MSN-MBA Dual Degree: Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems

Master of Business Administration & Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Explore the Business Side of Healthcare as a Dual MSN-MBA Student

The Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems is designed for experienced nurses who have previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and are looking to potentially move their career in a new direction. This degree offers you the opportunity to build cross-functional business management skills and leadership competencies within the field.

The MSN-MBA dual degree guides you through development of advanced management skills for the healthcare field. The coursework reinforces the respect of human dignity and allows you to work toward advancing the common good through healthcare. Previous skills in nursing are combined with opportunities to acquire new skills in business and management to provide you with the foundation for a potential career in leadership or entrepreneurship.

Benefits of GCU’s MSN-MBA Dual Degree Program

GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers you industry-aligned, graduate-level nursing leadership education. This dual MSN-MBA degree is designed to provide working nurses with an interdisciplinary foundation of competencies that can enable them to prioritize patient outcomes, health and safety while simultaneously being mindful of the business side of healthcare and how best to implement forward-looking business solutions.

Together with the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, the Colangelo College of Business believes in these three aspects of how business affects the greater good:

  • Business as a force for good
    Conscious capitalism affects humanity all around your community and the world.
  • Free markets and purpose for prosperity
    Your stakeholders are key for your business’ success. Keep them at the forefront of your business strategies.
  • Business as ministry
    Having a Christian perspective means caring for your team with love and support.

This MSN-MBA program is designed for working adults and intended to fit into all lifestyles, with online and evening classes on-campus available.1

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Estimated job growth for medical and health services managers from 2022 to 20322


Estimated median annual wage for medical and health services managers as of May 20223

Working nurses are typically busy individuals who must juggle a full work schedule and, often, familial and personal obligations. GCU strives to make higher education as accessible as possible. With this program, you can earn your MSN-MBA online,1 fitting online learning and coursework around your schedule. The online leadership in healthcare courses provide the same quality of instruction and interactive engagement opportunities as our on-campus classes.

Earning an MSN-MBA degree requires a significant commitment of time, but GCU strives to create flexible course schedules that put higher education within reach of working professionals. If you would like to attend courses on campus, you may choose to join an evening class cohort. As an evening student, you’ll attend one evening class per week, leaving the other six evenings per week available to you for studying or meeting personal or familial obligations. As an on-campus student, you can benefit from face-to-face interactions with your instructors and other members of your cohort.

Examine Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Course Topics

The dual MSN-MBA degree addresses course topics such as leadership and management, accounting, economics, operations management, ethics in healthcare and leadership and management theories. This program provides the opportunity to:

  • Examine healthcare policy while incorporating the perspective of skilled nurses with business theory
  • Focus on the relevant ethical, legal and political factors of healthcare policy
  • Perform relevant, industry-specific research
  • Determine advocacy strategies for improving the access to and quality of healthcare for diverse populations
  • Complete evidence-based practice projects in which you will address a problem in your area of professional practice, propose a solution and design an evaluation

Gain Practical Experience at a Local Healthcare Site

This MSN-MBA program includes a practicum course, which offers you the opportunity to apply what you have been taught to a contemporary, nursing leadership-related direct practicum placement at a local healthcare site. This practicum experience encourages the application of deep nursing knowledge, along with advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Leadership projects range from quality/performance improvement to mentorship/coaching to interdisciplinary relationships or staff development.

Coursework in the MSN-MBA dual degree emphasizes the importance of leadership and motivation within both the business and healthcare worlds. You will be expected to model professional leadership behaviors that motivate and inspire employees to work toward healthcare excellence and better patient outcomes.

Career Paths With a Dual MSN-MBA Degree

This MSN-MBA program can help you prepare yourself to pursue possible executive positions in healthcare that rely upon advanced business strategies and healthcare management best practices.

There are many potential career paths for those interested in leadership in healthcare, including:

  • Clinical administrator
  • Nursing supervisor
  • Chief nursing officer (CNO)
  • Head of patient services
  • Chief executive officer of healthcare-related organizations
  • Other positions integrating appropriate state, federal and global health policies into the design of equitable healthcare
  • Working for or starting a healthcare company

The business and healthcare competencies taught in this MSN-MBA program may empower professionals to work toward making healthcare more accessible, and to improve patient safety and outcomes. You have the potential to become an advocate who strives to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare for varied populations.

Graduate With an MSN-MBA Dual Degree From an Institutionally Accredited University

GCU is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, emphasizing the quality of our instruction and in-depth, comprehensive nature of our curriculum. As a Lope, you can enjoy the confidence that comes from knowing you’re receiving an education at a school that has been institutionally accredited since 1968.

