What is a dual masters?
A dual masters involves a student working towards two different university degrees at the same time, either at the same institution or at different institutions (sometimes in different countries), typically completing them in less time than it would take to earn them separately. Usually dual masters needs faculty approval and there’s a formal agreement within one college/university or between separate college/universities to allow the student to acquire a dual masters. Two to three years are usually required in each program, with the full education taking between four to six years. The two degrees could be in the same subject area, such as when they’re split between two different schools in different countries, or they could be in two different subjects. Ultimately though, dual masters consist of two masters attached to a single degree, as opposed to two separate degrees each with their own field of study.
Entering a dual degree program will provide you with accelerated education. It can also enrich your professional portfolio and make you more marketable. After completing all requirements for both programs, a student is then presented a degree of the graduate programs. This may be a combination of Masters of Arts (MA), Masters of Science (MS), Juris Doctor Degree (JD), Masters of Business Administration (MBA), or a Ph D. If you have a strong passion in one subject, coupled with a clear career goal in another, a dual masters is a practical way to combine both in a focused plan of study.
What are common dual masters?
There are many combinations of dual masters. Some universities have dual masters programs already set up in their curriculum. Others you will have to create a program between two masters that works for you.
The most common postgraduate double masters programs are:
- Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degree (JD/MBA): Law and business schools jointly offer this degree, usually within the same university, but sometimes two different schools. The program usually last 4 years, which is much less time than getting a masters in both programs separately. With this degree you can also it get combined with Masters of Arts (MA) fields such as politics, economics, urban planning, and international relations.
- Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees with JD and MBA programs: Some universities even offer a dual PhD/MBA degree, mainly targeted for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The PhD portion is science and engineering, while the MBA is the business aspect. Law schools also commonly offer the Juris Doctor and the Master’s or PhD.
Other common university programs include, but are not limited to:
- Masters of Science and Masters of Business Administration (MS/MBA): This type of program often has a MS degree from the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and an MBA from the College of Business. The dual MS-MBA degree requires the student to complete a minimum of 121 credit hours, including 44 credit hours of required core courses.
- Masters of Science and Masters of Public Administration (MS/MPA): A common degree would be an MS from a Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and an MPA from a public administration school. The dual MS-MPA degree requires the student to complete a minimum of 106 credit hours, including 72 credit hours in required core courses.
- Masters of Science and Masters of Arts (MS/MA): There are many combinations of MS/MA degrees that you can get. A common MS/MA degree program is an M.S. in Library and Information Science and the M.A. from a Graduate School of Arts and Science. Another common MS/MA program is an MA in Economics and a MS in Mathematical Sciences.
- Masters in Management Information Systems and Masters in Business Administration (MIS/MBA): Usually offered by one university, MIS/MBA program would help you obtain general management and functional business skills, and technical skills in information systems. The combination of business and technical training will equip you with the skill set to design and implement business solutions, making you more marketable to potential employers.
- Masters in Public Administration and Master of Science in Environmental Science (MPA/MSES): This dual masters-degree program develops the advanced training of your individual master’s degree, while exploiting the interdisciplinary links between these two masters programs. It’s good for a person who would like to get involved in governmental environment laws, regulations, or organizations.
- Masters of Arts in Management and Masters of Business Administration (MAM/MBA): These two degrees provide an excellent complement to each other, with the MAM focusing on the soft skills required to manage people and the MBA focusing on the hard skills necessary to run a business.
- Masters in Public Policy and Masters of Business Administration (MPP/MBA): This joint degree may be interesting to you if you wish to pursue a career in public policy or at the intersection of business and government. Through this program you will gain the finance, marketing, and organizational skills of a business program coupled with the analytic tools and political acumen provided by a public policy program will be highly sought after in today’s job market.
- Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Public Health (MBA/MPH): This dual program combines business acumen, analytical skills and strategic planning of an MBA with the opportunity to make a difference in the public health care community. Getting this degree would help prepare you to face the challenges of health care from a business perspective.
- Masters of Public Health and Masters in Management and Organizational Behavior (MPH/MSMOB): This degree provides the opportunity to work in the public health sector and lead and manage groups within organizations and populations. With your knowledge of human and group behavior you can motivate change. With your insights into public health care issues, you can pinpoint challenge areas that need improvement, and then design strategies to address them.
- Master of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering (MURP/MSCE): This degree program both have transportation specializations and would be helpful for someone wanting to do urban, city or regional planning, especially pertaining to transportation systems.
- Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts (MFA/MA): An example of an MFA/MA program would be an MFA in creative writing and an MA in English/Literature. This type of study would allow you to be strongly verses in theory, literature, and the creative practice of writing. It would be a good program if you’re interested in research, academic papers, teaching and creative writing.
- Masters of Science in Criminal Justice and Masters of Public Administration (CJ/MPA): This dual masters provides you knowledge in both the criminal justice world and public administration fields. It will improve you ability to interact with other professionals from both fields. For example, you may be involved in jail administration and need to interact with a hospital. There is a new trend to bridge the gap between CJ fields and other agencies that serve community needs—you would be on the up and coming cusp of these job openings.
What is the application process for a dual masters?
Getting a dual masters can shorten the pursuit of both of your degrees, but it also usually requires full-time study, including summer school, as well as acceptance into both programs. You must realize it is a large commitment that takes a lot of dedication and determination.
Application processes are unique to each institution; therefore it’s important to contact the university you want to apply to fully understand their application process. In general though, students usually need to be admitted to both degree programs at the same time by filling out a separate application to each. Usually there’s a cut-off date, such as your second semester at the university, to declare a dual masters program. Also, in most cases you must submit a dual masters program application in addition to both the separate degree applications. Sometimes schools require students to complete one full year of one master’s curriculum before beginning on the other masters program.
Each program within every university has their unique prerequisites for application. All programs require you to have a 4-year baccalaureate degree. Most require a minimum GPA, GRE graduate school entrance exam scores, and certain course requirements depending on the program. You must check with both programs prerequisites for application, as one masters program may have different prerequisites from another.
Why get a dual masters degree?
Most people get a dual masters degree because they want a larger skill set, which will then result in a higher salary. Having two degrees makes you more valuable to an employer because it doubles your knowledge. How much you can earn depends on the degrees you acquired, but the majority of individuals with dual masters degrees earn between $50,000 and a little over $100,000 a year.
A dual masters also gives you job flexibility, and allows you to branch out in your chosen field. You may even be able to merge two positions because of your education backgrounds in both. Additionally you can pursue multiple interests with a dual masters. If you love your field, then why not study two subjects within it?