Best MPH/MBA Dual Degree Programs For 2021
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Have you wondered what it would be like to have a career where management and leadership abilities are combined with an effort to help improve public health? If you have, you may find a dual MBA/MPH program is worth considering. MPH/MBA dual degree programs allow students to maximize their potential by combining Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration classes preparing students for leadership in the business and healthcare industries. In the following sections of this article, you will find out which schools offer the best MPH/MBA dual degree programs for 2021. Continue reading to learn about coursework, admission requirements, costs, and possible career options for graduates of these programs.
What Exactly Is the Goal of a Dual MPH/MBA Program?
MPH/MBA dual degree programs provide insight into factors that affect public health, including economic, political, social, cultural, environmental, and behavioral factors, while preparing students with the necessary skills to navigate high-level business management roles. The Master of Public Health concentration presents students with content to prepare them for public health careers. MPH core classes are based on evidence-based public health issues, applied practice internship, and an integrative learning experience through a capstone project. The MBA component of the dual MPH/MBA program helps students develop skills needed to succeed as business executives, including the ability to analyze information, use critical thinking skills, and develop smart solutions to business-related problems or issues.
7 Big Advantages of Dual MPH/MBA
Here are the 7 big advantages of pursuing a dual MPH/MBA degree program.
1. Become an industry leader.
As a student in a dual MBA/MPH program, you will learn essential skills necessary to set you apart as a leader in the business of healthcare.
2. Two degrees, Less time!
When you complete degrees concurrently, you can earn two degrees up to a year faster than students who accomplish the degrees separately. For example, students enrolled in the dual MBA/MPH program online offered at Benedictine University
complete twenty-four courses instead of the thirty-three that would be required if the degrees were obtained separately.
3. Grow your network.
As a graduate student in an accredited MBA/MPH dual degree program, you will have the chance to meet people from various backgrounds with different life experiences. From classmates, program faculty, preceptors, and professionals at places of internship, you will have the opportunity to grow your professional network which can be beneficial for you after you graduate and begin looking for a job.
4. Save your money!
Anyone who has researched college degrees knows that graduate degrees are not cheap. By choosing from the best MPH/MBA dual degree programs and pursuing your degrees simultaneously, you could save twenty-five percent or more than what you may spend earning the degrees independent of one another.
5. Career Advancement:
Dual degrees programs, like the accredited MPH/MBA dual degree programs featured in this article, are an excellent way to fast-track your career. Earning two master’s degrees could make you eligible for promotions or other employment opportunities and benefits that may take longer to achieve if you have only one degree. As a note, you do not have to earn two degrees to find a good job with great pay. One of the perks of a dual degree, though, is you can leverage your academic and professional experiences to move ahead quickly.
6. Diverse Career Options:
The ability for graduates to pursue a broad range of career opportunities is one thing that makes dual degree programs attractive. Because you will have two degrees, you will not be restricted to one career path. Many people with professional careers find this appealing as it helps prevent burnout.
7. Prepare to Earn a Great Income:
Graduates of dual MPH/MBA programs earn over $122,000 annually, making this a great option for anyone who wants to earn two degrees and increase their earning potential.
3 Big Disadvantages of Dual MPH/MBA Programs
If you look hard enough, it is possible to find disadvantages to anything. Even with some great advantages, there are still a few cons you may associate with MPH/MBA dual degree programs. I will share three disadvantages related to these programs and give you some ideas on dealing with them.
Disadvantage #1: Free time... What’s that??
The curriculum for dual MPH/MBA programs can be pretty intense. To succeed, you will need to dedicate a great deal of time to studying, internships, and other assignments. If you are not prepared for a heavy course load, you can quickly feel overwhelmed.
The first thing you need to do is meet with your academic advisor to develop a study plan you can live with. Be sure to consider your obligations, such as work or family, and share those with your advisor. Talk to your family, employer, or anyone else who may be impacted by your schedule changes and the demands of school. Discuss options for sharing household chores and responsibilities. If you must continue working while in school, perhaps your boss can offer options of a schedule change to accommodate school without significant disruptions.
