Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete 11 course units (CU) of coursework for the Master of Health Care Innovation. At Penn, 1.0 CU is equal to one semester-long traditional course. For the Master of Health Care Innovation, a 1.0 CU course is compressed to 6 intensive weeks. Students typically take one course at a time, with one week between courses to offer a brief pause in the program's rigorous pace. Extended breaks occur over the winter holidays and summer. The program is designed to be completed in 20 months.

The curriculum consists of:

In addition, students are required to attend the Health Care Innovation Seminar (noncredit) in Philadelphia each August during the program.

Program faculty and opportunities draw upon expertise from across Penn, including the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wharton School, the Law School, the School of Nursing, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, and the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation.

The Curriculum

MHCI Sample Schedule
Sample MHCI schedule for 20-month online curriculum

Core Courses

KEY: Course ~ Instructor(s) (School: Perelman School of Medicine, The Wharton School, Law School, or School of Nursing)

American Health Care System ~ Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD (Perelman School of Medicine)
Behavioral Economics and Decision Making ~ Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD (PSOM)
Evaluating Health Policy and Programs ~ Amol S. Navathe, MD, PhD (PSOM)
Health Care Operations ~ Christian Terwiesch, PhD (Wharton)
Health Economics ~ Guy David, PhD (Wharton)
Transformation of Health Care in the Real World ~ Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD (PSOM)
Translating Ideas into Outcomes ~ David Asch, MD, MBA and Roy Rosin, MBA (PSOM)

Core Course Descriptions

Lab courses

Applying Behavioral Economics
Applying Operations Management
Building a Case for Transformation
Pitching Innovation

Lab descriptions


Related topics are paired in online electives, with 3 weeks spent on each topic. U.S. students may opt to take the Mediation Intensive, a 5-day, on-campus workshop, to fulfill one elective requirement. Each fall the cohort selects their preferred electives, to inform which will be offered the following summer. Course offerings and faculty are subject to change.

Ethics in Health Care Innovation and Research ~ Steven Joffe, MD, MPH and Emily A. Largent, JD, PhD, RN (PSOM) + Health Law Fundamentals ~  Theodore Ruger, JD (Law)

Driving Value in the System ~ Lee Fleisher, MD (PSOM) + Strategies for Health Insurance and Benefit Design ~ Dr. Asch and Dr. Volpp (PSOM)

From Health Disparities to Health Equity: Policy Implications ~ Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA (PSOM) + Successes and Challenges in Improving Global Health Care ~ Harsha Thirumurthy, PhD (PSOM)

Health Care Leadership in an Era of Patient Empowerment ~ Michael Useem, PhD (Wharton) + Organizational Change ~ TBA

Mediation Intensive (TAUGHT ON CAMPUS) ~ Autumn Fiester, PhD (PSOM)

Possible topics for future electives:
The Behavioral Science of Food Policy ~ Christina Roberto, PhD (PSOM)
Case Studies in Clinical Innovation ~ Julie A Sochalski, PhD, FAAN, RN (Nursing)
China’s Health Care System and Reform ~ Lawton Burns, PhD, MBA, MA (Wharton)

Elective descriptions

The Online Course Structure

When you take an online course in the Master of Health Care Innovation, you engage with concepts, practices, and ideas in 3 ways:

Digest Content and Media—Brief, high-quality lecture videos, interviews, readings, and other resources are self-paced, organized into modules that typically coincide with course weeks. Many courses include weekly quizzes to reinforce key concepts and help you determine what you need to review.

Collaborate—Synchronous and asynchronous collaborations with colleagues, faculty, and TAs help you practice identifying opportunities for innovation, articulating a case, supporting your arguments with evidence, and networking with colleagues.

Apply Your Learning—Projects and presentations may ask you, for example, to identify opportunities and obstacles, articulate a case, and support that case with evidence.

If you want to sharpen your skills with a lighter workload and in less time, consider the Professional Development Certificate in Health Care Innovation.