Stand out with specialized courses from leaders in health care innovation, and learn tools to apply in your daily work.

Students in health care innovation courses.

Penn faculty members, staff members, and graduate and professional students are invited to enroll in a selection of core courses from the Master of Health Care Innovation. Take courses individually according to your needs and interests, or complete four of these courses within two years to receive a Certificate in Health Care Innovation. This is a great way to sample courses before committing to the master's program. Credits from these courses may be later applied toward the Master of Health Care Innovation. In these courses, you'll learn principles and processes that you can apply to challenges faced in work situations, and connect with other Penn health professionals who want to improve health care delivery through innovative solutions.

sign up to take a course

The courses are online, graduate-level courses that carry full academic credits (1 CU per course) and tuition. Employees of the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Medicine Health System may use employee tuition benefits to cover a portion of the cost. See Tuition and Billing below for more information.

Quick Facts

Format Online
Academic credit 1 CU per course
Course length 8 weeks, with specified start and end dates
Time commitment 8–12 hourse per week
Tuition and fees $5,746 per course (at Fall 2017 rates)
Eligible students Current Penn faculty, staff, and students already enrolled in graduate and professional programs
Number of courses to earn a certificate 4 courses within 2 years

Develop Better Solutions

In these courses, you will engage with internationally recognized leaders in health policy, behavioral economics, operations management, and health care innovation. Health Care Innovation courses are designed to enable students to do the following:

  1. Better position reforms or innovations in your organization based on national trends and emerging regulations.

  2. Enable a health care organization to improve its operations.

  3. Design new approaches to strategies affected by health behavior.

  4. Apply common empirical research methodologies to policy and program analysis.

  5. Lead high-impact innovation efforts in and beyond health care settings.

Certificate in Health Care Innovation

Students have the option of taking Health Care Innovation courses individually, or taking four courses to earn a Certificate in Health Care Innovation. To earn the certificate, which is granted by the Perelman School of Medicine, you must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and complete four courses within two years. You can choose which four courses to take, and they may be taken in any order. The certificate will appear on your official University transcript, and you will receive a certificate diploma upon successful completion of the program.

Courses and Schedule

Please note that these courses are conducted online via Canvas, with a mix of asynchronous and synchronous work. Each course is 8 weeks long with specific start and end dates. Students should expect to spend an average of 10–12 hours per week on a course. Most content is available on demand, so you can study at your convenience. Online content includes: lecture videos, discussion forums, quizzes, assignments, readings, and supplementary resources. Weekly live discussions with the instructor are held via videoconferencing and are recorded for later review. Courses are offered annually. Schedule is subject to change.

The American Health Care System

U.S. Capitol
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course surveys the historical development of the American health care system from the turn of the Twentieth Century to the present. Topics include insurance, hospitals, compensation models, and reform efforts, including the Affordable Care Act, as well as how American health care is likely to evolve. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to apply this information as context to understand and advocate for reforms and innovation in health care–related fields.
Next available: October 23–December 17, 2017

Health Care Operations

Bicycle gears
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course offers an introduction to operations management, examining inefficiencies from waste, variability, and inflexibility and providing strategies for engaging in the ongoing process of reducing these negative impacts without sacrificing quality of care. After completing the course, learners will be able to use a systematic approach for analyzing and improving their work in health care settings.
Next available: March 13–May 7, 2018

Behavioral Economics and Decision Making

Doors and decisions
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course uses behavioral economics as a framework for understanding how humans make decisions within the health care system. It offers practical applications of scholarly research through an emphasis on case studies and the analysis of their results. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to demonstrate how key concepts in behavioral economics are used, critique existing programs, design new approaches, and apply lessons to challenges they face in their work environments.
Next available: October 23–December 17, 2017

Evaluating Health Policy and Programs

COURSE OVERVIEWThis course provides an overview of fundamental concepts and empirical methods in the analysis of health policies and programs. It reviews relevant statistical and economic concepts, surveys key principles of evaluation, examines methodological approaches, and explores the application of these methods using seminal empirical studies of existing health policies and programs. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to critique common methodologies and approaches to studying the impact of policy and programmatic changes, and apply concepts to evaluating—and recommending—real-world policies and programs.
Next available: TBD

Course Policies

Course Credit and Grading

Each Health Care Innovation course is an online, graduate-level course that carries full academic credit (1 CU per course) and tuition. Like other graduate courses at Penn, students will receive a letter grade that will appear on their official University of Pennsylvania transcript.  All assignments for a course must be completed by that course's end date. If you have any concerns about completing an assignment or course on time, please reach out to your teaching assistants right away. Credits earned from these courses may be applied toward the Master of Health Care Innovation.

Withdrawal Policy

Penn credit courses in Health Care Innovation are eight weeks long and do not follow typical semester start and end dates. Thus typical University add/drop period dates do not apply. Course weeks run Tuesday–Monday; students must withdraw by the end (Monday) of Week 2 in order to receive a full refund. A 50% refund will be granted for withdrawals during Weeks 3 and 4, and no refund is granted for withdrawals after Week 4.

Drop deadline (monday of course week #) Refund Amount
Weeks 1–2 100%
Weeks 3–4 50%
Weeks 5–8


No-Shows and Incompletes

Students who do not participate in a course and do not withdraw before the course end date will receive a grade of GR (or, “Not graded”) on their transcript. They will not receive credit and will be responsible for the full cost of the course.

Students who participate in a course, do not withdraw before the course end date, and do not complete all required assignments will receive a grade of I (or, “Incomplete”) on their transcript. Students will be given a deadline by which all assignments must be completed in order to receive credit for the course. At the deadline, the Incomplete will be changed to a letter grade based on work completed by that point.


Current tuition and fee rates are available from Student Financial Services (see Master’s in Bioethics & Scientific Medical Ethics). At Fall 2017 rates, 1 CU will cost $5,746 (including tuition and technology fee).

charges cost per 1 cu (at fall 2017 rates)
Tuition $5,193
General fee $372
Technology fee $181
TOTAL $5,746

Billing Procedures

Students register for courses online through Penn InTouch (PennKey login required). Electronic bursar bills are sent out by Student Registration & Financial Services within 4–6 weeks after course registration has been processed. Bills are delivered electronically on a monthly schedule, and you will be notified about them via email. You can pay your bill online, by mail, in person, or by wire transfer. Billing questions should be addressed to Student Financial Services at 215-898-1988.

employee tuition benefits

University of Pennsylvania and health system employees may use their tuition benefits toward these courses. Please note that tuition benefit policies and procedures differ between University-side employees and health system employees.

University Employees: Tuition benefits are available to full-time employees of the University of Pennsylvania for up to two course units (2 CUs) per semester. Confirm that you are eligible for University employee tuition benefits. University employees must request tuition benefits during each semester they will be used.  Tuition benefits for University faculty and staff cover 100% of tuition, general, and technology fees for each eligible course.

However, please be aware that graduate programs at Penn are subject to withholding based upon government IRS regulations. These regulations may result in you paying a portion (up to 36%) of course costs out of pocket. Find out about the taxability of graduate benefits and what this can mean for your out-of-pocket costs. More information about the University employee tuition benefit is available from Penn Human Resources.

Health System Employees: Health system employees should contact their HR department about requesting tuition benefits. Full-time health system employees may receive up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per calendar year toward non-degree courses. Part-time health system employees may receive up to $2,625 in tuition assistance per calendar year toward non-degree courses.

Contact: Credit Courses in Health Care Innovation

Questions? Contact Program Manager Katherine Ridella at 215-573-9378 or