Navigating the Best Dual MBA/MPH Programs for Your Career Goals

Published on: Mar 30, 2024

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field of medical and health service managers is expected to grow by almost 30% in the next decade1. This expansion of health care management positions means that having knowledge of both business and health care is increasingly valued. Many schools have created MPH/MBA dual degree programs to equip their future leaders with the education and skills they need to manage health systems most effectively. MBA MPH dual degree programs can vary in program structure, geographic location, mode of delivery, and much more. 

This article provides information, guiding questions to consider, and profiles of top MBA MPH dual degree programs in the United States.

Significance of Dual Business and Public Health Master Degrees

Obtaining a graduate degree has become more prevalent over the last decade, with an 11% increase in graduate business degrees and a 200% increase in health-related graduate degrees2. Many universities are launching dual MBA/MPH degrees to meet the increasing demand, creating a unique value proposition combining business and public health. There are a variety of career paths and opportunities for these coveted dual degree holders, including the following.

Healthcare Administration/Management

these types of jobs include leaders of healthcare organizations that are focused on operational and administrative duties. They may do strategic planning, financial analysis and budgeting, and program operations.

Health Policy and Advocacy

health policy positions often involve working with the government and other institutions to influence health-related public policy.

Health Consulting

health consultants work with organizations to operationalize programs, implement new technologies, and overcome organizational challenges.

Global Health

individuals working in global health help to address health-related disparities on a global scale or internationally. Many government organizations, such as the World Health Organization, or philanthropies like the Gates Foundation, focus on global health disparities.

Corporate Social Responsibility

many for-profit organizations promote global, national, and intra-organizational health and wellness. Individuals interested in corporate social responsibility will help manage these health-related financial and programmatic initiatives.

There are many real-world examples of successful professionals with dual MBA/MPH degrees. Alumni of these programs can do various things, and here are a few examples. 

Assess Your Readiness and Motivation

While an MBA MPH isn’t necessary for most jobs, pursuing a dual degree will help you stand out from other competing applicants. More than just taking a few business classes as electives, or obtaining a graduate certificate in public health, this dual degree gives you legitimacy as an administrator, manager, and leader. While lauded, these degree programs are highly involved and demanding, so it’s important to make sure you are ready for the academic and professional demands that will ensue. 

Consider potential challenges you may face, such as competing priorities and financial constraints, and plan strategies for how you will overcome them.

Factors to Consider in Choosing a Dual MBA/MPH Program

1. Learning Styles and Program Structures

When selecting a dual MBA/MPH program, choosing a school and program that can be tailored to your preferred learning style and structure is important. Below are a few questions to consider. 

  • Do you have a preference for when you complete your business and public health coursework? Some programs have integrated dual MBA/MPH programs, while others separate the coursework, with alternating years or semesters focused on just business classes or public health classes alone. Additionally, some programs, like DePaul’s dual MBA/MPH program, offer courses at night to allow flexibility for working professionals.

  • Do you have specific public health interests? Many programs offer specific public health coursework, such as health policy, health system administration, global health, or environmental health. If you want to pursue a career in something like policy and advocacy or hospital management, look at a program that focuses its coursework on one of your public health interests. 

2. Program Duration and Flexibility

Program duration varies school by school, with the shortest being 22 months and the longest taking three years or more. Some schools offer flexibility with online, part-time, or evening courses. Take a look at each program’s website and read about their structure, curriculum, and coursework to see which would be the best fit for you.

3. Networking and Industry Connections

We know that networking is an integral part of professional life nowadays. Being in graduate school cultivates countless networking opportunities, both with your program faculty and industry connections they may have. Many schools have student affairs offices to promote student engagement both within the university and outside the neighboring community. Schools have relationships with neighboring organizations, health systems, nongovernmental organizations, and government officials. 

MBA/MPH students will likely have some type of internship or practicum incorporated into their curriculum. Look into your school's partnerships and choose a program with partnering organizations that interest you. Additionally, universities will sponsor career fairs, mentorship programs, and often have at least one administrator dedicated to student employment and community outreach. 
With MBA/MPH degrees becoming increasingly common and sought after, the question is not can I get a job,but which job will be the best fit for me?

