Systems, populations and leadership MSN

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The demands of the changing health care environment and the need for increased numbers of leaders educated to assume roles in inter-professionally based teams are unprecedented. 

  • Individuals with deep understanding of and appreciation for leadership in information-enabled healthcare organizations are in high demand. Health care organizations require leaders who are prepared to address complex issues inherent in the rapidly transforming health care industry, and national and international organizations recognize the urgency for flexible and distinctive leadership education to transform health care systems. 
  • A degree in systems, population and leadership is applicable to varying situations and provides for many different opportunities throughout one's career. Graduates go on to a variety of leadership and management positions, including nurse executive, health IT specialist/analyst, nurse manager, entrepreneurs, chief executive officer, informatics executive, case manager, change manager, consultant, quality specialist, patient safety officer, risk manager, and others.
  • The population health emphasis provides leadership roles spanning the care continuum. This may include work in health program administration, public health, government agencies, and NGOs.
  • The education and experiences gained in this program will empower students to step confidently into a changing world of health and healthcare.

Focus and education 

This program is designed to prepare graduates for leadership in complex organizations and to improve health outcomes across the continuum of care. Students will select one of three focus areas: Leadership, informatics, or population health. Upon graduation, students will have the skills to apply theory and knowledge gained through course work and expert-driven immersion experiences. Graduates of this program will be prepared to tackle the difficult challenges facing health systems in a global society.

The web-blended curriculum incorporates self-paced learning with on-campus engagement. Interaction with our world-class faculty and other students occurs online and during approximately four to eight distributed days of on-site classes each semester, supplemented by virtual learning experiences. Due to its web-blended nature, this program accommodates working students as well as students living outside of southeastern Michigan.

Students who focus in informatics obtain content and practice hours that may qualify them to sit for a variety of informatics certifications.


See admission requirements.

On-campus dates

Sp/Su 2017: May 4-5; June 1-2; July 6-7; August 3-4

Fall 2017: September 7-8; October 5-6; November 2-3; December 7-8

Winter 2018: January 4-5; February 1-2; March 8-9; April 5-6


Listed below is the required curriculum for the systems, populations and leadership MSN. Students in this program attend approximately four to eight distributed days of on-site classes each semester (see dates below), supplemented by virtual learning experiences. The program offers a fall term (September) start only. Admitted students to the fall term of this program are offered a full-time (1.5 year) or part-time (3-year) program plan.

Sample plan of study

Credits and plans of study vary by focus area. The total number of credits for leadership focus is 33. The total number of credits for informatics focus is 33. The total number of credits for population health is 34.

Core courses

  • NURS 533: Effective Resource and Operations Management
  • NURS 539: Foundations of Quality Science and Analytics
  • NURS 527: Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Healthcare Delivery
  • NURS 528: Models, Theories and Methods to Promote Optimal Health Outcomes
  • NURS 529: Scientific and Analytic Approaches for Advanced Practice

Focus area: Leadership

  • NURS 581: Foundations for Systems and Organizational Science
  • NURS 588: Policy Analysis and Development for Healthcare Leaders
  • NURS 681: Decision Science for Population Health
  • NURS 682: Systems Assessment and Leadership Effectiveness
  • NURS 781: Leadership Immersion for Impact
  • Cognate: students will elect at least one cognate course for a minimum of four credits. 

Focus area: Informatics

  • HS 510: Foundations of Informatics
  • HS 610: Sociotechnical Components of HIT Systems
  • HS 612: Evaluation Methods for Health Informatics
  • HS 710: Informatics Practicum
  • Cognate: students will elect at least one cognate course for a minimum of four credits. 

Focus area: Population health

  • HS 520: Assessment for Population Health
  • HS 620: Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • NURS 681: Decision Science for Population Health
  • NURS 802: Epidemiology for Health Professionals
  • Cognate: students will elect at least one cognate course for a minimum of four credits. 


This program uses a combination of innovative and forward-looking initiatives to drive the curricular design. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials for Master’s Education in Nursing (2011), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Transforming Care at the Bedside,” the Institute of Medicine’s “Health Professionals Education: A Bridge to Quality,” and the Institute for the Future’s “Healthcare 2020” are representative of the background used to create this transformative program of science and application.

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills to lead interprofessional teams effectively in uncertain and complex environments
  • Assess the impact of health information and communication technology on health and society.
  • Appraise contemporary challenges and create solutions to improve the quality and safety of health services delivery.
  • Analyze and apply evidence to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of systems and organizations.