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Best DNP/MPH Dual Degree Programs For 2021


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Do you have a love for nursing? Would you like to use that passion for healthcare to impact patients and communities by addressing critical public health challenges? If this sounds like something you can see yourself doing, pursuing a dual degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Public Health could be a great way to attain those goals. Are you worried you do not have time to pursue two degrees? There is no need! DNP-MPH dual degree programs can often be completed in less time than it would take to complete each degree separately. If you are still interested, keep reading. In this article, you will find information about some of the best dual DNP-MPH programs for 2021. I will tell you the requirements for admission to these programs, the coursework you will study and give you some ideas of career opportunities you may find after graduation.


What Exactly Is A DNP/MPH Dual Degree Program?


DNP/MPH dual degree programs integrate doctorate-level nursing and public health education, allowing students to achieve both Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health degrees at once. DNP/MPH programs prepare graduates to meet the growing need to create and implement interventions focused on providing high-quality care helping improve the health and well-being of communities, families, and populations.


7 Advantages of Pursuing DNP/MPH Dual Degree Programs


If you are considering a career as a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a Master’s in Public Health, you might be asking yourself if there are benefits to pursuing any dual DNP/MPH programs. The following is a list of seven of the many advantages of DNP-MPH dual degree programs.

1. Save money: Although you will be pursuing two degrees and have costs associated with each program, students typically save money overall on dual degree programs. Saving money becomes possible because programs, like the accredited dual DNP-MPH programs in this article, usually allow students to transfer coursework from one of the programs to the other, reducing cost over time.
2. Get your degree faster: Students who enroll in the best DNP-MPH dual degree programs and complete coursework for each concurrently complete their dual degree requirements an average of one year sooner than those who enroll in the programs separately. The sooner you complete your degree, the sooner you can begin working on your career.
3. Earn a higher income: According to Payscale.com, individuals with a Doctor of Nursing Practice earn an average of $10,000 more annually than nurses with a master's degree in nursing. Having a dual degree, such as the DNP/MPH, can add another $5,000 or more to your salary, making this a lucrative choice for those seeking to increase their earning potential.
4. Have a more significant impact to protect and improve the health of populations: Practitioners who work in the field of public health strive to improve the social, economic, and environmental health of communities. They do this by focusing on public health issues such as social isolation, violence, trauma, food security, and lack of access to affordable and healthy nutrition. Graduates of the best DNP-MPH dual degree programs use clinical nursing skills coupled with knowledge of public health issues to create positive change in the health and wellness of communities worldwide. These goals are achieved by providing education, research, and community partnerships on many levels.
5. Increased job security: Anytime a person pursues a higher degree, there is potential for increasing long-term job security. When you combine two degrees, such as DNP and MPH, you position yourself to offer the best of two very valuable specialties, increasing your chances of finding and keeping long-term employment in secure positions.


How Long Are DNP/MPH Programs?


DNP-MPH dual degree programs require a significant amount of course work and may take fifteen months to four years to complete. A student's current degree level upon program entry is one factor that may determine the total amount of time they need to complete the program. Additionally, the number of students accepted into the clinical component of a program may affect a student's completion date; this is especially true if it is necessary to repeat the coursework required before acceptance into the clinical program.

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offer one of the best dual DNP-MPH programs available, and it is designed to be completed in three years. The program focuses on helping students prepare to take on executive roles to advance health equity and address challenges of global health by shaping quality improvements, policies, and interventions.
The typical length of the DNP/MPH dual degree program at the University of Washington is twelve quarter semesters or four years. The program teaches students to use community engagement and assessment, budgeting, and management skills to promote healthy change and high-impact solutions to health-related problems.
The University of Minnesota offers both a BSN to DNP and a Post-Master's DNP program. The post-baccalaureate DNP program is a three-year program. The post-master's DNP program is a one-year (three semester) program and is delivered almost entirely online. DNP students can complete a DNP/MPH dual degree by adding two additional semesters of study consisting of twelve credits of public health electives to complement the DNP program curriculum for which their current nursing degree is most suited. Faculty and staff in the DNP/MPH dual degree program guide students as they learn to address issues with policies related to public health and how to address policymakers in compelling ways resulting in multi-level changes.


How Much Do DNP/MPH Programs Cost?


