Earning a dual degree from an MBA/MPH program is meant for individuals interested in combining the education from a public health master’s degree with the business training provided by an MBA program. This dual degree can help you achieve your career goals in upper management in the healthcare industry. If you dream of working with public health agencies, insurance companies, hospitals, or other medical research organizations, an MBA/MPH degree will help make your aspirations a reality.
Healthcare careers are not limited only to doctors and nurses; healthcare management professionals are needed to ensure that the processes of the health system run smoothly. Working in healthcare is a great career move, as The Bureau of Labor Statistics “projects employment for medical and health services managers to rise 18% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than average.”
If you’re inspired by the notion of working in the healthcare sector, this article will explore everything you need to know about the MBA/MPH programs. We will explore the MBA/MPH degree, why and how to get one, and an overview of top business schools that provide this program.
What is an MBA/MPH?
An MBA/MPH is a dual degree that allows you to earn both a master’s in business administration and a master’s in public health concurrently. The dual degree provides essential business and leadership education to train professionals to hold roles in administration and management. Students will typically develop varied skill sets through classes focusing on accounting, finance, marketing, management, and other disciplines.
An MPH degree teaches students the skills they need to excel in healthcare. This degree will teach you “knowledge in core public health disciplines of Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Epidemiology and Disease Control, Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, and Management, Policy and Community Health.”
The dual degree offers you the best of both worlds so that you can use your background in business knowledge to make informed decisions regarding healthcare issues, including health policy. It usually takes two to three years to complete the dual degree.
Choosing Where to Apply
Now that you know the general requirements that you need to meet to apply for these programs, you can start thinking about which school is right for you. We have compiled a shortlist of top business schools offering some of the best dual degree programs for your consideration.
# of Credits
New Haven, CT
University of California, Berkeley
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Virginia
New York, NY
GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE Score
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Both online and in-person
University of Washington
University of Illinois Chicago
1. Yale University
Yale University’s dual degree program recently ranked the country's number one MBA/MPH program. Yale offers two pathways for students interested in the program, and you can choose either the Three-Year MBA-MPH or the Two-Year Intensive Program.
The Three-Year MBA-MPH is Yale’s traditional option, allowing students to learn one year at Yale SOM, “during which [you] take the integrated MBA curriculum,” and one year at Yale School of Public Health. In the final year, you will have the option to take elective classes at both schools.
The Two-Year Intensive MBA-MPH program is completed within 22 months at an accelerated and is the first program in the United States. You will spend the first summer taking courses at the School of Public Health and a year of study at Yale SOM. You will then have the opportunity to spend the summer between years one and two working as an intern in the healthcare industry, giving you valuable hands-on work experience. In the final year, you will complete SOM electives and core and elective courses at the School of Public Health.
If interested in the Two-Year Intensive Program, you must simultaneously apply to the MBA and MPH programs. If you decide you want to pursue the three-year option, you can either apply to both programs at the same time, “apply to the School of Public Health during [your] first year at Yale SOM, or apply to Yale SOM during [your] first year at the School of Public Health.”
2. University of California, Berkeley
UC Berkeley’s dual degree program recently ranked as the second-best program behind Yale. Berkeley’s program takes two and a half years to complete and was created over 35 years ago.
This program “provides a deep competency in business administration, integrated with up-to-the-minute knowledge of health policy and management and other health care concepts.” Berkeley is not just a through-line to Silicon Valley; this program will allow you to explore “a wide range of interests including global health, entrepreneurship/start-ups, biotech/MedTech, provider and payer initiatives, and social impact.”
This excellent opportunity allows you to pursue two full-time summer internships. Internships can be an excellent way for you to make up for lost wages while you’re studying and provide you with valuable experiential skills. Internships can also potentially open the opportunity for you to pursue post-graduation employment through the connections you formed during your interning.
Berkeley does not require that you submit two separate applications for the program. Instead, you should have approximately five years of relevant work experience and apply directly to the Haas School of Business through the full-time MBA application.
3. University of Michigan
The University of Michigan was recently ranked at the number eight spot for the country’s best dual degree programs. Michigan’s dual degree program is three years long, compared to completing each degree separately in four years.
