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Rigorous Management Curriculum

Our two-year MHA offers you a rigorous management curriculum, unparalleled flexibility in selecting specialized courses based on your career interests, and practical learning opportunities. Students are required to take 15 courses in key management disciplines, usually with a health care focus. Formal classes are complemented by a range of practical learning opportunities such as PLICs, the colloquium series, a summer internship, and the capstone course.

Students wearing red t-shirts, putting up post-its on white board


Core Courses, Listed in Sequence

Year 1 Curriculum – Fall Semester

  • Health Care Organization
  • Regression Analysis & Managerial Forecasting
  • Accounting, Financial Reporting & Decision Making
  • Organizational Development & HR in Health Care Organizations
  • Health Innovation & IT Trek in HC

Year 1 Curriculum – Spring Semester

  • Managing Operations
  • Population Health for Health Managers
  • Managerial Finance
  • Legal Aspects of Health Care
  • Challenges & Trends in Health Care

Year 2 Curriculum – Fall Semester

  • Field Studies (Capstone)
  • Marketing Management
  • Health Care Finance II
  • Strategic Management & Organizational Design of Health Care Systems
  • Data Analytics for Healthcare Administrators
  • Healthcare Services: Consumer & Ethical Perspectives

Year 2 Curriculum – Spring Semester

  • Health Policy
  • Microeconomics for Management & Policy

Teaching and Learning Methods Used in the Sloan Program

We believe that it is important to use some lower-level teaching and learning methods to impart the basics of the health care system and management skills early in the curriculum.  Examples would include readings, lectures, class discussions, and guest speakers.

While training future health care leaders, we strive to incorporate as many higher-level teaching and learning methods as possible, especially in courses that are offered later in the program. A number of core courses use higher-level teaching and learning methods extensively, and Sloan faculty are encouraged to use higher-level teaching and learning methods.  The Capstone course asks students to blend a broad variety of skills and competencies as they work on an actual consulting project for a client organization. Case studies and team presentations are frequently used in Health Care Finance II and Health Care Strategy, and many courses have assignments that involve teamwork.  Some courses, including Practitioner Led Intensive Courses, utilize simulation exercises. Students are asked to engage in reflective learning during the Capstone course via the use of journaling, evaluation of one’s contributions to a team project, and an assessment of the contributions of one’s teammates. Students have opportunities for external field experiences during the health care innovation trip to Boston, and the health policy trip to Washington, D.C.


Degree Requirements and Academic Progress

In order to fulfill the requirements to earn the MHA degree, students must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Full Time Residency:
    1. All Sloan students are required to be enrolled in and complete a minimum of 12 credits 
      each semester. Petitions for reduced residency are not considered.
    2. Degree Requirements for the MHA degree are: 
      a. Satisfactory completion of sixty (60) credit hours of graduate-level coursework (i.e., 5000-level courses or higher), which includes the required core courses and approved elective credits but excludes Sloan colloquium credits. Students can take courses below the 5000 level, but those credits do NOT count toward the required 60.
      1. Sloan core/required courses must be taken in the required sequence. 
        c. Satisfactory completion of four total credits (1 credit each semester) of Sloan Colloquium (e.g., PUBPOL 5990, Challenges & Trends).
      2. Credits for PUBPOL 5990 do not count towards the 60 credit hours required for 
        graduation from the Sloan Program.
      3. Credits for PUBPOL 5990 must be earned on a pass/fail basis (these do not 
        count toward a student’s total pass/fail limit). 
        d. Satisfactory completion of a 400-hour full time, approved summer internship between the first and second year of the program. 
        Note, while only 60 graduate credits are required to earn the MHA, Sloan students may take up to 22 credits each semester (inclusive of PUBPOL 5990) as long as they can maintain satisfactory academic progress and demonstrate healthy wellbeing. Taking more than 22 credits in a given semester will not be 

Additional requirements for 5-Year Bachelor/MHA degree: 
All the requirements of the MHA apply to the Bachelor/MHA. In addition, the following special requirements apply to students in the Bachelor/ MHA program which warrant separate explanation for clarity.

    1. Admission to Sloan’s five-year (4+1) Bachelor/MHA program is limited to Cornell 
      undergraduate students only in approved majors of study.
      1. Students must satisfactorily complete the same sixty (60) credit hours of coursework required for the MHA and the 1 credit per semester of PAM 5990 (4 credits total; 2 during the senior year and 2 as a graduate student) and the summer internship requirement.
    2. During the senior year, the Bachelor/MHA student will take first-year Sloan courses, 
      which will be double counted to satisfy both undergraduate elective requirements for the Bachelor degree at Cornell as well as graduate requirements.
    3. By April 15th of the senior year, students must formally apply to the Cornell Graduate 
      School and pay the application fee (fee waivers are available).
    4. Students who are making satisfactory progress in Sloan during the senior year will 
      automatically be admitted into Cornell’s Graduate School for completion of the MHA 

