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6 Best MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs – 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Are you searching for a career path where you can make a difference? Do you love nursing and find public health interesting? Do you like being challenged and finding solutions to problems? Have you considered earning two degrees at once? If you answered yes to these questions, an MSN/MPH dual degree program could be an excellent choice for you!
Perhaps you thought of earning a master's in nursing or public health but felt unsure of whether combining the two degrees is a good idea. Maybe you wonder, “What are the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs?” If this sounds like you, you have found the right article! As you continue reading, you will find information about the 6 best MSN/MPH dual degree programs for 2023 and gain valuable insider knowledge into what these degrees can do for you.
RECOMMENDED ONLINE MSN PROGRAMS
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM?
The goal of the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to effectively work in nursing, health care, and public health settings. These programs will prepare you for leadership roles, where you can direct and provide care that improves community, national, or even global health outcomes. You will gain complex knowledge and skills that help you understand and function within our complex healthcare and public health systems. With these skills and abilities, you can work to address health disparities, increase access to care for everyone, and make a measurable impact on health outcomes.
ARE MSN AND MPH A GOOD COMBINATION?
MSN and MPH degrees are an excellent combination. The programs prepare you for a diverse range of careers in public health and nursing. The knowledge, skills, and experience you gain in each specialty complement the other. Because you will develop such a broad array of skills and in-depth knowledge, graduating from MSN/MPH dual degree programs can position you for amazing career opportunities!
IS AN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM HARD TO COMPLETE?
MSN/MPH dual degree programs involve earning two master's degrees, which can be quite challenging. You will complete graduate-level nursing and public health courses and practical training, which requires a significant commitment to complete. Although the programs are challenging, with proper planning, time management, and dedication to your studies, you can succeed!
7 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM
When you pursue MSN/MPH dual degree programs, you will gain a wealth of knowledge and develop essential skills and abilities relevant to nursing and public health careers. The following are seven of the most important skills and abilities you will gain in these specialized programs.
1. You will learn to improve patient outcomes for minority and at-risk populations locally and globally:
MSN/MPH dual degree programs will teach you the skills needed to improve the delivery of healthcare services, which is vital, especially for minority and at-risk populations. You can use your knowledge and skills to provide and promote the best nursing and public health practices that improve patient outcomes
both in your local community and globally.
2. You will develop the ability to assess and address the health needs of different populations:
With a dual MSN and MPH degree, you will learn to identify and develop plans of care to address the needs of clients of different ages with diverse socioeconomic needs. With your knowledge and skill, you will have the ability to assess and address the health needs of different populations in various practice settings.
3. You will develop essential leadership skills that you will use in the public health and nursing fields:
Graduate degrees, like the MPH and MSN degrees, include a strong focus on leadership and interprofessional relationships. In MSN/MPH dual degree programs, you will build upon previous education and experiences to develop essential leadership skills, including communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
4. You will learn ways to influence and develop nursing and public health practices and policies:
Holding dual master’s degrees in nursing and public health will give you a bigger influence when it comes to influencing the creation and implementation of important public health and nursing policies. Being able to influence policies and practice change means you do not have to sit on the sideline and wait for others to advocate for patient care and public health measures. Instead, you can use your MSN and MPH degrees to become an instrument of change working to improve patient care and outcomes.
5. You will learn essential skills needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases:
MSN/MPH dual degree programs prepare you with foundational advanced nursing knowledge and public health knowledge. Even if you choose a non-clinical MSN degree, you will still develop expert skills to help diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. These skills will be instrumental, even in non-clinical roles, as you collaborate with other providers and public health professionals.
6. You will gain valuable health management skills that will expand your clinical reach:
Health management skills will allow you to influence clinical operations, budgeting, and financial plans for large institutions. Combining these health management skills with your nursing and public health knowledge will expand your scope of practice and ensure that all critical aspects of healthcare delivery and budgeting are considered.
Being able to apply nursing theory and evidence-based best practice principles to public health concerns is an essential skill for students in MSN/MPH dual degree programs to learn. You will learn methods of finding the best evidence to answer focused questions related to nursing and public health issues. You will then appraise the validity and usefulness of the evidence you gather and apply the results to clinical practice. Using evidence-based practice and nursing theory helps improve the care provided to at-risk populations, resulting in better patient outcomes.
5 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
There are endless advantages that come with choosing to pursue your education through MSN/MPH dual degree programs. The following list reflects five of the main advantages of these programs.
