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MHA FAQ

M.H.A. Frequently Asked Questions  

Answers to many common questions about the Master of Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.) program can be found on the following webpages:

Answers to a select number of other frequently asked questions are below:

Is your program CAHME accredited?
Yes, the Seton Hall M.H.A. program received initial CAHME accreditation effective May 20, 2014. This extends to both the on-campus and online program options and makes Seton Hall the only school in New Jersey with CAHME accreditation.

How are online classes different than on-campus classes?
Student learning for both online and on-campus is very similar, as you will have strong engagement and interactions with your faculty. Online students interact with faculty in slightly different ways, as they may use chat sessions, discussion boards, and face-to-face webinars to communicate with their professors. Plus, online courses provide flexibility for the students to set their own study time. Online courses also run in different scheduling, as students take courses one at a time in seven-week blocks. In addition, online students are required to attend three, five-day in-person Intensives / Residencies, an opportunity to further interact with faculty and classmates in person.

Can I switch mid-term from online to on-campus if I move?
No. Once you've enrolled in a course and the term begins, you are not able to switch course formats.

Are the acceptance rates different for online vs. on-campus?
No. The admission process is the same whether you are applying to take courses on campus, online or both. The application asks you to identify your intended mode of study (on campus or online), but this is merely for informational purposes. We do not use this information when reviewing files and making decisions, so you are not more likely to get accepted if you are applying to take online courses vs. on-campus courses.

My GPA is just below a 3.0. Is this going to affect my chances of admission into the program?
The admissions committee will consider the coursework GPA of the most recently conferred degree. For those applicants whose GPAs may fall in the 2.8 to 2.99 range, consideration can be given to professional experience working in healthcare. Students below 2.8 are not encouraged to apply.

Even though I have no previous healthcare experience, would I be able to be accepted into your program?
Yes, we have accepted students who do not have healthcare experience, but who demonstrate a strong desire and appropriate academic background to serve in the healthcare industry. Interested students may want to volunteer in a healthcare setting before applying to the program, although it is not required.

What are the prerequisites for the M.H.A. program?
There are no prerequisites or work experience required for the M.H.A. program, however professional experience can be an asset for students with a cumulative GPA between 2.8 and 2.99. Students are encouraged to gain exposure to healthcare via volunteer experiences if possible.

Do I need to take the GRE, GMAT or other standardized tests?
Standardized testing is not required for admission, except if English is not the native language of the applicant. If English is not the native language, a student must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report documenting a paper-based score of 550 or above, a computer based score of 213 or above, or an internet-based score of 79 or above. Exception to this requirement may be granted if the applicant is a U.S. resident and a graduate of a U.S. college within the previous two years.

What kind of undergraduate degree do I need to qualify for admission?
We accept a bachelor's degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university. Graduates of foreign institutions will need to have their degrees evaluated by an educational evaluation agency to determine equivalency.

What address should I have my transcripts and recommendation letters sent too?
You will need to go to the transcripts office of your university and request for your transcript to be sent to the address below:

Graduate Admissions
Seton Hall University
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079

Does the program accept transfer credit?
Transfer of credit into the graduate program will be subject to the evaluation and approval of the Program Director and Dean's Office in the School of Health and Medical Sciences. Student must provide proof of grade, course syllabi and course description of the courses being transferred. Students are allowed to transfer only 6 credits or 2 courses into the M.H.A. program. In order for the courses to be approved, they must match up with the courses being offered by the MHA program.

Are there any points that must be mentioned in the three letters of recommendations? Should they be professional or personal?
The three recommendation letters can either be professional or personal. Students often elect to submit letters from professors and/or employers. Recommendations from friends and family members are discouraged.

How long does it take someone who works full-time to complete the program?
For the on-campus program, a part-time student can complete the program in three years. A fulltime student should be able to complete the program in two years. The online cohort program lasts two years.

What is the Intensive / Residency component of the online program?
Students are part of a learning team (or cohort) that begins the program in August with the Orientation Intensive / Residency, which takes place on Seton Hall University's campus and at a nearby hotel facility. The students meet in person three times during the course of the two-year online program for the Orientation Intensive/Residency, the Mid-Intensive/Residency, and the Final Intensive/Residency. These intensives/residencies each include a course that is completed in a seminar format. The intensives/residencies typically begin on Wednesday morning and end on Sunday at noon.