Disadvantage #2: Competition is FIERCE.
With more people realizing the advantages of earning dual degrees, these programs are becoming more popular, which means more competition for admission. The application process for dual MPH/MBA degree programs usually involves submitting two applications, one for the school of public health and one for the school of business. In some cases, applicants may be accepted to one school and not the other.
So, competition is fierce? That means you need to make sure you stand out to the people who make admissions decisions. If you want your application(s) to get noticed, the most important thing is to make sure it is complete. Gather a list of everything that is required and try to submit it all at once. Also, when you prepare your Personal Essay or Statement of Intent, make it mean something. For example, anyone can say, “I want to pursue an MPH/MBA degree so I can get a better job.” That does not interest faculty. Instead, you want to focus on what the programs mean to you and how you believe you can use your academic experiences to be an effective leader. They know you want to be there. Your job is to make them want you!
Disadvantage #3: The academic workload is heavy.
One of the most obvious disadvantages of MPH/MBA dual programs is the amount of coursework required. For some students, one graduate degree is a lot to handle. When you double that, it can feel near impossible.
Good news!! It is not impossible. Although the workload is heavy, you can accomplish a dual degree. The most important thing is to be realistic with yourself about what you can and cannot handle. If you know that going to school full-time and working a job will be difficult, consider a part-time program or a schedule change at work. Make a schedule and stick to it. If you must plan your day out in one-hour increments to succeed, do it. If you have an action plan, it will help you keep yourself accountable and prevent feeling overwhelmed later.
How Long Are MPH/MBA Dual Degree Programs?
If you are considering returning to school, you probably have lots of questions and things to consider. Having a job, family, or other responsibilities, may leave you concerned about how much it will take you to earn your degrees. Many people can graduate from a dual MPH/MBA degree program in as little as two and a half to three years if enrolled full-time. Some programs are formatted as four-year options or may take that long if you choose part-time enrollment.
Here are some examples of a few of the featured best dual MPH/MBA programs and how long they each take to complete.
Students can graduate from the dual Master of Public Health/Master of Business Administration program at Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina in three years. The program includes a minimum of ninety-six credit hours.
• Yale School of Management
offers one of our featured best MPH/MBA dual degree programs with two-year intensive and three-year study plans.
Students enrolled in the two-year intensive dual degree program spend their first summer at the School of Public Health taking core courses. The first full academic year is spent at Yale School of Management and includes an MBA curriculum integrated with participation in the International Experience course during spring break. Participants complete a summer internship between the first and second years of the program. In the final year, core and elective courses at the School of Public Health and elective courses at the School of Management are completed.
During the first two years of the three-year dual MPH/MBA degree program, students dedicate one academic year at both the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of Public Health. The third-year includes a combination of elective coursework at both schools.
The University of California
, through a long relationship between Berkeley Public Health and the Haas School of Business, offers a concurrent MBA/MPH dual degree program. The two-and-a-half-year program accepts twenty students each year. In addition to regular coursework, students complete two summer internships.
Students at the University of Michigan
can graduate with a dual Master of Public Health/Master of Business Administration in three years. The first year of study is devoted to forty-five credit hours of coursework in the business component of the MPH/MBA dual degree program. In the second year, students complete an additional forty-five credits of public health classes. During the final year, students enroll in courses at both schools.
How Much Do MPH/MBA Dual Degree Programs Cost?
If you are preparing for college, it is understandable if planning for the financial obligations leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Dual graduate programs, like the dual MPH/MBA programs featured in this article, can cost from $25,000 to over $200,000. If earning these dual degrees is important to you, take the time to consider all your financial options. You may be surprised to know that there are several ways to get help to offset some of the expenses associated with a grad program.
A few options to help fund your degree include securing a personal loan, borrowing from your retirement, utilizing employer-sponsored academic programs, or applying for scholarships, grants, and loans. Remember, if you feel you may need help to pay for your degree, apply for financial aid as early as possible to prevent delays with funding.
