While core courses and capstone projects are the foundations of Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, electives also play pivotal parts in shaping how students connect different types of knowledge across fields like business and healthcare. MBA curricula vary considerably from one school to the next, with some institutions allowing students to fulfill elective requirements with courses from other professional schools — like a school of public health, medical school or law school — within the university. Completing a diverse set of elective courses is a practical way for MBA holders to prepare themselves to take on challenges in complex fields such as healthcare.
Healthcare MBA (HCMBA) candidates at the George Washington University (GW) have many options when it comes to eligible electives. These classes provide opportunities to branch out into more focused areas of interest beyond the program core. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities, starting with what’s available through the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
What Electives Can Healthcare MBA Students Study at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences?
Thanks to a partnership between the School of Business and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), HCMBA students can dive into in-depth topics that fulfill the program requirement for 12 credit hours of healthcare-specific elective courses. At SMHS, some of the possible elective options include:
- The Clinical Research Industry: Covers clinical trials, with an eye toward the project management principles, team dynamics, and decision-making models that determine their successes.
- Epidemiology: Explores the causes of diseases and health outcomes within specific populations, providing a foundation for the understanding of public health issues.
- Health Information, Quality and Outcomes: Focuses on healthcare informatics and information systems and how these technologies affect clinical and administrative decision-making.
- Healthcare Quality Analysis: Looks at the concept of quality in healthcare, including its role in driving improved care delivery and regulatory compliance.
- Introduction to Global Regulatory Affairs: Reviews relevant legislation and public policy and how they shape clinical trials, reviews, and approvals of medications and medical devices.
- Issues and Trends in Health Systems: Surveys a range of current issues in health policy, payment, and care delivery that impacts both US and global health systems.
- Medicines Development: Dives into the extensive processes by which modern medicines are researched, developed, tested, reviewed, and approved for public use.
- Patient Safety Systems: Investigates the common sources of error in patient care, along with solutions such as new medical technologies for addressing these issues.
- Regulatory Strategy in the Development of Drugs and Biologics: Offers a global perspective on how drugs and biologics are developed to conform with a wide range of rules and regulations.
Elective course options at GW are always changing, and the availability of individual offerings varies by year. In addition to the 12 credit hours of healthcare-specific electives, MBA students must complete the same allotment of general electives. The electives for the latter requirement can be drawn from the law, international affairs, public health and nursing curricula of the other professional schools at GW.
Overview of General Elective Courses and Other Options for Rounding Out the Healthcare MBA
Any 6000-level courses from the School of Business can also count as a general elective. Up to six transfer credits are also allowed. All general electives must be taken for a letter grade, except for ones from the law school curriculum, which follow a different grading system.
Internships cannot be counted as credit toward the HCMBA. However, students may fulfill either healthcare-specific or general elective course requirements by completing a graduate certificate in one of five areas:
This certificate covers improvement initiatives for healthcare quality and patient safety. Students will learn how to promote continuous improvement in health outcomes and become specialists in patient safety matters.
Developed in conjunction with regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this certificate provides background on the development and regulation of drugs, biologics and medical devices.
Clinical Research Administration
In this certificate track, HCMBA students delve into topics in the clinical research industry, such as the structures of clinical trials and how human subjects are recruited and screened.
Clinical Research Practice
HCMBA candidates pursuing this certificate will gain background in several overlapping fields, including biostatistics, epidemiology, genomics and bioinformatics. They will, in turn, gain technical competency in how to conduct collaborative clinical trials.
Clinical and Translational Research
This certificate option goes beyond normal clinical research into the translational sphere, focusing on the development of new therapies based on analysis of existing research. Individual courses focus on grants, research proposals and team collaboration.
Choosing a Healthcare MBA Curriculum That’s Right For Your Goals
With a broad spectrum of choices for both healthcare-specific and general elective courses, HCMBA students are empowered to shape the degree to their own aspirations. At the same time, they still gain the necessary foundational knowledge for a career in healthcare leadership through the 31.5 credit hours of the program core. The core covers topics in finance, accounting, management and other essential principles of modern business.
Overall, the fully online HCMBA offers a highly personalized experience with many possibilities for customization, from the specific certificates chosen to choices to pursue study abroad at partner institutions. Students from many different backgrounds, in healthcare as well as other sectors, are at home in the HCMBA program.
For admission, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Three or more years of relevant work experience is also required. With sufficient professional experience, applicants may also apply for waivers of the nominal requirements for submission of GRE or GMAT scores.