What happens at the three Intensives / Residencies?
MHA Online students meet in-person for five days of lecture sessions, presentations from faculty and healthcare executives, and to network with other M.H.A. students and alumni.Orientation Intensive /Residency: Students complete HCAD 7521 21st Century Healthcare Systems. They learn how to use Blackboard, the online platform system, as well as Seton Hall's online library and other resources that will help them succeed in an online learning environment. Mid-Intensive/Residency: Students complete HCAD 7522 Healthcare Policy. They participate in an emergency management exercise for HCAD 8531 Managing Emergency Preparedness, the course that follows this residency.

Final Intensive/Residency: Students complete HCAD 8711 Leadership Institute (3 credits), and present their capstone projects. They also enjoy graduation celebrations.

Can I take a break from the program?
In the event of a personal or medical emergency, students may apply to the Dean of the School of Medical and Health Sciences for a leave of absence.

When are classes offered for the on-campus program?
The on-campus program is delivered as regular semesters with classes typically held one night a week, Monday to Thursday at 5pm or 7pm. Students are often able to schedule back-to-back courses for one evening.

Are there graduate assistantships available?
The university provides a limited number of graduate assistantships that include tuition remission and a small stipend. There are teaching, research, and administrative/office jobs available throughout the University. You may view information on open positions at: http://www.shu.edu/applying/graduate/grad-finaid.cfm All students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for financial consideration.

Can you describe a typical M.H.A. student?
Many students are early or mid-career professionals seeking to enhance their careers in the health field. Your peers may be working professionals with experience in the health field or they may be seeking a second career. They can be caregivers like physicians, registered nurses or occupational, physical, speech and hearing, mental health and other therapists. They can also be from the business side of healthcare like administration, financial management, suppliers to the industry, insurance or consulting professionals.

What computer skills do I need?
The online learning environment has been designed to be user-friendly. As long as you feel comfortable navigating the Internet, using e-mail and creating documents in Microsoft Office, you should feel at ease participating in this program. It is especially helpful to be familiar with Excel, as well.

On average, how many credits do most full-time working people take per semester?
Most full-time working people take 6 credits a semester.

How much time do my studies take?
Most students spend about 15 to 20 hours per week for MHA class work in addition to attending class.

Is the health administration field a growing area, and will there be a need for healthcare managers and administrators as time progresses?
Yes, healthcare is a thriving field, but you need to find your "niche" and provide value to the organization.

Would possessing an M.H.A. from your program help me attain a reasonably high-level administrative position "right off the bat", after I graduate?
No one can ever guarantee that the situation you describe will occur - especially in this economic climate. We work very hard to prepare our students to take desirable positions, and we help them to find appropriate internships. Many healthcare employers seek our students out. Students are strongly considered to develop a relationship with the SHU Career Center once they begin the program.

Is an M.H.A. degree right for me? What about an M.B.A.?
If your career goals include leadership or management within the healthcare system, then the M.H.A.. is a great option. If you currently work, or plan to work, in the health care industry (hospital, health system, clinic, long-term care facility, insurance company, etc.) then you should learn as much as you can about it. An M.H.A. degree is a focused business degree for health services managers and leaders.

I have a full-time job and a family. Is it really possible for me to work toward a graduate degree?
Many of our students work full-time and have families and other commitments outside of school. The non-traditional structure of the M.H.A. program (evening on-campus courses, online courses and full- or part-time attendance) provides a great deal of flexibility to students in completing the program. On average, students complete 6 credit hours or two courses each term. Finally, faculty have an understanding of the demands on adult students and work with them to meet the requirements of the curriculum.

What will an M.H.A. degree do for me?
A graduate degree provides opportunity. The entry-level requirement for a management position within the healthcare industry is a master's degree. Many of our students currently work in healthcare, but they desire to move into a management position. The M.H.A. degree will provide them this opportunity. For students with limited healthcare experience, or those looking to transition their career into healthcare, an M.H.A. degree can supplement their academic and professional experience by providing an introduction to healthcare delivery systems and an opportunity to develop their business and leadership skills.

How helpful is this program if you have no experience?
This program is very helpful to students with no experience because they are in classes with individuals who have a wide range of experience. Students also have the opportunity to pursue an internship and gain needed fieldwork experience.