4. Geographic Location and Campus Culture

With a surplus of MBA/MPH dual degree programs in a variety of geographic environments, it’s important to consider location in your search. Some questions to consider:

  • Where do you want to live during your graduate studies experience? There are dual MBA/MPH programs located in urban, suburban, and rural parts of the country. If you have a location preference, consider a school located near where you want to live. 

  • What type of job do you want to have after graduating? If you want to work for the government, consider a program near the state capitol or DC. If you want to work for a large health system, consider a school like the University of San Francisco or University of Pennsylvania, with an extensive hospital system attached. If you want to work for a corporation, consider a school with ties to neighboring businesses and offers internships or connections in those fields. 

5. Tuition Costs, Financial Aid, and Budget Considerations

It is no secret that graduate education is expensive. We don’t want your MBA program or MPH program to break the bank, so it’s important to consider finances and scholarships when looking at graduate degrees. 

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that allows loan forgiveness for government workers or non-profit employees. After paying a percentage of one's loan that is proportionate to one's salary for 120 months (non-consecutively), the remaining balance of an individual’s loans are forgiven. Many hospitals are categorized as non-profit organizations, and therefore will qualify their employees for public service loan forgiveness. 

  • Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant Positions - Most graduate schools offer GA and TA positions to students in exchange for stipends and/or reduced or free cost of tuition. Individuals will often be paired with a specific course or professor and be assigned research, grading, or other similar entry-level work. Typical hours can range from 5-20 and are often completed asynchronously. These positions are advertised on university websites, so take a look at your prospective program’s opportunities. 

  • MPH Scholarships - there is an abundance of public health scholarships that you may be eligible for. In addition to school-specific scholarships, there are over 70 private, non-profit, and government-sponsored scholarships available for students studying public health. Many scholarships target specific concentration areas, such as health administration, public health practice, health policy, and environmental health

  • MBA Scholarships - there are various scholarships you can receive to help pay for your business administration graduate degree. These include many school-specific scholarships, national scholarships, and company scholarships. Many schools offer merit and financial-based scholarships to their students, which can be further offset by national application-based scholarships and organization-based scholarships for people working full or part-time

MPH Making an Impact

Profiling the Best Dual MBA/MPH Programs

Boston U School of Public Health

Boston University

Boston University MBA/MPH Dual Degree Program

Program Structure/Length: This integrated program is two years full-time, and course credits are split evenly between MBA coursework (43 credits minimum) and MPH coursework (48 credits minimum). Students are required to complete an MBA internship and a public health practicum, with the internship being able to fulfill the practicum requirement partially. 

Strengths: This program can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Courses also thoughfully integrate business and public health, with coursework focusing on evidence-based approaches to public health, healthcare systems, management, policy, leadership, systems, thinking, and interprofessional practice. 

Potential Drawbacks: While Master of Business Administration students can add the public health degree once matriculated, Master of Public Health candidates cannot add the business degree once they begin their coursework. 

Notable Features: Dual degree candidates only pay for one full-time tuition per semester, and can pay for credits ad hoc during the summer.

Yale School of Management

Yale University

MBA/MPH with Yale School of Management + Yale School of Public Health

Program Structure/Length: Yale’s dual MBA/MPH program can be completed in as little as 22-months through an intensive, integrated curriculum. The first semester is focused on public health coursework, second and third are focused on business, then students complete an international course during spring break, summer internship at a healthcare industry, and the final year is a mix of public health and business administration courses.

Strengths: This is a very short dual degree program and helps folks gain management skills they can apply to healthcare organizations. Yale is a large academic medical center, and has a non-profit hospital system that is consistently ranked one of the best in the nation. 

Potential Drawbacks: Yale’s MBA/MPH program is extremely rigorous and intensive due to its fast pace. You will have a highly regarded university on your resume, but this program is not for the faint of heart. 

Notable Features: Yale also offers a three-year joint degree program for individuals who want an additional year to spread out the coursework. 

Benedictine University

Benedictine University

MPH/MBA Dual Degree Program at Benedictine University

Program Structure/Length: Benedictine’s MBA/MPH program is 64 credit hours, of which 34 are in the MPH program and 30 are in the MBA program. There is a 240-hour internship and capstone experience at the end of the program. 

