Skip to main content


Archish Maharaja, Ed.D., C.F.P., C.P.A., associate professor of business management, visits a medical office.

The Point
Fall 2015

Point Park's academic offerings continue to expand, providing new opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students - on campus and online.

This fall, the University welcomed a new group of doctoral students into the region's first interdisciplinary Ph.D. in community engagement. Also newly launched is a fully online M.S. in health care administration and management, designed to meet the increasing demand for highly-trained professionals to manage health care centers and services. This program is among the newest of many online degree opportunities at Point Park.

Ph.D. Links Community Partners

The new Ph.D. in community engagement is designed to give current and future leaders the tools necessary to become agents of change in diverse community settings.

The 54-credit doctoral program can be completed in three years (less if post-masters credits are transferred in), attending class one night per week. The cost of the program is similar to Point Park's Ed.D. in leadership and administration program (estimated $13,500 per year).

"This program will be a true social lab, with students working throughout their courses with community partners on real-world projects," said Heather Starr Fiedler, Ph.D., associate professor in Point Park's School of Communication. "This format will allow the students to come together as a team, bringing their collective wisdom and skill sets to help better serve the community."

For students, work with outside community organizations begins early in the program. Small groups will partner with local organizations in various classes to tackle problems or opportunities. Individual dissertations then will be combined to create a community report that will be presented publicly to ensure maximum benefit.

Serving the Mission

"The community engagement report is the essence of Point Park's mission. It is a palpable demonstration of the University's contribution to the Pittsburgh community while supporting academic excellence and professional growth for students," said Helen Sobehart, D.A., who recently served as associate academic vice president for graduate education at Point Park.

The Ph.D. program is comprised of four blocks of study: Block 1: Community Engagement core (18 credit hours taken at the start of the program);

Block 2: Research and Practicum core (12 credit hours); Block 3: Proseminars/Electives (choose 12 credit hours, taken during the summers. Up to 12 credits may be transferred into this block pending approval of the program director.); and Block 4: Dissertation & Collaborative Community Engagement Report (12 credit hours).

Courses in the Ph.D. program run year-round and are divided into eight-week sessions. Students will typically take one course each eight weeks, earning 15-21 credits per year. Most courses are offered in a hybrid format allowing working professionals to balance family, personal and career commitments while finishing all required courses and a dissertation.

For additional information, contact Kathy Ballas, director of the Office of Graduate Admission, at or 412-392-3812.

Fully Online M.S. in Health Care Administration and Management

In another first, this fall Point Park initiated one of the first fully online graduate programs in health care administration and management in the Pittsburgh region.

The 36-credit Master of Science degree was designed to meet the growing demand for highly trained professionals to manage health care centers and services due to the rapidly aging American population and overall expansion of health care. Pittsburgh has one of the highest populations of seniors in the country and is well known for its health care systems and groundbreaking medical discoveries.

Flexible for Working Professionals

"Our fully online degree provides flexibility for working professionals while delivering the same quality and depth of instruction that one would receive on ground," explained Archish Maharaja, Ed.D., C.F.P., C.P.A., associate professor of business management.

According to Maharaja, Point Park's online M.S. degree will equip current health care professionals, as well as those seeking a new career in the health care field, with the tools and skills needed to successfully plan, direct and coordinate medical and health services.

Students will have the opportunity to complete the degree in as little as 18 months (six semesters) at a tuition cost of $550 per credit. The program offers a rigorous curriculum of quantitative and qualitative classes integrating theoretical learning, scholarly research and case analysis in national and global health care policies and practices.

Courses are taught by faculty with a diverse range of professional experience in the health care management field. They cover concepts such as the economics of health care, how government regulations affect health care administration, health care informatics and more.

"The faculty teaching in this program have management experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations including solo and group physician practices, insurance companies and a variety of medical specialties," remarked Maharaja.

Before graduating from the program, students are required to build a portfolio showcasing their knowledge, skills and experience as a way to help them enter or advance their careers in the health care field.

Online Opportunities Grow

The new fully online M.S. in Health Care Administration and Management is among eight online master's degrees in such areas as business, education, and intelligence and global security. The University also offers 10 fully online bachelor's degrees (in such areas as business, communication, criminal justice and public administration), five online certificates (in public administration, Pennsylvania school principal K-12 certification, and intelligence and global security), and two associate degrees (in public administration and business management).

For more information about the new online M.S. in Health Care Administration and Management, or any of Point Park's online degree programs, visit

Reporting by Gina Puppo and Amanda Dabbs
Photo by Martha Rial

The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University