Master of Health Care Innovation

Are any scholarships or funding available?

There is no funding currently available from the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy. MHCI students are either self-funded or may receive some funding through their employer. MHCI students who are U.S. citizens are eligible for federal student loans in most semesters of the program. Non-U.S. citizens may be eligible for private loans, but will usually need a U.S. co-signer. You might also explore the possibility of scholarships through outside organizations, such as professional associations. Seee Penn's Student Registration & Financial Services webpage for more information.

Does this program result in a degree?

Yes! Students earn a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania—the Master of Health Care Innovation (MHCI). The degree is conferred by the Perelman School of Medicine. Upon graduation, students are considered alumni of the University of Pennsylvania.

How much does the Master of Health Care Innovation cost?

See current tuition and fee rates for a breakdown of cost per course unit and for the total estimated cost.

Are there any in-person sessions?

Yes, students attend the annual seminar each year they are in the program. In August students come together on Penn's campus in Philadelphia for 2-3 days to prepare through orientation activities, immerse themselves in innovation topics, and build memorable and enduring connections with each other, the program, and Penn. Programming complements the curriculum and optimizes the opportunities of gathering. Room, board, and conference activities for Seminar are covered by the program at no additional cost to the students. Transportation to and from Philadelphia for the event, as well as incidental expenses, are the responsibility of each student. (The MHCI program follows University health and safety policies and may be required to shift in-person activities.)

What kind of time commitment should I expect?

The Master of Health Care Innovation degree is designed to be completed in 20 months. A 3-year option is also available for students who want to spread out the workload and financial commitment over more time. Students begin their studies in Fall each year. While enrolled in a course, students typically spend between 13–15 hours per week on coursework.

Who should apply?

The MHCI is designed for both clinicians AND non-clinicians. Applicants have included physicians (from hospital, academic, and private practice settings), nurses and nurse managers, researchers, administrators, and executives from a variety of industries, such as pharmaceuticals, insurance, and medical device companies. However, this is not an exhaustive list of the types of applicants who would be a good fit. Professionals from government agencies, dental medicine, and other sectors of health care would also benefit from this degree. MHCI students are full-time professionals working in a health care or related field.

What career opportunities are there after graduation?

There is no definitive path. It depends on your background and goals, which vary widely from student to student. Physician students, for example, tend to want to move into additional leadership or administrative positions after the degree. Non-clinician students may use the degree as a stepping stone into a more senior role, perhaps one that focuses more on transformation and innovation in their organization. A search for clinical, administrative, research, and other types of health care job openings suggests that many companies value innovation, as part of their culture and as a skill. Some positions focus on leading innovation, while in others, one facet of the position may draw upon the types of skills and experience you'll gain in the MHCI. There is no formal career mentoring in the program, but we connect our students to a range of working professionals, beyond the program faculty, to help you build your network and shape your own path.

What’s the difference between this and an MBA? MHA? MPH?

The MHCI is unique in that it contextualizes your role in the larger health care system and seeks to answer the question: How do we improve the experience of all players in the health care system, including patients, doctors, payors, and administrators? The MHCI provides students with a multi-faceted set of tools and connections, and offers a unique and multi-disciplinary combination of faculty expertise, drawing world-class faculty from the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wharton School of Business, Penn Law, and the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. The MHCI trains students to identify opportunities for improvement, and to systematically develop innovative solutions at all levels of the health care system.

  • MBA: An MBA would be more broadly applied, and not specific to health care. It may also have a larger focus on finance.

  • MHA: An MHA would include more financial and management-related courses, and might be more geared toward students who want to get an administrative fellowship after graduation.

  • MPH: While there may be some limited overlap on policy coursework, an MPH curriculum would likely include epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, and statistics, which are not foci in the MHCI.

I am a University of Pennsylvania employee. Can I use my tuition benefits towards the Master of Health Care Innovation?

Yes, eligible University of Pennsylvania employees may use tuition benefits to help cover a portion of the cost of the degree. University employees should see the Penn HR website for more information. Health system employees should contact their HR representative for more information, or see the UPHS Employee Self-Service website for up-to-date information on tuition assistance policies and procedures.

What is the Early Access application deadline?

By submitting your application by the February Early Access deadline, you will get access to exclusive MHCI content. You will receive your decision earlier in the year so you may start preparing. If accepted, you will have access to additional MHCI content and networking opportunities with your future classmates. The program does not enroll via rolling admissions; applications will be reviewed after each deadline. Your admissions decision will arrive roughly 4 weeks after the deadline.

Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation

Who can enroll in courses for the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation?

The Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation is open to current Penn staff, faculty, and graduate or professional students with approval from their program, as well as individuals with health care or relevant work experience


How can I earn the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation?

Students earn a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation by successfully completing 4 courses within 2 years. Courses are offered annually. Students who do not wish to earn the certificate may take one or two courses at their own pace.

Can I take one course by itself?

Yes, you may take 1 or more courses at your own pace, or successfully complete 4 courses within 2 years to earn the certificate.


How do I sign up?

Individuals interested in taking a single course or signing up for the certificate should fill out the short application form. The Program Manager will manager will contact you upon review. Current Penn students should navigate to our permit request form to request permission for upcoming Health Care Innovation (HCIN) Courses. You may sign up any time throughout the year, and courses may be taken in any sequence. A course schedule is available online.

How much time will I spend on coursework?

Courses are 6 weeks long. Students spend about 12-15 hours/week on coursework. This includes time both in and outside of class: reading articles, working on assignments, taking quizzes, watching lecture videos, etc.

Will there be required sessions at specific times?

There will be a weekly interactive session with the faculty member, some of which will be live one-hour videoconferences scheduled at a specific time. The schedule for live video sessions will be distributed ahead of time, and recordings of these sessions will be made available. Otherwise, class materials (lecture videos, readings, etc.) are available on-demand within the course start and end dates.

What if I can’t make it to a live video session?

All live ("synchronous") class meetings are recorded for later viewing. You should make every effort to attend the live session, but if you can’t, you can watch the recording. Be sure to answer the survey question at the end of the recording to get attendance credit for the session.

Can I use my tuition benefits towards these courses?

Eligible employees may use tuition benefits toward these courses. The Human Resources website provides more information on tuition benefits for University employees. Health system employees should consult their HR representative for more information.

I have a question about the course material or an assignment. Who should I contact?

The Course Assistants are the first line of support when it comes to course material and assignments. Their names and email addresses are listed near the top of the course’s Home page in Canvas. If you are having technical issues within the course itself, please contact Other questions can be directed to a Program Manager at

Can credits earned in the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation be counted toward the Master of Health Care Innovation?

Yes. Credits earned in the Graduate Certificate in Health Care Innovation may be counted toward the Master of Health Care Innovation, if the credits were earned no more than 4 years prior to matriculating into the master's program. Some exceptions may apply.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Do these courses result in credit?

No, they are strictly on-demand and noncredit.