Strengths: Students can begin the dual degree program at any point in the year (summer, fall, or spring), and can transfer up to 12 credit hours. 

Potential Drawbacks: Benedictine University’s educational mission is rooted in Catholic, Benedictine values, so if you are looking for a non-religious institution to complete your education, this may not be the school for you.

Notable Features: Benedictine University offers a fully online MBA MPH dual degree program that can be completed in three and a half years. Additionally, Benedictine University is a Catholic institution, grounded in historic Benedictine traditions.

Columbia School of Public Health

Columbia University

Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia Business School MBA MPH Dual Degree

Program Structure/Length: Columbia University’s dual MBA/MPH degree is at least 80 credit hours, 45 completed at the business school and 35 completed in the public health program. Columbia structures its dual degree program in segments, as students must complete a certain number of semesters ‘in residence’ at each school, meaning most of each semester must be dedicated to business or public health programming. 

Strengths: Columbia hosts on-campus recruiting for summer internships and for full-time positions after graduation, and also offers lots of networking opportunities through happy hours, mentoring, and alumni associations. Additionally, Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health is ranked fifth best public health program in the country. 

Potential Drawbacks: Columbia requires students to complete ‘residencies’ for a certain length in each school, so you may not be able to integrate programming as seamlessly as if you were taking an even mix of public health courses throughout your dual degree program. Additionally, candidates must complete their degree full-time once enrolled in the dual degree program. 

Notable Features: Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health offers various public health concentrations that dual degree candidates can enroll in. These concentrations include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, family and population health, and sociomedical sciences.

WashU School of Public Health

Washington University

Washington University Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration

Program Structure/Length: Washington University at St. Louis’s dual MPH/MBA program includes 94.5 credit hours and can be completed over three years.  The program is tailored for individuals interested in public health administration, leadership roles in hospitals and pharmaceutical firms, health policy think tanks, and health care consulting.

Strengths: There is an excellent research and global health focus in this dual degree program, which is great for individuals interested in international affairs.

Potential Drawbacks: This dual degree program is longer than other MPH/MBA programs cited in this article.

Notable Features: Washington University’s MBA program has a global focus and students will travel to Washington D.C., Barcelona, and Shanghai as part of an immersive learning experience.

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health logo

Emory University

MPH/MBA from Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School

Program Structure/Length: Emory’s dual MPH/MBA program may be completed in as little as two years (or five semesters). The first year is spent at the Goizueta Business School (51 credits) and the second year is spent at the Rollins School of Public Health (30 credits). Students can choose a focus of public health sciences, environmental health, epidemiology, global health, and health policy and management. 

Strengths: Emory University has the fourth best public health program in the nation. Since Emory is located in Atlanta, students commonly interact with the CDC, headquartered near the university. 

Potential Drawbacks: Similar to some of the other siloed programs, Emory doesn’t have an integrated curriculum of business administration and public health coursework. Students take one full year of business classes and then a separate full year of public health coursework.

Notable Features: Three of the five semesters in this dual degree program may be completed part-time. 

Alumni Highlights: 

  • Health Care Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers - advising clients to manage initiatives like performance improvement, crises, and transactions.

  • Clinic Consultant, Kurt Salman Associates Healthcare Consulting Group - consulting on facility, information technology, and strategy for clinical practices and academic medical institutions.

Berkeley-School-of-Public-Health logo

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley Public Health and Haas School of Business MPH/MBA Dual Degree Program

Program Structure/Length: Berkeley’s MBA/MPH program can be completed concurrently in two and a half years, or five semesters. 

Strengths: University of California, Berkeley has the ninth best public health program in the country. Additionally, Berkeley integrates public health and business courses throughout the dual degree program, optimizing the growing relationship between public health and business. 

Potential Drawbacks: Berkley’s dual MPH/MBA program prefers individuals who have at least five years of work experience, so if you are a recent graduate, this program may not be for you. 

Notable Features: Berkeley’s dual MBA/MPH program allows students to take up to three units of electives in other schools, such as the law school. This is great for students who have interests outside public health and business, and could pursue courses in fields like social work, mental health, community health science, or health services.

