If you are interested in advancing your career in the healthcare industry, but want to focus on the management and business side of this rewarding pathway, a Master's in Health Systems Management may be for you. While some entry-level positions as managers/administrators for hospitals, long-term care facilities, and more can be procured with a bachelor's-level degree, the vast majority require a graduate degree in health systems management, typically awarded as an MBA, MHA, or MSN. A master's in this field can lead to coveted job titles, such as:

  • Hospital Administrator
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Hospital CFO
  • Hospital Department Head
  • Health/Social Services Manager
  • Clinical Director
  • Nursing Director
  • Medical Records Manager

This broad degree allows room for growth, or for movement within the health management industry, making it an excellent choice for those looking to find their niche.

Choosing a Health Systems Management (HSM) Program

Deciding to earn a master's degree (MSN) in health systems management is a huge step, and finding the right school and program for you is of paramount importance. With colleges and universities across the country offering this increasingly popular degree pathway, students must do some research to ensure that they choose wisely. The following are some key elements to keep in mind as you consider which school to attend for your master's in health systems management:


Searching for properly accredited health systems management programs is one of the best ways to narrow down the field. Accredited programs signify quality, consistency, and high academic standards. Some of the best graduate-level health systems management programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

Program Cost

Finding a health systems management program that you can afford is likely at the top of your priority list. Many things can affect a program's overall cost, including location, type of school, online/in-person attendance, full-time/part-time schedules, and much more. For example, as of 2018 the tuition cost for the MSN Health Systems Management track at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is roughly $41,952, including insurance and most fees. This does not include extra expenses such as textbooks, room and board, etc.

Program Length

Whether a student chooses a Master's in Business Administration pathway, a Master's in Health Administration pathway, or a Master's of Science in Nursing pathway for their health systems management program, the expected length for full-time attendance is one year, or roughly 36 total credits, however many programs can be completed in a much shorter time. Some programs allow part-time attendance, which will extend the length of the program to around two years from start to finish. Online programs may allow more flexibility in how coursework is completed; it's generally recommended to check with your school of choice to see how long an online program will take to complete.

Online/Campus Options

Students in this modern age are lucky to have the choice between completing their master's in health systems management online, or in a traditional classroom setting. Some schools offer both pathways, and many schools have begun implementing a "hybrid" program where most of the coursework is taken online, save for a few campus visits to attend lectures or intensives. Many students appreciate the immersive environment of a classroom-based program, while those who are working or don't live near a university may prefer the online experience.

Admissions Requirements

While each school will have its own unique set of entrance requirements, the clear majority ask that students have the following prior to being admitted to an MSN health systems management program:

  • BSN from an accredited institution (degree type may differ for MBA or MHA programs)
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation (academic and professional)
  • Essay/personal statement of goals
  • Current resume/CV
  • Must submit evidence of current RN license

Health Systems Management Curriculum

Generally, the curriculum for an MSN in health systems management includes a mix of core courses, specialty courses, and electives. There may also be a clinical experience requirement, where students are obligated to have completed around 2,000 hours of recent clinical nursing hours prior to starting the program.

Classes & Courses Offered

Most students will take the following course topics as part of their master's in health systems management program:

  • Context of Healthcare for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Ethics for Health Professionals
  • Health Policy & Healthcare Delivery
  • Fiscal Management in Healthcare Organizations
  • Program Development and Evaluation in Healthcare
  • Decision Support in Healthcare
  • Strategic Uses of IT
  • Management of Service Operations

Helpful Links

List of MSN Health Systems Management Programs

Finding the right graduate program in health systems management near you is as easy as finding your state below. With options from coast to coast, anyone can find the perfect health systems management program, from online to traditional campus-based.

Jump to Your State Listings


1701 University Blvd
Birmingham, AL 35294
(205) 934-5428


2445 W Dunlap Ave #100
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 242-6265


7675 Mission Valley Rd
San Diego, CA 92108
(800) 316-6314


901 S Flagler Dr
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(888) 468-6722


1400 E Hanna Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 788-3368


MSN Programs
500 W University Ave
Hammond, LA 70402
(985) 549-2000


School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 20205
(410) 955-4766


400 N. Ingalls St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 764-7185

4001 W. McNichols Road
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 993-1828

New Hampshire

420 Main St
Nashua, NH 03060
(603) 888-1311


401 College Ave
Ashland, OH 44805
(419) 289-4142



3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 895-2000

418 Curie Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281

3500 Victoria St
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(888) 747-0794

South Carolina

901 Sumter Street, Suite 304
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-0169


MSN Programs
2201 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37235
(615) 322-7311


4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-1000

MSN Programs
1460 University Dr
Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 665-4500

MSN Programs
225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 924-2743


MSN Programs
502 E Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 328-4220


2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311
(920) 465-2000

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