Should I Get an MHA/MBA Dual Degree?

by

Updated October 10, 2022

Are you interested in healthcare administration and business? Explore this page to learn more about the MHA/MBA dual degree program.

OnlineMBA.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Credit: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus

An MHA/MBA unites healthcare administration and business content, allowing students to earn both degrees at the same time. A master of healthcare administration (MHA) includes coursework in topics like healthcare economics, health finance, and healthcare organization management. A master of business administration (MBA) emphasizes strategic management, global business, and ethical leadership.

A dual MHA/MBA degree builds business acumen specific to the healthcare industry. The typical program lasts 2-3 years. MHA/MBA dual degree candidates usually hold a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration, business, or related field. Most have experience working in healthcare or business.

MHA/MBA graduates can pursue leadership roles at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare technology businesses. Other roles for people with MHA/MBAs include positions in healthcare consulting and public health.

Why Enroll in an Online MHA/MBA Dual Degree Program?

Healthcare workers who want to focus on the administrative and business side of operations can build the necessary skills through an MHA/MBA program. For business professionals who want to move into the healthcare industry, an online MHA/MBA builds on existing knowledge while putting it into a healthcare framework.

Either way, an MHA/MBA lets students earn both degrees at the same time. Studying online may offer more flexibility and convenience than many on-campus programs.

An MHA includes business coursework while focusing on managerial and organizational aspects of healthcare. An MBA is a general business degree. Unlike a traditional MHA or MBA, the dual MHA/MBA combines content from both fields.

A typical master's degree includes about 30 credits. Learners can complete most master's programs in two years or less. A dual MHA/MBA degree may take three years and require up to 60 credits. An internship or practicum in a clinical setting also makes an online MHA/MBA different from other master's programs.

Students gain both hard and soft skills in an online MHA/MBA program.

  • Analytical skills: An online MHA/MBA trains future healthcare leaders to think critically. Students learn to assess data related to healthcare costs, care quality, population health, and patient safety. They also build data analytics skills for healthcare settings.
  • Marketing abilities: MHA/MBA programs explore healthcare-specific marketing strategies. Students develop writing and design abilities. They learn how to reach customers and stakeholders through advertising and fundraising.
  • Healthcare information system: Effective healthcare administrators need to understand healthcare information systems. The technical skills developed during an MHA/MBA can help graduates use the latest healthcare information technologies to improve business outcomes.
  • Interpersonal skills: Building relationships and communicating verbally and in writing are essential skills for managers and business leaders. An MHA/MBA teaches the language of healthcare and business. Students gain motivational and listening skills for effective leadership.

What to Expect From an MHA/MBA Dual Degree Program

An MHA focuses on healthcare leadership, while an MBA emphasizes business leadership. A dual MHA/MBA concentrates on leadership in the healthcare business.

In contrast to the two years it usually takes to earn an MHA or an MBA, an MHA/MBA dual degree takes about three years to complete. The program integrates coursework from both programs. Many classes unite healthcare and business principles and practices through activities, projects, and hands-on experiences.

Because both an MHA and an MBA include about 30 credits, a dual degree may require up to 60 credits. Some degrees include fewer credits due to course consolidation and overlap.

MHA or MBA candidates who transfer into an MHA/MBA program may take less time to earn a dual degree. Transferability of credits depends on factors like accreditation, course equivalency, and course performance.

Degree and Concentration Options

Not all schools offer dual MHA/MBA programs, even if they do have separate MHA and MBA options. Degree-seekers may still be able to pursue a degree that includes coursework in both healthcare and business.

MHA candidates can often specialize in areas like health policy analysis, health finance, or health information systems. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in healthcare administration.

The difference between these offerings and an MHA/MBA dual degree rests in the extensiveness of the coursework. MHA or MBA concentrations may include more limited classes that introduce learners to the topics or build expertise in a limited subset of healthcare or business.

For example, an MBA healthcare administration concentration may include single classes in areas like finance and management. An MHA/MBA dual degree may offer several courses in those areas.

Curriculum for MHA/MBA Dual Degree Programs

The curriculum for an MHA/MBA includes core classes for healthcare administration and business administration. Candidates also take advanced courses in both fields. Coursework features opportunities to apply the concepts, practices, and tools to real-world healthcare industry scenarios.

