The Best Online MSN/MBA Dual Degree Programs

February 21, 2022 , Modified on May 6, 2022 · 5 Min Read

Learn how an online MSN/MBA dual degree program can help you understand the business side of healthcare and lead to career advancement.

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The Best Online MSN/MBA Dual Degree Programs
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​​This guide features information and program listings for students interested in earning a combined master of science in nursing (MSN) and master of business administration (MSN/MBA). The dual degree program targets nurses interested in the business side of healthcare, nurses seeking a career change within healthcare, and nurses looking for career advancement and higher salaries.

MSN/MBA degrees can open doors to leadership positions, such as nurse managers and administrators, healthcare and health information managers, directors of nursing, and chief nursing officers and executives.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online MSN/MBA programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about MSN/MBA programs or go straight to our list of the best online MSN/MBA programs.

Featured Online MSN Programs

What Can You Do With a Dual MSN/MBA Degree?

While there are different types of master's degrees in nursing, earning an MSN/MBA dual degree helps you develop clinical leadership and business management proficiency.

This combined degree opens the door to opportunities with the highest profile positions nursing offers. You can work in prominent roles, such as chief nurse executive, chief nursing officer, nurse administrator, healthcare executive, or healthcare administrator.

There are advantages to this online dual degree program compared to on-campus options. The online track is more affordable, permits scheduling flexibility, and allows students to continue working while attending classes virtually.

The ease of accessibility to instructors through this forum facilitates stronger relationships and interactions.

Three potential careers with an MSN/MBA degree include:

Medical and Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers are also known as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators. They regulate and direct operations in a healthcare setting. Roles include nursing home administrators, clinical managers, and health information managers.


Chief Nursing Officer

CNOs are the highest-ranking management position in nursing. They plan, organize, and direct operations related to nurse practice.

  • Salary: Payscale data from January 2022 lists the average salary at $120,000 annually.

Nurse Administrator

Nurse administrators oversee the nursing staff in healthcare settings. They can function in hospitals, physicians' offices, and residential care establishments.

  • Salary: The average salary is $88,620, according to Payscale data from January 2022.

Learn more about Nurse Administrators


What to Look For in an Online MSN/MBA Program

Before enrolling in an MSN/MBA online program, prospective students should research schools to identify curricula that align with their goals.

Key metrics to look for include:

While qualifications vary by school, you need official transcripts, a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN) from an accredited institution, two years of clinical nursing experience, an unencumbered RN license, a resume, and an essay.

GRE/GMAT test scores and a minimum GPA of 3.0 may be required.
The core curriculum drives student decision-making in choosing a school based on specifications and courses offered. The curriculum establishes the standards, objectives, and outcomes for nursing students. Quality programs prepare enrollees for future success in their career.

Courses focus on leadership in healthcare, nursing administration, accounting for management, and legal, regulatory, and economic management.
All dual MSN/MBA programs must incorporate supervised clinical experiences. The hours, location, and format vary from school to school. Some online dual degree programs encourage students to choose their clinical site but help with placement. Accreditation for nursing programs is a crucial factor when searching for online MSN/MBA nursing programs. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education are accrediting agencies that ensure nursing programs offer academic quality and stick to state and national standards. An MSN/MBA online program typically takes three years with a full-time enrollment of 54-65 credits. Program length varies by school. The NCLEX pass rate demonstrates a school's success in preparing MSN/MBA online students for the advanced nursing field. A first-time NCLEX pass rate of 90% or higher indicates a highly valued program. The national year-to-date NCLEX pass rate for first-time test-takers in 2021 was 83.75%. This metric enables you to assess the quality of the school and its programs compared to other institutions by revealing the percentage of students who graduate in an acceptable time frame. Online dual MSN/MBA formats offer diverse courses that align with your goals and career path. Online classwork allows you to continue working and balancing other aspects of your life while attending school.

Applying to an Online MSN/MBA Program

With an online dual degree program, you can advance your education and knowledge in a virtual learning environment.

Although the process varies by school, there are some general application requirements. Specifics for the nation's ten leading online MSN/MBA programs include:

Admission Materials

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • BSN or ADN from an accredited program
  • An unencumbered state RN license or enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC)
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate ranging from 87-100%
  • Specific number of non-nursing credits and nursing prerequisite courses

GPA Requirements

Minimum overall GPA ranging from 2.75-3.5

Other Requirements

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Drug screening
  • Immunization verification
  • Proof of health insurance

Why Is Online MSN/MBA Program Accreditation Important?

Choosing an accredited online dual MSN/MBA curriculum benefits learners in many ways.

  • Accreditation ensures that programs have quality standards.
  • Accredited schools offer leading-edge and current nursing theory and practice.
  • Employers typically want to confirm the validity of MSN/MBA online programs and prefer nurses from accredited programs.
  • Unaccredited undergraduate degrees may not be valid when applying to graduate programs.
  • Having a degree from an accredited school can lead to higher job prospects.
  • Some state boards of nursing only grant licensure to graduates from accredited institutions.
  • Attending an unaccredited institution can disqualify you from being eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Paying for Online MSN/MBA Programs

Factors that may affect the ability to pay for school include program cost, program length, in-state vs. out-of-state tuition, and the ability to continue to work while in school.

You should weigh different ways to pay for your nursing degree for online MSN/MBA nursing programs.

This level of education offers financial resources for nurses through programs, such as:

  • Nursing scholarships
  • Grants
  • Loans from the federal government, private funding, or public sources
  • Federally funded work-study programs that allow you to work part time

Learn More About the Best Online MSN/MBA Programs and Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Online MSN/MBA Programs


Is a dual MSN/MBA degree program more difficult?

Pursuing an MSN/MBA nursing degree can pose many challenges for a student in graduate school because a dual program comprises courses in two distinct advanced fields.

It also takes longer than a single degree in the MSN or MBA programs. However, holding a dual degree qualifies you for better positions with extensive growth opportunities.

How long does it take to get an MSN/MBA?

Typically, a full-time student can graduate in three years. MSN/MBA programs tend to take longer than a single degree due to the higher volume of coursework. Some schools offer accelerated programs.

What are some popular MSN/MBA program concentrations?

Some of the more popular concentrations include CNO, healthcare executives/healthcare administrators, or nurse administrators. Other positions include nurse informatics, director of compliance, human resources manager, and director of care management.

What courses can you expect to take while earning an MSN/MBA degree?

Courses for an MSN/MBA nursing degree emphasize leadership and management in healthcare and theories, nursing administration, accounting, operations management, and law and ethics in healthcare.

While getting knowledge of advanced nursing practice, you gain an edge on the business aspect of healthcare.

Related Online MSN/MBA Program Resources

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