8 Best Online Dual DNP/MBA Programs | 2024

Discover the best online dual DNP/MBA programs available in 2024. Learn about their prerequisites, requirements, costs, salary expectations after graduation, and more. Programs

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In the dynamic world of healthcare, where the complexities of clinical care intersect with the intricacies of business management, the need for leaders equipped with a diverse skill set is more pronounced than ever.

The best online dual DNP/MBA programs for 2024 are designed to meet this need, developing professionals who are not only adept in patient care but also proficient in the business aspects of healthcare delivery. This educational pathway is not just about expanding knowledge—it's about reshaping the future of healthcare. Through rigorous coursework, extensive clinical training, and a deep dive into the business of healthcare, graduates of these programs are equipped to navigate and transform healthcare systems.

Learn more about these programs, their prerequisites, requirements, costs, salary expectations, and more. Whether you're a practicing nurse seeking to advance your career, or simply curious about this educational pathway, we've got you covered.

What Is a Dual DNP/MBA Program?

A Dual DNP/MBA program is an advanced educational track that combines a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This dual degree program is designed for nursing professionals who aim to take on leadership roles that require both clinical expertise and business acumen. Graduates of this program are prepared to lead healthcare organizations, improve patient care systems, and manage the business aspects of healthcare delivery.

DNP/MBA Coursework

The coursework in a Dual DNP/MBA program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in both advanced nursing practice and business management. The DNP curriculum typically covers topics such as evidence-based practice, healthcare policy, leadership in healthcare organizations, and advanced practice nursing specialties. The MBA portion of the program focuses on business disciplines such as accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management.

Students in a Dual DNP/MBA program learn to apply business principles within the context of healthcare, gaining skills in strategic planning, financial management, organizational leadership, and operations management. The integrated curriculum ensures that graduates understand how to navigate the complex business challenges facing healthcare institutions while maintaining the highest standards of patient care.

DNP/MBA Clinical Training

Clinical training in a Dual DNP/MBA program emphasizes the application of clinical expertise in a variety of healthcare settings. DNP students are often required to complete a certain number of clinical hours as part of their training. These clinical experiences are designed to enhance their advanced nursing skills and to apply evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes.

During the clinical training, students may work in hospitals, primary care settings, community health centers, and other healthcare environments. They engage in direct patient care, collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, and participate in initiatives to improve quality and efficiency in healthcare delivery. The clinical training is crucial for developing the advanced practice skills necessary for a DNP.

DNP/MBA Outcomes

Graduates of a Dual DNP/MBA program are uniquely positioned to lead in the healthcare sector. They are equipped with the skills to:

  • Implement evidence-based practices to improve patient care.
  • Manage healthcare organizations' finances and operations effectively.
  • Develop and execute business strategies in healthcare settings.
  • Lead healthcare teams and manage human resources.
  • Advocate for healthcare policy changes and improvements.

The outcomes of a Dual DNP/MBA program include improved healthcare delivery systems, effective management of healthcare organizations, and leadership in the transformation of healthcare through innovative practices. Graduates can pursue executive roles such as Chief Nursing Officer, healthcare consultant, healthcare administrator, and other leadership positions that require a dual focus on clinical excellence and business strategy.

Best Online Dual DNP/MBA Programs

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

The Johns Hopkins University offers a dual degree program combining a DNP with an MBA through its School of Nursing and Carey Business School. This program is designed to prepare graduates who excel in patient care and safety, as well as in leading change at the healthcare leadership and corporate levels. The program is specifically aligned with the DNP Executive Track.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program can be completed in as little as 3 years, with a maximum time limit of 6 years.
  • Modality: The program is offered online with required on-site immersions.
  • Accreditation: The nursing component is accredited by the ACEN or CCNE.
  • Tuition: Estimated at $1,939 per credit.
  • Financial Aid: Options include grants, scholarships, federal loans, and employment programs.
  • Admission Deadlines: Fall entry deadlines are November 1 and January 15.
  • Admission Requirements: Includes a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a minimum GPA of 3.0, RN licensure, letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a current resume/CV, a goal statement/project proposal, work experience, and an interview with faculty.
  • Clinical Hours: A minimum of 375 clinical hours from previous education is required, with additional hours necessary if under 552.
  • Curriculum: The dual degree requires 66 credits with 448 practice hours.
  • On-site Requirements: Approximately 3 on-site immersions of 3-4 days each during the first year and one on-site symposium event lasting 1 day in the second year.

