Our Master's Program is for any physician leader seeking an advanced degree

Physicians are uniquely suited to lead health care initiatives. Advanced degrees not only provide the key business skills needed, but also tie directly to the needs of the health care industry.


Use association CME

American Association for Physician Leadership® prerequisites are a cost-effective way to start your journey to an advanced degree.


Fit your wallet and your schedule

Total tuition for 125 hours of CME-eligible prerequisites starts at just $6,800 and you can take the classes in as little as six months or take up to five years. Take in-person, facilitated or self-study, or a combination: You choose what works.


Choose the right program for you

Pick among five of the nation’s top universities to finish your advanced degree. Choose the program that works for your life, with online and in-person options. Choose the program that works with your focus, with three options currently available.

Breakdown and Achievements


Prerequisite Hours


Elective Choices


Master's Program


Core Hours


Elective Hours


Degree Options

Courses in this Program

The curriculum requires 125 hours of coursework.
Once done, complete your degree with one of our university partners.
Start planning today.

Master's course selections

Who Should Enroll

A great program for any physician leader seeking an advanced degree

Impetus to get an advanced degree can come from many sources. Ultimately, the physician leader needs to focus on goals and motivations.

Among them are:
Physician leaders looking to develop programs and impact the delivery of care through an administrative role.
Physician leaders looking for personal economic impact and potential for raises and greater influence.
Physician leaders who administrate areas outside the clinical realm can increase their stature and influence with non-physicians.

If you are interested in the Masters Program and would like to schedule a 15 minute advising session, we are available to help.


Marcia Nelson, MD, MMM, CPE, FAAFP, FACPE

I found the information I learned through the associations’ advanced degree program invaluable. The perspective and knowledge I gained have made me a more effective physician leader and helped me advance to where I am today.


The association’s graduate degree program is the perfect training for physician leaders who want to further their business and leadership skills. USC’s MMM program pushed me out of my comfort zone – and enabled me to develop techniques and skills beyond what I otherwise would have been exposed to.

Anil B. Gopinath, MD, MMM, FACHE, FACP, CPE, CHCQM

The association’s graduate program catalyzed my career path as a physician leader – and helped me attain my current position. Obtaining the MMM gave me the data and credibility required to be a change agent in quality, utilization review, risk management and patient safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the association’s master's program?

    The association’s program is a flexible, proven answer to your goal of an advanced degree. The program has two parts: 125 contact hours (about six to eight classes) of prerequisites followed by university curriculum. You choose the program with the focus and the setup that works for you. Programs include the Master of Medical Management (MMM) offered by Carnegie Mellon University or the University of Southern California, the online part-time MBA with a concentration in medical management offered by University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety Management (MS-HQSM) offered by Thomas Jefferson University and the Master of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery (MS-SHCD) offered by Arizona State University.

  • When and where do you have the program’s courses?

    The association’s prerequisites are offered three ways: live, facilitated and self-study. You choose which method works best for you. We’ll even come to you, if your organization chooses to book a seminar. Live sessions are conducted at conferences around the country four times a year. Facilitated classes combine interactive elements with self-study during a 4- to 6-week session. Self-study is on your own, whenever you choose.

  • How long does it take to complete the program?

    Both sections can be completed in as few as two years or spread out up to 10 years. It’s totally up to you. To ensure content isn’t outdated, however, you must complete the prerequisites within five years. In the university part of the program, it will take a year to 18 months for the MMM, about 2½ years for the part-time online MBA (minimum 22 months, maximum four years), and about 16 to 18 months for the MS-HQSM (if you take two classes per term). The MS-SHCD is expected to take about one academic year, devoting 10-15 hours per week.

  • What are the program requirements?

    The master's program is for MDs and DOs and does not require a GMAT. No application or enrollment is necessary to start taking the prerequisites and they are offered year round. Membership in the association isn't required, either, but big discounts on the prerequisite classes and other benefits make joining a great idea. Ready?

  • How do I start?

    Start by using the course selection tool to help pick your first course. Many physicians start with the Physician in Management Seminar series, but that’s not required.

  • Can I get credit for other management courses I’ve taken?

    Content depth and breadth must be similar to our curriculum. Graduate-level coursework from other universities and executive training programs taken and graded within the last 10 years may be eligible for transfer. Acceptance is pending review of the content and candidate transcript. Transfer credit for the university part of the program is generally not available. To learn more, contact us at education@physicianleaders.org.

  • What is the difference among the degrees offered?

    The five master’s program options differ in content, format, cost and credentials. In most cases, it matters less which degree you get than what you do with it afterward. The training and credential will help you in the marketplace. Program alumni are a great resource to find out more. And we’re here to help, too.

    Compare now

  • If I took courses a few years ago, can I still take the tests and get credit?

    There’s a five-year expiration on courses, regardless of whether you took the test. Any course taken five or more years ago cannot count for credit and will not show up on the association’s prerequisite transcripts. You have to retake the course. This helps you, too, to assure you have the latest information when you transfer to the second half of the master’s program. We encourage participants to take the tests soon after completing the course, even if you’re not sure you can complete the program. It keeps your options open and you avoid having to catch up on areas you’ve already done. Remember, testing costs nothing.

  • What about CPE?

    The Certified Physician Executive designation can open doors to advance your career and enhance your credibility. If you add 25 specific hours to your prerequisite curriculum, you will meet the requirements to apply for the CPE. To become a CPE, you must be accepted into the Certifying Commission in Medical Management’s CPE Certification Program. This is a 3 1/2 day skill development and assessment session that ends with an oral presentation to a panel of health care leaders.

  • What kinds of positions will this degree help me get?

    The top-five categories of job titles of our current advanced degree holders are medical director, department chief or chair, department or program director, president, vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer. That said, you need to know your advanced degree will equip you with knowledge and skills but it won’t guarantee you a job in management. You’ll still need to get experience and build credibility for yourself. We’re here to help, though.

  • How do I get management experience while I’m getting my degree?

    Physician leaders who have succeeded offer this advice:
    View chaos as a chance to step up and prove yourself. Offer to assume more responsibility in hard times, whether it’s a merger or new technology rollout or a change in leadership. Take on unpaid leadership challenges to advance to paid management roles. Serve on task forces, committees and ad hoc initiatives. Participate enthusiastically and be vocal about your willingness to lead and serve in these roles. Consistently attend and actively participate in meetings, even those others view negatively. Be open and vocal about your interest in positions such as department chair, chief of service, etc. Volunteer to take on tasks others avoid, including conflict resolution, scheduling, finances or compliance. Look for ways to improve systems or start a team to collaborate on new methods. Report on the financial and quality outcomes. Seek ways to be involved in building projects and expanded lines of service. Seek out and get involved with new initiatives. Let others see you manage people, information and finances. Be visible, energetic and efficient. People will notice and think of you when management tasks need to be done.

  • After spending so much time and money already in post-graduate education, will I regret the decision to go back to school for more?

    It’s a big decision, no doubt. But 97 percent of graduate degree alumni survey respondents said they’d recommend the association’s leadership education to their colleagues.