Dual Degrees: Combined Master’s and Ph.D. Programs

Ready to take your career to the next level? Explore your education options with our guide to combined master's and Ph.D. programs.
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Published on August 25, 2023
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  • Dual degrees combine studies in two distinct but related fields, such as business and law.
  • Earning two degrees together can increase your career options and salary potential.
  • Dual degrees offer professional benefits, but tuition can get expensive.
  • Consider your career goals carefully to decide if you really need a dual degree.

If you're looking for career versatility and high salary potential, combined master's and doctoral programs can help you advance quickly in your field. These specialized programs combine a master's degree in one area with a doctorate in another area, such as a master's in business and a law degree.

Our guide to master's and Ph.D. combined programs offers information on popular programs, career options, and answers to common questions about dual degrees.

Featured Online Master's Programs

What Is a Dual Degree?

Master's and Ph.D. combined programs give you complementary skills in two different areas of study, preparing you for careers that cross professional boundaries. These degrees focus on related subjects that commonly intersect, such as law and public policy. By studying both fields together, you gain a more specialized perspective that can make you more competitive in the job market.

Completing two degrees simultaneously can also help you graduate faster, save money on tuition, and enter the workforce sooner.

9 Popular Combined Master's and Doctoral Programs

This list highlights nine of the most popular types of combined master's and doctorate. These dual degrees bring together diverse fields such as business, medicine, and education.

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) & Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Master of Business Administration & Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Master of Business Administration & Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
  • Master of Business Administration & Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
  • Master of Business Administration & Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Master of Education (M.Ed.) & Juris Doctor
  • Master of Public Policy (MPP) & Juris Doctor
  • Master of Science (MS) & Medical Doctor
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) & Medical Doctor

1. MBA & Doctor of Nursing Practice

Combining skills in business and nursing, a dual MBA/DNP prepares you for leadership positions in nursing and healthcare. With this dual degree, you'll gain advanced skills in clinical care, nursing leadership, and healthcare management. An MBA/DNP gives you an understanding of both the practical and the business sides of the healthcare industry.

2. MBA & Doctor of Medicine

A dual MBA/MD can prepare you for cross-disciplinary jobs requiring intensive medicine and business leadership knowledge. Fusing two high-paying degrees, these master's and doctorate combined programs train you for high-level healthcare leadership roles. Usually taking 5-6 years to complete, an MBA/MD equips you for clinical medical practice, medical leadership, and medical consultation in the private sector.

3. MBA & Doctor of Pharmacy

A combined MBA/Pharm.D. degree gives you comprehensive skills in both pharmacy practice and business leadership. This is an ideal program to pursue if you're interested in a high-level career in the pharmaceutical industry. A dual MBA/Pharm.D. can also prepare you for entrepreneurship opportunities in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

4. MBA & Doctor of Psychology

A dual MBA/Psy.D. degree can prepare you for both clinical psychology practice and private sector consultation without forcing you to commit to either path. These programs focus on psychology and business knowledge, commonly preparing you for executive coaching or organizational consulting jobs.

5. MBA & Juris Doctor

One of the most versatile master's and doctorate combined programs, a combined MBA/JD covers both business management and law. This degree can prepare you for careers in corporate law or any other industry where business and law intersect. MBA/JD programs take 3-5 years to complete.

6. Master of Education & Juris Doctor

A combined M.Ed./JD gives you extensive knowledge of law, education leadership, and education policy. Coursework typically explores the relationship between education organizations and state and federal education regulations. This degree is ideal if you want a career in education administration, advocacy, or policy development.

7. Master of Public Policy & Juris Doctor

A dual MPP/JD degree provides insight into both law and public policy. Often taking four years to complete, these master's and doctorate combined programs focus on regulatory and legal issues related to public policy. After graduating, you can work in law, government, or other policy-related careers.

8. Master of Science & Medical Doctor

An MS/MD degree combines medical knowledge with scientific research, giving you a deeper understanding of the science behind clinical healthcare. These programs can prepare you for careers in healthcare, medical research, and teaching. You can complete an MS/MD degree program in five years of full-time study.

9. Master of Public Health & Medical Doctor

A combined MPH/MD highlights the intersection of community health and clinical medical practice. This degree combines individualized and community perspectives on healthcare issues, training you both to treat patients and address larger, population-wide health issues. An MPH/MD program typically takes 4-5 years to complete.

Is a Combined Master's and Ph.D. Degree Worth It?

Combined master's and Ph.D. programs offer some notable professional benefits, including increased job options and higher salary potential. However, earning two advanced degrees usually doesn't come cheap — particularly if you're pursuing high-paying fields such as medicine, business, and law.

Ultimately, you have to weigh the increased cost of earning two degrees against potential future earnings in your field.

If you're interested in a specific career path or hope to advance in your current job, a dual degree can be a practical choice. At the same time, it's crucial to consider your return on investment and how much more you can realistically earn by completing two graduate degrees instead of just one.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dual Master's and Ph.D. Programs

How long does a combined master's and Ph.D. program take?

Completion times for combined master's and Ph.D. programs vary by school and type of degree, but most programs take 3-6 years. Accelerated programs may take as few as three years, while part-time programs usually take longer.

Do you need your master's to earn a Ph.D.?

Education requirements for admission vary by program. Some dual degrees, such as the MBA/DNP, often require you to hold a master's in nursing to apply. Others, such as the MBA/JD, only require a bachelor's degree. Consult individual program admissions requirements to learn what level of education you need to apply.

What can you do with a combined master's and Ph.D.?

Most combined master's and Ph.D. programs prepare you for management roles and other advanced positions within your field. These degrees also qualify you for more specialized jobs that combine knowledge from multiple fields, such as healthcare management or corporate law.

Can you get your master's and Ph.D. at the same time?

Dual master's and Ph.D. programs often let you complete coursework for both degrees simultaneously. Combining coursework helps you earn your master's and doctorate in less time than it would take to complete both degrees separately. Some programs may split coursework for the two degrees into different school years, while others let you work toward both degrees simultaneously.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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