Do MBA in Healthcare Management Programs Require a Capstone Project?

A big concern of many students pursuing an MBA in Healthcare Management is if the program requires a capstone project. While it would be easy to say that the decision is left up to the student, the truth is that most healthcare management MBA programs do require this project. The reason is that the project is a way for the student to not only demonstrate what he or she has learned but also if the student is capable of putting the knowledge to use in a real-life problem. Here is some information on capstones.

Related Resources: Top 20 MBA in Healthcare Management Online Programs 2018

What are Capstones?

Capstones are also referred to as culminating projects or senior exhibition because that's exactly what they are. They're a culmination of everything the MBA has learned throughout the program and are due in the student's senior year. It's generally an assignment where the student must identify a problem that exists in a real-world situation and develop a solution that not only addresses the problem but also finds a solution.

The student may work alone but usually works as part of a group. The project must use methods and skills that were learned in the program. When completing capstones, the students may be required to interactively solve a problem or may be required to perform research. The path the student takes is dependent on the program and the instructor. The instructor usually chooses which project the student should complete based on the student's career goals. These projects can take anywhere from ten weeks to two semesters, although, most of them can be completed in one semester.

Are Capstones Always Required in MBA Programs?

Although capstone projects are not always required in MBA programs, they're usually required at least in certain types of master's programs. They're usually required in the following master's programs.

  • Master of Arts in Public Health
  • Master of Science in Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Health Administration

Because these projects are such a large part of an MBA program and usually a requirement, students are required to take courses that will provide them with the skills-based knowledge and theory necessary to come up with an idea for the project and be able to solve it. Some examples of prerequisite courses the student might take include program theory, leadership, ethics and research statistics.

Are There Alternatives to Capstones?

Students in an MBA in healthcare management program may have the choice of completing capstones or doing a thesis. Although thesis and capstones are very similar, they're not the same thing. The capstones focus on a specific program and how to solve it with the knowledge right in front of the student. A thesis is based on creating new knowledge and covers a broader area. The thesis is usually a long, research-based written report that must also be presented orally.

Career Outlook for Graduates of Healthcare Management MBA Programs

Graduates of MBA healthcare management programs have many career opportunities available to them. Here are just five of the many careers available to graduates, according to U.S. News & World Report.

• Hospital Administrator
• Strategic Project Manager
• Healthcare Consultant
• Pharmaceutical Brand Manager
• Corporate Development Associate

Medical and health services managers are projected to see a job growth of 20 percent during the 2016-2026 decade, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of a May 2017 BLS wage report, medical and health services managers earned an average annual wage of $111,680.

Although the capstone projects in the MBA in healthcare management programs may require hard work, they're often the deciding factor on the readiness of the student to join the rewarding and challenging field of healthcare management.

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