Dual Nursing Masters Degree Programs

Last Updated on May 28, 2024 by Team College Learners

Dual nursing degree programs offer students the opportunity to earn two master’s degrees simultaneously, allowing them to combine expertise in nursing with another field of study. One common dual degree option is the MSN/MPH, which provides a comprehensive skill set for individuals seeking careers in both nursing and public health. Another popular choice is the MSN/MBA, ideal for those looking to advance their nursing career while gaining knowledge in business, management, or marketing.

To be eligible for admission to a dual nursing degree program, applicants must have already obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Additionally, they must have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their prior academic endeavors, and possess a valid RN license. In addition to these prerequisites, applicants are typically required to submit a personal statement outlining their professional goals and aspirations, as well as provide reference letters from individuals who can attest to their academic and professional abilities.

The admission process for dual nursing degree programs may vary depending on the university in question. Generally, applicants are required to submit a completed application form along with transcripts from all previous academic institutions attended. Some programs may also require applicants to participate in an interview or complete additional assessments to evaluate their suitability for the dual degree program. Ultimately, it is important for prospective students to thoroughly research the specific admission requirements and procedures of the university they are interested in attending.

Benefits of Earning an MSN/MHA Dual Degree Online:

  1. Increased career growth opportunities

  2. Enhanced earning potential

  3. Preparation for healthcare administration roles

  4. Rich incomes and significant employment demand in the healthcare sector

Types of Dual Nursing Degree Programs:

  • MSN/MPH dual degrees

  • MSN/MBA dual degrees

Admission Requirements for Dual Degree Programs:

  • Must have earned a BSN

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in previous academic program

  • Valid RN license

  • Submission of personal statement and reference letters

Time to Complete a Dual Degree Program:

  • Full-time students can finish within two years

Dual Nursing Masters Degree Programs

In order to increase their skillset and advance their careers, many RNs choose to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Some nurses seek an education that provides them with opportunities to expand their careers into other areas, such as health care administration or public health. For these students, a dual nursing degree program may be an ideal opportunity.

Students who enroll in MSN/MHA dual-degree programs online follow a flexible pathway and earn two graduate degrees. Online students complete the same internship and clinical hour requirements as on-campus students, with the added convenience of arranging their coursework around other obligations. The following article details the structure of an MSN/MHA dual-degree track, the job and salary outlook for graduates, and several scholarship opportunities.

The interdisciplinary training that is required in a dual nursing degree program means enrolled students must complete a rigorous curriculum of work—enough to demonstrate their mastery of both disciplines. However, upon completing the program graduates will have earned master’s degrees in two fields. Graduates of dual degree programs have a variety of opportunities to advance their careers in a number of different directions.

Dual Degree Nursing Programs: How Do They Work? | NurseJournal.org

Types of Dual Nursing Degree Programs

  • MSN/MHA Dual Degree
  • MSN/MPH Dual Degree
  • MSN/MBA Dual Degree
  • MSN/MPA Dual Degree

Master of Science in Nursing /Master of Public Administration

Nurse Administrators are finding that the healthcare industry has become a business requiring the application of nursing with essential business theories. This allows nurses to combine knowledge and skills from nursing with the knowledge of the public sector and public policy. The Master of Science in Nursing /Master of Public Administration (MSN/MPA) program allows nurses to improve the quality of healthcare delivery to specific populations and communities. Graduates of an MSN/MPA program are often employed by the government, non-governmental community agencies, voluntary organizations, and non-profits in community-based health promotion and disease prevention, disaster preparedness, economics and management of public health care systems, and policy-making to ensure health care access. The public administration portion of the program often focuses on the management of resources, finances and accounting, organizational analysis, statistics, program evaluation, strategic planning and operations, economics and marketing, as well as leadership theory and behavior, law, and the social impacts of management.

Master of Science in Nursing /Master of Public Health

A Master of Science in Nursing /Master of Public Health (MSN/MPH) dual degree program allows nurses to advance into healthcare management careers in primary care, population-based practice, program administration, education, and research. Careers combining public health and nursing can be both rewarding and challenging. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nursing jobs will increase by 26 percent between 2012 and 2020.  Some of the reasons for this growth are an aging population, with older people having more medical problems than a younger population. Nurses will be in demand to educate and provide care for patients with a variety of chronic conditions, such as arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and obesity.

