EMHA Student Handbook: MHA Student Handbooks

Executive Master of Health Administration Program: Advancing to Leadership

Table of Contents

EMHA Program Vision, Mission, and Core Values

The Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA) Program is organized and approved as a subprogram of the department’s traditional Master of Health Administration (MHA) program. This handbook therefore contains much of the same information as the MHA version, differing only in areas where the EMHA format requires it.

Mission Statement

The MHA and EMHA Programs’ mission is to recruit, select, and educate a diverse, well-qualified group of students who aspire to be leaders in shaping a dynamically evolving health care environment.

Vision Statement

The MHA and EMHA Programs will be recognized as exceptional by our national peers, our alumni, and employers of our students.

Core Value

In addition to embracing the University of Iowa (UI) and College of Public Health’s Core Values (Community, Diversity, Integrity, Respect, Learning, Excellence, Responsibility and Social Justice), the Programs have developed the following Core Values Statement:

The UI MHA and EMHA Programs prepare students for successful careers
within a departmental culture based on six clear, strong values
that are sustained largely through peer pressure rather than prescription alone:



HMP Department Vision, Mission, and Goals

Department Mission Statement

The Department will improve health and health services by preparing future leaders for, and advancing knowledge in, health management, policy, and research.

Department Vision Statement

The Health Management and Policy Department (HMP) will be one of the nation’s premier health management and policy departments recognized for excellence in graduate education, research, and service to improve public health.


  • Goal A: National recognition for excellence in training future leaders in health management, policy, and research
  • Goal B: Exemplary research in health management and policy that contributes to improving public health
  • Goal C: Partnerships with public and private stakeholders to improve practices in health management, policy and research
  • Goal D: A culture that adds value in fulfilling the vision and mission of the department.


As one of the earliest accredited health administration programs in the United States, the MHA program holds a national reputation based on its program of instruction, leadership, faculty quality, research activities, and caliber of students. The EMHA Program follows in that tradition. The EMHA program was approved in November 2013, with the first cohort starting in the Fall semester of 2014.


This Student Handbook sets forth Departmental policies, procedures, and requirements as assistance to students and faculty. Students are also subject to the policies, procedures, and requirements of the College of Public Health, the Graduate College and The University of Iowa. For additional details, students should consult: the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, applicable sections of The University of Iowa Catalog and Policies and Regulations Affecting Students. Students should be aware that the Department has established, in some areas, more rigorous requirements than the Graduate College.


Students are admitted based on prior academic performance, standardized test scores, the applicant’s personal statement and resume, and interviews with departmental faculty and alumni. Note that strength in one area can offset a shortfall in another area.

Students are admitted into one of the following categories:

  1. Regular. Students are admitted on regular status if they meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate College and have been accepted by the Department based on a review of their application materials and an interview with departmental faculty members.
  2. Conditional. If the applicant submits qualifications that satisfy the minimum requirements of the Graduate College, but are below the admission standards of the Department, the applicant is eligible for admission on conditional status at the discretion of the EMHA Quality Improvement Committee.

To be removed from conditional status, students must:

  1. Achieve a grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.0 scale during the first semester of study in EMHA required courses; and,
  2. Satisfy any EMHA required and elective course prerequisites or conditions established in their letters of acceptance.

The Graduate College does not allow students to register if they have not been removed from conditional status after two (2) semesters. Therefore, such students will be dismissed from the EMHA Program.

Academic Program

Curriculum. The following EMHA Standard Plan of Study list reflects typical progress through the EMHA program (45 semester hours of credit over 17 courses). Order is subject to revision.

  • Fall Year One
    1. Healthcare Management
    2. Healthcare Quality Management
    3. Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Spring Year One
    1. Operations Research for Health Services Managers
    2. Analytics for Healthcare Management
    3. Health Policy
  • Summer Year One
    1. Interprofessional Healthcare Administration I
  • Fall Year Two
    1. Leadership of Healthcare Organizations
    2. Healthcare Financial Management
    3. Essentials of Public Health
    4. Health Information Systems
  • Spring Year Two
    1. Legal Aspects of Healthcare
    2. Health Economics I
    3. Strategic Planning and Marketing
    4. Managerial Epidemiology
  • Summer Year Two
    1. Interprofessional Healthcare Administration II
    2. MHA Integrative Capstone

Waiver. A Student may petition for a course waiver if the student earned an average grade of A- or better in two similar courses at an accredited four-year institution or earned an A- or better in one equivalent graduate course at an accredited institution, both within the past five years. Students who have waived courses must substitute EMHA Program Director-approved elective course work to satisfy the minimum 45 graduate credit hour requirement.

