Dual Master’s Degrees in Public Health

One of the many benefits of seeking a career with a master’s in public health is that it offers a variety of opportunities you can pursue to help make a difference in the world. Public health professionals may lead a non-profit organization, work on health care policy changes, or take on a role that involves working directly with patients. 

If you are the type of person who is drawn to public health, you may have multiple interests that influence your career path. One possible  way to bring these interests together in your education is to earn dual master’s degrees in public health and another area of study. 

What is a Dual Degree in Public Health?

Dual master’s degrees in public health programs, sometimes referred to as joint programs, allow individuals to focus on two areas of study by concurrently enrolling in two programs. The two-degree programs are often offered by the same college or university according to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. But it’s not uncommon for two different colleges within the same university to offer a two-degree program too. Among dual masters programs, a dual MPH is common.

Enrolling in an MPH dual degree program allows students to: 

  • Minimize duplication of course content
  • Make academic interaction more efficient
  • Reduce the time and cost of earning two degrees

Admission Requirements for Dual Degrees

Admissions requirements for a dual degree program varies but typically, candidates must be admitted to each individual program — separately. This means students must meet the requirements of each individual program for its respective degree. 

Candidates must also meet common requirements related to GPA and exam scores. If you are applying to an MPH dual degree, MPH admissions teams may also consider your professional experience and clarity of career goals. 

Requirements for dual master’s degrees in public health will vary depending on the institution, so it’s best to check with a school prior to applying. 

Accreditation Body for MPH Dual Degrees

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) serves as the main accrediting body for Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Public Health degrees. Students researching reputable dual master’s degrees in public health may wonder how a joint degree program affects this accreditation. According to CEPH, MPH programs are required to report MPH dual degree programs as part of the accreditation process, but offering such a program does not negate the accreditation. It’s also important to note that CEPH does not accredit MPH dual degrees in conjunction with degrees offered by other colleges. For example, an MPH/MHA will not be fully accredited by CEPH because an MHA is accredited by a different agency called the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education. Students should check with their chosen school to learn more about whether their dual degree is accredited or not. 

Dual Degrees vs. Coordinated Degrees in Public Health

Dual degree programs are sometimes also referred to as joint degree programs. These terms can be used interchangeably. In other cases, you may find a program that uses the term “coordinated degree.” For example, an MPH/RD program is a coordinated degree program for students who are interested in public health who want to become a registered dietitian (RD). In addition to coursework, MPH/RD students also complete supervised practice hours. 

Pros and Cons of Getting a Dual Master’s Degrees

Dual master’s degrees in public health offer many benefits to students. Earning two degrees concurrently can save time and cost, as shared crediting of some coursework makes it possible for students to complete both degrees in the average length of two to three years depending on the program. It also allows students who are passionate about a specific area of public health to focus their education. 

However, dual degree programs can also be challenging. Students must meet more requirements to qualify for both degree programs. Additionally, the course load may be more rigorous, since joint-degree programs require more credits.   

Frequently Asked Questions on Dual MPH Degrees

Choosing to pursue an MPH dual degree is a big decision. As you do your research, consider some of these commonly asked questions about dual master’s degrees in public health. 

Who should consider a dual MPH degree?

Prospective students should consider a dual MPH degree if:
– They are interested in more than one field and have the motivation, self-discipline and bandwidth to take on a heavier course load. 
– They want to pursue a career that requires inter-disciplinary knowledge. For example, if they want to take a business-oriented approach to public health in their career, an MPH/MBA dual degree program may be a good fit.

How long does it take to complete a dual MPH degree?

Dual MPH degree programs can be completed in two to three years. For comparison, a regular MPH master’s program can typically be completed in 12 to 18 months. Each program will vary, so it’s important to check with an institution during the application process.

Is a dual mph degree the same with a double major?

While both involve studying two topic areas, a dual degree and a double major are not the same thing. Being a double major means you will study two concentrations to earn one degree, whereas completing a dual degree program results in earning two separate degrees.

Common Dual Master’s Degrees in Public Health

Colleges and universities offer a variety of dual master’s degrees in public health to provide specialized education options. Common dual degree programs include: 

Information last update July 2020