Best MSN + MBA Dual-Degree Programs 2021

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Dual-degree programs allow students to earn complementary degrees concurrently, in less time than they would need to complete each degree separately. Master of science in nursing (MSN) and master of business administration (MBA) dual-degree programs lead to marketable credentials that graduates can use to obtain positions in nursing and business. These programs cater to practicing nurses who want to enhance their career options and salary potential.

The best MSN/MBA programs include rigorous coursework in both disciplines. With advanced clinical and administrative skills, graduates can qualify for a variety of healthcare leadership positions. Dual degree-seekers develop a detail-oriented, analytical outlook and strong interpersonal skills, which nurses can leverage to transition to executive roles.

Top 5 MSN + MBA Dual Degree Programs

Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Northeastern University Boston, MA
3 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
4 Columbia University New York, NY
5 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT

FAQ


  • What is an MSN?

    MSN programs allow enrollees to specialize in an interest area, such as education or public health. Graduates often secure advanced practice and leadership roles.


  • What is an MBA?

    MBA programs prepare graduates for managerial positions in various industries. MBA students often concentrate in a field such as human resources or healthcare management.


  • What is a dual-degree MSN/MBA program?

    Geared toward prospective healthcare administrators, these programs allow students to earn an MSN and MBA simultaneously. Admission typically requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing.


  • How long does it take to complete a dual degree?

    Since many courses fulfill requirements for both degrees, learners typically complete dual-degree programs in less time than they would need to earn the degrees separately. MSN/MBA programs typically require about 2.5 years of full-time study.


Best MSN + MBA Dual-Degree Programs 2021

  1. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    A highly ranked research institution based in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins offers a master of science in nursing in healthcare organization and a master of business administration dual degree.

    The program requires 65 credits and 504 clinical hours. Course topics include statistical analysis, economics for decision-making, and leadership and organizational culture. Healthcare organizational leadership practicums during each semester of study put the student in the workforce. The program's MBA components happen part time with both online and on-campus course choices.

    Applicants must hold a current registered nurse license and a bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students must also submit GRE or GMAT scores (waived through 2021). Applicants must also provide evidence of two years of relevant work experience to begin the application process.

    Johns Hopkins is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  2. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern offers a master of science in nursing administration and a master of business administration dual degree.

    Students focus on four key areas throughout the 64.5-credit program: research core, professional core, administration theory, and business theory. Courses include epidemiology and professional health, translating evidence into practice, and health policy and law. Students take nursing leadership practicums for hands-on experience and for the development of critical thinking skills. Students must work approximately eight hours per week during their last academic year in a practicum setting.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor of science degree and current registered nurse licensure to apply. Students must possess a minimum GRE score of 150 for both sections (or the GMAT equivalent) to apply.

    Northeastern is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  3. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Located in Philadelphia, Penn offers a master of science in nursing in healthcare administration and a master of business administration in healthcare management dual degree.

    Students tailor their programs to one of three concentrations: operations management, healthcare consulting, or project management. Students take courses such as current issues in health and social policy, concepts in healthcare economics, and healthcare informatics. After a nursing core, students can pursue the MBA component and participate in nursing administration practicums with a nurse executive or consultant.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor of nursing degree to begin the process. The school prefers students to possess a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students with a 3.2 GPA may apply to waive GRE requirements. Students must also check with the business school to determine what admissions criteria transfers from the nursing school to apply to the MBA program.

    Penn is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  4. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Based in New York, New York, Columbia offers a master of science in nursing and a master of business administration dual degree. Students focus on one program at a time rather than taking part in simultaneous coursework.

    The business school offers students the chance to study in alternating terms or all at once. Students explore business courses such as corporate finance, managerial statistics, and marketing. Nursing students complete courses in their nursing concentration and follow guidelines for clinical work or practicums. MBA dual-degree fellows complete 45 credits in the business school over three terms and complete elective requirements through the nursing school.

    The business school does not defer admission, so students must apply to this school first. The MBA program requires students to hold a bachelor's degree and to submit GMAT or GRE scores to qualify for admission. The nursing program also requires students to hold a bachelor's degree.

    Columbia is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  5. Fairfield University
    Location

    Fairfield, CT

    Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, Fairfield offers a master of science in nursing and a master of business administration dual degree. The 62-credit advanced generalist degree allows students to explore a variety of nursing and business topics.

    Course choices include healthcare leadership roles for systems improvement, epidemiology and biostatistics, and advanced concepts in pathophysiology. Students complete 200 clinical hours in the nursing department and take business courses such as applied business statistics, introduction to accounting, and marketing management. Students complete a master's leadership practicum for hands-on experience.

    The program offers admission to current registered nurses from Connecticut with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Students do not need to submit the GMAT or GRE to begin the admissions process.