Master of Science in Nursing / Master of Business Administration

A Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing (MBA/MSN) dual degree equips students with the skills and knowledge needed for management and leadership in today’s evolving healthcare settings. The curriculum combines core business skills in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, and leadership while maintaining a focus on nursing roles and practice, health care research, ethics, policy and finance in the health care system. The dual degree provides students opportunities to develop cross-functional business management skills while preparing them for advanced management and executive positions within the healthcare field.

Master of Science in Nursing / Master of Health Administration

By completing the Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Health Administration dual degree, nurses with a background in direct patient care can move into administrative management positions and business administration. The dual degree allows nurses to gain the skills needed for high-level nursing careers with coursework including financial management, ethics, law, international policy, public relations, administrative leadership, informatics and computer technology, human resources, and strategic planning.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service managers earn a median annual salary of $80,240, and nurses with administrative skills and master’s degrees can make significantly more. For nurses looking to further their graduate education and their healthcare management careers, a dual master’s degree can lead to a brighter future.

benefits of masters degree in nursing

MSN/MHA dual-degree programs provide fast pathways for nurses to advance into leadership positions. After accruing both clinical training and administrative knowledge, graduates can pursue careers in nursing or in healthcare management. The two degrees complement each other, with many MSN programs already incorporating some healthcare administration coursework. A dual degree also offers increased job flexibility and security — graduates can continue on a clinical path or pursue administrative roles, depending on their career goals and interests.

masters in nursing requirements

There are different ways to apply for a Master’s in Nursing. They vary depending on your previous studies, work experience, and the area in which you want to specialize. According to Everynurse.org, these are the most common paths to an MSN degree:


  • A BSN degree takes 1-2 years to complete
  • Most common way to obtain an MSN degree
  • Usually taken by BSN graduates without work experience

RN (Registered Nurse) to MSN

  • Takes 3 years to complete
  • Chosen by RNs with work experience but no BSN degree
  • Allows students to obtain both a BSN and an MSN degree during studies
  • Some RN to MSN courses only accept applicants with an ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing)

Regular Bachelor’s to MSN

  • Takes 1-2 years to complete
  • Taken by students holding a Bachelor’s not related to Nursing
  • Might require extra classes to cover the gap in Nursing fundamentals

Accelerated MSN

  • Takes 1-3 years to complete
  • Ideal for students who want to earn their BSN & MSN degrees quickly
  • Most programmes are only available online
  • Candidates need to have a Bachelor’s in any discipline and a competitive GPA
  • They also have to submit an essay explaining why they want to study Nursing

Other documents you’ll need to provide to nursing schools during the MSN degree application. Some may ask for more, while others may have fewer demands. The requirements also depend on the type of MSN degree and whether you have a BSN degree or not.

  • Minimum English language test scores: TOEFL – 70, IELTS – 6.5
  • Official documents attesting you’re a registered nurse (if applicable)
  • Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) degree or in another Medicine related field
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • One or more letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Work experience as a registered nurse (RN)
  • CV

Admission Requirements for an Online MSN/MHA Program

Applicants to online MSN/MHA programs must typically meet the requirements for both programs. Requirements may include a minimum undergraduate GPA, for example, many schools use minimums between 2.75 and 3.0, standardized test scores, and a current RN license. Prospective students may also need to meet prerequisite class requirements, particularly if they do not hold a BSN. Some programs may require a minimum number of years of professional experience, which applicants can prove by submitting a letter from their supervisor. The admissions process may also require students to send in transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online MSN/MHA Dual-Degree Program?

MSN/MHA dual-degree online programs let students earn two graduate degrees more efficiently by allowing them to apply certain credits toward both degrees. To graduate from separate MSN and MHA programs, students may need to complete 70 or more credits of coursework; however, most dual-degree programs consist of fewer than 60 credits. As a result, students can earn both graduate degrees in as little as two years.

