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Department of Health Services

Sara Kuykendall, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Health Services

110 Post Hall, 610-660-1530

Nakia Henderson, M.S., H.Ed./H.A. Graduate Director, Department of Health Services

100 Post Hall, 610-660-2952,

Program Description

The Department of Health Services provides opportunities for study in fields related to the delivery and management of health care and health promotion. Programs leading to the Master of Science degree and the Post-Master’s Certificate are available in a several curricula. Full master’s programs are offered in Health Care Ethics, Health Education, Health Administration, a joint program in Health Administration and Health Education, and Nurse Anesthesia. Post-Master’s certificate programs are available in Health Administration, Health Education, and Health Care Ethics. The Department also partners with the Department of Psychology, Gerontological Services in offering a master’s of science degree in Long Term Care Administration and a Master of Science in Gerontological Services. A Master’s of Science in Health Administration with a concentration in Organization Development and Leadership is also offered.

The Department’s mission is to improve quality of life for students and the people that they serve by providing a rigorous and comprehensive education in health, health care and health related issues. Core philosophies are professional competence, creative problem solving, respect for all persons, social justice in health care and medicine, and a collaborative approach to disease prevention and health promotion are emphasized.

All of the master’s and certificate programs offer combinations of in-class, on-line, with some field experience learning opportunities. Students are expected to conduct research-based and case-based assignments, as well as field-based work. The department’s full-time and part-time faculty represents a broad array of scholarship, professional backgrounds, and credentials. These teacher-scholars bring significant practical experience to their courses rooted in various disciplines. Courses are offered in different formats such as weekend programs, traditional semester long courses, and five day consecutive courses. All courses are designed and structured for the adult learner who brings personal and professional experience to this educational environment. Students may enroll on either a part-time or full-time basis. The Department does offer a limited number of graduate assistantships, which are open through a competitive interviewing process for matriculated students.

Departmental Programs

All of the master’s degree programs and the post-master’s certificate programs are described in separate sections of this catalog. The degrees are in the fields of Health Administration, Health Care Ethics, Health Education, a joint degree in Health Administration and Health Education, Long Term Care Administration, Gerontological Services, and Nurse Anesthesia. The post-master’s certificates are in the fields of school nursing, health administration, health education, gerontological services, and health care ethics.

Admission Requirements and Procedure

Students applying for admission to the M.S. and certificate programs are urged to have at least a 2 to 3 year professional work experience in the health care field or its equivalent. They must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university that includes courses taken in general biology, general psychology and general sociology, research methodology, or their equivalents.

The Department uses a portfolio approach to admission, considering undergraduate grade point average, previous work experience, letters of recommendation, sample of writing skills, and a personal statement of goals and objectives.

Applicants should submit or have sent to the Office of Graduate Operations the following:

  • a completed Saint Joseph’s University graduate application.
  • official sealed transcript(s) of undergraduate/graduate coursework. If you are a SJU graduate the Office of Graduate Operations will obtain your SJU transcripts for you.
  • a current resumé
  • two letters of recommendation from at least two faculty appraising the candidate’s promise and capacity for graduate study, reflecting, from a professional’s point of view, the candidate’s ability to pursue a rigorous, independent course of study at the graduate level.
  • a personal statement outlining the candidate’s professional goals and educational objectives for the program, including the applicant’s rationale for program choice and professional study.
  • $35 application fee – waived if attended an Open House or an SJU graduate.

The Department reserves the right to require a personal interview to gain additional clarification or information in order to continue the admission process.

Acceptance and Enrollment

The Department’s Admissions Committee will decide on the applicant’s eligibility for admissions based upon all of the criteria listed above. In the case of students with grade point averages under 2.75, the Committee will expect the scores from the Graduate Record Examinations. Applicants are notified of their admission status by formal letter. Students will be admitted for enrollment in the fall, spring, or summer sessions. Students who have been admitted on a provisional basis may take up to two courses as non-matriculated students, however, approval from the graduate program director is required to do this.

Course Load

Since the curriculum is designed for working professionals, part-time students may take no more than two courses (six credits) for fall, spring and summer terms (six courses per year). Students who are admitted on a full-time basis and international students must carry a full schedule of not less than three courses or nine credits per term for fall and spring terms and two courses or six credits for summer term. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved one term in advance by the director of the program in which the student is enrolled.

Directed Research

Students who have completed core program requirements may, with the prior approval of the Program Director, register for Directed Research/Independent Study (3 graduate credits).


  1. The student will have completed program core requirements.
  2. The course will be offered as an enrichment of the Department's regular program.
  3. The course will not duplicate any other Departmental offering scheduled on an annual or biennial basis.
  4. A qualified student may register for no more than two (6 credits total) directed research/independent studies in the course of the educational program.
  5. A plan of study for the course will be completed by the student. The plan of study will state the objective of the study, the methods to be employed, readings to be done, the frequency of consultation with the faculty mentor, and the nature of the final report.
  6. The directed research project/independent study will be approved by the Program Director based upon the following considerations:
    1. Student completion of core requirements
    2. Availability of faculty mentor
    3. Level of proposed coursework
    4. Specific components of the plan of study
  7. Once the directed research/independent study is approved by the Program Director, the student will complete the independent study registration form, obtain the signature of the Associate Dean and Executive Director of Graduate Arts and Sciences, and proceed to Student Services to register for the course.