1. You can write policies that include the healthcare and public health perspective:
Earning dual MSN/MPH degrees gives you a unique advantage. You can use your knowledge and skills to create and implement policies
and bring a nursing and public health professional perspective to challenging issues. Your viewpoint and the expertise with which you create policies could lead to effective changes in nursing and public health policies on local, national, or international levels.
2. Earning the dual degrees allows you to have a broader view of nursing and public health issues:
One of the great things about earning dual MSN/MPH degrees is you remove the limitations that often come with having one area of expertise. When you earn master’s degrees in nursing and public health, you will experience a broader perspective of how these fields complement one another. Additionally, you will look at both nursing and public health issues and learn to develop solutions to challenges in ways you may not do with only one of the degrees. If you choose to continue working in a clinical nursing capacity, the addition of your public health knowledge and experience will give you a more significant influence as an agent of change. Likewise, if you pursue a role with more of a public health focus, your nursing knowledge and skills will help guide you as you make important decisions about public health issues.
3. You can be instrumental in improving access to quality healthcare for low-income and minority populations:
MSN/MPH dual degree programs will equip you with the knowledge you need to identify healthcare needs in low-income and minority populations. You can use your clinical skills and experience combined with the knowledge you gain in the classroom to find solutions for providing access to essential healthcare services for individuals, communities, and populations, which will lead to improved patient and public health outcomes.
4. You can work for global aid organizations to provide care to underserved communities worldwide:
Another great thing about MSN/MPH dual degree programs is you will have the knowledge, skills, and credentials to make an impact not only close to home but in underserved communities worldwide. You may choose to work for a global aid organization such as Doctors Without Borders
or international relief agencies. You can work internationally and provide medical services and public health outreach in third-world countries where medical and social services are severely limited. This is a significant advantage as your work can improve the future of healthcare across the globe.
5. You can help identify potential health risks and try to reduce or prevent their occurrence:
One of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a nurse is feeling the need to treat problems but being limited in what I can do to help prevent them. Of course, nurses can educate patients, families, and peers about best practices, health promotion, and disease prevention measures. However, when you add a degree like the master's in public health, it opens new doors of opportunity for you to participate in vital research and have a broader reach within your scope of practice to identify potential risks to not only individual health but public health overall. You can use your dual degree to promote health and wellness campaigns and public health outreach efforts and improve access to care, which can help reduce or prevent health crises.
3 MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
MSN/MPH dual degree programs have plenty of advantages, but like any other degree program, they also come with some disadvantages. Considering the pros and cons and weighing them against one another can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. The following are three of the main disadvantages you may experience with these programs.
1. Even with dual master’s degrees in nursing and public health, you will not be able to help everyone:
Nursing and public health are what I like to call “helping” careers. Chances are, if you are considering pursuing one of the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs, you want to make a difference in the lives of others by promoting health. One of the disadvantages of these programs is, despite your best efforts, you cannot help everyone. Instead of letting this deter you, I encourage you to focus on your goals, work hard, and make a difference when and where you can. After all, if you make a difference in just one person’s life, that is better than giving up on your dream altogether.
2. Funding for public health services is often limited, which can make helping others challenging:
Another big disadvantage of dual MSN/MPH programs is that lack of funding can leave you limited in your ability to provide services to those who need them most. Public health programs often depend on government funding from local, state, or federal agencies. When allotted funds are disbursed, some projects may be put on hold or canceled, which makes doing your job as a public health nurse challenging, if not impossible.
3. Public health nurses have a higher risk of exposure to illness and disease:
All healthcare workers have the risk of exposure to illness and disease. However, because of the nature of the job, nurses specializing in public health have a higher exposure risk to bloodborne pathogens and other communicable diseases. Using best practices and implementing infection control measures can help reduce your risk but do not remove them entirely.
WHO ACCREDITS MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
There are three agencies that accredit the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs. The MSN degrees are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
. The MPH degrees are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)
WHEN DO MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS START?
Schools offering MSN/MPH dual degree programs determine their start dates. The number of applicants, available staff, clinical sites, and preceptors are some of the factors that determine the number of start dates each school offers yearly.
HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
MSN/MPH dual degree programs typically require between 60 and 90 credits. Keep in mind these programs award two master's degrees, so the coursework must reflect the level of education. Some schools allow limited credits to be shared toward each degree. It is important to verify credit requirements before enrolling.
At Emory University
, you will complete a minimum of 68 credits
. You must first choose an advanced practice nursing specialty, which requires you to complete at least 36 MSN credits. The MPH component of the program requires a minimum of 32 credits.
