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Health Systems Studies BS

About The Program

The Health Systems Studies program provides individuals holding a health-related associate degree the opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree — the Bachelor of Science in Health Systems (BSHS), a popular option for nursing health systems management professionals.

The growing and complex healthcare environment creates exciting opportunities within the health care industry. Our innovative baccalaureate degree completion program prepares individuals for positions of increasing responsibility and greater opportunities in clinical practice, management and leadership, community health, program development, education, and product sales. Several current trends support the need for baccalaureate preparation by those working in health related fields including:

  • Health care reforms and increasing access to care
  • Complex delivery and payment systems
  • Technological advances in health care
  • Emerging discoveries and evidence-based best practices
  • A well informed and health conscious public
  • Changing demographic including an aging population with more complex health needs
  • Increased diversity of our communities

The Health Systems Studies program is multi-disciplinary, helping students build careers in health promotion and disease prevention within complex health systems located within diverse communities. Building on foundations of the liberal arts, behavioral and life sciences, students in this program learn to effectively lead people and projects.

Health Systems Studies Program Overview

This Health Systems educational program is based on academic excellence, and the values of community involvement, service, and health equity. Completion of a baccalaureate degree provides new and relevant knowledge and skills to healthcare professionals. An important benefit of getting a bachelor’s degree emphasizing health systems management is its overview approach broadens employment prospects in traditional and/or non-traditional work settings. Contemporary non-traditional work settings and roles may include:

  • Product development or sales
  • School or community-based health programs
  • Local, state or federal health programs
  • Health care related project management
  • Health care management or leadership roles
  • Health care insurers or payers
  • Educational roles
  • Research

The health systems baccalaureate completion program is designed to meet the professional and educational goals of individuals involved in some aspect of the health care field. Students determine the pace of their education, allowing flexibility in advancing the education while maintaining employment. The curriculum, in establishing content domain areas, provides opportunities for students to individualize the degree program. Students work with their academic advisor to select courses appropriate to meet the focus area requirements.

The Health Systems Studies program focuses on:

  • Expanding project management knowledge and skills
  • Deepening professional growth in the role as a community minded health professional
  • Preparing students to work within diverse communities and teams
  • Expanding team collaboration and communication skills
  • Preparing for greater leadership opportunities.

Student outcomes

Graduates of the Health Systems Studies program should be able to:

  • Effectively communicate with culturally diverse individuals, groups, and communities
  • Collaborate across disciplines to address complex health care issues
  • Evaluate and apply relevant scientific evidence to advance health
  • Analyze dynamic situations within complex health care systems and make evidence-based, theory-informed decisions
  • Effectively lead people and manage organizational resources to accomplish goals
  • Design effective, stakeholder-informed prevention and health promotion strategies to advance community health outcomes
  • Analyze ethical dilemmas specific to the provision of health care and determine actions based on sound ethical decision making

Ready to turn your two-year degree into a bachelor’s degree?

If you want to continue your college journey, and learn relevant knowledge and skills that pertain to healthcare professionals, the Health Systems Studies program provides a breadth of opportunities for those interested in nursing health systems management careers and related fields. Metro State, established in 1971, is a member of the Minnesota State higher education system.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Health Systems Studies BS now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Health Systems Studies BS

Program eligibility requirements

To be eligible for acceptance to program, the following must be completed:

  • Approved admission to Metropolitan State University.
  • An official transcript indicating completion of an associate degree in a health-related field from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5. The GPA used for admission assessment is the cumulative GPA calculated from all coursework and evaluation of all transcripts.
  • Completion of an official degree plan with an academic advisor.

Students complete the Undergraduate Program Declaration Form at this time.

Courses and Requirements


The degree requirements for graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Health Systems include:

  • A minimum of 120 semester credits are needed for a Minnesota State granted baccalaureate degree. These credits will consist of:
  • Transferable Associate Degree coursework
  • Transferable General Education Liberal Studies (GELS) courses
  • Required Metropolitan State University Health Science Major and GELS courses
  • Required Metropolitan State University Racial Issues Graduation Requirement coursework
  • For more information, view the University wide graduation requirement information


The coursework within the Bachelor of Science in Health Systems may be organized in many different ways with several offered in different formats such as online or with a mix of online and in class meetings which provides flexibility and convenience while completing your baccalaureate degree.

