An MSN/MBA program offers a specialized combination of business and nursing education, focusing on the application of business principles to healthcare management. This degree program highlights developments in the modern healthcare system, such as the use of technology and evidence-based nursing practice.
An MSN/MBA program often combines courses from a college's schools of business and nursing, with equal weight given to both disciplines. These programs generally cater to students with a nursing background rather than a business background, and curriculum models often emphasize advanced nursing skills along with broader business concepts.
As with any dual-degree program, the MSN/MBA degree is characterized by a heavy workload and rigorous coursework. Completion time can vary widely among programs, with both full-time and part-time enrollment options available at different schools. Students can generally expect to spend 2-3 years in a full-time program, with part-time programs taking as many as 5-6 years to complete. Programs often cater to working nurses. Many schools enable students to complete practicum and clinical hours at their current place of employment.
Graduates often pursue advanced management roles in healthcare agencies, taking responsibility for finances, organizational strategies, and the evaluation of patient care practices. While the coursework for a dual-degree MSN/MBA is demanding, these programs offer a practical pathway to leadership and management opportunities in healthcare.
Online MSN MBA Dual Degree Programs 2020
This guide ranks the top MSN/MBA degrees in the country, highlighting programs that offer a mixture of strong professional preparation, extensive student resources, and strong outcomes for graduates. These programs all hold institutional and programmatic accreditation, ensuring nursing students receive relevant, industry-standard training.
One of the country's best colleges for healthcare education, Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins offers a top-ranked online MSN/MBA dual-degree program. The MSN in healthcare organizational leadership/MBA combines courses from John Hopkins' School of Nursing and the Carey Business School, producing graduates who understand both patient care and administrative and managerial practices. The curriculum emphasizes organizational leadership, evidence-based practice, and healthcare's economic and regulatory sides.
Johns Hopkins' MSN/MBA comprises 65 credits and 504 clinical hours. Typical courses include economics for decision-making, business analytics, and leadership and organizational practices in contemporary healthcare. Enrollees complete a substantial healthcare organizational leadership practicum that spans several semesters. The program offers both online and hybrid options, with both full-time and part-time enrollment available. The program typically takes 3-6 years to complete depending on enrollment.
A private Christian college based in Bismarck, North Dakota, Mary enrolls students of all faith backgrounds. The school offers a dual-degree MSN/MBA in healthcare administration that highlights issues in both clinical nursing practice and administration, giving students the skills for effective leadership. The program primarily serves practicing nurses who plan to move into administrative and management roles.
Mary's 60-credit nursing program features 18 credits of core courses and 42 credits of specialty courses. The program core introduces key topics, including healthcare across the population, resilient nursing leadership, and healthcare law and policy. Specialty courses explore business topics such as marketing, managerial accounting, and finance.
The program uses three delivery formats: fully online, hybrid, and campus evenings. Mary offers in-person courses at several campus locations, including Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks Air Force Base, and Watford City. Most candidates complete the degree in less than 2.5 years.
A major public college, UNCG offers one of North Carolina's top online MSN/MBA dual-degree programs. Focusing on healthcare management, the program builds leadership skills in both business and nursing, preparing graduates for a variety of roles in healthcare and nursing administration.
Candidates complete 62 credits and 504 clinical hours. The curriculum includes courses such as financial and managerial accounting, research methods in nursing, leadership and management essentials in healthcare, and marketing management. Candidates also complete several practicum experiences spread across multiple semesters.
UNCG's program uses a hybrid format that combines campus and online courses. Nursing courses run fully online, with both synchronous and asynchronous components. Business courses run primarily on campus, with some online options available. Students complete their practicum hours locally, coordinating these in-person experiences with help from the graduate program clinical coordinator.
A private Christian college affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, SAU hosts one of Michigan's top online MSN/MBA dual-degree programs. Emphasizing personal, professional, and spiritual development, the program offers five concentration options: management, healthcare administration, human resources development, organizational consulting, and executive leadership. The curriculum prepares candidates for several advanced certifications, including the certified nurse manager and leader certification from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.
SAU's MSN/MBA program uses a fully online, asynchronous format, with no required campus visits or set login times. The program caters to working nurses, using a condensed 7-1-7 course model that sees students take one seven-week course at a time with a one-week break in between each course.
The curriculum features a strong foundation in business, with courses including accounting, statistics, and marketing. Candidates also complete an international business course that includes an optional four-day trip to New York City, where participants attend an international business summit.
