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Athabasca University

Master of Health Studies
Program Regulations

Regulations effective September 1, 2017.

If you were admitted to the MHS program prior to September 2017, use the Cohort 1 regulations.

For MHS student applications admitted after September 1, 2017, the most recent regulations below will apply.

Program Students

Program students are enrolled in any of the degrees, diplomas, or certificates offered by Athabasca University. Students who change from non-program to a program category may use credits earned while in the unclassified category provided the course(s) meet the program requirements, including any restrictions on the age of a course, if applicable.

Program Residency Requirements

In keeping with Athabasca University’s mandate of open access, residency requirements for the Master of Health Studies program are satisfied when the student has successfully completed 18 credits in MHST/NURS graduate courses through Athabasca University. The remaining credits may be transferred from other institutions, provided they are applicable to the student’s program.

Program Requirements

The MHS program is composed of 11, three-credit courses, for a total of 33 credits.

MHS Routes

Students may choose from a course-based or thesis-based route.

  • Course-based route: Students complete four core courses, five curriculum courses and two elective courses. Students may elect to complete a teaching focus.
  • Thesis-based route: Students complete one core course, two curriculum courses, one elective, and four thesis-related courses.

MHS Courses

Core Courses

The following courses apply to the course-based routes.

MHST/NURS 601* Philosophical Foundations of Health Systems (3)
MHST/NURS 603** Facilitating Inquiry (3)
MHST/NURS 609 Trends and Issues (3)
MHST/NURS 611 Dissemination Strategies (Taken in final semester) (3)

The following core course applies to the thesis-based route:

MHST/NURS 601 Philosophical Foundations of Health Systems (3)

* MHST/NURS 601 is a pre-requisite to all courses in the MHS program (except 603, to which it is a co-requisite), and must be taken as the student's first course.

** MHST/NURS 603 is a co-requisite for all courses in the MHS program. It must be taken as the student's second course. It may be taken at the same time as 601, or at the same time as any other course in the program.

Curriculum Courses

Students enrolled in the course-based routes must complete five of the following FHD graduate courses. Students enrolled in the thesis-based route must complete two of these courses:

MHST/NURS 602 Transforming Health Care through Informatics (3)
MHST/NURS 604 Leadership Roles in Health (3)
MHST/NURS 605 Demystifying Policy Analysis and Development (3)
MHST/NURS 607 Developing Successful Project and Program Proposals (3)
MHST/NURS 606 Health Systems and Services Evaluation (3)
MHST/NURS 610 Evidence-Based Practice in Health Care (3)
MHST/NURS 618 Community Development for Health Care Leaders (3)
MHST/NURS 620 Culture and Health: Critical Perspectives (3)
MHST/NURS 621 Coaching and Leading: The Human Side of Organizational Change (3)
MHST/NURS 622 Understanding Organizations: Theory, Analysis and Application (3)
MHST/NURS 623 Clinical Teaching and Learning (3)
MHST/NURS 624 Teaching in Health Disciplines (3)
MHST/NURS 625 Personalizing Learning through Collaborating and Mentoring in Health Care Environments   
MHST/NURS 695 - 696Independent Study (3)

Elective and Thesis Courses

Elective Courses: In addition to the core and curriculum courses, two electives are required in the course-based route. These electives may be completed prior to or concurrently with MHST/NURS 611. These elective courses may include: FHD graduate courses, as listed in the above table of curriculum courses; other Athabasca University graduate level courses; or pre-approved graduate courses from other universities (refer to Letter of Permission to Complete a Course at Another University).

Thesis Courses: Students enrolled in the thesis-based route must complete one elective course, two research methods courses (MHST/NURS 711 and either 712 or 713) and two courses during which the thesis will be completed: MHST/NURS 719 (3 credits) and MHST/NURS 720 (12 credits).


Advanced Methods for Health Research


Advanced Qualitative Methods for Health Research

MHST/NURS 713 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Health Research (3)
MHST/NURS 719 Thesis I: Proposal Development (3)
MHST/NURS 720 Thesis II: Conducting, Writing, and Dissemination of Research (12)

MHS Teaching Focus

Students in the course-based route may elect to complete a teaching focus. The teaching focus includes: four core courses as described above, three teaching focus courses (MHST/NURS 623, MHST/NURS 624, and MHST/NURS 625), three of the curriculum courses listed above, and one elective course as described above.

Course-based Teaching Focus
4 core courses
3 teaching courses
3 curricular courses
1 elective course
Total: 11

Program Completion Timelines

Students must complete the MHS program requirements within seven years of their initial admission to the program.

Students who do not may be required to repeat courses completed at the beginning of their program.

Program Status

To maintain program status, course-based students must successfully complete six credits of course work during each academic year (September 1 to August 31). Students who do not meet the requirements for maintaining program status will be withdrawn from the program. If a student is unable and not expected to make progress in the program, the student may request a deferral in order to suspend the program requirements for a period of time. The maximum length of one deferral is one (1) year. In special circumstances, students may reapply for a second year of deferral during their time in their program.

Thesis-based students must also successfully complete six credits of course work during each academic year (September 1 to August 31) to maintain program status. Students who do not meet the requirements for maintaining program status will be withdrawn from the program.

Program Withdrawal

Students may withdraw from their program by submitting their request in writing to the FHD office. Students who withdraw may re-apply to the program by following the regular application procedures. Students re-applying to a graduate program will be competing against all other applicants and will not receive special consideration.

Students enrolled in the MHS program may not normally withdraw from a course within 30 days of the final day of the course.

Two failures in one or more courses will result in the automatic removal of the student from the program with no option for re-admission to FHD graduate programs.

Use of MHS Credential

The MHS program does not have candidacy exams, therefore the use of MHS (C) during your program is not permitted. When you have completed your program of study, applied to graduate, and your degree has been conferred, you may use the relevant credential: MHS. You may use this credential only after the degree is conferred.

Graduation Requirements

To be awarded the MHS degree, a student must:

  1. successfully complete the program requirements. Students must achieve an overall average of B- (70 per cent) to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for all graduate nursing courses is C- (60 per cent), with the exception of those graded on a pass/fail basis.
  2. complete and submit an Application for Graduation Form to the Office of the Registrar and
  3. meet all other regulations and requirements. In addition, students must have paid all necessary fees owed to the University and have returned all library resources.

Updated September 19 2017 by laurab

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