2. Union University - Jackson, TN

Union University offers a dual degree option that allows students enrolled in the DNP program to also pursue an MBA. This program is housed within the McAfee School of Business and is designed to equip nursing leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to assume executive leadership roles within healthcare or academic settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Modality: The MBA program is a 36-credit hour program that can be completed fully online.
  • Credit Transfer: 12 credit hours from the Post-Master's DNP program apply towards the MBA program.
  • Tuition: The cost is $1,030 per credit hour for DNP courses and $695 per credit hour for MBA courses, with additional general student fees.

This dual degree program is ideal for those in the nursing field who aim to broaden their expertise to include business management, preparing them for high-level roles in healthcare institutions.

3. DeSales University - Center Valley, PA

DeSales University offers a dual degree program that combines a DNP in Clinical Leadership with an MBA. This program is designed to enhance healthcare expertise by integrating the financial and managerial aspects of healthcare management into the advanced practice nursing curriculum.

Program Highlights:

  • Accreditation: The business programs at DeSales University, including the MBA, are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Career Focus: The dual degree is tailored for those looking to take on leadership roles that require both clinical expertise and business acumen in the healthcare sector.

4. Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, IL

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) offers a collaborative program that allows post-master's, advanced practice nurses to obtain both an MBA and DNP simultaneously. The program is designed to develop professional capabilities in business and enhance quality and innovation in healthcare.

Program Highlights:

  • Course Format: The DNP component is delivered online with required on-campus immersion experiences for one to three days in August. The MBA courses are also online, offered in accelerated eight-week sessions.
  • Clinical Requirements: Out-of-state students are advised to discuss clinical requirements with the assistant dean of graduate programs, as clinical arrangements cannot be made in all states.
  • Career Outcomes: Graduates can become entrepreneurs, chief nursing officers (CNOs), or chief executive officers (CEOs) of major healthcare institutions. They are prepared to collaborate with other professionals to design cost-effective models of accountable healthcare.
  • Faculty: The program features a diverse faculty from various graduate nursing specializations and the School of Business, providing a comprehensive educational experience.

This dual degree program is particularly beneficial for master's-prepared nurses who aim to take on executive roles within healthcare, combining clinical expertise with essential business and leadership skills.

5. University of Michigan-Flint - Flint, MI

The University of Michigan-Flint offers a dual degree program designed for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) that combines a Doctor of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) with an MBA with a concentration in Health Care Management. This unique program allows CRNAs to apply up to 12 specified credits towards both the DNAP degree and the MBA degree, providing a comprehensive education in both anesthesia practice and business administration.

Program Highlights:

  • Dual Credit: The program allows for 12 specified credits to count towards both the DNAP and MBA degrees.
  • Curriculum: The DNAP requirements include 92 credits, and the MBA requirements include 45 credits with a Health Care Management concentration.
  • Course Format: Courses are offered in various formats including online, on-campus, and NetPlus! (online with on-campus sessions every six weeks).
  • Minimum Credits for Both Degrees: A total of 125 credits are required to complete both degrees.
  • Independent Degrees: Applicants must apply for admission to both degree programs independently, and the degrees are awarded independently.

6. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - Chattanooga, TN

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) offers a DNP program with an option to pursue an MBA for those interested in nursing administration systems. The DNP program is available in two concentrations: one for post-master's advanced practice nurses and another for BSN to DNP students or nurses with a non-advanced practice master's degree.

Program Highlights:

  • Accreditation: The DNP program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Curriculum: The post-master's DNP curriculum requires a minimum of 36 semester credits, while the BSN to DNP or non-advanced practice master's curriculum requires a minimum of 57 credits.
  • Clinical Hours: Both concentrations require the completion of 1,000 clinical hours, including a clinical residency and a Translational Project.
  • Online Delivery: The program content is delivered online, with mandatory components including an interview, orientation, stats camp, and intensive sessions.
  • MBA Option: After completing the DNP, students have the option to continue on and complete the MBA with additional coursework.
  • Program Milestones: Include an interview for admission, orientation and stats camp, qualifying exam/DNP intensive, and final presentation/DNP intensive.