Several program characteristics influence the length of an MSN/MHA program, including the internship requirements, number of credits required for graduation, and program structure. For example, programs that use a cohort model — where students complete coursework at the same pace as a group of their peers — follow a strict schedule. Depending on a student’s learning style, a cohort model may take more or less time than an individually paced program.

Concentrations Offered for an Online MSN/MHA Degree

A nursing education concentration trains enrollees to teach nursing students. Participants complete coursework that covers organizational leadership, evaluating nursing students, and clinical leadership. The leadership courses offered in this concentration fit well with a master’s in healthcare administration. Careers this concentration prepares for: Nurse educator, nurse administrator, healthcare administrator
Nurses enrolled in an MSN/MHA program build valuable leadership skills while pursuing dual degrees. However, a leadership concentration provides additional training related to management skills, leadership models, and theories of leadership. The concentration prepares graduates for careers in management and administration. Careers this concentration prepares for: Healthcare administrator, nursing consultant, program director
Some MSN/MHA programs allow students to complete additional coursework to train as nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners offer primary care to patients, diagnosing, evaluating, and treating medical conditions. Becoming a nurse practitioner and a healthcare administrator allows graduates to assume leadership roles in health systems. Careers this concentration prepares for Nurse practitioner, nursing consultant, healthcare administrator

Example Courses for Online MSN/MHA Students

Students pursuing an MSN/MHA dual degree online complete courses in both nursing and healthcare administration, including clinical training. MSN courses depend on a student’s concentration or focus area, and many programs also let participants customize MHA coursework to meet their career interests. The specific curricula vary depending on the program, but the following classes represent common offerings.

Online MSN Courses:

  • Advanced Health Assessment: In this class, MSN students learn about health assessment techniques, conducting comprehensive assessments on patients of different ages. Health assessment courses use theory and research to provide information, while simulations and clinical experiences teach students the skills needed to assess patients.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Nursing students in any concentration benefit from taking an evidence-based practice course, where they learn how to transfer theoretical knowledge to clinical practice. These courses may incorporate clinical experience and research skills and often cover different ways to provide patient care and the medical care needs of vulnerable populations.
  • Health Informatics: This class teaches students how to take advantage of information systems and informatics while providing healthcare. Health informatics courses may cover theoretical models for medical data, healthcare computing, and managing medical data. Coursework may also examine ethical and social issues, as they pertain to healthcare informatics.

Online MHA Courses:

  • Healthcare Quality Management: In this class, MHA students study performance improvement and quality management in healthcare systems. Coursework may cover quality assessment, risk management, outcomes assessment, and benchmarking skills, which help healthcare administrators evaluate and improve medical services and patient safety. Students may also learn how to apply different principles and tools to design improvement projects.
  • Healthcare Financing: Master’s students in this course evaluate financing as it relates to the U.S. healthcare system, including the relationship between financing, cost, and efficiency. Students may learn about different service payment mechanisms, administrative uses of capital acquisitions, and organizational structures. Learners also evaluate the differences between for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare systems.
  • Health Policy: Health policy classes provide a conceptual and analytical understanding of policy making in healthcare and the politics of health policy. Master’s students approach policy from micro and macro perspectives, assessing the changing environment of health policy and its relation to the healthcare industry.

Internship Component

Students earning an MSN/MHA dual degree online often complete an internship as part of their training. This internship experience may involve clinical hours as part of MSN coursework and/or a healthcare administrative internship to meet MHA requirements. Online students can arrange to complete their clinical hours or internships locally, working with a preceptor or supervisor who agrees to oversee a student’s training.

Students who live close to their university may benefit from the program’s relationship with a nearby internships or clinical sites. Additionally, participants may be able to complete these requirements at their current place of employment.

