Nov 12, 2019  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Health Systems Management (MS)

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The Health Systems Management, or HSM, master’s program, which started in 1979, educates students for highly successful careers in the rapidly growing field of health care management. We develop future leaders to transform health care in a professional program founded in research and evidence-based learning.

Students bring real-life experience to the classroom based on our internship model. Faculty bring real-life experience and teaching methods into the classroom based on our practitioner-teacher model and real-life applications. 

Our program facilitates long-term involvement in the health care leadership profession as teachers, mentors and lifelong learners in the field. Application, innovation, excellence and leadership keep us on the cutting edge of experiential learning as we continue to evolve curriculum content based on industry trends. 


Our mission is to prepare individuals for roles of increasing leadership in the field of health care management, with the ultimate goal of transforming health care organizations to deliver the highest-quality patient care and improve the lives of patients, their families and the community. Our practitioner-teacher model integrates lifelong learning, scholarship and service to ensure our diverse students, faculty and alumni are leaders in transforming health care.  

Our curriculum is designed to provide the knowledge, skills, abilities and values required to succeed in the field of health care management. An emphasis on competency and professional skills development - and an orientation toward lifelong learning - ensures new graduates are well-prepared for early careerist positions and our alumni hold positions of increasing responsibility during their careers.

Our practitioner-teacher model provides leadership development opportunities for the faculty, ensuring they stay abreast of the most recent conceptual frameworks and best practices in the field. Their roles as practitioner-faculty provide them with opportunities to teach and mentor the next generation of health care leaders.


Our program will be recognized as one of the premier health administration graduate programs in the nation. Our practitioner-teacher model will be recognized as an ideal way to educate and train health administration graduate students. Through participation in the program’s practitioner-teacher model, our faculty will be known for innovation and excellence in health care management practice, education and scholarship.


Our program embraces the values of Rush University Medical Center, Rush University and the College of Health Sciences. These values include: innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect, excellence, diversity, inclusion and accommodation.

Health Systems Management (MS): Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or anticipate completing that degree prior to the start of the HSM degree program. The two prerequisite courses, which consist of an undergraduate course in accounting and an undergraduate course in statistics, also must be completed prior to enrollment but you may apply to the program while this is in progress. An undergraduate course in microeconomics is highly recommended.

Applicants fill out an online application, provide three letters of recommendation and submit official copies of their college/university transcripts from every college/university previously attended. In addition, they submit scores from either the -GRE graduate school entry exam or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT. International students also must submit a credentialing evaluation of their international education, as well as the results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL.

Qualified applicants are invited to Rush for an admissions visit. The visit typically includes four faculty interviews, lunch with a current student and a tour of Rush campus.

Health Systems Management: Academic Policies


While the program is primarily designed for full-time study, students can enroll in the program either on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students typically attend the program for four terms over two academic years, with a summer break. Part-time students typically take two to three courses per term. The part-time program holds classes during traditional hours and does not offer evening or weekend classes at this time.

The program must be completed within a five-year time limit unless the student is granted a waiver by program officials.

Academic Progress

All students in the Department of Health Systems Management must achieve a grade-point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) each term to maintain satisfactory academic status. A student is placed on academic probation when grades fall below a term or cumulative GPA of 3.0 or when a student receives a grade of F in any course. A student on academic probation remains on probation until meeting the requirements established by the program for removal from academic probation.

Academic Advising

During orientation week, all students are assigned an academic adviser from among the core faculty. By the end of the first term, students are also assigned a career adviser from among Rush practitioner-teacher faculty.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to graduate, a student must successfully complete all of the Department of Health Systems Management’s academic requirements, which include earning a minimum of 58 term hours of credit and achieving a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

In addition, full-time students must complete a minimum of 440 hours of work in a health care management internship. Most students will complete this by working in a part-time student job during the academic program and registering for HSM-620 and 622. Part-time students complete a separate internship course, HSM 624 and 626.  Please see course descriptions for more information.

Students need to have at least 16 documented contact hours of professional or community service.

Faculty Work and Service Activities

Members of the faculty of the Department of Health Systems Management are actively involved in the operation of Rush University Medical Center as hospital administrators and health care planners, university administrators, financial managers, clinicians, attorneys, researcher, and information services managers. They serve as consultants to hospitals, planning bodies and other organizations.

Faculty members hold leadership positions, participate in seminars and engage in other professional activities sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Hospital Association, the Chicago Health Executives Forum, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society and the Illinois Hospital and Health Systems Association.

