Students who are interested in studying business in graduate school have a variety of degree options, two of which are a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science. An MBA is a two-year program, appropriate for students who are interested in a general education in business, management and administration. A Master of Science is a one-year program that is much more narrow in its focus. Therefore, the M.S. is more appropriate for students who are interested in studying a particular business-related discipline such as economics, finance, business or healthcare.
Master of Business Administration
MBA programs are offered by graduate schools of business and are intended for students interested in pursuing managerial and leadership careers. These programs give students a strong foundation in the principles of business, management and leadership. Graduates go on to work in a variety of fields including education, healthcare, real estate and finance. Requirements vary, but many programs require 45 to 60 credits of coursework, approximately half of which come from required courses and the other half electives in a particular area of interest such as health care, accounting, finance and real estate.
Many MBA programs require students to spend the first year of the program taking core courses in operations management, marketing, leadership and accounting. These courses give students a solid understanding of how private companies and nonprofits develop, raise money and operate in today's business environment. In their second year of an MBA program, students typically pick an area of concentration, such as finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, real estate, health administration or information technology. Electives offered within the health administration concentration include healthcare systems, healthcare management and healthcare information technologies.
Master of Science
Master of Science programs are offered by graduate schools of business and individual departments within a university. These programs are intended for students interested in pursuing more research-oriented study or getting specialization in a particular area of interest, without pursuing a broader and more time-intensive MBA program. For example, Master of Science in healthcare administration programs require only courses directly related to the healthcare business and no additional courses in general accounting, marketing and finance.
Master of Science Curriculum
Master of Science programs include, but not limited to finance, economics, business administration and healthcare administration. Requirements vary, but many programs require students to take 30 to 36 credits of coursework directly related to the concentration. Examples of coursework in economics are microeconomics, financial decision-making and econometrics. Many M.S. programs also require students to complete a thesis or an internship directly related to the focus of the master's degree.