At Johns Hopkins University
, you will find one of the best accredited dual MPH/MBA programs. The two-year dual program is formatted as a full-time study option with students completing 102 credits, forty-two MBA, and eighty MPH. The estimated cost of tuition is $133,164, with additional fees costing an average of $600.
The University of Arizona
, in partnership with the Eller College of Management and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, offers an MPH/MBA dual degree program. The program can be completed in three years after earning seventy-eight to eighty-seven credit hours of relevant coursework. State residents pay $989.12 per credit hour, and out-of-state students pay $1,918.12. This cost includes mandatory fees but does not include incidental fees, books, or other supplies. Depending on a student's residency status and the number of credits needed, the program cost is between $77,151.36 and $166,876.44
The MPH/MBA dual degree program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
involves sixty semester hours, including twenty-two hours earned from MBA core courses, fifteen from MHA core classes, fifteen elective and concentration courses, and eight semester hours earned through Capstone Courses and Service learning. Nebraska residents pay $461 per credit hour, and non-residents pay $$1,120, with the average cost of the program between $27,660 and $67,200.
The University of Texas at San Antonio
provides students with learning experiences to integrate public health and business skills, preparing them for leadership positions in various settings. The per-credit-hour rate for Texas residents is $754.06 and $1,776.16 for non-residents. The program requires students to complete eighty-one credit hours, costing between $61,078.86 and $141,868.96, depending on the student's state of residence.
At Claremont Graduate University
, students enrolled in the accredited dual MPH/MBA program must complete ninety-six-semester units to meet graduation eligibility. At a rate of $1,980 per semester unit, the average cost of tuition is $190,080.
What Is the Curriculum Like for Dual MBA/MPH Programs?
Colleges and universities have the discretion to establish curriculum guidelines as they see fit. As you research different dual MBA/MPH program options, you will likely find some differences in the format of the programs and the courses they each require. Although you may see some variation, the accreditation process helps to ensure that programs follow the set of standard guidelines and curriculum.
Examples of some of the classes you may take in a Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health dual program include the list below.
◦ Operations and Supply Chain Management
◦ Topics in Corporate Finance
◦ Environment and Health
◦ Public Health Leadership
◦ Public Health Management and Evaluation
◦ Economics for Managers
After you have been extended an offer of admission to a Master of Public Health/Master of Business Administration dual degree program, you will work with an academic advisor who can review your previous transcripts and determine a plan of study tailored to your specific needs. The following are a few examples of curriculum for some of our featured programs.
The online MPH/MBA dual degree program
at the University of Alabama
(UAB) is coordinated through the UAB Collat School of Business
and UAB School of Public Health. The MPH concentration is typically a forty-two-credit-hour program and the MBA a thirty-six credit-hour program. However, the programs are coordinated to allow students to receive twelve credit hours from the MBA curriculum toward the MPH degree and six credit hours from the MPH to the MBA. Therefore, students enrolled in the dual degree option are required to complete sixty credit hours.
◦ Community Assessments in Public Health
◦ Public Health Management and Evaluation
◦ Information Technology and Business Strategy
◦ Economics for Managers
◦ Strategic Cost Analysis and Decision-Making
At Boston University
, the dual MPH/MBA degree program includes eighty-two credits and is designed to be completed on a full-time basis. The university recognizes that to be an effective leader in public health, one must develop expertise from many disciplines. Therefore, the curriculum includes a broad foundation of knowledge designed to help students become influential healthcare leaders.
◦ Ethical Leadership in a Global Economy I and II
◦ Creating Value through Operations and Technology
◦ Health Sector Issues and Opportunities
◦ Individual, Community, and Population Health
◦ Quantitative Methods for Public Health
The University of Illinois at Chicago
has designed a joint MBA/MHA degree program to prepare students interested in business administration and public health. Students gain knowledge and experience with management skills that can be applied to healthcare organizations and public health.