What is an MSN Degree: Everything You Need to Know In 2018

Certifications and Licenses This Program Prepares For

  • Licensed Healthcare Administrator: States confer licenses to healthcare administrators who meet certain requirements. Candidates typically need an accredited degree with healthcare administration courses, and an individual’s state may also require a specific amount of work experience. Health administrators also need to pass an exam to earn their license.
  • Board Certified Registered Nurse: RNs can pursue board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This process includes an examination that verifies a nurse’s clinical knowledge; candidates choose a specialized board certification exam based on their field. Once nurses earn the RN-BC designation, they must complete continuing-education credits to maintain their credential.
  • Board Certified in Healthcare Management: Healthcare executives who have been members of the American College of Healthcare Executives for at least three years can earn board certification in healthcare management. Candidates must hold a master’s degree, five or more years of executive healthcare management experience, and have completed at least 36 hours of healthcare-related continuing education in the past three years. The application also evaluates an individual’s community/civic and healthcare activities.

Accreditation for Online MSN/MHA Programs

Degree-granting institutions and programs can voluntarily undergo accreditation review processes to demonstrate their quality. Schools can pursue regional or national accreditation, which measures the effectiveness and learning outcomes of an entire institution. The Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both host databases listing accredited schools. In addition to institutional accreditation, nursing programs can earn accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. These independent accrediting agencies regularly evaluate nursing programs to determine whether students receive appropriate training.

Prospective MSN/MHA students should only consider accredited schools that also host accredited nursing programs. Holding an accredited degree is necessary to meet the qualifications for many nursing licenses and certifications. Additionally, many employers only hire graduates who earned their degrees at accredited programs.

Job and Salary Outlook

Job Opportunities for MSN/MHA Graduates

Professionals with graduate degrees in nursing and health administration can blend their expertise to pursue a variety of career paths. With training in medical care and management skills, MSN/MHA graduates work as healthcare administrators, nursing consultants, and program directors. Nurses can also choose career paths that focus on clinical work and training, working as nurse practitioners, or nurse educators. Many of these careers lead to median annual salaries near six figures.

Healthcare Administrator

Median Annual Salary: $98,350

Managers and administrators in healthcare manage facilities, oversee staff members and keep their facilities in compliance with laws and regulations.

Nursing Consultant

Median Annual Salary: $86,834

Nurse consultants identify and correct problems in medical facilities. They evaluate facilities and design solutions to address issues.

Nurse Practitioner

Median Annual Salary: $110,930

Nurse practitioners act as advanced practice registered nurses and may specialize in many different areas. In some states, they can act independently without a physician’s oversight.

Nurse Educator

Median Annual Salary: $71,260

Nurse educators teach nursing students at the postsecondary level. They provide classroom and clinical training, design educational modules, and oversee student training.

How Much Do MSN/MHA Graduates Make?

Graduates from MSN/MHA programs can pursue lucrative careers in healthcare and administration, although salaries vary widely depending on a professional’s title and experience. For example, experienced hospital administrators can earn well over six-figure salaries, whereas beginning healthcare administrators earn closer to $50,000. The following table shows the median salaries for five MSN/MHA professions by career level.

Hospital Administrator$89,179$71,000$94,000$123,000
Healthcare Administrator$64,454$50,000$63,000$87,000
Nurse Practitioner$92,392$90,000$97,000$105,000
Nursing Manager$83,347$74,000$80,000$90,000
Healthcare Program Director$80,341$62,000$74,000$88,000

master degree in nursing salary

The average Master of Science Nursing salary is around $70,000 and with a few years of experience, that figure can quickly climb to over $100,000. Additionally, the need for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) is continuously growing.

Professional Organizations

Current nursing students and graduates can benefit from joining a professional organization. These organizations host conferences and events, allowing members to take advantage of networking opportunities. Some of these organizations also oversee certification programs and run continuing-education programs to help nurses maintain their licenses and certifications. Many offer student discounts, award scholarships, and provide educational materials for nurses in training. Professional organizations may also host job boards and provide other career services.

American Nurses Association: Founded in 1896, ANA represents the largest professional organization for nurses in the country. The association offers publications and research, continuing-education resources, and certifications.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

: Critical-care nurses receive membership discounts through AACN, which also offers certifications and continuing education programs. The association hosts annual conferences confers awards and organizes events.

Emergency Nurses Association: Emergency nurses can access clinical practice information and other educational resources through ENA. The association also offers scholarships to support nursing students.

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