Accredited dual DNP-MPH programs vary in cost and may range from $49,000 to almost $175,00. The table below reflects the cost of the DNP/MPH dual degree programs offered at the universities featured in this article. Please note, these costs are estimates based on current information found on each school's site. Additionally, the costs listed in the chart are for tuition only. Students may incur other expenses, such as the cost of meals, commuting, or on-campus housing. Preparing for additional financial expenditures such as books, fees, and other incidental costs should also be considered when making financial plans.

School Resident Non-Resident Total Program Hours Program Cost
Johns Hopkins University $1,620 per credit $1,620 per credit 67 $108,540
University of Washington $9,736 quarterly $13,869 quarterly 63 $116,832 (Residents) $166,428 (Non-residents)
University of Minnesota $13,576 per academic year $18,776 per academic year 42 $49,779 - $68,845 (Depending on degree level at admission)
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus $833 per credit hour $1,352 per credit hour 60 $49,980 (Residents) $81,120 (Non-Residents)


Coursework


Dual DNP-MPH programs involve curriculum that is quite in-depth. Because students study courses necessary to obtain two distinct degrees, the dual degree program can feel intense for students who are not well-prepared. While each program has its individual curriculum plan, most DNP-MPH dual degree programs include courses such as Management of Health Services Organizations, Statistical Reasoning in Public Health, Advanced Psychopharmacology, and Globalization and Public Health. Below are examples of courses taken in the DNP-MPH dual degree programs featured in this article.

Students at the University of Washington can choose to begin study with either the DNP or MPH program, depending on their primary career interests. Most students apply to the second program at some point during their first year of study. However, applications for both degrees may be submitted simultaneously. The university allows up to twelve credits to be shared between the programs if the programs are completed concurrently.

University of Washington students enrolled in the DNP/MPH dual degree program take the following courses.

◦ Perspectives on Implementing Research in Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Introduction to Biomedical and Health Informatics
◦ Program Planning for Health Systems and Multicultural Communities
◦ Environmental and Occupational Health
◦ Undoing Racism
◦ Biostatistical Reasoning for Health Sciences

Johns Hopkins University has implemented the dual DNP/MHA program to “prepare nurse leaders to address the most critical public health challenges of our time.” The program helps students learn to effectively use systems-level thinking to improve health equity. Examples of coursework required in the Johns Hopkins University DNP/MPH dual degree program are listed below.

◦ Principles of Epidemiology or Epidemiologic Inference in Public Health
◦ Social and Behavioral Foundations of Primary Health Care
◦ Principles of Negotiation and Mediation for Public Health Professionals
◦ Communications Primary for the Public Health Sciences

The University of Minnesota has aligned its curriculum across the programs offered with Council on Education for Public Health guidelines. Students enrolled in the DNP/MPH dual degree program must complete a minimum of forty-two credits. Up to fourteen credits may be transferred from the DNP program, with approval, while the remaining twenty-eight will be taken from the School of Public Health.

Sample coursework for the University of Minnesota DNP/MPH program includes the following.

◦ Fundamentals of Social and Behavioral Science
◦ Biostatistical Literacy
◦ Principles of Management in Health Services
◦ Ethics in Public Health: Professional Practice and Policy


Clinical Training


Accredited nursing programs require doctoral nursing students to achieve at least one thousand post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Because many nursing schools allow students to transfer some clinical hours from their master's-level nursing program toward their DNP, the clinical plan for students in DNP-MPH dual degree programs may differ. It is the student's responsibility to verify how many clinical hours can be transferred.

A total of 1,000 clinical practice hours, consisting of 840 hands-on practicum hours and 160 Scholarly Project hours, are required for the DNP part of the dual degree program at the University of Minnesota. The School of Public Health requires up to one hundred sixty clinical hours of applied practice experience. When DNP clinical experience pertains to both public health and nursing, those hours may also meet the MPH program's competencies. Additionally, the university may allow the transfer of up to five hundred clinical hours from the student's previous MSN program. Students should consult with an academic or clinical advisor to discuss which hours, if any, may be used as credit toward the dual degree.
Guidelines for clinicals for students enrolled at the Johns Hopkins University align with the Doctoral Essentials published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which requires DNP students to complete at least 1,000 clinical practicum hours. The DNP/MPH dual degree program curriculum includes four hundred forty-eight clinical hours. Students who have fewer than five hundred fifty-two (552) clinical hours from their advanced practice coursework must contact the school of nursing to discuss an academic plan that will help satisfy both coursework and clinical requirements.
As part of the DNP project course series, DNP/MPH students at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus must complete 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical practice hours. Students are encouraged to complete practicum credit hours in public health or community health settings.