◦ Microeconomics for Business Decision
◦ Enterprise Strategy
◦ Organizational Behavior
◦ Determinants of Population Health
◦ Public Health Systems, Policy and Management
The MPH/MBA dual degree program at Drexel University
provides students with the opportunity to develop keen business skills while learning to make a difference in public health and the healthcare industry overall. The three-year program includes a rigorous curriculum of ninety-two credit hours, which emphasizes business knowledge and concepts through experiential learning, coursework, and career coaching.
◦ Evolution of United States Health Policy
◦ Health Disparities: Systemic, Structural, Environmental, and Economic
◦ Leadership in Dynamic Environments: A Personal, Relational, and Strategic Approach
◦ Perspectives on Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class
◦ Public Health and the Complexity of Mental Health Policy: Exploring Past, Present, and Future
Students at the University of Buffalo
can graduate from the MPH/MBA dual degree program in three years. The ninety-six-credit hour program includes forty-eight credit hours at the School of Public Health and the School of Management.
◦ Statistical Analysis for Managers
• Stony Brook University
◦ Management for Public Health Professionals
◦ Epidemiology and Health Policy
◦ Strategic and Operations Management
◦ Account for Management Decision-Making
offers another of our featured dual MPH/MBA programs. The curriculum, which consists of eighty-one credit hours of coursework, culminates in a Capstone Seminar experience.
◦ Leadership, Team Effectiveness, and Communication
◦ Environmental and Occupational Health
◦ Biostatistics I and II
◦ Contemporary Issues in Public Health
◦ Theories of Health Behavior and Communication
What Are the Most Difficult Courses in a Dual MBA/MPH Program?
To say that accredited dual MBA/MPH programs are course-heavy would be an understatement. Many of the programs require students to complete more than ninety credit hours to meet graduation criteria. Because everyone has different strengths and learning styles, classes that may be difficult for someone else could be something you breeze through with ease, and those that others find easy may be harder for you. While opinions vary, the following three courses are considered some of the most challenging courses in dual MBA/MPH programs online or on-campus.
This course is the study of determinants and distribution of health and disease associated with diverse patient populations. It focuses on the application of methods designed to prevent disease and promote better patient outcomes.
2. Advanced Statistics and Quantitative Methods:
In this class focused on inferential statistics, students learn the practical application of statistical analysis. Content includes statistical terminology, examination of the role of statistics in research, statistical techniques, and interpretation of findings related to business, nursing, economics, and medical research.
3. Management Communications:
Provides students with skills and guided practice experiences related to conceptual knowledge of communication tools and techniques, the socio-psychological context of communication in business, creative and analytical communication. These tools prepare students to navigate fundamental concepts related to business communication.
If you have decided to pursue a dual MPH/MBA degree, now it is time to determine which programs interest you and begin applying for admission. Schools and program committees have the right to determine admission criteria for the programs they offer, and you will find some variation in requirements from school to school. General admission criteria typically include
◦ Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
◦ Provide letters of professional recommendation
◦ Submit all official post-secondary education transcripts
◦ Write a Personal Statement/Letter of Intent
◦ Submit a professional resume and/or curriculum vitae
The admission requirements for some of this article’s accredited MPH/MBA dual degree programs follow below.
The Master of Business Administration/Master of Public Health dual degree program at Rutgers University
offers students the opportunity to build upon business training to understand public health fields and public health leadership. The program prepares students to fill administrative positions in the growing health care industry, targeting public health approaches and cost-effective healthcare services.
Sample Admission Criteria:
◦ Submit a copy of your professional resume
◦ Provide official transcripts from all colleges or universities ever attended
◦ Two letters of professional recommendation that indicate support of the applicant’s ability to succeed in a dual graduate degree program
◦ GRE or GMAT scores
◦ Prepare a Personal Essay/Goal Statement (two pages)
At Emory University
, prospective students who wish to pursue the accredited MBA/MPH dual degree program must be accepted into Rollins School of Public Health and the Goizueta Business School. The program can be completed in as few as five semesters, excluding summer enrollment. Students are, however, encouraged to participate in summer internships complimentary to their coursework.
Sample Admission Criteria:
◦ Have official transcripts sent directly to the school from all post-secondary schools ever attended (Transcripts should be sent regardless of whether or not the program was completed.)