Are there specific login or online participation times?
Most online classes allow for asynchronous participation (not specific times). However, in order to facilitate student learning, online classes may include occasional webinars, online chat rooms or Skype options, which do require a specific time commitment. This information will be identified in the course syllabus. Students should expect weekly due dates for assignments that require them to participate in the online course throughout the week.

Will my degree state that it's from an online program--will future employers know?
No, your diploma will not state that your program was in an online format. Your diploma and transcripts will list your M.H.A. degree earned from Seton Hall University.

Can I access SHU library facilities if I'm taking online classes?
All SHU library resources necessary for the M.H.A. are available online, including multiple databases and full text articles. The interlibrary loan service allows you to reserve books, order journal articles and receive materials from other libraries.

Do online classes require extra work?
Online classes require students to engage in a course in a different way than on-campus courses. In an on-campus course, students know they will read, write papers, take tests and meet in a classroom. In an online class, students will read, write papers, take tests and engage using a written medium. Students in an online class need to budget the same amount of time as students in a classroom. Self management of your time is integral to your success in the online program.

What are assignments like?
Assignments are problem-solving and critical in nature. Online assignments are very similar to oncampus assignments and require reading the book, completing questions, writing papers, posting to the bulletin board, reviewing other materials and research.

What are some of the challenges when taking online classes?
One of the keys to being a successful online student is self-discipline. Because you are not required to be in class at a specific time, you have to be motivated to get the work done on your own. If you have a family and/or a full-time job while you are taking online classes, it is important that you establish a schedule of when and how you will get your work done.

If you don't understand an assignment, it is important to ask questions for clarification so you don't fall behind. Instructors make themselves available to students via e-mail, discussions boards and conference calls.

How are online classes graded? What are the instructor's expectations?
Online courses are graded just like classroom courses. High-level critical thinking is required, and students leave the course with an understanding of the subject and an ability to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting. Standard assignments include reading the course text and additional materials, active participation in online discussions, quizzes or tests, writing reports, etc.

Are lectures available online?
Some instructors post lectures online. Lectures may be audio or visual. Sometimes they are provided as a PowerPoint or text document. Online classes are delivered using an online learning management system, called Blackboard. Students log into Blackboard, and can click on any of their course sites. Once a student is in the course site, s/he can access lectures, PowerPoint, documents, videos, links, discussion boards and the place where assignments are submitted (called a dropbox).

Are there group projects with online classes?
Group projects are often a part of online and on-campus classes. Students are grouped together, given a topic to investigate, and work together electronically to accomplish their goals. Often, groups of students prepare various types of media presentations and share with the class via wiki, streaming video or discussion board postings. Students are often divided into groups or learning communities to discuss questions or cases developed by the faculty. By dividing students into small groups (versus entire class), the faculty can facilitate students getting to know each other better and achieve a higher level of interconnectivity.

How do I stay in contact with my classmates and faculty during the online program?
Our online students report that they "get to know" their colleagues in a deeper way because their interaction is not limited to one class a week and they spend the Intensives/Residencies learning together. You will find that contact in our online classes is frequent and may allow for more thoughtful interaction than traditional classes. You will be engaged in exciting collaborative learning, working together on modules that allow you to share your previous work experience and your learning experience with other students and with faculty.

What are the advantages of taking classes online?
Convenience and flexibility are the most common reasons for taking online classes. Taking classes online is ideal for someone who wants to continue working while earning graduate degree. Online classes allow you to fit school into your schedule when it works best for you.

What makes the Seton Hall University online M.H.A. program unique?
The online M.H.A. program was built on a very successful on-campus program and began in 1998. It differs from most other in-person programs in several ways. First, many participants are mid-career, recent graduates or experienced professionals who share a wealth of practical knowledge in the courses. Second, we designed the program in collaboration with healthcare administrators and academic experts who know what knowledge and skills you need to move ahead in your career. Third, the structure of the program allows you to manage your studies to fit the demands of your professional and personal life.

If you are still in need of information after reviewing our webpages and these FAQs, please feel free to contact us directly:

Patrick McDermott
Director of Graduate Admissions
(973) 275-2062
patrick.mcdermott@shu.edu

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