    Fairfield is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Career and Salary Outlook

Graduates of MSN/MBA dual-degree programs benefit from strong job growth and robust earning potential in the medical and health services management field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare managers earn a median annual salary of $100,980. Specific salaries depend on factors including employer and geographic location.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Healthcare Executives/Healthcare Administrators
These upper-management professionals can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and residential treatment facilities. Their duties may include overseeing and training staff, managing financial operations, facilitating interdepartmental communication, ensuring legal and regulatory compliance, and implementing quality-improvement strategies. Employers typically require top executives to hold at least a master’s degree.
Clinical Managers
These professionals assume responsibility for both medical and administrative management in clinics, doctors’ offices, and other primary and ongoing care facilities. In larger organizations, such as hospitals, clinical managers may oversee a specific department. Clinical managers typically need a specialized nursing degree and several years of clinical experience as a registered nurse (RN).
Health Information Managers
These professionals collect, analyze, and manage patient medical data in accordance with legal and ethical standards. They need certification from theAmerican Health Information Management Association. To qualify for certification, prospective health information managers must complete an accredited health information management program and pass an exam.
Nursing Home Administrators
Nursing home administrators supervise all aspects of nursing home operation, including medical care, food service, recreation, and facilities management. They develop and implement budget plans, hire and train staff, negotiate contractual agreements with outside service providers, and oversee internal quality-assurance procedures. These professionals need state licensure to practice.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Medical and Health Services Managers $100,980 32%

Source: BLS

Licensing for Medical and Health Services Managers

Many medical and health services management positions require an RN or social work license. Each state sets its own criteria for licensure, so individuals should verify that they meet their state’s licensure requirements. Reciprocity agreements, such as the Nurse Licensure Compact, allow professionals who are licensed in a member state to practice in other participating states without reapplying for licensure.

Nursing home administrators need a field-specific, state-issued license. Most states require these professionals to pass the licensing exam from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards. States may also administer additional exams and specify educational and work experience requirements.

Graduates of accredited nursing programs can earn RN licensure in most states after passing the NCLEX-RN exam. States may set additional requirements, such as a criminal background check. Social work licensure requirements often include an accredited social work degree, supervised experience, and a clinical exam.

Accreditation

Accreditation indicates that a college, university, or program delivers quality education supported by adequate resources. Regional and national accrediting bodies assess entire schools. The most prestigious form of institutional accreditation, regional accreditation demonstrates that a school meets the most rigorous quality standards.

The best MSN/MBA programs feature field-specific nursing and business accreditation. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredit nursing programs. Business programs can earn accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Courses in MSN/MBA Dual-Degree Programs

MSN/MBA dual-degree programs incorporate coursework in business and nursing. Students pursuing an MSN/MBA dual degree develop a comprehensive background in both disciplines. Courses in subjects such as nursing leadership and healthcare economics synthesize principles from both fields.

MBA coursework cultivates key managerial skills in areas such as quantitative reasoning, decision-making, and financial management. The MSN major typically emphasizes healthcare-specific organizational concepts and administrative competencies. Many programs culminate with a practicum experience, during which students apply management skills and nursing expertise in a real-world setting.

The following list includes courses common to MSN/MBA dual-degree programs. Course structures and titles may vary by program.


  • Professional Roles in Advanced Nursing

    This course emphasizes leadership, scholarship, and innovation. Learners explore current and emerging roles and responsibilities of advanced practice nurses, including nurse administrators. Students examine the nursing profession from ethical, legal, and historical perspectives. Coursework introduces skills and strategies for collaborating with interprofessional teams, making evidence-based decisions, and improving patient outcomes.


  • Healthcare Law and Policy

    This class examines the impact of legislation and public policy on healthcare environments. Learners analyze the political and legal processes that shape state and federal healthcare regulations, and they develop an understanding of the roles healthcare professionals play in advocacy and policy formation. Coursework often covers topics including licensure regulations, liability issues, and reimbursement systems.


  • Nursing Leadership

    Enrollees learn how to apply leadership and management principles to complex healthcare environments. Learners develop team-building skills, advance their knowledge of leadership theory, and compare the benefits and applications of various leadership styles. Course topics may include quality improvement, workforce diversity, public relations, conflict resolution, and organizational assessment.


  • Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

    This course helps learners develop critical-evaluation skills, which they can use to apply current research to evidence-based practice. Students learn to assess the methods and procedures of diverse research models. They explore how healthcare professionals use research findings to advance care quality, support professional accountability, and improve health systems. Coursework may also cover healthcare informatics.


  • Managerial Accounting

    Students gain proficiency with accounting vocabulary, methods, analytical tools, and theoretical frameworks. They evaluate how managers use accounting techniques and principles to prepare, interpret, and analyze financial statements. Learners also prepare to create operating budgets, predict future costs, and use financial information to make strategic decisions.


Scholarships

Students earning an MSN/MBA dual degree can qualify for financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Among the most sought-after forms of aid, scholarships do not require repayment. Scholarship eligibility may depend on factors such as academic achievement, financial need, and course of study. Learners in MSN/MBA dual-degree programs can apply for scholarships reserved for business students, along with nursing-specific awards.

ENA Foundation Academic Scholarships


Who Can Apply: The Emergency Nurses Association awards multiple scholarships to master’s candidates pursuing advanced nursing practice specialties, including nursing administration. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA and must hold ENA membership.

Amount: Varies

NBNA Scholarships


Who Can Apply: Available to National Black Nurses Association members, these scholarships support students enrolled in an accredited nursing program at any level. Applicants submit transcripts, an essay, and recommendation letters.

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship


Who Can Apply: This scholarship from Zonta International supports women enrolled in graduate and undergraduate business programs. Each year, up to 32 students receive this award. Applicants must submit transcripts, recommendation letters, and an essay to their local Zonta club.

Amount: $2,000-$8,000

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