7. Viterbo University - Lacrosse, WI

Viterbo University's integrated MBA/DNP dual degree program is designed for registered nurses with either a BSN or MSN degree who are looking to prepare for leadership roles in healthcare. The program aims to provide critical business and management skills needed by successful healthcare leaders, allowing students to save time and money by completing this integrated program.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program can be completed in three to four years, with options to accelerate or extend the timeline to fit individual needs.
  • Format: The program is offered in a blended format, combining online and face-to-face coursework to accommodate working professionals.
  • Tuition: Graduate tuition is charged per credit hour plus a resource fee, with additional course fees for certain nursing courses.
  • Credits: The post-master's DNP/MBA requires a minimum of 49 credits, while the post-BSN DNP/MBA requires 62 credits.
  • Financial Aid: All master's and doctoral programs at Viterbo are eligible for federal financial aid.

8. Wilmington University - New Castle, DE

Wilmington University offers a flexible and affordable dual-degree program that allows candidates to earn a DNP and an MBA in Health Care Administration simultaneously. This program is designed for advanced practice registered nurses and nurse leaders to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in a complex healthcare environment.

Program Highlights:

  • Hands-On Learning: The program includes coursework, experiential engagement hours, and a DNP project, guided by seasoned healthcare leaders.
  • Specialized Concentrations: Students can choose between Advanced Practice or Leadership concentrations to align their degree with career goals.
  • Business Skills: The MBA portion emphasizes executive skills development, analytical techniques, and includes courses like Introduction to Data Analytics and Healthcare Economics.
  • Flexible Delivery: The program is available 100% online, with Wilmington University being recognized for excellence in eLearning.
  • Accreditation: The program is accredited by the CCNE.
  • Duration and Cost: Advanced practice nurses can complete the program in 20 or 28 months with 18 courses, while nurse leaders take 22 courses over 28 months. The cost is $2,088 per course.

Dual DNP/MBA Prerequisites & Requirements

To enroll in a Dual DNP/MBA program, candidates must meet certain prerequisites and requirements that demonstrate their preparedness for this rigorous course of study. These prerequisites and requirements are designed to ensure that students have the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for success in both the clinical and business aspects of the program.


The prerequisites for a Dual DNP/MBA program typically include:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited institution.
  • Registered Nurse (RN) Licensure: Candidates must hold a current and unrestricted RN license.
  • Work Experience: Some programs require applicants to have a certain amount of clinical work experience as a registered nurse, often a minimum of one to two years.
  • Academic Performance: A minimum grade point average (GPA), often around 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, is usually required for admission.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): Some programs may require standardized test scores, although this requirement is increasingly being waived by many schools.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Applicants may need to have completed certain prerequisite courses, particularly if their undergraduate degree did not include specific business or advanced nursing coursework.


Once admitted, the requirements to complete a Dual DNP/MBA program generally include:

  • Core Coursework: Completion of all required courses in both the DNP and MBA curricula.
  • Clinical Hours: Fulfillment of the required number of clinical hours for the DNP portion of the degree, which can be upwards of 1,000 hours.
  • Capstone Project or Dissertation: Many programs require a scholarly project that demonstrates the integration of DNP and MBA competencies.
  • Internship/Residency: Some programs may include a business internship or residency, providing practical experience in healthcare administration.
  • Examinations: Passing any required comprehensive exams or evaluations that assess the student's knowledge and competencies in both nursing practice and business management.
  • Professional Standards: Adherence to the ethical and professional standards expected of advanced practice nurses and business leaders.

Dual DNP/MBA Pros & Cons

Dual DNP/MBA programs offer a unique blend of clinical and business education, which can open up numerous opportunities for professionals in the healthcare field. However, like any advanced educational endeavor, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  1. Enhanced Leadership Skills: Graduates gain a strong combination of clinical expertise and business acumen, preparing them for leadership roles in healthcare organizations.
  2. Increased Marketability: A dual degree can make graduates more competitive in the job market, as they possess a broad range of skills that are in high demand.
  3. Higher Earning Potential: With the advanced skills and leadership positions that DNP/MBA graduates are qualified for, they often have higher earning potential compared to their peers with a single degree.
  4. Broader Career Opportunities: The combination of a DNP and MBA allows for a wide range of career paths, including executive positions, consulting, policy development, and entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector.
  5. Impact on Healthcare Delivery: Graduates are well-equipped to implement changes that can improve patient care outcomes, operational efficiency, and the overall effectiveness of healthcare delivery systems.


