MUSC online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies program launches new pathway to an accelerated Master in Health Administration degree

Jessie Bradley, MBA
March 04, 2021
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies students, faculty and staff, stand in the College of Health Professions atrium
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies students in the College of Health Professions atrium.

The online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies program was established to increase higher education access to rural, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students across South Carolina. It was always the goal to give these students more career opportunities in the health professions and help build the state’s future health care workforce. Now, with the addition of the new pathway to an Accelerated Executive Master in Health Administration (A-EMHA), the program is one step closer to that goal.

“The Accelerated Executive MHA program enables students to complete their bachelor’s and EMHA degrees in three and half years while keeping their full-time job, and managing their family life and personal lives in their hometown,” explains Lauren Gellar, Ph.D., division director for the Healthcare Studies program. “This pathway fits perfectly within the real lives of students in SC and will enable them to reach their goals of having a positive impact on the health of their local SC community.”

This new pathway allows eligible students to fulfill their bachelor’s degree requirements while completing several graduate-level courses. These graduate-level courses are waived then in their A-EMHA. Both degrees can be completed online in just over three years or eight semesters, compared to the traditional four years or eleven semesters. By reducing time to graduate, qualified students receive a cost savings of more than $17,000 and shorten their time to the graduate degree by one year.

Jami Jones, Ph.D., the Master in Health Administration (MHA) division director, shares Gellar’s enthusiasm about the new pathway. “The MHA program is excited to partner on this new accelerated pathway. It supports the program and institutional missions by decreasing the time and costs associated with achieving an MHA degree from MUSC and making the program more accessible to a broader, more diverse range of students.”

While admission to the A-EMHA program isn’t guaranteed and students will still need to apply and meet admissions requirements, the track is an exclusive opportunity for Healthcare Studies graduates. It’s an opportunity that Gellar knows is in demand.

The interest in earning an MHA is not new for Healthcare Studies graduates. “[After graduating], I was accepted into MUSC’s Executive Master of Health Administration program and will graduate in the spring of 2021. I went straight into this master’s from the HCS program, and the foundation of the HCS program has made me more comfortable in a graduate program,” said Rebecca Brewer, a graduate of the Healthcare Studies Class of 2019.

Like many of the program’s students, Brewer is an experienced health care professional looking to advance her career. Healthcare Studies students come from various professional backgrounds such as occupational therapist assistants, physical therapist assistants, medical assistants, radiologic technologists, and cardiovascular technologists. Many are from rural areas, are first-generation college students, or underrepresented minorities. The program also welcomes traditional and transfer students from South Carolina Technical Colleges or other four-year institutions.

The Healthcare Studies program provides an opportunity for these students to become a part of the MUSC community. Despite it being an online program, students come to campus once per semester and still get to experience all the same benefits as residential students. They gain exposure to faculty, research, and the university’s well-established graduate programs in physician assistant studies, medicine, dental medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, cardiovascular perfusion, clinical research, biomedical ethicspublic health, and health administration. Many Healthcare Studies graduates apply for and are accepted into these programs.

To learn more about the online Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Studies and the new pathway to the Accelerated Executive Master in Health Administration, visit