◦ The Rollins School of Public Health requires applicants to submit two evaluations or professional recommendations. Recommended sources of references include faculty from your major field of study, a recent employer, or an undergraduate/graduate advisor.
◦ Prepare and submit a Statement of Purpose and Objectives. This Statement allows applicants to present a narrative describing who they are and their professional/academic goals.
Application for admission to the MPH/MBA dual program at Columbia University in the City of New York
requires separate admission applications for both the Columbia School of Business and the Mailman School. Students complete fifty-one to sixty credit hours.
Sample Admission Criteria:
◦ Submit three letters of recommendation: The recommendations should address the applicant's research and academic abilities, including the ability to work independently and to comprehend and assimilate knowledge.
• DePaul University’s
◦ Prepare a Statement of Purpose, including why you are applying to the program, why you chose the school, and how earning the dual degree can help you achieve long-term goals.
◦ Provide a professional resume or curriculum vitae that includes educational degrees, employment experiences, professional skills and accomplishments, awards, and volunteer activities.
accredited MPH/MBA dual degree program is designed for motivated individuals who plan to work in executive, management, or consulting positions within the population/community health realm. In as few as three years, full-time students earn advanced degrees in public health and business administration from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.
Sample Admission Criteria:
◦ Submit official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions attended
◦ Prepare an essay detailing professional goals and business interests
◦ If the undergraduate grade point average is less than 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale, applicants must submit a short statement addressing their GPA and plans to succeed in a dual graduate program.
◦ Supplemental materials and/or a personal interview with the admission committee may be required.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha
College of Public Health collaborates with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to offer dual degree program options, including the dual MPH/MBA degree program. Applicants for the dual degree program are evaluated by the admission committee for each program and must be accepted into each program separately.
Sample Admission Criteria:
◦ Before enrolling in the first MBA course, students must have completed the following basic courses as an undergraduate student: Principles of Accounting I and II, Principles of Economics-Micro and Macro, College Algebra, English Composition I, Principles of Business Statistics.
◦ Provide three letters of recommendation from professional or academic references (must be on
◦ Bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0-grade point average for the last sixty undergraduate or last eighteen post-baccalaureate hours complete
5 Biggest Challenges MBA/MPH Dual Degree Students Face and Ways to Overcome Them
Okay, so let's be honest. It is not likely that anyone has ever said, "Hey, I think I'm going to go find the most difficult college program and take it. Oh, as a matter of fact, why don't I just take two?" Earning a college degree can be challenging. Earning two graduate degrees simultaneously can be really tricky. BUT there are ways to overcome the challenges and be successful in your academic endeavor. Let's look at some challenges you may face as an MBA/MHA dual degree student and discuss how you can overcome them.
Challenge #1: Very Busy Schedule
When you begin your MBA/MPH journey, you will have days where you feel like there simply are not enough hours to accomplish everything you need to do. The coursework can be intense. You will have assignments to complete and presentations to prepare. That's just school stuff. When you throw your personal obligations in the mix, it can feel exhausting.
Being an effective professional leader means you need to develop good organizational and time-management skills. You can start that process as a student. Simple things like making a list of things you need to accomplish in order of priority will help. In today's world of technology, there are lots of ways to help you stay on track. A couple of apps that may come in handy are Evernote
Challenge #2: Admitting You Don’t Know Everything So You Can Learn New Things
I know, that sounds like a jumbled bunch of words, right? Students pursuing MBA/MPH dual degrees usually have at least a few years of work experience before beginning their program. When you transition from an environment where you feel comfortable and know how to get the job done, you may end up feeling ill at ease or find yourself struggling to grasp the concept of being a student once again.
Once you realize that every day you live is a day you can learn and grow, getting into the “student mentality” may not be as difficult. Remember, every instructor, faculty member, or preceptor you encounter in MPH/MBA dual degree programs was once a student. Take advantage of their experiences and learn from them. They can add so much value to your academic experience, and that will flow over into your professional life when you graduate.