Select states may have additional requirements to meet their standards; reference the enrollment agreement or contact GCU for more information. For more information on the accreditation of nursing programs and other university approvals, please visit our University Accreditation and Regulations page.

MSN-MBA Dual Degree FAQs

Before making an enrollment decision that may affect your future career, you may wish to learn more about leadership in healthcare and earning an MSN-MBA online.1 Use the following FAQs and answers as a starting point for your research.

The MSN-MBA program requires a total of 74 credits for completion. Most courses are eight weeks in length, with a 16-week practicum. To better understand how long it might take to earn your degree, fill out the form on this page and request a consultation with a university counselor.

This dual degree could be a fit for nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree and want to be taught financial, organizational and administrative skills in order to pursue careers on the business side of healthcare. This degree can also be a good option for nurses who are passionate about effecting change on a departmental or organization-wide scale so that patients can receive the best possible care and healthcare organizations can thrive. There are different job titles that a graduate might pursue. However, job growth for medical and health services managers is on track to grow by an estimated 28% from 2022 to 2032, accounting for an estimated increase of 144,700 jobs in the field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2

There are a variety of career paths for nurses who hold an MSN-MBA dual degree. One career option is a medical and health services manager, also called a healthcare executive or healthcare administrator. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers have a median annual wage of $104,830 as of May 2022.3

The nursing leadership in healthcare courses may prepare you to take certification exams from the ANCC. However, the ANCC has other eligibility requirements that you must meet before you can sit for credentialing exams. These requirements can vary from one certification to the next. For example, to be eligible to sit for the Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC®), you must meet the following requirements:4

  • Hold a current and active RN license
  • Possess at least a baccalaureate degree in nursing
  • Demonstrate at least 2,000 hours of experience in a role that involves leadership, management or administration and that required primary responsibility for both daily operations and outcomes for a unit or department (within the past three years)
  • Complete at least 30 hours of relevant continuing education (within the past three years)

Pursue your purpose in healthcare leadership and enhance your career qualifications. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about earning your MSN-MBA dual degree online or in the evenings at GCU.1


1 While all courses are completed online, you will need to attend clinical, practicum and immersion hours in person locally.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. Accordingly, data shown is effective 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, retrieved Oct. 19, 2023.

3 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Medical and Health Services Managers as of May 2022, retrieved on Oct. 19, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020-2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as medical and health services managers, nor does it reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country, or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates.

4American Nurses Credentialing Center. (n.d.). Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC®). Retrieved Oct. 19, 2023.

Total Credits: 74
Online: 8 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $655 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

74 credits
Degree Requirements:
74 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Business. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course examines nursing theory and the role of ethics for advanced registered nurses within the Christian worldview and through a leadership perspective focused on improving health care outcomes. Learners explore the moral/ethical responsibilities and legal and regulatory obligations of advanced registered nurses in health promotion and disease prevention. Learners also review evidence-based practice (EBP) literature and the research process with application to their program of study and learn to navigate scholarly EBP literature, resources, and guidelines.

Course Description

This course examines the role of leadership, organizational science, policy, and informatics in supporting safe, high-quality, cost-effective patient care within interprofessional, dynamic health care environments. Learners explore various organizational relationships within health care systems and prepare to participate in the design of cost-effective, innovative models of care delivery and practice change proposals. Professional leadership theories and how they shape the nurse leader in such things as collaboration, conflict resolution, decision-making, and negotiation are introduced. Learners discuss change management theories and evaluate the ethical, social, legal, economic, and political implications of practice change and health care informatics along with strategies for managing human, fiscal, and health care resources in a variety of organizational systems. Learners also examine the uses of patient-care, information systems, and communication technologies and discuss the design, implementation, and evaluation of electronic health record systems and clinical decision support systems.

Course Description

In this course learners examine the process of scientific inquiry, knowledge generation, utilization, and dissemination of evidence into advanced nursing practice in order to propose quality-improvement initiatives that advance the delivery of safe, high-quality care for patient populations. Learners critically evaluate evidence, including scientific findings from the biopsychosocial fields, epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics, and genomics, and apply levels of evidence and theoretical frameworks to design culturally appropriate clinical prevention interventions and population-based care that reduces risks, prevents disease, and promotes health and well-being. Learners also consider strategies to evaluate health policy and advocacy issues, the state of health care delivery, patient-centered care, and ethical principles related to health beliefs, health promotion, and risk reduction for diverse populations. Learners apply these strategies to work towards recognizing gaps in nursing and health care knowledge, identifying potential solutions or innovations for those gaps, planning and implementing practice changes, and evaluating the outcomes in order to improve practice. Prerequisites: NUR-513 and NUR-514.

Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for learners to complete their evidence-based practice (EBP) project proposal that addresses a problem, issue, or concern in their specialty area of professional practice. Learners previously identified a problem amenable to a research-based intervention, searched the literature, and proposed a solution. Now learners will explore implementation considerations and various evaluation methodologies, complete the project proposal by developing a plan to implement the solution into the intended practice area, and design an evaluation plan that will assess the EBP project proposal's intended outcome(s). Prerequisite: NUR-550.

Course Description

This course is an exploration of the behavioral forces and relationships that influence organizational effectiveness and change. It also emphasizes the study of intervention strategy and application skills related to a foundational understanding of the role of project management in the context of leading change in organizations. The course provides insights into the leadership and management of people, processes, and best practices for successful change.

Course Description

In this course, learners study principles of health care financial management and the role of fiscal responsibility within health care organizations. Along with an overview of operational budgets, learners delve into the key aspects of the economic drivers and financial requirements impacting organizations, including the financial demands and implications of specific health care delivery models, efficient staffing models, and the management of operational expenses. Learners examine the challenges of aligning key financial performance indicators with safety and quality measures as required in the evolving health care industry. Prerequisite: NUR-590.

Course Description

This course examines models of performance and quality improvement in health care. Learners differentiate measures of quality and learn to apply industry standard tools and process improvement methodology to enhance safety and positively impact patient outcomes and financial performance. Prerequisite: NUR-590.

Course Description

The effective strategic management of human capital is the differentiator of every successful organization. This course examines talent management, workforce diversity, succession planning, employee development and motivation, and performance matrix. This course addresses human resource competencies identified by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Using the strong strategic human resource acumen provided by this course, students will be well-prepared for positions as senior human resources specialists or as general managers.

Course Description

This course provides learners the opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the program in a practicum experience related to nursing leadership. Learners are expected to integrate nursing knowledge and advanced critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the development of a comprehensive project grounded in contemporary nursing leadership theory and practice. Learners develop projects based on their interests and practicum placement that can incorporate a range of leadership issues, such as quality and performance improvement, mentorship and coaching, interdisciplinary relationships and collaboration, and staff development. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisite: Successful completion of all previous coursework in the program.

Course Description

This course is designed for students who are preparing for more advanced coursework in business but who have not had accounting in undergraduate work. Topics covered include the principles and practices of financial accounting, including the fundamentals of revenue recognition, the components of the balance sheet, and financial statement analysis. ?The course explores accounting theories using publicly traded companies and case studies.

Course Description

This course is designed for individuals who are preparing for more advanced coursework in accounting and is designed for students who have not had finance in undergraduate work. Topics covered include financial analysis, financial planning, asset evaluation, capital structure, and working capital management.

Course Description

This course introduces microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts that are relevant to contemporary business. Emphasis is placed on using economic data for business decision making.

Course Description

This course is a study in the quantitative tools and techniques used to model business functions and applications. Emphasis is placed on how to set up models, and how to interpret and apply their results. Prerequisite: SYM-506.

Course Description

Management of the marketing function, market environmental analysis, and marketing planning, strategy, and control are fundamentals of marketing management. The course examines the marketing process, marketing research, product development innovation and diffusion, pricing strategy, distribution value drain, advertising and promotion, and strategic marketing issues. Emphasis is placed on case study analysis and current academic research with a marketing plan as a significant curriculum component.

Course Description

This course covers managerial accounting concepts and procedures for internal reporting, including the study of cost behavior, cost systems, budgeting, and performance evaluation. Coursework includes case studies, group projects, and class discussion. Prerequisite: ACC-502.

Course Description

Operations Management examines managerial concepts and strategies relating to the management of operations in both manufacturing and service environments. Emphasis is placed on methods to streamline and drive inefficiencies out of a firm’s internal processes to build a highly efficient organization. The course also focuses on external processes by examining ways to achieve greater supply chain integration with suppliers and customers. Quantitative and qualitative methods and tools are introduced and applied. Prerequisite: SYM-506.

Course Description

This course discusses elements of business financial decisions, including financial forecasting and development of proformas, management of working capital, capital budgeting, capital structure, and raising funds in capital markets. Prerequisite: FIN-504.

Course Description

This capstone course focuses on preparing and conducting a strategic analysis of a selected publicly traded firm to produce actionable intelligence used to formulate recommendations to promote the creation of a value-adding strategy. Based on the results of their strategic analysis, students are then required to prepare the framework of a strategic plan that creates significant value for the selected firm. Prerequisites: MGT-605, MKT-607, ACC-650, and FIN-650.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.