• New York University’s
dual MSN/MPH degree requires between 70 and 85 credits. You will complete 43 credits
for the MPH degree. The additional 27-42 credits
are earned through the MSN program, and the number of necessary credits you need depends on the MSN specialty you choose. You may choose one of eight MSN pathways as part of the MSN/MPH dual degree program, including:
o Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
o Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
o Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
o Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
o Nursing Administration
o Nursing Education
o Nursing Informatics
At the University of South Florida
, the dual MSN and MPH degree has a total of 86 credits combined. 45 credits are earned toward your MSN degree, and 42 credits are earned toward your MPH degree. Eight credit hours are shared between the degrees, which means you actually complete 78 credit hours
The curriculum for the dual degree program at the University of Maryland
allows you to share 15 credits between the two degrees. Students pursuing the degrees independent of one another typically complete 80 credits, 38 from the MSN degree and 42 from the MPH degree. However, as a dual degree student, you may count nine credits from the MPH component toward your MSN requirement and six from the MSN toward required MPH electives, making your total completed credits 65
At Case Western Reserve University
, you can pursue the dual MPH/MSN degree program and choose one of 11 MSN specialty options. The MPH degree requires 42 credits
. The MSN degree requires anywhere from 38-49 credits
, depending on the specialty concentration you wish to pursue. Therefore, you will complete between 80 and 91 credits. MSN specialty options include the following:
o Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
o Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
o Family Nurse Practitioner
o Family Systems Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
o Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
o Nursing Anesthesia Program
o Nurse Leadership
o Nurse Midwifery
o Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
o Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Acute Care
o Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
HOW LONG ARE MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
MSN/MPH dual degree programs typically take between two to four years to complete. Part-time students may take longer, depending on the number of credits pursued each semester. The following are a few examples of the program length for five of our featured programs.
At New York University
, you can complete the dual degree program in three years
of full-time study.
• Emory University’s
dual degree program can be completed in two calendar years
. In the first year, you will complete classes for the MPH degree; in the second year, you will complete courses for your MSN degree.
The dual MSN and MPH degree from the University of Maryland
can take you as little as three years
, depending on how many courses you take each term.
The MSN/MPH dual degree program at Yale University
takes three to four years
to complete. Both part-time and full-time students spend the first year at the Yale School of Public Health and the second year at the Yale School of Nursing. During the third and fourth years, courses are taken at both schools.
You can earn both your MSN and MPH degrees in three years
if you take classes full-time at Case Western Reserve University
HOW MUCH DO MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS COST?
The cost of MSN/MPH dual degree programs ranges from $37,000 to more than $200,000. As you research different programs and choose where to apply, it is a good idea to talk with financial advisors at the schools. Many schools offer program-specific scholarships and grant opportunities. Additionally, you may find work-study programs or paid internships to help offset the cost of your degree. The list below outlines the cost of five of the nation’s top programs where you can earn dual MSN and MPH degrees.
At Yale University
, tuition is paid to the school you are attending each semester. For example, three terms of the dual degree program are completed at Yale's School of Public Health and three at the Yale School of Nursing. The total tuition for the MPH portion of the program is $77,219
, and the tuition for the MSN component is $76,041
. Therefore, the total estimated cost of the MSN/MPH dual degree program is $153,260.
Tuition for the dual degree program at New York University
ranges between $142,663 and $173,593
, depending on which MSN specialty you choose to pursue. The cost breaks down to approximately $86,989 for the MPH portion and $55,674 to $86,604 for the MSN degree.
At the University of South Florida
, tuition is charged on a per-credit basis. In-state students pay $431.43 per credit hour, and out-of-state students pay $877.17. The program requires 87 total credits, which makes tuition range between $37,534.41 and $76,313.79
, depending on your residency status.
At the University of Maryland
, state residents pay $856 per credit for the MSN program
, and non-residents pay $1,519. The MPH program costs
$879 per credit for in-state students and $1,553 for out-of-state students. After applying shared credits, you will complete 27 MSN credits and 36 MPH credits. These rates and credit requirements make in-state tuition come to a total of $54,756 and out-of-state tuition $96,921.
MSN tuition costs $2,263 per credit hour, and MPH tuition is $2,182 per credit hour. Case Western Reserve University
charges per credit hour for their programs. Depending on your chosen MSN specialty, this component of the dual degree program costs $85,994 to $110,887
. The MPH portion of the program costs $91,644
. Therefore, you will pay between $177,588 and $202,531.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
Most MSN/MPH dual degree programs require candidates to have a minimum scholastic GPA of 3.0 to be considered for admission. Since you must meet admission criteria for both degree programs, the higher of the two required GPAs will be expected.