In order to waive a course, the student must request the waiver prior to the start of the semester in which the course being waived would normally be taken. For incoming students, the request can be made prior to or during orientation. For HMP Department courses, both the instructor teaching the course the student wishes to waive and the student’s advisor must sign the student’s Request for Waiver form. The advisor or the instructor will normally require the student to supply a copy of the syllabus/i for the course(s) taken. The advisor may refer the waiver request to the EMHA Program Director. Final approval for a waiver can only be granted by the EMHA Program Director. If a waiver is granted, the Request for Waiver Form, and applicable syllabus(i) if requested, will be placed in the student’s file.

Transfer Credits. HMP permits a transfer of up to six (6) graduate credit hours from an accredited institution or other units in the University of Iowa to be applied toward the 45 credit hours required for an EMHA degree. Only courses taken in the immediate past five years that are relevant to the EMHA degree program and in which the student earned a B or better will be considered. To obtain transfer credit approval, the student must submit a specific written request to his/her advisor for review, the student’s grade report, and a statement explaining why the student believes the course work is relevant to his/her current degree program. The student will normally be required to submit a course syllabus.

The advisor may refer the request to the EMHA Program Director. Final approval for transfer credits can only be granted by the EMHA Program Director.

Appeal. Decisions regarding waivers, transfer credit, and acceptance of UI credits made by the EMHA Program Director may be appealed to the Department Head.

Graduation Requirements


Students should check posted deadlines and ensure that all requirements for graduation have been met. The Student Services Office and the student’s advisor should be notified of pending graduation early in the semester in which graduation is planned. If a student needs or plans to delay graduation, the Student Services Office and the advisor should be notified. Each student is responsible for ensuring all requirements to graduate have been met.

Advising System

Faculty Advisors. Students will each be assigned a specific faculty advisor for course registration and plan of study direction. Students are encouraged to meet with the assigned advisor on a regular basis. Students who wish to be reassigned to a different advisor should make the request through the department’s Student Services Office. The Department invites students to utilize all faculty members, the Program Director, Executive-in-Residence, and alumni for informal advising and counseling.

Plan of Study. Students must develop an initial Plan of Study during the first semester and have it signed by the applicable advisor, unless it does not deviate from the standard curriculum shown above. This approved Plan of Study must be filed with the Student Services Office. In order to register for the second semester, and subsequent semesters, the student’s Plan of Study must be approved by their advisor and filed. The EMHA plan of study is modified on an as-needed basis to improve each student’s educational experience.


Standard Schedule Graduate credit is not given for courses numbered under 3000.

Procedure for Registration:
Students must meet with their advisors each semester to review their plans of study for the following semester. Any updates to the student’s plan of study must be signed by the student’s advisor and filed in the Student Services Office.

The following guidelines should be followed for registration:

  1. The student must meet with her/his faculty advisor and review the student’s plan of study if it differs from the standard shown above, in the Academic Programs: Curriculum section of this handbook.
  2. Receive a signature from the student’s advisor for any changes made to the plan of study.
  3. Give a copy of the completed signed plan of study to the Student Services Office if it differs from the standard shown above in section Academic Programs: Curriculum section of this handbook.

Students should refer to the University of Iowa Schedule of Courses with registration questions about registering.

Grading System

Grades carrying Graduate Credit are A, B, C, and S (satisfactory). Pluses and minuses are also awarded in courses taught by HMP faculty, as indicated in the course syllabi. Pluses and minuses awarded are figured into a student’s cumulative G.P.A.

Grades that do not carry credit for advanced degrees are D (poor), F (failed), I (incomplete), W (withdraw), R (audited), and U (unsatisfactory). Students earning a D, F, or U in a required course must retake the course or a substitute approved by the student’s advisor and the Program Director.

Incompletes. Students who receive an incomplete (I) must remove that grade in accordance with the rules of the Graduate College, or the grade is automatically converted to an F at the end of the following Spring or Fall semester.

Academic Achievement

Students should review the website linked below for Graduate College Publications, particularly the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College, which governs most aspects of study.