The dual degree program requires that you earn a minimum of 45 credits in both Business School and the School of Public Health, respectively. The first year is dedicated to business training and studies during the second year in the UM SPH. In the third year, you will have the opportunity to enroll in classes in both schools.
There is an expectation that all students in the program work the summer months “in a hospital or other healthcare organization as paid administrative interns.” If you are interested in pursuing your dual degree at Michigan, you must submit separate applications and be accepted by both programs.
4. University of Virginia
Administered jointly by the Darden School of Business and the School of Medicine, UVA’s dual-degree program provides students with an opportunity to merge business leadership skills with a deep understanding of public health that goes beyond surface level.
UVA's dual degree program is characterized by its emphasis on academic excellence, research, and community engagement. Students can engage in cutting-edge research initiatives, collaborate with renowned faculty, and participate in internships with healthcare organizations in the Charlottesville region and beyond to become national innovators in the healthcare sector.
UVA is committed to public service and ethical leadership and prepares students to contribute to improving healthcare and society.
5. Columbia University
Columbia University, located in New York City, offers a dual degree program that spans 2.5-3 years. The program consists of around 80 credits and is conducted in person.
Columbia's dual degree program allows students to understand public health in greater detail. Graduates are well-equipped to tackle complex challenges through their combined business and public relations expertise.
Columbia's program promotes a culture of innovation, with access to the dynamic healthcare ecosystem of New York City. Students can engage in interdisciplinary collaborations and gain practical insights into healthcare challenges through the program's extensive network of industry partnerships.
6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
UNC's dual degree program is distinguished by its commitment to community engagement, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Students can engage in hands-on research initiatives, work alongside world-class faculty, and participate in internships with healthcare organizations in the vibrant Research Triangle Park and beyond.
The program's location in North Carolina, a hub for healthcare innovation and public health research, offers students unparalleled opportunities to gain practical insights into the healthcare industry. Graduates of UNC's MBA/MPH program emerge with a strong Business and Public Health skill set, ready to address pressing healthcare challenges and contribute to improved healthcare outcomes for communities.
7. University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
The University of Alabama at Birmingham's dual-degree program offers a compelling opportunity to forge a career path that bridges the worlds of business and public health. By pursuing this program, you'll equip yourself with a unique skill set that combines an MBA's leadership, management, and strategic expertise with an in-depth understanding of public health issues critical to addressing the healthcare challenges of our time.
the University of Alabama at Birmingham's program stands out for its flexibility, allowing you to tailor your educational journey to your interests and career goals. UAB's faculty members are leaders in their respective fields, providing you with valuable mentorship and guidance throughout your academic journey.
By enrolling in the joint degree program at UAB, you'll gain a competitive edge in the job market, positioning yourself as a well-rounded professional ready to improve healthcare and public health practices.
8. University of Washington (UW)
Nestled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, UW is known for its commitment to research excellence and community engagement.
The University of Washington's joint degree program offers students a comprehensive educational experience that spans three years. While emphasizing classroom learning, UW encourages students to participate in hands-on experiences, including fieldwork, internships, and research projects.
Seattle's bustling healthcare industry provides ample opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and connect with leading healthcare organizations and experts. Graduates of UW's dual degree program emerge with a deep understanding of the complexities of healthcare, ready to drive success in healthcare delivery, policy development, and public health practice.
9. Emory University
Established in 1836, Emory has grown into a nationally recognized research university, offering diverse academic programs, including a dynamic dual degree program in business and public health. The program is known for its emphasis on community engagement and social justice.
Students can work with underserved populations and engage in public health initiatives in Atlanta and beyond. The program's location in Atlanta, a major hub for healthcare organizations and public health agencies, provides students with many internships, fieldwork, and networking opportunities.
Graduates of Emory's program emerge with a strong sense of social responsibility, poised to make a difference in healthcare leadership, consulting, and policy development.
10. University of Illinois Chicago (UIC)
University of Illinois Chicago stands out for its comprehensive curriculum, which includes courses in health economics, policy analysis, and healthcare management. The combined business and public health degree program can be completed in 2.5 years by full-time or 3.5 years by part-time students. Graduates are well-prepared to tackle pressing public health challenges and lead healthcare organizations effectively.