For example, at Emory University, candidates for the MPH with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5
It is also important to understand that minimum GPA guidelines for admission are simply that... "minimum." Keep in mind that you are applying for a program that grants two graduate degrees. Admission teams look for candidates with a proven history of academic success. Therefore, the higher your college GPA when applying, the better your chances of being admitted.
WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
Admission to MSN/MPH dual degree programs can be a competitive process. Although you may need only one application at some schools, you must still meet the admission criteria for both programs to proceed with dual enrollment. The following are examples of some of the admission requirements for these specialized dual degree programs.
• Emory University Admission Requirements:
You must apply separately to the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health to be accepted into the dual degree program at Emory University
. Applications for the MPH program are submitted through SOPHAS
. You must also fill out a School of Nursing application
The MSN program's admission criteria include holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing program, an active RN license, and one to two years of clinical nursing experience based on your chosen concentration. You must show evidence of completion of a 3-semester credit statistics course and a 3-semester credit undergraduate health assessment course. Along with your MPH application
, you must provide official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities, a personal statement, a professional resume, and three letters of recommendation.
• Yale University Admission Requirements:
The admission requirements
for the MSN/MPH dual degree program at Yale University
include the following. You must have a BSN and an active and unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse. You must provide official transcripts from any post-secondary school you attended, three letters of recommendation (for both the School of Public Health and School of Nursing), a statement of purpose and objectives, a resume or curriculum vitae, and a description of quantitative experience and verification of ability. Additional requirements
include providing an integrated and comprehensive essay, completing two short answer essays, and having a preferred GPA of 3.0 or above. If your GPA is below 3.0, you must submit your GRE scores for evaluation.
• New York University Admission Requirements:
The combined admission requirements
for New York University
dual MSN/MPH program include having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a Bachelor of Science in a non-nursing degree and an associate degree in nursing. You must have an active and unrestricted New York RN license, a minimum college GPA of 3.0, and one year of full-time experience in a clinical setting as a registered nurse. Along with your application and meeting the above requirements, the School of Public Health
also requires that you submit a resume or CV, a personal statement, your official transcripts from all post-secondary schools you attended, and three letters of recommendation.
• University of Maryland Admission Requirements:
The University of Maryland
requires candidates to apply to the School of Nursing and School of Public Health separately. Acceptance to the MSN component
requires graduating from an accredited BSN program with a minimum undergraduate nursing GPA of 3.0 and an active RN license. Additionally, your MSN application should include one letter of professional recommendation, a 500-1,000-word essay, and a typed resume or curriculum vitae.
You must also meet the MPH program requirements
, which include three recommendations (in addition to the one for your MSN application), your rationale for wanting to pursue an MPH degree, relevant work or volunteer experience, and proof of your oral and written communication skills.
• Case Western Reserve University Admission Requirements:
Admission requirements for the MSN component
of the dual degree MSN/MPH program at Case Western Reserve University
include having a BSN and an active Ohio RN license. You must provide three letters of professional recommendation and, depending on your chosen specialty, meet work requirements. All applicants must complete a college or university statistics course within five years of admission. Although GRE and MAT scores are not required to apply, scores may be requested before an admission decision is made. So, if you have not taken at least one of the exams, I recommend doing so.
Some MSN specialties require advanced certification, including the following:
• Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: ACLS
• Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: PALS
• Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Midwifery: NRP
• Anesthesia: CCRN
For the MPH program
, you must provide a personal statement, a reflective essay, three letters of recommendation, and copies of transcripts reflecting any attempted college coursework.
WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
MSN/MPH dual degree programs consist of core MPH and MSN classes as well as courses focused on your chosen specialty area. The following are some examples of some of the classes you will take if you enroll in one of the programs featured in this article.
The curriculum for the dual degree program at the University of South Florida
includes nursing classes
such as Systems & Populations in Healthcare, Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology, and Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nursing. MPH coursework
includes Applied Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Global Communicable Disease, and Global Disaster Management, Humanitarian Relief, & Homeland Security.
At Case Western Reserve University
, you will study MPH courses
, including Statistical Methods in Public Health, Public Health Management & Policy, and Global Health Epidemiology. The MSN component
Psychosocial & Spiritual Dimensions of Advanced Nursing Practice, Health Care Delivery, Legal & Ethical Issues in Advanced Practice: Ethical Issues, and Leadership for Quality Healthcare Within Organizations & Systems.