Dismissal and Probation

  1. A student will be dismissed from the EMHA Program if he/she earns less than a 2.6 cumulative GPA after completing nine or more semester hours toward the EMHA.
  2. A student will be placed on probation, or may be dismissed from the EMHA Program by simple majority vote of the primary HMP faculty excluding the Department Head, under the following conditions
    • If, after completing six or more semester hours toward the EMHA, the student has a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.00; or
    • If the student receives one or more course grades of F or U.
  3. Placement on Probation. A student will be notified in writing by the Department Head if he/she is placed on probation. The letter will specify the reasons for probation, the specific steps the student must take to be restored to good standing in the EMHA Program, the time allowed to perform the remedial steps, and a warning that the student faces the possibility of dismissal from the EMHA Program. A copy of this letter will be placed in the student’s file and sent to the student’s academic advisor.
  4. Special Counseling. A student on probation is expected to arrange counseling sessions with his/her advisor to discuss progress in meeting the standards and requirements outlined in his/her letter of probation.
  5. Removal from Probation. A student placed on probation will be removed from probation upon successful completion of the objectives as specified in his/her letter of probation. The performance of each student on probation who does not qualify for removal from probation after one semester shall be reviewed by primary HMP faculty, excluding the Department Head, after the end of each session during which the student has registered until the requirements for removal from probation have been met. By simple majority vote, the primary HMP faculty, excluding the Department Head, will then select one of the following courses of action:
    1. continue the student on probation
    2. dismiss the student

    The student will be notified in writing of any action taken by the faculty.

  6. Appeal. A student has the right to a review by the Department Head of a faculty decision that results in the student being placed on probation or dismissed. The faculty decision shall be deemed final unless it is appealed within fourteen (14) calendar days of written notification. This period may be extended at the discretion of the Department Head. Upon receiving the student’s written request to the Department Head, a time and place for an appeal hearing will be set. The student will be notified in writing of the time and place of the hearing. At this hearing, the student and his/her representative may appear in person and submit a written and/or oral statement and supporting materials. The Department Head may uphold, modify, or reverse the faculty decision based on the evidence submitted at the hearing. The Department Head’s decision shall be in writing and shall state the decision and basis for that decision. A copy of the decision will be placed in the student’s file and the original will be mailed to the student. The Department Head’s decision shall be the final action by the EMHA Program when an appeal is sought.
    1. Attendance at Probation and Appeal Meetings. Meetings of the HMP faculty relating to probation or dismissal will be closed. An appeal hearing will be closed to all but the student and his/her representative, the Department Head, and other persons the Department Head deems necessary.
    2. Extra-departmental Review. According to the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College:

      Questions involving judgment of performance will not be reviewed beyond the departmental level. If, however, the student feels there has been unfairness or some procedural irregularity concerning dismissal, the student may pursue a grievance according to the Academic Grievance Procedure (AGP) established by the Graduate College. The AGP is available in the Graduate College. The student should consult with the Graduate College prior to initiating an academic grievance.

Student Conduct

EMHA students are expected to act in accordance with the standards of health care professionals and the values adopted by the MHA Program, College of Public Health, and University of Iowa. The EMHA program has developed an Honor Code (See Appendix I) that addresses expectations for student accountability to each other, the department, and the health care profession. These expectations include both academic conduct and professionalism.

Academic Conduct

If an enrolled student commits an act of academic misconduct and is subsequently subject to disciplinary action by the University, the HMP Department reserves the right to impose its own disciplinary action up to probation and/or dismissal from the Program.

“Academic Misconduct: Any dishonest or fraudulent conduct during an academic exercise, such as cheating, plagiarism, or forgery, or misrepresentation regarding the circumstances of a student’s non-attendance, late assignment, or previous work or educational experience, or aiding or abetting another person to do the same. “Dishonest” conduct includes, but is not limited, to attempts by students to cheat or misrepresent, or aid or abet another person to do the same, whether or not the attempts are successful. Academic exercises covered by this rule include classroom assignments (such as examinations, papers, or research) and out-of-classroom activities (projects, practicum, internship and/or externship assignments off campus, or University employment, for example) that are related to an academic program at or through the University. A “classroom” can be a lecture hall, discussion room, laboratory, or clinic, for example. The acquisition of honors, awards, or degrees, or academic record notations, course enrollments, credits, or grades, or certifications (including language proficiency or professional licensure or other endorsement) by any dishonest means is strictly prohibited.- From the University of Iowa Operations Manual, GENERAL REGULATIONS APPLYING TO STUDENTS.

Plagiarism. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another’s ideas expressed in either the author’s original words or in a manner similar to the original form. When using ideas, direct quotes, or paraphrases, the source must be footnoted or referenced. This principle applies even if the writer discovers that an idea, initially thought to be his or her own, has already been published by someone else. It is the student’s responsibility to seek clarification of any situation in which he/she is uncertain whether plagiarism is/has been involved. Students who are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism should consult with their advisors or other faculty members.