  1. Time Commitment: Dual degree programs are intensive and can take several years to complete, which may be challenging for those who are working or have other significant commitments.
  2. Financial Investment: These programs can be expensive due to the combined tuition costs, and the financial burden may be substantial without scholarships, grants, or employer support.
  3. Workload Intensity: Balancing the rigorous coursework of both the DNP and MBA programs can be stressful and may leave little time for personal life or other interests.
  4. Limited Availability: Not all universities offer dual DNP/MBA programs, which may limit options for interested students, especially if relocation is not feasible.
  5. Risk of Overqualification: There is a potential risk of being overqualified for certain positions, which could make job search challenging if employers are concerned about salary expectations or a candidate's fit for specific roles.

DNP/MBA Costs & Salary Expectations

When considering a Dual DNP/MBA program, it's crucial to conduct thorough research on the specific costs and salary expectations associated with the programs you're interested in and to carefully evaluate your financial situation and potential return on investment.

DNP/MBA Cost Considerations

  • Tuition Fees: Dual programs often have higher tuition due to the increased credit requirements, with some institutions charging differential rates for MBA courses.
  • Additional Fees: Students may incur costs for books, supplies, technology, and clinical training specific to the DNP program.
  • Living Expenses: On-campus students must budget for room and board, while all students should consider the cost of transportation for commuting to classes and clinical sites.
  • Opportunity Costs: Engaging in a dual degree program can result in lost income if it necessitates reducing work hours or taking a leave of absence.
  • Financial Aid: Costs can be mitigated through scholarships, grants, employer assistance programs, and student loans, though loans add to long-term financial burdens.
  • Return on Investment: The potential for higher earnings and career advancement post-graduation should be weighed against the upfront and ongoing costs of the program.

DNP/MBA Salary Expectations

Earning a dual DNP/MBA can result in numerous nursing and administration careers, having an impact on salary expectations, along with factors like location, years of experience, institution of employment, and more.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reports that the average annual salary for medical and health services managers is $104,830. Moreover, ZipRecruiter reports that the average annual salary for CNOs is $135,579 and the average annual salary for nurse directors is $108,675.

Although the above figures are directional, it's important to conduct regional-specific research for your profession of choice in order to fully develop a practical expectation of salary and to evaluate whether a dual DNP/MBA is worth it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are the typical credit hour requirements for an online Dual DNP/MBA program?

Dual DNP/MBA programs typically require between 60 to 90 credit hours, depending on the school and the specific requirements of each degree. This includes coursework for both nursing and business management, as well as any electives or specialization areas such as informatics, population health, or epidemiology.

Q: Can I complete a Dual DNP/MBA program on a part-time basis?

Many schools offer flexible online dual DNP/MBA programs that can be completed on a part-time basis. This allows working professionals to balance their studies with clinical practice or other commitments. However, part-time study will extend the duration of the program compared to full-time enrollment.

Q: How important is accreditation for a Dual DNP/MBA program?

Accreditation is crucial as it ensures that the program meets high standards of quality and rigor. Prospective students should look for programs where both the DNP and MBA components are accredited by recognized bodies, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for the DNP and AACSB or ACBSP for the school of business.

Q: What kind of executive leadership skills can I expect to gain from a Dual DNP/MBA program?

A dual DNP/MBA program is designed to equip you with executive leadership skills such as strategic management, marketing management, and the ability to leverage information systems to improve healthcare delivery. These skills prepare you for high-level administrative roles where you can influence policy and drive organizational change.

Q: What are the admission requirements for an online Dual DNP/MBA program?

Admission requirements typically include a BSN degree from an accredited institution, an active RN license, a minimum GPA (often around 3.0), and work experience. Some programs may also require GRE or GMAT scores, although this is less common. Additionally, you may need to have completed certain prerequisite courses related to business or advanced nursing.

Q: How do practicum hours work in an online Dual DNP/MBA program?

Online dual DNP/MBA programs usually require a set number of practicum hours to be completed in a clinical setting, which allows students to apply DNP knowledge in a real-world environment. These hours are part of the DNP project, which is a key component of the clinical training in these programs. Schools often assist in arranging local practicum sites for their online students.

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