The program encourages students to explore research opportunities, engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, and contribute to UIC's commitment to improving public health outcomes.
Located in the heart of Illinois, students benefit from the university's strong ties with regional healthcare organizations and agencies. UIC's dual degree program graduates gain a robust set of skills, ready to impact healthcare policy, management, and innovation.
Why Should I Get an MBA/MPH? Benefits and Considerations
If you’re interested in pursuing a dual degree, there are substantial benefits and some considerations before you decide what school to enroll in.
Benefits of an MBA/MPH
Firstly, a dual degree can offer you more high-level career opportunities in the healthcare industry. While completing your dual degree, you can tailor your learning toward a particular specialty area. Depending on the electives you take during the duration of your program, you can expect to be prepared to:
Manage and administer within your sector, whether that be in public health, healthcare organizations, or industries
Critically assess all parts of a scientific study, including the methodology, execution, analysis, and conclusions
Understand and use data “to analyze the efficacy and feasibility of healthcare policies and healthcare management decisions”
Confidently consult with organizations/agencies “on the best practices for management and administration in public health or health care settings”
Since you are completing two degrees rolled into one program, your skills and knowledge about the business behind healthcare processes can give you an advantage. Completing this degree demonstrates your commitment to positively impacting the healthcare industry. The time you spend dedicated to coursework, internships, and networking during your studies can also help you stand out from other job applicants.
After graduation, expect to have many opportunities awaiting you, depending on where your niche interests lie. Graduates from a dual degree program in business and health are given many opportunities to work in private and public healthcare sectors, including “Chief Epidemiologists, Chief Financial Officers, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Innovation and Research.”
After graduation, you may be recruited by healthcare consulting firms, physician group practices, hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare banking organizations, and more. Your credentials can even lead you to opportunities to work with big-name organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Hand-in-hand with high-level job opportunities comes the potential for high salaries. Recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the median pay for medical and health services managers was approximately $104,000, but those in the top 10% earned more than $195,000. By industry, the median annual wages for medical and health services managers in top industries are as follows:
Government: approximately $116,000
Hospitals at the state, local, and private levels: approximately $113,000
Outpatient care centers: approximately $101,000
Offices of physicians: approximately $94,000
Nursing and residential care facilities: approximately $90,000
While there are lucrative job opportunities available to you after completing a dual degree, there are also some things to consider before you start applying.
One factor to consider is the time it will take to complete your degree and that your commitment to your program will likely last two to three years.
Compared to traditional full-time MBA programs that last between one and two years, your time spent in the dual degree program can be slightly longer. However, remember that you will enter the workforce with two distinct degrees combined into one when you graduate. Dual degree programs are efficient because you can gain more knowledge and expand your skills in a possibly shorter timeframe than if you completed both degrees separately.
Along with the time spent earning your degree, lost wages are another factor to consider before applying. Remember that although you will be sacrificing wages for the duration of your program, your degree can set you on the path to a great return on investment. Given the information above, you can make over $100,000 after graduation. The lost time and wages are temporary; a rewarding, lucrative career can be permanent.
Studying to earn a dual degree in your time at business school can be challenging and even intense at times, especially given that you will earn two degrees in a relatively short time. However, the programs are highly academically rewarding, and strong time management skills will ease the pressure of a full-time course schedule.
What Do I Need to Do to Get an MBA/MPH?
Admissions requirements for joint programs are school-dependent. Some schools only require that you submit one application to its full-time MBA program, while others require that you submit and be accepted into both the MBA and MPH programs.
Before applying to a specific business school, check the school’s website for complete admission requirements. However, we will explore some general requirements you may need to meet for admission into a joint program.
If the dual degree program you have chosen solely requires a full-time MBA application, you will only need to meet all MBA requirements. Remember that every joint program you apply to needs you to submit an MBA application. Here is a quick rundown of everything you must do to submit an MBA application.
A bachelor’s degree or international equivalent and academic transcripts
A professional resume detailing your work experience and extracurricular activities, ideally one to two pages long, that is easy to follow and impactful
Valid GMAT, GRE, or EA scores from the last five years
If the school you’re applying to requires you to submit two separate applications for its dual degree program, you will need to submit a polished MPH application alongside your full-time MBA application. Below are the general requirements to apply to an MPH program.
