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Quality Matters: Today’s Best Dual Degree, Online MPH Programs

Whether you’re interested in business, social work, or public administration, there are plenty of options to earn a dual degree with your master of public health (MPH).

Author: Stephen Porritt

Editor: Mark Earnest

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A bearded graduate in a black cap and gown stands in front of a modern building, holding a diploma in each hand. One diploma is tied with a red ribbon, and the other is decorated with colorful ribbons. He is smiling and looking into the distance.

In professions related to product development, it’s common to hear discussion of the “iron triangle.” If you want something done good, fast, and cheap, you have to choose two — because it’s impossible to have all three.

As it turns out, dual degree programs are one exception to this business rule. Sure, they still come with a pretty hefty price tag — but the right online dual degree program from a quality school can help you earn two master’s degrees simultaneously. You get twice the quality education in less time, and at a lower total tuition cost.

All of that is to say that, if you’re looking to earn a master’s of public health — but want to pair it with another post-graduate degree to increase your employability — it may not be as difficult as you might expect. Let’s take a look at a number of prominent dual MPH programs, what they’ll cost you (in time and tuition), and what professional prospects they can lead you to.

MBA/MPH Online Programs

An MBA (master of business administration) is a fairly common post-graduate degree these days, and its intended use cases are fairly intuitive. A dual MBA/MPH program is one where students prepare to leverage administrative strategy and prowess to lead initiatives with a public health focus.

Whether in the public or private sector, these programs equip you to be a healthcare manager in your organization.

Spotlighting MBA/MPH Dual Degree Programs

Online MBA/MPH programs teach students about accounting, organizational strategy, and economics, with additional training in epidemiology, public health policy, and implementation of new health programs.

As a result, many MBA/MPH graduates go on to fill leadership roles in corporations and pharmaceutical companies, in addition to roles with government and non-profit organizations. This particular track often involves field experiences and research, but it doesn’t usually lead to some form of licensure.

It’s important to note that MBA/MPH dual degree tracks tend to be shorter than most other dual programs, leading to lower tuition costs and less program time on average.

School Program Length No. of Credits Est. Tuition

3.5 years

67

$53,600

3 years

57

$39,330

3 years

60

$29,040

Career Outlook for MBA/MPH Grads

Many of the careers that graduates of this online dual degree program will find are management roles in healthcare related industries. This includes pharmaceutical project managers, financial professionals at clinics and hospitals, and research managers, among others.

Roles in leadership at government agencies and nonprofits are also common. Some less common roles may include health managers at corporations outside the healthcare vertical.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to help teams run a tight ship and stay profitable, but are hoping to apply those skills to promote positive health outcomes for people, earning a dual MBA/MPH degree online is a solid choice.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Medical/Health Services Manager

$110,680

9%

54,700

Clinical Research Coordinator

$157,740

5% – 8%

6,500

Hospital CFO

$206,680

-2%

15,300

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

MSW/MPH Online Programs

For students who are more interested in the community side of public health and administration, an MSW/MPH dual degree may be a better fit. With its focus on social work and health equity, these programs equip students with the skills and training necessary to promote positive outcomes for disadvantaged and at-risk people and groups in their community.

Unlike the MBA/MPH programs, MSW/MPH online degrees often lead to licensure as a clinical social worker. That said, not everyone who applies for these dual masters degrees are bound for clinical practice. Many will serve in management, coordination, or facilitation positions.

Spotlighting MSW MPH Dual Degree Programs

In addition to training revolving around health practices, epidemiology, and public safety, those studying for a dual MSW/MPH degree will learn about health and welfare, social diversity, and health equity. They’ll cover material related to mental health and substance abuse concerns, and will study how demographics affect risk factors for negative health outcomes.

The objective is to turn this knowledge into actionable expertise, helping community members to overcome challenges to improve their own and their families’ lives.

Due to the clinically focused nature of the material, online MSW/MPH degrees tend to require more credits, take slightly longer to complete, and lean toward licensure.

School Program Length No. of Credits Est. Tuition

3 years

91

$67,522

4 years

90

$39,060

3 years

78

$41,553

Career Outlook for MSW/MPH Grads

There are a variety of jobs and positions well-suited to professionals with MSW and MPH degrees under their belt. Most of their opportunities for an MSW/MPH online graduate will lean toward civil service and roles in promoting community health. While most of these opportunities fall under a narrow purview, specialization is largely the idea.

That said, there’s still a fair number of options, depending on whether you want to focus on policy, programs, or research. You can also focus on some other core aspect of identifying, studying, analyzing, planning for, and implementing initiatives to address public health concerns.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Community Service Manager

$77,030

9%

16,000

Public Safety Director

$83,960

2% – 4%

900

Epidemiologist

$81,390

9%

800

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

MPA/MPH Online Programs

An MPA degree (master of public administration) is the public sector counterpart to the MBA, making the dual MPA/MPH degree the community service version of the MBA/MPH program. Students learn many of the same skills and proficiencies but within the context of government and nonprofit organizations.

In addition to learning about subjects such as financial management, human resources, and organizational leadership, students in these programs also learn about public policy, operating within strict budgetary guidelines, and dealing with public infrastructure.

Spotlighting MPA/MPH Dual Degree Programs

As with all public-health-focused programs, students study core material related to answering community health concerns and educating others on how to achieve the best physical and mental well-being.

What sets a dual MPA/MPH degree apart is the added focus on organizational leadership, public policy, and advanced administration for those operating within or in cooperation with public agencies. Students receive training to prepare them for managing programs, teams, and policy at the local, state, and even federal level.