From the University of Iowa Graduate College Manual:

The Online Oxford English Dictionary defines “plagiarize” as follows, “to take and use as one’s own (the thoughts, writings, or inventions of another person); to copy (literary work or ideas) improperly or without acknowledgement; (occas.) to pass off as one’s own the thoughts or work of (another).” In practice, the exact definition of “plagiarize” or “plagiarism” is dependent upon the unique attributes of the creative work of a particular discipline. Thus, it is understood that different academic disciplines and cultures may have different interpretations as to the actual actions which constitute plagiarism… In the Graduate College, the questions [of academic dishonesty] are handled at the departmental level. If the departmental decision is appealed, the dean may appoint an appeals committee of faculty and students from a slate of nominees prepared by the Graduate Council and the Graduate Student Senate to recommend an appropriate course of action.
The appeal process must be initiated by the student. If the student wishes to appeal the department’s or program’s action, that appeal must be lodged with the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Graduate College within 30 days of program or departmental dismissal.

HMP Procedure. In the event that academic misconduct or plagiarism is suspected, the following procedures will be followed:

  1. The instructor will meet as soon as feasible with the student to clarify the situation.
  2. If the meeting results in no sanction or only a relatively minor sanction, and the student accepts the sanction, the process will be considered completed. No additional reporting will be required, nor will there be any information related to the situation entered into the student’s permanent record.
  3. If, after meeting with the student, the situation is either not resolved to the satisfaction of both the instructor and the student, or if the resulting sanction is not of a relatively minor nature, the instructor will bring the matter to the attention of the Program Director. If the instructor is the Program Director, the Department Head will appoint another faculty member to review the allegation. The Program Director will obtain written statements from the instructor and the student.
  4. If necessary, the Program Director will convene a meeting to allow the instructor and the student opportunity to discuss the alleged plagiarism or academic misconduct.
  5. The Program Director will determine whether academic misconduct has occurred, and whether the sanction the instructor has imposed is appropriate.
  6. The student may contest the sanction within 14 calendar days of written notification of that action by appealing, in writing, to the Department Head. If the Department Head is the instructor the student may appeal to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs who may confer with senior faculty as needed.
  7. For students enrolled in degree programs outside the Department (either as joint degree students or students from other programs taking HMP courses), the Program Director’s review of the facts, findings and sanctions will be communicated to the DEO of the department in which the student is currently enrolled.
  8. A copy of the final determination document will be maintained by the Department.


The MHA and EMHA Culture of Professionalism described in Appendix I focuses on student accountability to each other, the department, and the health care profession to act with executive stature at all University, College, Department, and Program-sponsored and attended events. At its most basic level, this standard requires professional behavior appropriate for the executive suite of the best healthcare organizations.

Students are expected to develop and practice throughout their EMHA tenure an executive “brand” that best fits with their aspirations and personalities. Students who master these skills now, in a learning environment, will be better prepared for employment as healthcare leaders.

HMP faculty, teaching assistants, staff members, and students who discover Honor Code violations should discuss their allegations with the Program Director, Executive-in-Residence, Director of Student Services, or the course instructor (if it involves a classroom- or course-related matter).

Depending on the nature and severity of the unprofessional behavior, the student may be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to being placed on probation or dismissal from the program.

Non-Academic Grievances

HMP students with non-academic grievances should first approach their advisor. If students are uncomfortable or dissatisfied with this course of action, the next level of recourse is to the Director of Student Services or the Program Director, followed by the Department Head. If this chain of action is not feasible, or the issue is not resolved, the student should meet with the College of Public Health Associate Dean for Education and Student Affairs.

The UI Graduate College Academic Policies state that students also have recourse to other venues:

Generally, graduate students first explore how to pursue a grievance with their advisor or with an appropriate departmental administrator (department head or graduate coordinator). However, if students are uncomfortable or dissatisfied using this route, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Graduate College will counsel them on the options available. In addition, the Counseling Service, the Office of the Ombudsperson, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity will counsel graduate students on a confidential basis and will assist them in selecting an appropriate grievance procedure.

Voluntary Withdrawal and Leaves of Absence from the Program

Voluntary Withdraw. Students who voluntarily withdraw from the EMHA Program during their course of study must do so in writing to the Program Director explaining the circumstances for the withdrawal. Students who have not submitted a written statement of withdrawal and who do not enroll in EMHA courses during a fall or spring semester (or in courses in another program as part of a joint degree plan of study) without taking a leave of absence (described below) will be assumed to have withdrawn from the program.