Admission Requirements


Schools that offer DNP/MPH dual degree programs typically require prospective students to apply to the DNP and MPH programs separately. You may find that a school offers admission to one component of the dual degree program contingent upon entry to the other. General admission requirements for most accredited dual DNP-MPH programs include:

◦ Have a current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse
◦ Submit official transcripts from any post-secondary education
◦ Provide three letters of professional reference
◦ Pass state and federal background checks
◦ Pass a drug screening test

Those who wish to attend the DNP/MPH dual degree program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus should apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice/Master of Public Health Dual-Degree program using NursingCAS. Prospective students recommended for admission to the dual degree program will then be required to complete an application for the MPH portion of the program through the Colorado School of Public Health. Admission criteria at the University of Colorado include the following.

◦ Submit a personal essay describing professional and educational goals and how participation in a DNP/MPH program will help enhance your goals
◦ Possess a minimum Master of Science in Nursing with an advanced practice specialty from a CCNE or ACEN regionally accredited institution
◦ Some applicants are required to attend an in-person interview with program faculty to proceed with the admission process.

Johns Hopkins University recognizes the need for advanced practice nurses in the field of public health and has combined the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health programs to provide prospective students the option of pursuing a DNP/MPH dual degree. The following are a few examples of admission criteria for the program at JHU.

◦ After being approved by the admissions committee, applicants must interview with the DNP/MPH dual degree program faculty.
◦ Two years of healthcare experience
◦ Academic grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
◦ Goal Statement/Project Proposal demonstrating the applicant’s commitment to nursing practice and academic pursuit

To apply for admission to the DNP/MPH dual degree program at the University of Minnesota, applicants must be applying to, or be a current student in, an accredited DNP program at any college or university. Prospective students who apply to the school of public health first may be offered conditional acceptance pending admission to the nursing program. Additional admission criteria include:

◦ Have a baccalaureate degree before beginning MPH coursework
◦ Cumulative undergraduate graded point average of at least 3.0
◦ Submit a Personal Statement of Purpose, which includes personal objectives
◦ Three letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic references

Like other accredited DNP-MPH dual degree programs featured in this article, applicants to the DNP/MPH program at the University of Washington must apply to and meet both degree programs' admission criteria.

◦ Completion of a graded introductory course in descriptive and inferential statistics
◦ Meet the Essential Behaviors for DNP Students
◦ Possess an active, unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in Washington state by the time the program of study begins
◦ Minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last ninety graded quarter credits


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Joining A DNP/MPH Dual Degree Program


The undertaking of a program like the best dual DNP-MPH programs featured in this article is no small task. It is essential to be honest with yourself and get your questions asked before enrolling in a DNP/MPH dual degree program. A few things you should consider before joining one of these programs include the following.

1. Do you have a support system to help you while you are in school? The best dual DNP-MPH programs require students to complete coursework that satisfies the requirements for two degrees. Meeting assignment deadlines and preparing for exams can take up a great deal of your time. It is essential to have a support system of family and/or friends who can offer help when you need it. Whether you need a study night and need a babysitter for a few hours, or you need someone to do laundry for you, these little ways of helping can free your time for important schoolwork and significantly impact your success in the program.
2. How will you pay for your education? Although enrolling in dual DNP-MPH programs can save you both time and money overall, dual degree programs cost more than a single degree program. If you plan for expected school-related expenses, you can alleviate some of the stress related to the financial burden of school. You may be able to take advantage of government grants or loans, employer-sponsored education plans, or find that you need to apply for personal loans to help fund your degree.
3. What are your long-term goals? Part of the admission process in professional programs, like dual DNP-MPH programs, is submitting a personal goal statement. Admission faculty want to know why you have chosen this course of study and what you plan to do with the education you earn. Also, by identifying your personal goals, you can keep track of your progress and remind yourself of the importance of the education you are pursuing. By doing this, you can keep yourself accountable when things seem a little overwhelming.
4. Do you have a strong work ethic? To be successful in dual DNP-MPH programs, maintaining a solid work ethic is crucial. Developing and maintaining a strong work ethic requires implementing positive daily habits. Habits such as being punctual, fulfilling obligations, and completing tasks on time help establish your credibility as a professional and will help you remain on target so you can complete the program successfully.
5. How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance? As previously mentioned, dual DNP-MPH programs involve a rigorous routine. You must have a sense of balance in your activities to remain healthy. Getting plenty of sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising have many benefits. Not only will you begin to feel more physically fit, but when you have a healthy balance in your life, you will find that it is easier to maintain focus and concentrate on your studies, improving your chance of success.



