MBA & MHA Dual Degree Programs

Jul 16, 2018

This article introduces readers to dual Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree programs. Topics covered include admissions requirements, coursework and program expectations.

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A dual Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Health Administration (MHA) program pairs management-level training in private industry and health care settings. Students learn the fundamental principles of managing any business along with the specific skills needed to manage a patient care facility. Dual MBA/MHA graduates can work in aspects of private industry connected to medicine, such as consulting firms or support services, as well as with patient care organizations.

MBA/MPH Dual Degree Program Information

A reasonable expectation for completion of an MBA/MHA dual degree program is about three years at a full-time pace. These programs usually save students at least one year as opposed to taking on each degree program individually. While many dual degree programs require students to apply to each program separately, dual MBA/MHA options exist that require only one application - students choose one degree as their primary program and the other one as their secondary. Other schools require students to complete a semester in the MHA program before applying to the MBA program.

The course content of a dual MBA/MHA program can depend on the structure. For example, if students are in a program in which they choose one degree as their primary one, they may complete the full curriculum in that program and add on a more limited number of course credits from the other.

The courses listed below are among those that found in most MBA and MHA programs.

Health Care Financial Management

Health finance courses in an MHA program cover techniques related to budgeting and cost benefit analysis. Other concepts covered include financial planning, non-profit funding and cash flow. Schools may offer financial management studies in a single class or split topics among introductory and advanced courses.

Health Care Administration

Health care administration courses in an MHA program can include a combination of lectures and site visits to local health care facilities. Students learn common structures of patient care organizations, the functions of different departments and how to deal with common management issues. Students might also examine strategic planning topics, such as marketing and organizational culture.

Health Economics

Health economics courses focus on the application of microeconomics and institutional management principles to health care organizations. These courses cover the influences of things like technology, insurance prices, government policy, patient demand and specialized competition on the operations and management of a patient care facility. Students can also get hands-on experience performing statistical analysis.


Leadership courses in an MBA program generally focus on management of and participation in teams. Participants learn how to execute a team strategy using various discussions, exercises and role-playing scenarios. They might also compare management strategies in public versus private health care organizations and explore policy formation.

Business and Health Care Ethics

Ethics courses focus on ethical issues and considerations that commonly occur in business environments and/or health care settings. Concepts covered include workplace safety, fiduciary obligations and product liability. Students might also focus on ethical issues related to euthanasia and biotechnology, among other topics. The intersection of legal issues and ethics is usually covered as well.

MBA/MPH Admissions Information

Programs often require applicants to have completed a bachelor's degree of some sort. They may ask for prerequisite coursework in related subjects, such as accounting, microeconomics and statistics.

It is also common for these programs to require applicants to take one of the standardized graduate admissions tests, such as the GRE or GMAT, if this is their first graduate degree. Other possible requirements include a minimum GPA in undergraduate coursework, letters of recommendation, previous work experience (documented in a resume) and academic references.

Graduates of a dual MBA/MHA degree program are positioned for management roles in a wide range of businesses in the health care sector, in addition to having the training needed to be an administrator for patient care facilities.

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