Career Services

Health Systems Management students receive ongoing career mentoring, counseling and related services throughout their academic career. During the first academic year, full-time students are placed in part-time jobs throughout Rush University Medical Center. Job sites include Perioperative Services, Revenue Management, Human Resources, Finance, Medical Affairs, Community Health, Long-Term Care, Quality, Rush University Childrens Hospital, Patient Relations, Emergency Management, Rush Health, Emergency Department, Health and Aging, Strategic Outreach, Population Health, Supply Chain, and Rush University Medical Group. Please note, sites may vary year to year.

The jobs provide practical experience, reinforce the coursework, produce a more dynamic classroom experience and offer students a multifaceted perspective on the field of health care management. The student’s manager also functions as a preceptor for the work experience. The job sites vary year to year. More information will be given to students during their orientation week and applies to full-time students only.

Program faculty and staff help identify opportunities for summer internships and part-time work during the second academic year and counseling/assistance to secure postgraduate fellowships or jobs.

While students receive individualized input regarding their career goals, the program’s Professional Seminar course provides systematic training, guidance and feedback in professional skills development and career planning.

Rush Center for the Advancement of Health Care Value

The vision of the Rush Center for the Advancement of Health Care Value is to be recognized globally as an innovator in conducting research that prepares leaders for the future of health care.

Our center is housed within the Department of Health Systems Management at Rush University.

Our center’s work is grounded in interdisciplinary research and focuses on translating research into practice and uses practice as a foundation for research. Our research is differentiated by the following:

  • Academically based center with close ties to the practice community
  • Strong focus on leadership development in health care research and practice
  • Pursuit of objective knowledge
  • Experts in advanced analytic methods
  • Proficiency in large multisource database analyses

Our research focuses on evaluating ways to improve the value of care provided by health care organizations. This work addresses important challenges that relate to the following:

Organizational excellence and leadership

The organizational excellence and leadership program focuses on improving health care value by understanding the critical roles of leadership, governance, lead­ership development and other high-performance work practices in organizational outcomes, such as patient experience and financial performance.

The patient experience

Rush University Medical Center has a long history of provid­ing and researching best practices in patient care. The Patient Experience Research Initiative, within the Health Systems Man­agement program, works to further develop the understanding of the patient experience and promote scholarship to provide empirically based knowledge on the experience of patients.

Health care value, quality and safety

The health care value, quality and safety program focuses on the following topics:

•  Lean operations

•  Throughput improvements

•  Education in variation and standardization

•  Just culture

•  Informed decision-making and problem-solving

•  Change management

•  Sustainability strategies in health care organizations

Population health

Population health research focuses on identifying the patterns of health determinants and their relationships with health out­comes among populations. The design is to implement evidence-based practice or interventions at an individual or societal level to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, low-income children and women, and the elderly.

International health

The department’s international health care research program focuses on improving value by strengthening the evidence base for improving the value of health care through global exchange. Our research includes macro- and micro-level drivers of health care exports and international medical travel.

Workforce of the future

Our research on the workforce of the future focuses on improv­ing health care value by strengthening the pipeline of talented professionals into critical health care positions, with a special emphasis on understanding and addressing the challenges faced by early careerists from disadvantaged and underrepre­sented groups.


Interprofessionalism in health care delivery and health care education is becoming increasingly recognized as a cornerstone of improved service delivery. Research in this area focuses on the differential outcomes associated with a coordinated, team-based approach to service delivery.

For more information about our center, contact Tricia Johnson, PhD, associate chair of Research and Education, professor and director, at (312) 942-7107 or    

Health Systems Management Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence) - translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Health Systems Management program:

Acquire information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers/procedures.
  • Use and interpret information generated from diagnostic tools.


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with day-to-day responsibilities commensurate with the student’s discipline
  • Practice in a safe manner and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, employees, other professionals and all members of the health care team during practicum, internship and/or other learning experiences

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the health systems management role.
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, management or treatment strategy


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others
  • Integrity, accountability, interest and motivation are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Health Systems Management code of ethics

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs.

Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to create and implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. Contact the Office of Student Disability Services to learn more about accommodations at Rush University:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St., Suite 440
Chicago, IL 60612     
(312) 942-5237

Health Systems Management (MS): Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to instruct students in the current theory and practice of health services management, including the study of organizational behavior, quantitative and analytical techniques, planning, finance and human resources manage­ment. The curriculum structure gives students the opportunity to apply managerial principles in real-world learning environments and  design and conduct applied health-services research projects.

The curriculum content focuses on the following core content areas: professional development, operations and information systems, human resources and organizational design, health care business, finance, analytics and emerging content.

Health Systems Management, Full-Time (MS)

Health Systems Management, Part-Time (MS)

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Fourth Year

Internship Requirement

All part-time students are required to register for 2 credits of part-time internship coursework. This can be taken in either the second, third or fourth year of the part-time program and requires approval from an academic adviser.

Program Total: 58 Credit Hours

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