FOLLOWING ARE THE 4 BEST DNP/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) IN THE NATION FOR 2021


1. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD (Online)


2. University of Washington - Seattle, WA (Campus)


3. University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN (Campus)


4. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus - Aurora, CO (Campus)


View Ranking Methodology



Career Opportunities After Graduating with This Degree


After graduating from one of the top accredited DNP-MPH dual degree programs, there are several career paths from which to choose. Settings where you may find employment upon completion of the program include public health agencies (city or state), managed care organizations, colleges/universities, non-profit organizations, or state health departments. A few examples of career options for graduates of DNP-MPH dual degree programs are listed below.

Epidemiologist: Responsibilities of this job include studying the patterns of disease or illness and collect, analyze, and communicate information to healthcare practitioners, the public, and policymakers. Epidemiologists work to prevent future outbreaks of disease and promote the improvement of public health outcomes by establishing community health education programs, contributing to the development of new health policies, and publishing research.
Healthcare Administrator: Oversees the daily operations of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, physicians' practices, and research labs. Healthcare administrators manage budgets and finances, develop organizational goals, and promote efficient, high-quality health care services.
Community Service Manager: Social and community service managers supervise community outreach programs, such as homeless shelters, mental health facilities, and substance abuse clinics. They are also responsible for overseeing budgets and funding proposals, recruiting volunteers, and planning initiatives to increase awareness of public health issues within their realm of practice.


Earning Potential for Graduates of This Degree


Graduates of DNP-MPH dual degree programs can expect to earn a monthly income of over $8,600, the equivalent of nearly $103,600 annually. Although this is the average income, as reported by Payscale.com, it is not uncommon for DNP-MPH dual degree holders with experience to earn well over $150,000 yearly. Your work location and job responsibilities may be a few factors that determine the salary you are offered. As with other careers, the more experience you gain, the more marketable you become which can give you leverage when discussing salary with prospective employers.

Hourly $49.80
Monthly $8,630
Annual $103,591
(Source: payscale.com)


Job Outlook for Graduates of This Degree


With an increase in chronic and acute illnesses and worldwide issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing need for healthcare professionals who are well-educated and capable of addressing and finding solutions to problems related to population health. Because the best DNP-MPH dual degree programs couple the highest level of nursing education with a graduate degree in public health, individuals who complete these programs are ideal candidates to meet the needs of families, communities, and the population overall. It seems only natural to believe that the job outlook for graduates of DNP-MPH dual degree programs is quite promising.


Bottomline


The journey to earning a dual degree as a DNP-MPH can be exciting. By gaining the nursing skills and public health knowledge these programs offer, you will have the ability to impact public health issues on a broad scale. If you have found the information in this article helpful, I encourage you to contact some of the best dual DNP-MPH programs for 2021 and start developing a plan to help you achieve this dual degree.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


How much time do I need to spend each week dedicated to a DNP-MPH dual degree program?

While many schools or advisors may have differing opinions, the average recommendation is for students to spend at least two hours of study time for each one hour of classroom instruction. Keep in mind that is a minimum. With the amount of content required in DNP-MPH programs, you should be ever mindful of your time and dedicate as much time as possible to learning.

What kind of students do colleges look for to take DNP-MPH dual degree programs?

Admission criteria vary from school to school. However, ideally, a candidate for a DNP-MPH program is a Master's-prepared registered nurse who has a strong interest in public health issues. Candidates who present with strong academic credentials and professional preparation are often prepared to take on the rigorous curriculum and training involved in a DNP-MPH dual program.

If an applicant has not attended college for a while, can they be successful in a dual DNP-MPH degree program?

The amount of time it has been since you last attended college is not always a good indicator of your potential for academic success moving forward. Pursuing a dual degree takes dedication to your task, a willingness to spend lots of time studying and preparing for scholarly projects and assignments. Your professional experience is one thing that admission faculty will review as it will reflect your academic preparation and reflect your knowledge, interests, and skills related to healthcare.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.