Master of Healthcare Design

The Elliot Program for Master of Healthcare Design (MHCD) is a post-professional degree and one of the very few focusing on the design of healthcare facilities. Kent State University's Healthcare Design program is a member of the AIA's Design & Health Research Consortium.

The MHCD program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to design healthcare spaces that are conducive to safety, satisfaction, and efficiency for all end users, including patients, staff, and caregivers. Through a combination of design studios, applied research, and real-world practice experience, the coursework covers areas around understanding the US healthcare systems, universal design, evidence-based design, systems thinking, and human factors, across different facility types and patient populations. Upon graduation, our alumni are employed in healthcare-focused architecture and design firms.

Headshot of Sara
Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., M.Arch.
Coordinator and Elliot Professor, Healthcare Design Program


The Master of Healthcare Design (MHCD) suits those who want to pursue a career path in healthcare design industry, which involves design of hospitals, clinics, and other environments of care. Recently graduated students in architecture or interior design, as well as early- or mid-career architects, interior designers, and design practitioners can utilize this program to hone their design skills for a variety of healthcare facilities.


Holding a professional degree in architecture or interior design from a NAAB or CIDA accredited program or an equivalent degree from a non-US institution.


  • Understand and translate research literature into real-world design practice
  • Design effectively in support of safety, quality, and efficiency in healthcare
  • Apply expert knowledge and skills in the design of healthcare environments as well as environments for special populations


Kent State University is strategically located near Cleveland, Akron, and Pittsburgh with access to some of the key players in the health care industry, including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital, Summa Health, and the Veteran Affairs hospital. The working partnership with these health care systems and architecture firms in the region as well as existing facilities and faculty expertise have uniquely positioned the MHCD at Kent State University to offer an enriching experience to students.


Submit the following materials to the Graduate Studies department. The deadline is January 15, 2020.

  • Accredited professional degree in architecture or interior design

  • Official transcript(s) – a minimum GPA of 3.00 is required.

  • Goal statement
  • Portfolio of design work that clearly delineates the role played by the applicant in team projects
  • Three letters of recommendations (one letter from a non-academic source)
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    • Minimum 550 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
    • Minimum 79 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
    • Minimum 77 MELAB score
    • Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
    • Minimum 58 PTE score.
  • GRE not required

For more information about graduate admissions, please visit the Graduate Studies website. For more information on international admission, visit the Office of Global Education’s admission website.


As of Fall 2019:

Ohio Residents: $536 per credit hour

Non-Ohio Residents: $999 per credit hour

For information on the current tuition and fee rates please click here. 


A variety of graduate assistantships, scholarships, research and work opportunities are available to both new and returning graduate students.


Caitlin Raymond, MHCD

“Going through this program allowed me to not only further my education and gain more experience in the healthcare field, but also explore my passion of design. The program gave me the opportunity to work with other architects and designers who share my passion of creating a more efficient and effective healing environment. The classes allowed enough flexibility that I could complete the assignments while working and offered many different resources that I could explore on my own. The final master's project allowed me work more specifically on researching a topic I was interested in. I am very glad I was able to complete the master’s degree in Health Care Design at Kent State University.”


Bishal Thapa Chetry, MHCD

“I am very grateful to Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design for establishing a graduate program solely dedicated to Health Care Design. The program offers a profound understanding of Health Care deeply rooted in interdisciplinary literature and practices. Knowledge acquired is invaluable and will always be treasured throughout my career.”


Marwa Ibrahem, MHCD, Senior Healthcare Architect

“The Healthcare Design program at Kent State University provided me with a great background knowledge and theory in the Healthcare field in general and gave me a strong foundation in the field of health care design. The online system of the M.H.C.D. program is a big advantage that allow students to work and live their usual life. Another advantage is that students have multiple options of classes to choose from. Enrolling to this program changed my view of the health care facilities from just a building that provide patients with treatments to a healing environment that provide quality care, improve safety and comfort, and reduce stress.”


Program Coordinator: Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., M.Arch., 330-672-0936

Program Secretary: Connie Simms, 330-672-3765


Sara Bayramzadeh, Ph.D., M.Arch. |Coordinator and Elliot Professor
Kara Freihoefer, Ph.D., CID, EDAC, LEED ID+C 
John Walkosak
Gina Livingston-Smith, IIDA, EDAC, LEED AP
William Schubert
Ryan Conover, EDAC, Associate IALD
Addie Abushousheh, Ph.D., EDAC, Assoc. AIA 



Safety in healthcare settings is one of the foremost determinants of quality. Safety is a key measure for hospitals’ performance which has direct financial implications from expenditure and reimbursement standpoints. Some of the current safety related research efforts are focused on patient safety in psychiatric units and patient falls.


Efficiency as pertain to promoting value-added activities and reducing non-value-added activities can be significantly influenced by the design of the environment. Examples include extended walking distances, excessive movement, prolonged wait time.


End users in healthcare facilities are susceptible to stress due to undergoing a health issue or providing care for a patient. To reduce stress and increase satisfaction among end users, the built environment can be instrumental by providing positive distraction, reducing wait time, therapeutic features, and accommodating for patient families.


As baby boomers are aging, associated aging support services need to be offered; however, the imbalanced age promotion is indicating a lack of enough young workforce to support the rapidly-growing aging population. An independent lifestyle can compensate for such a shortfall. Aging in place is a concept that promotes independent living in one’s residence and is directly influenced by the design of the built environment.