At New York University
, the MSN/MPH dual degree program features a rich curriculum
. You will complete a Global Health MPH concentration and your choice of eight MSN specialty concentrations. Your MSN coursework will vary based on your required specialty classes. However, general MSN classes include Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan, Health Promotion Across the Lifespan, and Contemporary Clinical Practice Roles. The Global Health MPH concentration features classes, including Biostatistics for Public Health, Global Environmental Health, and Global Issues in Social & Behavioral Health.
The program offered at Yale University
features MPH core courses
, including Biostatistics in Public Health, Social Justice & Health Equity, Foundations of Epidemiology & Public Health, and Major Health Threats. Specialty nursing classes will be determined by your choice of an MSN concentration. All MSN students complete MSN Core classes
such as Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, Transitions to Professional Practice, and Promoting Health in the Community.
At Emory University
, you may choose from one of nine advanced practice nursing specialties. Your required curriculum will be determined by your specialty choice. Core MSN classes
include Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, Introduction to Clinical Specialty, and Research & Evidence-Based Practice. MPH classes
vary based on specialty as well. Some of the core MPH courses include Introduction to the US Health Care System, Health Policy & Resource Allocation, and Introduction to Health Care Management.
WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?
MSN/MPH dual degree programs include a practical training component. Some programs have separate practical training for each degree. Others offer combined clinical experiences allowing you to meet nursing and public health practicum requirements concurrently.
At the University of South Florida
, practical training includes MSN clinicals and MPH experiential learning. You will complete MPH field experiences
with local to international industrial partners and some government agencies such as the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Environmental Protection Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health. You may also have opportunities to participate in community- or laboratory-based assistantships with a research group.
Clinical practicum for the MSN component of the MSN/MPH dual degree program at USF includes between 240 and 540 clinical practice hours
, depending on your MSN concentration. Nursing clinicals are arranged in collaboration with clinical faculty as close to your home region as possible.
If you pursue the dual degree offered at Case Western Reserve University
, you will complete at least 600 clinical hours
for the MSN major. Depending on your MSN specialty, you may complete more hours. Nursing clinicals are arranged by the university’s clinical coordinator to ensure you have adequate clinical experiences with qualified preceptors. Some clinical sites include MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, and other partner sites.
When you pursue the dual degrees through the University of Maryland
, you will complete a 240-hour MPH field experience
. This Public Health Practicum is completed in a public health agency under the supervision of an approved public health preceptor. The MSN degree includes 315 service-learning hours
with a community/public health nursing focus. The university offers a clinical placement coordinator to assist with placement in a setting close to where you live and aligned with your personal goals and interests.
At Yale University
, MSN clinicals range from 500 to 1,000 hours
, depending on your advanced practice concentration. Clinical practicums occur in various settings in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. The School of Nursing has clinical placement faculty that coordinates clinical placements and preceptor agreements. In preparation for the hands-on clinical practicum, you will participate in intensive skill labs on campus at the Clinical Simulation Center. To meet the requirements for practical training for the MPH program
, you will participate in applied learning opportunities.
At Emory University
, the MPH program includes an applied practice experience (APE). This experience is designed to give you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you gained in the classroom in a public health setting. You may participate in opportunities in government, nongovernment, industry, for-profit, nonprofit, and university-affiliated public health settings. The applied practice experience requires you to complete a minimum of 200 hours
in a public health setting under the direction of an approved field supervisor. To satisfy the requirements for the MSN component, you will complete at least 600 clinical practicum hours
, depending on your MSN specialty concentration.
WHAT ARE THE BEST MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?
(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 6 Best Online and Campus-Based MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
3 MAJOR CHALLENGES MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE STUDENTS AND GRADUATES FACE AND HOW TO OVERCOME
Any college or career path comes with challenges, and dual degree programs are no exception. Below I will share three major challenges students and graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs face and some tips to help you overcome them.
CHALLENGE #1: Finding clinical rotations and field experiences that incorporate both of your degrees
About the Challenge:
Pursuing a dual degree MSN/MPH program means you must meet the practical training requirements for both programs. While some schools offer practicum options that combine experiences in public health nursing, others have separate practical training criteria for each component of the program. Additionally, some schools offer clinical placement assistance, while others require you to locate your own sites and preceptors and then request authorization. It may be challenging to find appropriate placements that give you experience with both nursing and public health.
How to Overcome:
Even if your school does not have clinical placement faculty to arrange your clinical and applied learning experiences, you can still work with advisors to ensure you have appropriate practical training experiences. If you are required to locate your own sites and preceptors, begin the process early, and seek guidance from your academic advisor as needed.