Since most of these programs lean away from earning a license, but involve a heavy amount of training regarding policy and procedures unique to the public sector, these online degrees sit somewhere in the middle as far as length and complexity goes.

School Program Length No. of Credits Est. Tuition

3.5 years

74

$27,010

3 years

65

$31,460

2.5 years

66

$127,102

Career Outlook for MPA/MPH Grads

As already mentioned, MPA/MPH graduates may find themselves leading a local organization, working at a state agency, or involved in nationwide initiatives. They may also find opportunities with nonprofit groups or even private firms when critical work related to community programs is outsourced to other organizations.

Job Title Median Salary (2023) Projected Growth (2022-32) Projected Annual Job Openings (2022-32)

Management Analyst

$99,410

9%

92,900

Mental Health Program Manager

$110,680

9%

54,700

Community Health Program Coordinator

$48,200

9%

8,000

Source: O*NET OnLine, 2023

Additional Dual-Degree, Online MPH Programs

What we’ve covered so far are some of the most popular dual degrees, but those are only the beginning. Public health is a broad field with opportunities in just about every industry. Earning a dual degree with a specialty in the subject you find the most important will make it easier to stand out from other candidates, qualify for more advanced roles, and maintain better employability across multiple industries.

  • DNP/MPH Dual Degree
    A doctor of nursing practice/master of public health (DNP/MPH) dual degree can set up students to earn licensure and provide clinical care, as well as fill leadership roles in public, private, and healthcare organizations. These degree programs are especially worthwhile for those with clinical experience or other nursing degrees under their belt.
  • JD/MPH Dual Degree
    This one may seem a bit unusual, but there’s a lot of progress a practicing lawyer can achieve when their education is paired with public health training. Where other dual degree programs in this list approach concerns from a clinical or administrative angle, the JD/MPH program prepares students to understand public health’s links to the law, and how to work within a legal framework to promote and accomplish the most good.
  • MSN/MPH Dual Degree
    For people committed to nursing but who aren’t seeking clinical practice—or who are looking to tackle more managerial aspects—a dual master of science in nursing/master of public health degree may be a good fit (especially when earned online). These programs prepare students to take on challenges and difficulties inherent in running a healthcare practice, an endeavor requiring a balance between business savvy and concern for the public good.
  • PhD/MPH Dual Degree
    This dual program is centered on the intersection between public health and civil engineering. We often take for granted just how much influence physical spaces, infrastructure, and community resources can have on the public. A PhD/MPH dual degree graduate learns how to address problems with existing systems, design new systems to benefit the community, and how to identify problems that need addressing.
  • RD/MPH Dual Degree
    Combining an MPH degree with one focused on nutrition and dietetics can result in some very promising employment potential. Nutrition is a major component of physical and mental health, and successful programs implemented at the city or state level can help improve outcomes for thousands of community members.

Other Quality Dual Degree, Online MPH Programs

Finding credible and accredited dual-degree programs with ties to an MPH can be easy to achieve. The best learning institutions offer online programs that balance comprehensive knowledge and affordably. We’ve researched several high-quality programs for you to potentially seek out in each specialty.

Dual Degree Program School Program Length No. of Credits Est. Tuition

University of Colorado

2 years

42

$22,344

University of Alabama at Birmingham

3.5 years

90

$39,060

George Washington University

2.5 years

60

$87,000

University of Alabama at Birmingham

2 years

44

$21,296

University of Alabama at Birmingham

2 years

42

$20,328

Common FAQs About Dual Degree Online MPH Programs

What are the benefits of earning a dual MPH degree online?

As we’ve discussed, a dual program can help you earn two masters degrees faster with a smaller course load and at a lower tuition. These are postgraduate studies, so it’s neither free nor easy, but it’s a far cry from paying for and earning both separately. So why earn two masters degrees in the first place? Because there are few resume items as impressive as this when it comes to the kind of advanced positions the public health field offers.

Are dual-degree MPH programs CEPH accredited?

The dual-degree programs listed in this article are CEPH-accredited; however, it’s entirely possible to run afoul of non-accredited programs if you’re not careful. The CEPH — the primary accrediting body for public health degrees — has a list of approved programs on its website. Feel free to do some digging on your own, especially if you have particular specializations, locations, or schools in mind.

What are the typical admissions requirements for online dual-degree MPH programs?

Requirements for admission vary by factors such as school and program. Many will require graduate exams (like the GRE), but not all do. Most will have a GPA requirement, with 3.0 as a common benchmark. The majority of these programs will also require related undergraduate studies to prove you’re an academic who’s already in the right ballpark.

Finally, a good number of the institutions that offer dual programs (including many of the ones listed above) will require you to apply to both programs separately, and your acceptance to the dual program is contingent on being accepted to both programs.

Are there financial aid or scholarships for dual-degree MPH programs online?

Yes, a few are available. On top of standard financial aid, public health often qualifies students for specialized assistance from MPH- specific grants and scholarships. There are often internships and fellowships, some with current or future employers. Finally, all assistance aside, MPH degrees tend to be less expensive on average than their more technical or license-heavy counterparts. So even if you’re forced to foot most of the bill, it’s less financially painful than some of the alternatives.

Are there any accelerated dual-degree programs available for online MPH students?

Dual degree programs are technically already accelerated, as credit requirements, graduation timeframes, and other standard metrics of length have been abridged by pursuing a joint program. That said, you’re pursuing two masters degrees simultaneously, so there’s only so fast you can move before your higher brain functions decide to take a vacation without you.

However, there are some specifically accelerated online MPH programs and options for speeding things up if you really want to go pedal-to-the-metal on these degrees. Just be sure you take a study break every so often. It’s for your own good.