Career and Salary Outlook
An MSN/MBA degree prepares nurses for leadership and management positions in the healthcare field. Graduates may pursue various nurse manager positions before working their way up to top-level executive and administrative positions.
These positions frequently offer competitive salaries and high potential for career advancement. The BLS reports that the top 10% of medical and health services managers earn an annual median salary of $189,000, while the lowest 10% earn just under $58,000.
Medical and Health Service Managers
- Healthcare Executives/Healthcare Administrators
These executives and administrators direct and coordinate services for healthcare agencies. They may oversee specific departments, individual clinical areas, medical practices, or entire healthcare facilities. These high-level professionals often oversee personnel and staffing, manage finances, and improve the efficiency of services.
- Clinical Managers
Clinical managers usually oversee one specific area of a healthcare organization, such as nursing or physical therapy. They perform duties similar to executives and administrators, setting and directing department policies, developing budgets and managing finances, hiring new employees, and evaluating department and employee efficiency.
- Health Information Managers
Health information managers oversee patient records and other medical data, ensuring that health information databases are accurate, updated, and secure. This role emphasizes information technology more heavily than other healthcare management roles. Information managers must be familiar with the latest developments in medical records technology.
- Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing home administrators oversee the administration of services at nursing homes and other facilities for elderly patients. They may manage staff, supervise nursing home admissions, oversee budgeting and finances, maintain facilities, and direct patient care practices.
Accreditation for Online MBA Programs
Before enrolling in any online MSN/MBA program, prospective students should verify a school and program's accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes.
All reputable colleges in the United States hold either regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation serves traditional degree-granting colleges, while national accreditation serves trade and vocational schools. Any reputable school that offers an MSN/MBA degree should hold regional accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Courses in a MSN MBA Dual Degree Program
Students enrolled in an MSN/MBA degree program can expect to complete a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes both healthcare delivery and business administration. Candidates usually take courses in advanced nursing practice and healthcare management, along with key business classes in areas such as marketing, finance, and accounting. Many programs include a substantial practicum component, which typically requires candidates to apply their learning to real-life healthcare administration issues in a professional environment.
This section highlights five common courses found in dual-degree MSN/MBA programs. Course titles and specific content may vary among programs, but these topics typically figure into most MSN/MBA curricula.
- Nursing Leadership
- This course explores leadership philosophies and design strategies in the context of healthcare administration, training students in contemporary healthcare management best practices. Common topics include patient-centered decision-making, managerial adaptability, community engagement, and innovation in care practices. The course may also include a practicum or mentorship component.
- Managerial Finance
- Finance plays an important role in healthcare management. Most programs include at least one course highlighting the relationship between managers, organizations, and financial markets. These courses often focus on effective practices for measuring and assessing a healthcare agency's financial goals, such as risk and return valuation models.
- Contemporary Issues in Healthcare Administration
- Students in MSN/MBA programs often complete a course that focuses on major administrative issues facing healthcare agencies in the 21st century. Common topics in this course include the use of technology, evidence-based practice models, and how to provide effective care for underserved populations.
- Healthcare Law and Policy
- The legal system frequently intersects with the healthcare system, and most programs include a course that broadly examines healthcare law and policy. The course commonly includes topics such as professional licensing regulations, legal liability for care providers and institutions, patient reimbursement systems, and legal decision-making related to death and dying.
- Management and Organizational Behavior
- Managers of all types increasingly apply the principles of organizational behavior to foster a healthy and productive work environment. Emphasizing individual and group behavior within organizations, organizational behavior courses often focus on topics such as group dynamics, conflict management, power and politics, organizational culture, and employee motivation.
Graduate students can take advantage of several options to fund their studies, including grants, scholarships, and student loans. Unlike undergraduates, graduate students typically do not enjoy access to federal financial aid like the Pell Grant. However, students should still fill out the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for other types of aid.
For career-focused programs like a dual-degree MSN/MBA, some employers may offer professional development programs that pay for employees to attend graduate school. These initiatives vary widely among employers, so students should research the options at their place of employment.
Online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and transportation. The flexibility of online programs may also enable students to maintain their current job while earning a degree, offering graduate candidates greater financial stability while pursuing higher education.
Scholarships for MSN MBA Student
Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them an ideal form of financial aid. Some scholarships may serve students of a specific background, while others serve nursing students of all types. This list highlights five scholarship opportunities for graduate nursing candidates.