Students who voluntarily withdraw will not be allowed to resume their studies within the department before making formal application for re-admission. Formal application for re-admission shall consist of a letter to the Program Director requesting their file be reopened. The student must reapply to the Department within 24 months of withdrawal. Note that, consistent with University policy, if a student’s “…enrollment is interrupted for any reason so that she/he is not enrolled for three consecutive academic sessions (including the spring, summer and fall sessions, but excluding the winter session) the student must apply for readmission (Graduate College Manual of Rules & Regulations, Section I.I Readmission)” to the University as well as to the Program.

Students seeking re-admission will be evaluated within the current applicant pool and by current admissions criteria (undergraduate grade point average, standardized test scores, letters of reference, resume and statement of objectives). In determining whether to reinstate the student, faculty will also consider the student’s prior performance within the Department. The student must fulfill all requirements for completion of the degree in effect at the time of re-admission.

Leave of Absence. A leave of absence from the Department may be granted for a maximum of one year. Students must submit a letter to the Program Director at the time the leave is requested and explain the circumstances of the leave. If granted, the student will be allowed to reenter the EMHA Program within the allotted time and register for classes according to the rules, regulations and policies in existence at the time of his/her original entry to the EMHA Program.

Students should consult with the EMHA Program Director before requesting a withdrawal or a leave of absence.

Human Subjects Research

Proposed research must be discussed with the student’s advisor prior to beginning the research and must comply with the University of Iowa’s Human Subjects Research policies and procedures to protect human subjects from disclosure of confidential information or other unexpected harm. Copies of the University’s policies and procedures must be reviewed prior to initiating any research project.

Students planning research that includes human subjects must review the requirements and rules on the Human Subjects Office website. Also refer to the Resources for Students page.

Student Placement

Students should meet with their advisor early in their program tenure to begin discussing their career plans and how best to prepare for the next career stage. Students are encouraged to seek such advice from any faculty member and from the Executive in Residence, but should keep their advisor apprised of their plans and activities.

Student Contacts for EMHA Program-related business

From time to time, it will be necessary for students to contact practitioners for information or assistance in connection with EMHA Program-related business or projects. When such an occasion develops, the student should obtain prior written approval from his/her course instructor, faculty advisor, or the EMHA Program Director.

Department Resources available to students

Student Workrooms. Rooms C210, S206, S207, and S201 are available for students’ use in conducting collegiate or departmental business, including course work. Students will be allowed access to these rooms with their Iowa One card. Room C210 CPHB is ONLY intended for HMP students. Rooms S206 and S207 are for use by all CPH students. Room S201 is a classroom, but when classes are not being held in that room it is open to all CPH students.

Computers, laser printers, and inkjet printers are available for HMP student use in room C210 and S206. The College of Public Health computer labs charge students for printing services. EMHA students are currently not charged for any black and white printing done in C210.

Students shall not engage in behaviors that may cause destruction or misuse of property. Students who cause damage to University equipment will be assessed damage costs. Students must also be courteous to fellow CPH students who share the student commons area and 2nd Floor Computer Lab.

Computers are not to be used for playing games or other non-program-related activities including spamming, discriminatory or harassing use, or accessing inappropriate material on the internet. Students working on course assignments, which require computer usage, have priority for computer time.

Office Equipment and Services. Office equipment, including printers, and copying machines, and services of the Department staff are available to students only for approved Department business. No equipment should be removed from any of the supply rooms. Any equipment malfunction should be reported immediately to the Department office staff. The fax machine located in N235 CPHB is available for department-related faxes. A calling card must be used when placing long distance faxes.

Student Use of Conference Rooms. The Corbeil Conference Room (N202) and room N228 may be used by students for studying or group meetings if the room is available. Students intending to use them for meetings should schedule them through the departmental secretary. Students will be asked to leave these rooms if faculty or staff have them scheduled, and may be asked to leave prior to faculty/staff-scheduled meetings so equipment or seating can be organized.

Smoking In accordance with University policy, the College of Public Health Building and grounds are designated as a smoke-free environment.

Key University and College of Public Health Websites for Students

University of Iowa Nondiscriminatory Statement

The University of Iowa prohibits discrimination in employment or in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, national origin, color, creed, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or associated preference. The University also affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to University facilities. For additional information on nondiscrimination policies, contact the Coordinator of Title IX, Section 504, and the ADA in the Office of Affirmative Action, telephone (319) 335-0705 (voice) or (319) 335- 0697 (text), 202 Jessup Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1316.