Evaluation of Academic Progress

Evaluation of academic progress is based on the following criteria: 

  1. Full time enrollment (a minimum of 12 credits per semester).
  2. Satisfactory progress in meeting Sloan degree requirements regarding required and elective courses and completing the summer internship.
  3. An overall GPA of 3.0 or greater, at all times, in all courses taken for a letter grade and counting toward the required 60 credits for graduation.
  4. A grade of C or higher in all required Sloan courses except PUBPOL 5951/5952 which requires a higher standard.
    1. Grades of C- and lower in required courses do not constitute satisfactory progress and require a student to retake the course or take an approved alternate course.
  5. A grade of B or higher in PUBPOL 5951 and 5952 Field Studies, the integrative “Capstone” project courses.
  6. Withdrawing from a class (i.e., taking a “W”) or taking an incomplete (i.e., taking an “I”) are 
    allowed only under highly extenuating circumstances and require pre-approval from the academic advisor, the program director and the college. For purposes of computing Sloan overall GPAs and evaluating academic progress, a grade of “W” in a required course is counted as an “F”.
  7. In core courses where a student failed to achieve a minimum C grade, credits for that course will not count towards the 60 for graduation and the grade will not be counted in GPA calculations.
  8. Any student with a cumulative Sloan GPA that does not meet the required 3.0 threshold after their fourth semester will not be eligible for graduation. 

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Progress: 
In the event a student is observed to be making less than satisfactory progress, the student will be notified in writing and required to meet with the program director to discuss any relevant circumstances and determine a positive course of action. A notice of Academic Probation will be placed in the student’s file. A student may be required to leave the program for lack of satisfactory academic progress and/or inappropriate conduct although all efforts will be made to co-create with the student a positive plan of action. 

Student Advising and Progress to Degree:
Assignment of a Faculty Academic Advisor: 

  1. All students are assigned a faculty academic advisor (“Committee Chair” on Graduate School forms) and a minor member for the Graduate School Special Committee (Nicholas Sanders, Director of Graduate Studies, is automatically appointed by the Graduate School to serve as the minor member).
  2. Academic advisors will provide ongoing advice and support during the program and are required to approve student elective courses during the mandatory student-advisor meeting at the beginning of each semester.
  3. Students may change their advisor after consulting with the program director. Any change to the Special Faculty Committee requires the completion of a “Special Faculty Committee Selection and Change” form. All signatures are required. Completed forms are to be returned to the Sloan program assistant. 

Progress to Degree Form (PTD):
To monitor student progress and ensure student success, each student must complete the relevant semester information in the “Progress to Degree Form” at the start of each semester beginning with the first semester in the program. Forms are due, with advisor approval, within two (2) weeks after the start of each semester via Cornell Box. 

Sloan Competencies

All program courses and activities are designed to help a student achieve our core competencies (listed below) which the Sloan Program has identified as crucial to success in the healthcare industry.


Sloan Competency Model


1. Business writing skills

2. Presentation skills

Leadership Skills and Relationship Management

3. Leading, communication with, and managing others

4. Change management

5. Ability for honest self-assessment

6. Problem solving and decision making

7. Working in teams


8. Personal and professional ethics

9. Emotional intelligence and critical thinking

Knowledge of the Health Care Environment

10. Health care issues and trends

11. Health care legal principles

12. Health policy

13. Population health and the social determinants of health

Business and Analytical Skills

15. Financial management and accounting

16. Organizational behavior and managing human resources

17. Strategic planning and analysis

18. Marketing

19. Information management

20. Operations management and quality and performance improvement

21. Quantitative skills

22. Planning and managing projects

23. Economic analysis and application

14. Cultural competence

Sloan leadership will provide each student with an individualized competency assessment that will be reviewed by the advisor and student on a quarterly basis. 

Methods for Evaluating Student Competence 

At the student level, the “realistic” target that we set is that all students will attain a self-assessed level of 3 in all competencies by the time they graduate, and our aspirational or “stretch” target is that all students will attain a level of 4 in all competencies by the time they graduate.  This is based on the 5-point Likert scale that we use where: 

  • 1 = Novice 
  • 2 = Advanced Beginner 
  • 3 = Competent 
  • 4 = Proficient 
  • 5 = Expert 

Sloan Competency Model and Method for Evaluating Student Competence 

The Sloan Program aspires to develop 23 distinct student competencies that are organized into five major domains: 1) Communication; 2) Leadership Skills and Relationship Management; 3) Professionalism; 4) Knowledge of the Health Care Environment; and 5) Business and Analytical Skills. Over the course of the two-year program, Sloan program staff use two methods to track a student’s competency attainment: self-assessment surveys administered three times throughout the program; and selected assignments in core courses. Students can track their competency development with a customized Excel-based Sloan Competency Assessment Rubric (SCAR), which will be available to you via Box. You are encouraged to discuss your competency attainment, and the evolution of your attainment, with your advisor when you
meet with them in the first two weeks of each semester. We use information on student performance on the competencies for accreditation purposes and to identify whether and how the curriculum can be improved. 

