MBA vs. MHA Programs

Both a master of business administration (MBA) and a master of healthcare administration (MHA) can help professionals advance their career opportunities and move into leadership positions. They provide professionals with an advanced business toolkit, a comprehensive professional network, and an increased average salary upon graduation. While the two degrees have similarities in admissions requirements, coursework, duration, and structure, fundamental differences exist between them.

An MBA is a generalist degree. Its core curriculum covers all business fundamentals, including finance, accounting, marketing, economics, and management. Students explore these topics through case studies and collaborative exercises that teach them how to apply their new skills in a variety of different contexts. While most MBAs focus on general business fundamentals, some offer students the opportunity to specialize or concentrate in a particular area of focus, such as accounting, information technology, and healthcare, allowing students to gain additional industry-specific insight. Those who earn an MBA can slot themselves into leadership roles across a full spectrum of industries.

An MBA goes wide, while an MHA goes deep. Its core curriculum covers many of the same business fundamentals that an MBA does, but with a specific focus on healthcare. Every class in an MHA program is viewed through the lens of the healthcare industry, diving deeply into the unique nuances of a rapidly growing field. Unique healthcare-related specializations and concentrations allow students to dig in to even further into the sector and emerge as experts. Those who earn an MHA are committed to working and taking on leadership roles within the healthcare industry.

That is the short version. More subtle distinctions exist. Read on to learn about the similarities and differences between MBA and MHA programs.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California. Since 2018, he’s written extensively about how new and aspiring business school students can best plan their education and careers. In the Two Views series, he conducts detailed interviews with recent business school alumni, with a particular focus on the choice between in-person, online, and hybrid learning models. His Femme-BA series highlights business schools that not only excel academically but also take unique and robust steps to support a diverse and inclusive learning environment for women.