Challenge #3: Learning to Socialize with Peers from Your Program
Many MBA/MPH students overlook or fail to understand how instrumental a strong peer group can be for success. Perhaps it is because they have already established a routine and have peers from work, they look to for help or guidance, and while that is good, you can never have too many strong people in your corner.
You don't have to go out to lunch every Thursday or have a study group three times a week to develop a group of helpful peers. Simply taking the time to get to know some of the people in your program can make a big difference, especially when you have those days that you wonder, "What in the world was I thinking," and make no mistake, everyone has those days.
Challenge #4: Adjusting to Your “New Normal”
Anyone who has ever graduated from a dual MPH/MBA degree program may laugh at the idea of “MPH/MBA and Normal” being used in the same sentence. All kidding aside, transitioning to graduate student life can make you feel a little unsteady at times. It’s normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed at times.
Take a deep breath in, exhale. Repeat. You have accomplished so much by simply deciding to do this! If you begin to feel worried or unsure, talk to your academic advisor, a family member, or supportive friends. This temporary inconvenience of coursework, hours of study, and test preparation can open doors for a lifetime of convenience for you later. Just stick with it!
Challenge #5: Self-Care? What’s That?
It is not uncommon for busy professional students like MBA/MPH students to pour so much effort into their education and other responsibilities that they overlook taking care of themselves. While some people may consider these acts of kindness or being "selfless," they can backfire on you. Lack of self-care can cause increased anxiety, sleeplessness, and a compromised immune system.
Sometimes, no matter how busy you are, you must take the time to rest, relax, and recharge your body and mind. Pace yourself and your studies, so you aren't overwhelmed. Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise at least three times every week. And rest! Lack of sleep can make you feel on edge and cause disruptions in concentration which could hurt your grades. If you have children, ask a friend or relative to babysit for a few hours or an evening and take some time for yourself. You may be amazed at how much a little self-care can improve your overall well-being.
FOLLOWING ARE THE 25 BEST MPH/MBA DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) IN THE NATION FOR 2021
(These MPH/MBA Dual Degree Programs are ideal for individuals who wish to earn skills, knowledge, and expertise in both Public Health and Business Administration.)
View Ranking Methodology
Graduates of dual MPH/MBA programs are trained to fill positions within the healthcare industry, focusing on issues such as defining organization goals, policy, and funding and managing public health organizations. Career opportunities can be found in various settings and include a few of the following examples.
Specialized in using strategic information technology techniques to plan for hospital systems, physician group practices, and educational medical centers.
Advises clients on critical aspects of organizational management, including performance improvement and crisis management.
Office of Public Health Community Mobilization Director:
Works in conjunction with team members from the Office of Public Health to organize and lead efforts that engage priority populations and strengthen programs and services which promote health equity for diverse populations.
Vice President of Health Strategies:
The person in this position models leadership competencies and values, develops, evaluates, and implements plans to align community health and development using consistent, evidence-based goals; develops and monitors internal business operations and budgets in accordance with fiscal standards, operating budges and company policies.
Average MPH/MBA Salary
Graduates of MBA/MPH dual degree programs earn an average of over $122,000 yearly. Previous work experience in public health and business leadership are a few things you can leverage when discussing salaries with potential employers. Also, be sure to ask about benefits packages and what they include, as some employers offer generous benefits worth thousands of dollars. With continued experience, it is not uncommon for individuals with these dual degrees to earn substantially more than the average reported income.
There is an increased demand for motivated and engaged leaders who can help format a new public health paradigm to meet the needs of society. Graduates of MPH/MBA dual degree programs are prepared with effective leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills to help them tackle challenges related to public health. Additionally, the occurrence of globally reaching illnesses, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and society’s increased awareness of the importance of preventive health services, are just a few reasons the job outlook after completing one of these dual programs is positive.
The Bottom Line
If you are considering a career in public health with a concentration in business administration, there has never been a better time to get started. As you read in this article, the best MPH/MBA dual degree programs for 2021 offer excellent opportunities to obtain your degrees and begin the career you have been searching for.
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.