  • Organizational behavior: Organizational behavior coursework examines how humans behave alone and in groups. Topics include communication, motivation, conflict resolution, and change. Participants learn to manage effectively and efficiently in an organizational environment.
  • Health policy and economics: This course looks at how the healthcare sector, government agencies, and the economic landscape function together. Learners gain insight into how patients, providers, and stakeholders shape the healthcare market. Other topics include insurance, access to care, spending, and healthcare technology.
  • Quantitative methods: A quantitative methods class introduces theories, tools, and techniques for measuring data and testing hypotheses. Students learn to make observations and report data in written and graph formats.
  • Accounting and finance principles for healthcare: This course focuses on the principles and operations of monetary oversight in healthcare organizations. Class topics include budget management and financial data assessment. Enrollees learn to apply financial strategies within the healthcare system.
  • Marketing management: Marketing management classes cover how to plan and execute marketing practices. Coursework explores areas like pricing, promotion, and strategy. Students learn to assess customer needs and wants in a competitive environment. Other topics include market forecasting, collaboration, sales, and distribution.
  • Population health and data analytics: This class teaches participants to gather and analyze data to make health decisions for specific groups. Learners study predictive analytics, model development, and performance measures as they apply to prevention, diagnosis, and healthcare efficacy.

Admissions Process

To enroll in an MHA/MBA program, candidates need at least a bachelor's degree. Many programs require previous coursework in business, healthcare administration, or both. Applicants may also need relevant prior work experience. A professional background in healthcare or business may increase chances of acceptance even when it is not required.

Online MHA/MBA application requirements may include a fee, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Applicants also need to submit transcripts from any previous college coursework. Many programs ask candidates to answer questions about their educational and professional goals.

Some schools may set GRE or GMATrequirements. Students should check with each program to allow enough time to complete the exam and submit their scores. Some applicants may receive a waiver based on their GPA or work experience.

The ROI of an MHA/MBA Dual Degree Program

Evaluating return on investment, or ROI, can help you determine the worth of your degree. To calculate the ROI of an MHA/MBA, consider how long the program will take, factoring in tuition costs and other expenses. Include any income losses you may incur during the program.

Next, estimate what gains you can expect from earning a dual MHA/MBA degree. These include expected salary after graduation, potential future earnings and career growth, and personal benefits from continuing your education.

The interactions among these data points can provide an estimate for the ROI of an MHA/MBA dual degree. However, you should also consider time frame and larger social factors. It may take years to see the true value of an MHA/MBA, and economic factors beyond your control can always influence the final outcome.

MHA/MBA Career Opportunities After Graduating

Career opportunities for MHA/MBA dual degree-holders extend throughout the healthcare industry. Graduates can work in the private sector as healthcare managers or executives. They may also qualify for public sector roles in areas like public health and policy.

  • Nursing home administrators: Nursing home administrators oversee the daily operations of nursing homes and comparable facilities. They manage staff, maintain budgets, and ensure compliance with applicable regulations and laws. According to PayScale, nursing home administrators earned an average annual salary approaching $94,000 as of June 2022.
  • Clinical managers: Clinical managers supervise clinics and medical offices. They coordinate daily operations and work with staff and medical providers to ensure quality patient care. They also evaluate the facility's practices and processes. Their duties may include overseeing budgets and making schedules. Payscale reports that clinical managers earned an average salary of over $73,000 a year as of June 2022.
  • Hospital administrator: Hospital administrators ensure efficient, effective hospital operations. They supervise financial matters, oversee staff, and coordinate with department managers. Administrators also make sure a hospital follows applicable regulations and laws. Payscale reports that hospital administrators made an average annual salary of over $88,000 as of June 2022.
  • Health information managers: These professionals earned an average annual salary of over $58,000 as of June 2022, according to Payscale. Health information managers oversee information systems and record-keeping technologies. They develop and implement healthcare data policies. They may also supervise healthcare information specialists and support staff. Health information managers work with fellow managers to ensure accuracy and confidentiality.

Common Questions about MHA/MBA Dual Degrees


How much does an MHA/MBA dual degree program cost?

The cost of an MHA/MBA dual degree varies by program. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees for a master's degree averaged $19,792 during the 2019-2020 school year. By earning a dual degree, students may save over the cost of earning each separately. An online program can also mean fewer expenses than an on-campus program.

How much money can I earn with an MHA/MBA dual degree?

MHA/MBA graduates can work in many healthcare administration positions. Positions for MHA/MBA degree-holders include hospital administrators and clinical managers. According to Payscale, these professionals earned over $88,000 and $73,000 a year, respectively, as of June 2022.

Is an MHA/MBA dual degree worth it?

If you want to lead in the healthcare industry, an MHA/MBA is often worth it. An MHA/MBA can give graduates the healthcare administration and business acumen to thrive in many healthcare careers.

What can I do with an MHA/MBA dual degree?

With an MHA/MBA, you can work as a manager or executive at a healthcare facility or organization. You can also pursue a career in public health and policy, in the insurance industry, or with a pharmaceutical company.



Featured Image: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Recommended Reading

Search Programs by Concentration

View schools and degrees from across the country.
Find the right program to advance your career.