CHALLENGE #2: Choosing a specialty concentration
About the Challenge:
One of the biggest challenges in MSN/MPH dual degree programs is deciding which specialty concentration to pursue. Some MSN programs have eight or more APN concentrations. Additionally, there are several public health concentrations. If your school offers several pathways, you must usually choose a concentration when applying to the school.
How to Overcome:
The first step in overcoming this challenge is to think about the patient populations you prefer to serve. For example, if you want to work with children, you may choose an acute or primary care pediatric nurse practitioner specialty. Also, think about the type of public health issues that interest you most. Some MPH concentrations include community health, disaster management, epidemiology, and health policy. Consider your options carefully and discuss the pros and cons with your academic advisor. If you have more than one interest, consider searching for potential jobs associated with those specialties to determine which ones would be the best option to pursue.
CHALLENGE #3: Coming to the realization that, even with two degrees, you cannot fix everyone’s problems
About the Challenge:
I am what many people call “a fixer.” If I know something is wrong, I do everything I can to make it better. If you are anything like that, you may think that earning dual degrees in two impactful fields, nursing, and public health, can open doors for you to fix things, too. In some cases, that is true.
The knowledge and skills you obtain in any of the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs will prepare you to address public health and nursing care issues at an advanced level. However, despite having two master’s degrees, there will be times when you cannot fix everyone’s issues. If you are a “fixer” like me, it may be difficult to accept that some things are out of your control.
How to Overcome:
There is nothing wrong with wanting to fix things for the people you care for and serve. However, to be effective in your role, you must be realistic about the expectations you set for yourself and those you serve. Even with the best skills and knowledge, you can only provide care for others to the extent to which they allow you.
Additionally, you must be careful to exercise caution and practice within your scope of practice, your employer’s policies, and state and federal guidelines. When you earn these dual degrees, you will make a difference in the lives of others. Celebrate your successes without dwelling on the things you wish you could accomplish but have not (yet).
WHERE DO GRADUATES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS MOSTLY WORK?
Graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs may work in several settings. Your choice of MSN and MPH concentrations will typically determine the settings most suited for your interests. The following are examples of three of the most popular settings where program graduates work.
With an MSN degree, you will always be able to find a job within a hospital or large healthcare system. With a dual MSN/MPH degree, you can work in an administrative or clinical capacity and integrate your MPH degree to monitor public health threats to your community, organization, clients, and staff. You can also use your knowledge and experience to create vaccination campaigns, provide outreach to at-risk communities and help to increase access to necessary services within the hospital.
2. Occupational Health:
With your dual MSN/MPH degree, you can work in an occupational health setting. Occupational health professionals analyze work conditions to promote safe practices among employees. You could work in a large corporation, in hospitals, health clinics, or in research settings. Occupational health settings may be indoor settings or outdoor environments.
3. Government Agencies:
Graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs often work in government agencies. Depending on your public health specialty preference, you could work in a local or regional health department, community health clinics, or for WIC programs. You may use your knowledge and skills on a larger scale and work for the Public Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or Homeland Security.
6 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
Graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs have options of working in many roles. The populations you prefer to work with and serve, or the type of issues you hope to address, will influence your job choice after graduating. The following are examples of six of the best jobs for graduates of these specialized programs.
1. Health Policy Analyst:
Having dual master’s degrees in nursing and public health will position you for a job as a health policy analyst. Your knowledge of both fields can be instrumental in analyzing current and future health policies and determining their effects on public health issues in communities. You may also use statistics to determine how current policies may impact future health outcomes and find ways of improving current or implementing new policies.
2. Health and Medical Services Manager:
As a health and medical services manager, you may work in a hospital, nursing home, group medical practice, or other type of healthcare facility. This job involves coordinating the business activities of providers in healthcare organizations. You will use your knowledge of nursing and public health to monitor compliance with regulatory guidelines, develop organizational objectives, and train and supervise staff to promote best practices.
3. Public Health Research Nurse:
As a public health research nurse, you will focus on the prevention of injury, illness, and disability and work to promote and maintain the health of diverse populations. This role also includes responsibilities such as evaluating risk factors and health trends of various populations, determining appropriate targeted interventions, and promoting awareness of public policies and initiatives to promote better health outcomes in specific populations.
4. Professor/Clinical Instructor:
Another excellent job choice for graduates of dual degree MSN/MPH programs is in academia. You may work in a School of Nursing, School of Public Health or offer your expertise in both schools. You may combine your faculty role with research or maintain clinical practice hours, depending on your personal preference. The options are endless if you pursue a career in academia.