Online SOPHAS Application
Most applicants to MPH programs must submit an online application through The Centralized Application Service For Public Health (SOPHAS). SOPHAS is a portal for prospective MBA/MPH students to simplify applying to one or more public health programs. The SOPHAS application has four components that you will need to fill out: personal information, academic history, supporting information, and SOPHAS program materials.
The Academic History section is where you input all academic institutions you’ve attended and all specific coursework you have completed. This is also the section where you would provide information about standardized tests you have taken or plan to take, such as the GRE, MCAT, and TOEFL.
The SOPHAS Supporting Information section is where you can include information such as recommendations, achievements, experiences, and additional documents.
As part of your SOPHAS application, you must provide three letters of recommendation, although some MPH programs may require you to acquire only two letters of recommendation. Note that you will not personally send the recommendation letters, like in an MBA application. Your recommenders will send them in through the "Letters by Liaison” recommenders portal.
Be sure to research your program's requirements for recommenders, as some programs may require them to have specific relationships with you. For example, some programs may need your current or previous supervisor to be one of your recommenders, while other programs may have additional or different requests.
The experience section is an online resume where you enter your employment, research, and volunteer experiences. Remember that although you detail your professional experience in this section, the program you apply to may also require you to send an additional separate resume.
You can add supporting information about any rewards or honors you have received in the achievements section, either professionally or academically. In the documents section, you can upload any additional documentation before you submit your application.
SOPHAS Program Materials
This section will include any component you need to submit that is specific to your program. Be sure to research your program and understand all admissions requirements. Some programs may require you to complete essays, personal statements, video responses, or another type of component to complete your application.
1. Will I have to complete a SOPHAS application for every MBA/MPH program?
You must complete a SOPHAS application for most dual degrees but only for some. For example, UC Berkeley requires students interested in the dual degree program to apply directly through Haas’ full-time application MBA portal. Be sure to check your chosen program for complete admissions requirements.
2. Is there an application fee for SOPHAS?
If the school you’re applying to requires you to submit separate applications, you must pay the fee for both the MBA and SOPHAS applications. SOPHAS charges $140 for the first program you apply to and $50 for each additional program.
3. Do I really have to enter all the coursework I’ve completed in SOPHAS?
Yes. SOPHAS wants to see all your courses, including “courses from which you withdrew, repeated courses, ungraded labs, test credits, gym courses, orientations, or other non-graded courses.” If you find inputting your coursework one by one not ideal, you can hire a PTE specialist to assist you.
4. How long does the SOPHAS application process take?
It’s best to apply early if your application is polished and ready because application processes can take time. SOPHAS’ suggested timeline states that you should start your application at least three months before your program’s deadline.
5. Can I enroll in an MBA/MPH program on a part-time basis?
While some institutions may offer a part-time option for the dual degree, most require that students attend the program full-time. Given the intensive nature of the dual program, a full-time commitment makes the most sense for successful outcomes.
6. Is all personal info that SOPHAS asks for mandatory?
Not at all. Much of the personal information you can enter in SOPHAS is optional. If you’re uncomfortable entering your gender identity, pronouns, race, ethnicity, or family history, you are not required to do so. Read the application carefully and know that you only have to disclose essential information like your name and birth date.
An MBA/MPH degree can be a fantastic way to get the education and training you need to secure employment in upper management in the healthcare industry and many other job opportunities. Now that you know what an MBA/MPH is and how long it will take, you can evaluate why and how pursuing this joint degree can add value to your skillset, resume, and professional goals.
The general admissions requirements in this article should give you an idea of what you will need to pursue an MBA/MPH and some know-how regarding the application process for these programs. Remember to apply early to submit your best application, highlighting your unique skills, experiences, and aspirations.
The programs we have listed above are not the only great MBA/MPH programs available at top business schools, but they can give you an idea of what to expect from a dual degree program. If you’re interested in mixing business training with public health knowledge, go forth in your pursuit of an MBA/MPH degree, knowing you will gain the background knowledge to succeed!
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