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Experiential Learning


From client projects to industry events, practical experience is a cornerstone of your Heinz College education.

Effective leaders and managers must know how to deliver on their ideas in a measurable way, clearly communicate with all stakeholders, and understand how their roles and decisions fit into the broader landscape of the health care field. To acquire these skills, there is no substitute for hands-on learning experiences that bridge learned theories and best practices.


  • Experience the one-of-a-kind health care environment of Pittsburgh, which boasts two major health systems—UPMC and Allegheny Health Network—along with world-class hospitals, skyrocketing investment in new facilities and technologies, and start-up incubators that promote entrepreneurship. The city is also home to the Pittsburgh Veterans Engineering Resource Center, one of only four VERC centers nationwide, exposing our students to a unique and crucial aspect of the American health care system. Our students and faculty partner with these organizations to pursue groundbreaking health care research and innovation projects.
  • Move beyond the classroom and gain tangible skills through work opportunities both on- and off-campus, including research and teaching assistantships alongside our faculty experts.
  • Solve a real-world problem for a real-world client in your team-based Capstone Project, collaborating with our industry and government partners.
  • Make meaningful connections through internships and apprenticeships, many of which lead to full-time job offers.
  • Apply your newly earned knowledge from class to immersive activities, workshops, events, and student clubs.

Not only do these opportunities crystallize concepts and strategies learned in coursework, they add marketable industry experience to your résumé prior to graduation.


Most full-time Heinz College master’s students complete a team-based project, working in close collaboration with a real-world client. These projects fulfill an actual business or operational need for our partners, giving students an opportunity to have a measurable impact while still in school.

Recent MSHCA Capstone clients include:

  • UPMC
  • SAS Institute
  • Veterans Health Administration (VERC)
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Shoptaki
  • Allegheny County
  • University Hospital of the West Indies


Work directly with Faculty

Our faculty are more than researchers and instructors. They are innovators and mentors who work to solve major problems facing companies, governments, and society. Most importantly, our faculty are uncommonly accessible and include students in their groundbreaking work.

As a Heinz College student, you have many opportunities to enrich your grad school experience by working closely with world-renowned faculty.

Many classes at Heinz College focus on team-based experiential projects, advised by a faculty expert. These projects aim to solve an actual problem or fulfill a real need for a client organization. Courses with a focus on health care projects include:

  • Healthcare Information Systems
  • Designing Smart and Healthy Systems
  • Consulting Lab


Most Heinz College master’s students are required to complete a 10-week, full-time internship during the summer between the first and second years.

Internships present you with the chance to apply what you've learned in your first year to real-life situations, gain exposure to your future field, build your résumé, and make lasting professional contacts.



Our students stay busy in the summer, and gain invaluable industry experience. We caught up with a few of them on site as they completed internships at some amazing places.

Recent health care internships:

  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Biomotivate
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Cota Healthcare
  • Forest Devices
  • Government Accountability Office
  • Highmark Health
  • IBM
  • Jewish Healthcare Foundation
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • MITRE Corporation
  • Mylan
  • Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
  • Shadyside Hospital Foundation
  • Temple University Health System
  • Treatspace
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
  • UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • UPMC Enterprises
  • UPMC Health Plan
  • Vermonster
  • Veterans Affairs Healthcare System VERC


Each year, MSHCA students travel to prominent health care conferences including:

  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
  • America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
  • INFORMS Business Analytics Conference
  • Student wearing a VR headset at a healthcare conference
  • A picture of the floor of HIMSS, a healthcare conference with over 40,000 participants
  • Students stand in front of a sign reading HIMSS Interoperability Showcase

Heinz in the Field

MSHCA students have many opportunities to network with and learn from professionals during industry trips and health care conferences


  • Research Assistantships pair students with faculty and research centers to pursue topics of interest.
  • Teaching Assistantships are available to students in the final two semesters of their program.

U.S. Citizens enrolled in the MSHCA program can work part-time for organizations in the Pittsburgh region, and work for public and non-profit firms is often eligible for Federal Community Service Work Study. 

See the MSHCA Student Finances page for more information about work study and fellowship opportunities.


Many Heinz College students complement their education with involvement in immersive student activities and clubs. In some cases these activities are purely recreational or centered on community-building, but in many others they can be direct extensions of, or supplements to, coursework.

Students at Orientation, listening to a speaker