5. Health Education Specialist:
Although this role involves using your knowledge to educate others, the role is different than a professor or clinical instructor. Health education specialists assess populations to determine their health needs and take the information they gather to develop educational programs to address the needs they identify. In this job, you may teach individuals or communities about potential or impending health threats and possible strategies to manage health concerns and promote access to healthcare services.
6. Clinician for an International Aid Organization:
If you love to travel and want to dedicate yourself to serving others, becoming a clinician for an international aid organization could be an excellent job option. In this role, you can use your public health degree to increase access to care and help international public health agencies develop better systems while using your nursing degree to provide direct patient care when visiting other countries.
WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?
New graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs earn approximately $78,410 per year. This means you could make $37.70 per hour, $1,508 per week, and $6,530 per month right out of school!
WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS EXPECT?
The average annual salary for graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs is $129,840. This pay is equivalent to $62.42 per hour, $2,497 per week, or $10,820 per month.
10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 10-year job outlook for graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs is excellent. The BLS predicts an increase in jobs of 28.33% between 2021 and 2031, indicating this is a good time to pursue the dual degree option.
|(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)|
3 MAIN REASONS BEHIND THE DEMAND FOR GRADUATES OF MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
A key factor to consider when choosing a career path, especially a dual degree path, is whether there is a need for the services you plan to provide. One of the great things about healthcare is there seems to be a high demand in almost every healthcare field, and the demand is expected to increase. The following are a few reasons why there is a need for graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs.
1. Increased numbers of homeless and low-income populations:
An increase in homeless populations and low-income communities has caused a strain on the current public health system. People living in impoverished communities have much higher incidents of increased health risks
. They experience higher rates of chronic disease, mental illness, and higher mortality rates. The demand for healthcare services and education is outpacing the availability of qualified nurses and public health practitioners. Graduates of dual degree MSN/MPH programs can fill the gaps and provide services helping to improve the outcomes of people in these populations.
2. The impact of COVID-19:
I know I am not alone when I say that COVID-19 is the worst thing I have seen in my nursing career. The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt worldwide. It ripples through all sectors of health-related fields and is no respecter of person. In addition to the tragic health issues, many leading to death, the pandemic has affected the healthcare industry, as well. Some of the effects include a reduction in nursing and healthcare workers, either from burnout or personal illness, increased need for public health education, and provision of nursing and healthcare services. When you graduate with dual MSN and MPH degrees, you can help fill the gap created by the pandemic
by providing nursing care, addressing public health issues, or participating in research to help find ways to combat the spread and educate the public.
3. The dual degrees work well together, opening doors of opportunity to improve public health:
Another reason graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs are in demand is the unique skill set that comes from combining the two degrees makes it possible to address public health issues on several levels. These degrees complement one another, which means you can use your nursing and public health knowledge to address common public health concerns, creating more positive outcomes for individuals and populations.
IS THE COST OF AN MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?
Deciding to pursue dual graduate degrees is no small decision. In addition to rigorous curriculum plans and practical training, you must think about the financial commitment. It is wise to consider the cost of the programs and compare that to your potential income after graduation.
MSN/MPH dual degree programs can cost as little as $32,000 to more than $200,000. Of course, when you choose a less expensive program, the more quickly you will see a positive return on your investment. Even if you decide to pursue your degrees through higher-priced programs, you can still see a positive return. Keep in mind new graduates of these programs earn approximately $78,410 annually. With experience, the average income increases to nearly $130,000. Depending on your personal investment after financial aid, scholarships, or grants and your salary, the return on your investment could occur in just a few short years.
BONUS! 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE APPLYING TO THE BEST MSN/MPH DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS
MSN/MPH dual degree programs can be complex and require some big decisions before even applying. The following are five important questions to ask yourself before applying to one of these specialized programs.
1. Do my career goals require me to have both an MSN and MPH degree?
This is an important question to ask yourself because you do not want to spend extra time in school earning a dual degree if your career goals can be fulfilled by earning only one master’s. Take a close look at the job description and requirements for future positions that interest you. If the jobs you hope to find only require the skills associated with one of these degrees, seeking that degree alone may be the better option. For example, if you want to become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in a private clinic, you may prefer to pursue an MSN. On the other hand, if you hope to work with pediatric patients in underserved areas or places where population health outcomes are poor, earning the dual degrees could be beneficial.
2. Do I want to pursue a clinical or non-clinical career path?
The reason this question is important is knowing your preference for a clinical or non-clinical role can help make your choice of specialty concentration easier. You should consider whether you want to work with a specific patient population, in a particular public health capacity, or in research or administration. Asking yourself this question and deciding on a specialty path before applying can help narrow down the schools that align with your preferences.
