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 your dream is to work 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 more about 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. An MBA degree provides essential business and leadership education to train professionals to hold roles in administration and management. MBA 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 the healthcare sector. 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 MBA/MPH dual degree offers you the best of both worlds so that you can use your background in business knowledge to make informed decisions regarding health care issues, including health policy. The MBA/MPH dual degree takes between two to three years to complete in terms of duration.
Why Should I Get an MBA/MPH? Benefits and Considerations
If you’re interested in pursuing an MBA/MPH dual degree, there are substantial benefits along with some considerations to take into account before you make your choice.
Benefits of an MBA/MPH
Firstly, an MBA/MPH 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 area of specialty. 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. The completion of this degree demonstrates your commitment to creating a positive impact within the healthcare industry. The time you spend dedicated to coursework, internships, and networking during your MBA/MPH program can help you stand out from other job applicants as well.
After graduation, expect to have many opportunities awaiting you, depending on where your niche interests lie. MBA/MPH graduates enter various jobs in both the private and public healthcare sectors, including roles as “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 data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the median pay for medical and health services managers was around approximately $104,000, but that 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 centres: 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 an MBA/MPH degree, there are also some things to consider before you start applying.
One factor to consider is the time it will take you to complete your degree and that your commitment to your program will likely last from 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 in duration. However, remember that you will enter the workforce with two distinct degrees combined into one when you graduate. Dual degree programs are efficient in the way that you can gain more knowledge and expand your skills in a possibly short 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. Keep in mind 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 amount of 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 MBA/MPH 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 you apply to a specific business school, be sure to check the school’s website for complete admission requirements. However, we will explore some general requirements you may need to meet for admission into an MBA/MPH program.
If the MBA/MPH program you have chosen solely requires a full-time MBA application, you will only need to meet all MBA requirements. Keep in mind that every MBA/MPH program you apply to needs you to submit an MBA application. Here is a quick rundown of everything you will need to do to submit an MBA application.
- A bachelor’s degree or international equivalent and academic transcripts
- A professional resume detailing your work experience, 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
- Letters of recommendation from your current or previous employer, ideally describing your excellent character and work ethic
- Essay responses tailored to answer the specific questions that different business schools ask
- Application fee that typically will not exceed $300
If the school you’re applying to requires you to submit two separate applications for its MBA/MPH program, you will need to submit a polished MPH application alongside your full-time MBA application. Below are the general requirements you will need to meet 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 acts as 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.
SOPHAS Personal Information
In the SOPHAS Personal Information section, you will need to submit:
- A SOPHAS Release Statement
- Contact information
- Biographical information
- Citizenship information
- Race & ethnicity
- Family information
- Other information
SOPHAS Academic History
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.
If you do not wish to input all coursework you have completed yourself, the “Professional Transcript Entry Service (PTE) specialists can enter it for you for an additional fee.”
SOPHAS Supporting Information
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 will be required to provide three letters of recommendation, although some MPH programs may require you to acquire only two letters of recommendation. Note that you will not be personally sending the recommendation letters yourself, 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 specific requirements for recommenders, as some programs may require them to have specific relationships with you. For example, some programs may require that your current or previous supervisor be one of your recommenders, while other programs may have additional or different requests.
The experience section acts akin to an online resume where you enter your employment, research, and volunteer experiences. Keep in mind that although you detail your professional experience in this section, the program you apply to may also require that you 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 that you need to submit that is specific to your program. Be sure to research your program and ensure that you 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.
Choosing Where to Apply
Now that you know the general requirements that you need to meet to apply for MBA/MPH 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 MBA/MPH programs for you to consider.
1. Yale University
Yale University’s dual degree program recently ranked as the country's number one MBA/MPH program. Yale offers two pathways for students interested in the MBA/MPH program, and you can choose either the Three-Year MBA-MPH or the Two-Year Intensive MBA-MPH.
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 pace and is the first program of its kind in the United States. You will spend the first summer taking courses at the School of Public Health, followed by a year of study at Yale SOM. You will then have the opportunity to spend the summer between year 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 electives at the SOM and both core and elective courses at the School of Public Health.
If you are interested in the Two-Year Intensive Program, you must simultaneously apply to both 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. UC Berkeley
UC Berkeley’s MBA/MPH program recently ranked as the second-best program behind Yale. Berkeley’s MBA/MPH with the Haas School of Business takes two and a half years to complete and was created more than 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.”
Berkeley’s MBA/MPH program provides you with the opportunity to pursue two full-time summer internships. Internships can be an excellent way for you to make up for lost wages in the time you’re studying and provide you with valuable experiential skills. Internships can also potentially open the opportunity for you to pursue employment post-graduation by the connections you formed during your time interning.
Berkeley does not require that you submit two separate applications for the MBA/MPH 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 MBA/MPH dual degree programs. Michigan’s MBA/MPH program is three years long in duration, 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 will typically be 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.
All students in the program are expected to work the summer months “in a hospital or other healthcare organization as paid administrative interns.” If you are interested in pursuing your MBA/MPH dual degree at Michigan, you will need to submit separate applications and be accepted by both programs.
1. Will I have to complete a SOPHAS application for every MBA/MPH program?
You will need to complete a SOPHAS application for most MBA/MPH degrees but not for all of them. 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 will need to 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 the courses you have taken, including “courses from which you withdrew, repeated courses, ungraded labs, test credits, gym courses, orientations, or other non-graded courses.” If you find the process of 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?
Applying early is always suggested if you feel that your application is polished and ready because application processes can take quite a bit of time. SOPHAS’ suggested timeline states that you should start your application at least three months before the date of 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 MBA/MPH dual degree, the vast majority 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 that you can enter in SOPHAS is entirely optional. If you’re not comfortable entering your gender identity, pronouns, race, ethnicity, or family information, 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 for you 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 to complete, you can evaluate why and how pursuing this joint degree can add value to your skillset, resume, and professional goals.
The general admissions requirements provided 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 so that you can submit the best application you can, 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!