Sloan Colloquium Series

Each semester, practicing healthcare executives visit the campus and give lectures, workshops, and seminars. The colloquia provide informal settings where students interact directly with high-level professionals to learn about recent trends, issues, and innovative developments in the industry.


Colloquium Details

During each semester, practicing healthcare executives visit campus and give lectures, workshops and seminars as part of the Sloan Colloquium Series. The colloquia provide informal settings where students interact directly with high level professionals to learn about recent trends, issues and innovative developments in the field. There are often lively debates and interchanges between students and practitioners. Recent colloquia included speakers from academic medical centers, community hospitals, the VA system, medical practice management, bio-technology, insurance, management consulting and professional associations. Colloquia enable Sloan students to interact with industry practitioners in a seminar setting. Students are also invited to lunch with speakers on a rotating basis.

Professional Development Workshops

Each fall, first year students are required to attend a number of career and professional development workshops designed to hone their professional communication, networking, interviewing, negotiating, etiquette, and healthcare research skills. These workshops generally take place on select Fridays following our Sloan Colloquia.

Practitioner-Led Intensive Courses (PLICs)

PLICs are one-credit weekend courses taught by experienced health care executives on a range of topics such as:

  • Big Data
  • Strategic Change
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Management of Bond Financing
  • Operations and Planning of Long Term Care and Senior Living Facilities
  • Healthcare Facilities Planning
  • Healthcare Supply Chain Management
  • Alternative Payments in Healthcare
  • Operations and Planning of Collaborative Approaches to Quality, Safety and Service for Patients


PLIC Details

National Experts Teach Specialized Courses

Sloan offers at least eight Practitioner-Led Intensive courses (PLICs) per year. PLICs are one- or two-credit weekend courses taught by experienced health care executives that allow students to develop expertise in a special topic or skill.

VUCA Leadership
Instructor: George Casey, Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Leadership (a retired four-star general who served as the 36th Chief of Staff of the United States Army between 2007 and 2011)

Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare 1: Digital Health
Instructor: Terry Murphy (Sloan ‘86)

Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare 2: The Incumbents Strike Back
Instructor: Terry Murphy, (Sloan ‘86)

Designing a New Healthcare Payment System: Best Practices in Alternative Payment Design
Instructor: Carter Dredge (Sloan ’11)

Operations and Planning of Senior Living and Related Facilities/Programs
Instructor: Brooke Hollis (Sloan ’78)

Introduction to Quality and Quality Measurement
Instructor: Abhi Grewal (Sloan ’18)

Using Python to Analyze Data
Instructor: Keith Liao

Key Management Issues in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industries
Instructor: Sean Nicholson, Sloan Program Director

Facility Planning for Managers
Instructor: Brooke Hollis (Sloan ’78)

Fundamentals of Practice Administration
Instructor: Cathy Bartell (Sloan ‘90)

Private Equity in Healthcare
Instructor: Ed Han (Sloan ‘21)

The Healthcare Industry from a Consulting Perspective
Instructor: Ying Yang, Sloan Instructor, Assistant Director, McGovern Center Start-up Incubator

Collaborative Approaches to Quality, Safety, and Service for Patients
Instructor: Robert Lancey, MD, MBA (Johnson ’07)

Comparative Health Care Systems
Instructor: Angus Corbett, JD

The Politics Dance of Health Policy
Instructor: Lee Perlman (Sloan ’82)

Culminating Capstone Course

Working in small teams, second-year students complete a year-long capstone project for a health care organization. These consulting projects offer students an opportunity to synthesize and apply what they have learned to try to solve a real problem for a real client. Recent capstone projects include: developing an initiative to help a hospital’s pediatric practice grow patient volume; redesigning physician schedules to improve patient access and throughput at a GI clinic; examining the feasibility of a hospice house; and determining how to allow physician practices to accept cash payments from patients without violating payer contracts.


Capstone Details

In your second year, you will work as part of a three- or four-person team with your classmates to complete a year-long capstone project for a health care organization. You will provide expertise to a real client looking for a solution to a real problem. In the process, you will find yourself synthesizing the competencies you have acquired in the classroom and internships during your time at Sloan. The product of the course will be an oral presentation and research paper. Following are examples of recent culminating capstone projects:

  • Helping a hospital’s pediatric practice grow patient volume
  • Redesigning physician schedules at a GI clinic to improve patient access and throughput
  • Examining the feasibility of a hospice house
  • Exploring how to allow physician practices to accept cash payments from patients without violating payer contracts

Specialized Electives

Specialized courses offered in the Cornell Brooks School and throughout the Cornell campus allow students to develop specialized skills. Examples include:

  • Negotiations
  • Reading Financial Statements
  • Advanced Business Modeling
  • Project Management
  • Essentials of Management Consulting
  • Quality Systems and Processes
  • Leadership
  • Systems Engineering and Six Sigma
  • Spa and Resort Development and Management