Pitt to offer dual-degree MBA/MHA graduate program

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Pitt to offer dual-degree MBA/MHA graduate program

John Hamilton | Visual Editor

John Hamilton | Visual Editor

John Hamilton | Visual Editor

John Hamilton | Visual Editor

By Nolan Roosa / For The Pitt News

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A new collaboration between two Pitt graduate schools lets students save 39 credits and a year of school while walking away with two degrees.

Pitt announced the dual degree program on Jan. 17. Beginning in the fall, students can earn a Master of Health Administration and a Master of Business Administration from the School of Public Health and the Katz School of Business at the same time.

The Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business currently offers seven other dual degree programs. Students at Katz can enroll in programs that include degrees in everything from engineering to law.

The proposed MHA/MBA includes a curriculum of 78 credits over three academic years, split between the degrees. Until now, Pitt graduate students who wanted to get a two-year MBA and two-year MHA degree would have to complete a total of 117 credits in four years.

According to Wesley Rohrer, director of the MHA program, this dual degree will recreate and improve on a program that once existed in the mid-1980s through the late 1990s. Pitt cut that program in the 90s due to a lack of funding and support from Pitt administration.

But Pitt is reviving the program now because of a rising demand for health care administrators.

Health care accounted for nearly 9.9 percent of the world’s gross domestic product in 2014, according to The World Bank. Add on reforms to the industry such as the Affordable Care Act, and health care companies are struggling to keep up with the growth of demand and regulations.

“The job market for graduates is robust, and long-term career opportunities should be attractive,” Rohrer said. He continued that students must apply and get into both the Graduate School of Public Health and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business before applying for this program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2024, the health care industry is expected to grow 19 percent — faster than any other occupational track. Health care will employ more people than any other industry by 2022.

Because of the changing economy, reintroducing the dual degree was one of Pitt medical professor Mark Roberts’ goals when he became chair of the School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management in 2010. His plan for the relaunch began in 2015.

Health care management at other universities, such as Michigan, Cornell and Ohio State, inspired Roberts, who said he wanted to provide a similar opportunity for students at Pitt.

No new courses have been created for the program, so students will take a combination of existing classes from both schools. Students will also spend a summer term working full-time under supervision by administrators in the hospital and within the health care industry — an opportunity current MHA students take part in.

Lindsey Myers, a sophomore business student, said she wants the new program to help her understand a complicated and ever-changing industry. As a supply chain marketing and global management major, she’s looking into the degree.

Cross-functional education is extremely important in this day and age, creating well-rounded and dynamic students who are versatile and can work in many different areas and industries,” Meyers said.

Rabikar Chatterjee, associate dean at Katz, said that the broader set of state-of-the-art business management skills gained from an MBA, combined with domain-specific, content-based expertise provided by the MHA, will produce the type of graduates with the talent and skills needed to succeed in today’s highly dynamic and complex health care environment.

“The pool of such programs nationally is relatively small, and we intend to be considered among the leading programs in this market within the next five years,” Rohrer said.

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