3. What do I hope to accomplish by earning dual MSN/MPH degrees?
Graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs have a broad range of skills and knowledge that can be used to make measurable differences in public health and nursing. It is important to ask yourself what your personal and professional goals are and how you feel earning these dual degrees will help you accomplish them. As a side note: At some point in your admissions interview, you may be asked this question. So, think about potential answers and be prepared to elaborate on them.
4. Do I have enough relevant work experience to meet the admission requirements?
Most MSN and MPH programs require candidates to have relevant work experience. Among the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs featured in this article, the minimum amount of work experience for the MSN component is one year as a registered nurse. Pay close attention to the work requirements specific to your advanced practice nursing specialty. For example, if you want to specialize as a neonatal nurse practitioner, you probably need at least one year of work experience in a Level III or IV NICU. Additionally, MPH programs like to see candidates with a genuine interest in the public health field, which can be demonstrated by working or volunteering in a community or outpatient setting.
5. How much time and money can I commit to earning these degrees?
Earning dual master’s degrees takes significant time and financial commitment. If you have a job, family, or other obligations that require your time and attention, it is especially important for you to consider how much time you can devote to your studies. Take the time to research different program options and find one that fits best with your budget. If you need help paying for your degrees, consider applying for scholarships and grants. Be sure to apply early, as many financial assistance programs have strict guidelines. There are several options for both MSN
financial aid opportunities.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
If you love nursing and are interested in matters of public health, pursuing dual MSN and MPH degrees is an excellent way to have the best of both worlds in your career. You may have found this article wondering, “What are the best MSN/MPH dual degree programs?” or contemplating the pros and cons of earning dual degrees. From excellent income potential, long-term job security, and the privilege of impacting individuals, communities, and populations, there is so much to gain by choosing this career path.
The 6 best MSN/MPH dual degree programs for 2023 offer great opportunities for learning, developing skills and preparing for your career in nursing and public health. With such a demand for qualified professional nurses and public health workers, there is no better time to start pursuing your degrees!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. What is the Difference Between MSN and MPH?
An MSN is a Master of Science in nursing degree. It is a continuation of your undergraduate nursing degree and focuses on a specialty area of clinical or non-clinical nursing practice. An MPH is a master’s in public health degree which focuses on population-level health issues.
2. What Is The Best MSN/MPH Dual Degree Program In The Nation?
Emory University offers the best MSN/MPH dual degree program in the nation.
|Emory University - Atlanta, GA|
3. Is It Easy to Get Admission Into MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
Because you must meet admission criteria for each program separately, it can sometimes be challenging to get into MSN/MPH dual degree programs. You must meet the guidelines for admission, such as attaining the required scholastic GPA and having relevant work experience.
4. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
The average minimum GPA to get into MSN/MPH dual degree programs is 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale. It is important that you review the admission guidelines for both the MSN and MPH programs at the schools where you plan to attend because sometimes, one program requires a higher GPA than the other.
5. Can I Get Into MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs With A Low GPA?
In some cases, you may be offered conditional admission to MSN/MPH dual degree programs with a low GPA. However, remember, admission can be competitive, which means candidates with higher GPAs are preferred and are usually offered the first spots.
6. Do I Need Any Work Experience To Get Into MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
Most MSN/MPH dual degree programs require applicants to have at least one year of relevant work experience as a registered nurse.
7. What Is The Typical Cost-Per-Credit For MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
The per credit for MSN/MPH dual degree programs can range from as little as $500 to more than $1200.
8. What Are The 3 Hardest Classes In MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
Although opinions vary, many students report three of the hardest classes in MSN/MPH dual degree programs are Global Health Epidemiology, Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology, and Research & Evidence-Based Practice.
9. How Much Do New Graduates Of This Program Make Per Year?
New graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs earn an average of $78,410 annually.
10. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Make Per Hour With Experience?
The average hourly pay for graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs is $62.42.
11. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Per Month With Experience?
On average, graduates of dual MSN/MPH degree programs earn $10,820 per month.
12. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs Make Per Year With Experience?
The average annual salary for graduates of MSN/MPH dual degree programs is $129,840.
13. What Are The 3 Best Alternative Degree Options For MSN/MPH Dual Degree Programs?
There are many alternative degree options for MSN/MPH dual degree programs. If you are on the fence about pursuing dual degrees, you could opt to enroll in just the MSN or MPH. On the other hand, if you want a dual degree but are not sure an MSN/MPH is the way to go, you could consider a dual MHA/MPH or MSN/MHA program.
Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).