Health-Related Degree Programs

This degree program builds upon an associate degree in a health-related field. There are many programs which offer degrees applicable for admission to this program including (but not limited to) associate degrees (AS) or (AAS) in the follow fields:

  • Radiologic Technology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Sonography
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Orthotics Technician
  • Prosthetic Technician
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Nutrition Science
  • Exercise Science
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Health Information Management Technician
  • Medical Equipment Technician
  • Dental Assistant

If you are interested in this program and have completed an associate degree in a health-related field that is not noted above, please contact the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Advising Center at, or 651-793-1375.

Requirements (120 credits)

This course focuses on understanding the complex organization and operation of the health care system in the U.S. The history, stakeholders and their interactions, financial considerations, and the role of government are discussed and incorporated into critical analyses of the operation and performance of the health care system, current health care issues, and possible future directions for health care in the U.S.

Full course description for Understanding the U.S. Health System

This course examines global health issues that influence population health outcomes, including the interaction between domestic and global health. Students study frameworks such as vital statistics, Millennium Development Goals, and human rights principles and apply these frameworks to the definition, prevention, or mitigation of identified global health issues or concerns with particular attention given to the health of infants, children, and women in low and middle income countries. The course concludes with a study of cooperative efforts designed to mitigate or prevent global health problems.

Full course description for Global Health Issues

This course focuses on the role of racism in the creation and perpetuation of poor health outcomes. Emphasis will be placed on analysis, utilizing critical theory, of the manner in which the history of scientific racism is embedded in current health care clinical practice. The biological responses to the experience of racism will be explored. Racism in healthcare research, the role of structural racism in homelessness and its effects on health, and engagement in anti-racist, activist scholarship to achieve health equity are addressed.

Full course description for Racism and Health

It is important for human service practitioners to understand the relationship between practice and research. According to social psychologist, Kurt Lewin, the best practice is founded in research and the best research is grounded in practice. Acknowledging this insight, this course will engage students in an examination of research as it is employed in the human service field. The primary focus of this course is to teach students how to be critical consumers of research, able to read, evaluate, and apply research for human service practice purposes. A second purpose is to develop students skills for their future role as collaborators with researchers in generating knowledge from the field. This course can serve as a companion course for the program evaluation offering or a foundations course for students interested in pursuing graduate study or a preview course for those intending to take social or behavioral science research methods courses.

Full course description for Understanding and Using Research for the Practitioner

This course focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to appropriately identify, collect, analyze and report evaluative information to be used in making decisions about, and changes in, programs. Topics include approaches to program evaluation, the process of planning and conducting an evaluation, basic principles and practices of designing evaluation instruments, and methods for interpreting and presenting data with an emphasis on providing relevant information to decision makers. This course is appropriate for anyone in business, public, nonprofit or human services administration who is responsible for making decisions about service programs or for conducting evaluations.

Full course description for Program Evaluation

This course surveys the principles and applications of community psychology, emphasizing person-environment interactions and societal/cultural impacts upon individual and community functioning. Attention is given to community-based interventions that facilitate individual and community competence and empowerment, prevent disorder, and promote health and social change. Students select and research an issue of their choice (such as, mental illness, violence, alcohol or substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, discrimination) utilizing a community psychology lens.

Full course description for Community Psychology

This capstone course provides a foundation for students to transition into roles of increasing responsibility in healthcare-related fields. Emphasis is placed on synthesizing theories, principles, concepts and skills from prior courses as a basis for implementing community involvement, service, and health equity in the health care environment. This course focuses on planning a change project that would positively influence processes or systems impacting health.

Full course description for Health Science Capstone

*HSCI 410 Capstone must be taken in final Spring semester of program.

*Additional courses may be added to these focus areas in the future and are subject to change based on course offerings.

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This course focuses on policies and practices for effectively managing a diverse workforce in private, public and nonprofit organizations. The current context, legal environment and historical development of equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, and diversity are addressed. Students gain theoretical and practical knowledge to understand beliefs, attitudes, biases, and prejudices to more effectively manage differences in order to enhance organization productivity. A significant amount of time will be focused on racism, origin of racism, and individual responsibility of racism.

Full course description for Managing a Diverse Workforce

This course is designed to provide an understanding of the health care industry and the theory and practice of face to face and mediated forms of communication by health care administrators, managers, providers, and patients. Students will analyze both common and best practices in health care campaigns, training, public relations, patient satisfaction, patient advocacy, administration, media covering health issues, and public education. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism, and how social constructions of race and racism affect perspectives and create disparities in health care access, communication, and outcomes experienced by different populations.

Full course description for Health Communication

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