 months of the UAB MSHA Program encompasses 2 semesters (Fall and Spring) of on-campus classes, a summer internship opportunity, and 2 more semesters (Fall and Spring) of on-campus classes. Following the didactic portion of the program, all students must complete a 9-12 month Administrative Residency. Dual degree students will be able to graduate with the  MPH, MSHI or MBA degree prior to beginning the Administrative Residency. For more information about our curriculum, visit the curriculum page.

What are your dual degree options?

The UAB MSHA Program provides students the opportunity to pursue a dual degree with the Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) Program, Master of Public Health Program (MPH), or the Master of Business Administration Program (MBA). For more information about our dual-degree options, please visit the dual-degree page.

Can I take electives?

The UAB MSHA Program is highly structured with a rigorous course load in the fall and spring semesters. Single degree MSHA students have the opportunity to select two electives during the course sequence. Dual-degree MSHA/MBA students are able to select one elective during the course sequence. MSHA/MSHI and MSHA/MPH students do not have the option to select an elective.

Do you offer part-time or distance learning?

The UAB Residential MSHA Program is a full-time on-campus program during the first 21 months. Our Executive MSHA Program is designed for healthcare professionals with 5 or more years of experience and uses a blend of distance learning with a week on-campus each semester. Neither the Residential MSHA Program nor the Executive MSHA Program is offered part-time or fully online.

Student Life

What is it like to live in Birmingham?

Birmingham is a lively, up-and-coming city. It is known for its rich history with civil rights, beautiful outdoors, and great museums. As a major city for health care, there are endless opportunities to get involved in the industry. Outside of health care, Birmingham has one of the nation’s best restaurant scenes and new places are always opening. There is no shortage of concerts, sports games, and other exciting events.

Will I have time for a part-time job?

The UAB MSHA Program has partnered with the UAB Health System to provide an immediate immersion into the healthcare industry. The Student Workforce Program matches students with UAB Health System leaders and pays students for up to 10 hours each week for the first academic year. During the second year, many students find other health care employment opportunities in the Birmingham area.

Do students do summer internships?

Most MSHA students complete a summer internship between the first and second year. Single-degree MSHA students are required to complete a 9-12 week summer internship.