UT School of Public Health at San Antonio

University of Texas at San Antonio

University of Texas at San Antonio MBA MPH Dual Degree Program

Program Structure/Length: University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) students can complete the dual MBA/MPH program concurrently in as little as three years. 

Strengths: UTSA offers many scholarship and fellowship opportunities, totaling over $200,000 in aid every academic year.

Potential Drawbacks: The dual MBA/MPH program at UTSA takes longer to complete than other dual degree programs in the country. 

Notable Features: By completing the MBA and MPH degrees in tandem, students at UTSA will save up to 25% on tuition costs. 

Alumni Highlights: Alumni from UTSA have pursued careers at Acelity, University Health System, Southwest Research Institute, Medtronic, Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and Christus Health. 

DePaul University College of Liberal Arts

DePaul University

MBA MPH Dual Degree at DePaul University

Program Structure/Length: DePaul’s MBA/MPH program can be completed in three years as a full-time student. Courses are offered in the evenings, with some daytime availability required for the applied science practicum. The dual degree program is tailored for people interested in pursuing health care management or consulting in community and population health. 

Strengths: This program is great for working professionals who are looking to complete their degree after work hours.

Potential Drawbacks: DuPaul requires an in-person practicum experience that could lead to a job after graduation. This is great if you want to continue your career in Chicago. Still, if you are looking to cultivate relationships in other geographic areas, consider other programs. 

Notable Features: DePaul is located in downtown Chicago and has deep ties to the business and public health communities. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Chicago post-graduation, this program may be an excellent fit for you.

rutgers-school-public-health logo

Rutgers University

Rutgers Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration Dual Degree

Program Structure/Length: Rutgers MPH/MBA program consists of up to 84 credits, including 6 credits of fieldwork, and can be completed full-time or part-time. The program is designed for individuals interested in pursuing administrative positions in the health care industry.

Strengths: The flexibility of completing the dual degree program either full-time or part-time is great for working professionals. 

Potential Drawbacks: Rutgers dual MBA/MPH program prefers applicants with one or more years of management experience. 

Notable Features: Rutgers has awarded over $34 million in research awards directed towards improving health and wellness for New Jersey residents. If you are interested in incorporating research in your public health education, Rutgers may be the school for you.

Honorable Mention: Harvard University

While it does not have a dual MBA/MPH program, Harvard offers two MBA dual degree programs between the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. Individuals will learn similar content to the dual MBA/MPH, but will earn either an MBA/MPP (Master in Public Policy) or MBA/MPA (Master of Public Administration). Coursework is focused on management and public policy to develop leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector.

Application Process and Tips for Success

Most dual MBA/MPH programs require individuals to take either the GMAT or GRE (some require both) and apply to the programs separately. Many programs require letters of recommendation, transcripts, and prior work experience. Below are strategies for preparing a compelling application.

  • Research the program you are interested in -

    when you are writing your personal statement, make sure you highlight the program’s mission and curriculum focus and discuss why that specific school and program is the best fit for you.

  • Highlight your academic AND professional experiences -

    unlike college, most graduate schools, and specifically business and public health programs, highly value work experience. Talk about your professional experience and how it has prepared you to dive back into your graduate education.

  • Letters of recommendation -

    ask colleagues and/or supervisors who can best speak to your abilities, successes, and work ethic to write your letters of recommendation. Try to get letters from a variety of people, including a superior, advisor, and colleague, and give them ample time to personalize the letter.

  • Navigating interviews -

    not all schools will require an interview, but if yours does, make sure you know the program well and can speak to your education and experience. Practice common interview questions and have questions ready for the interviewer to ensure you get every detail you can about the program. Remember, while they are interviewing you to gauge if you would be a good fit for the program, you are also interviewing THEM to see if the program would be a good fit for you.

Hybrid and Online Options: Pros and Cons

A few MBA/MPH dual degree programs can be completed fully online. As we know, the rise of hybrid and online learning has increased over the last decade. 

There are pros and cons to online learning: they are advantageous for individuals who are working full or part-time, have families, or want to spend time away from campus; however, virtual learning can pose challenges, as it may be difficult to fully engage with your cohort, network, and establish meaningful connections in the field. If you are looking to complete your dual degree online or in a hybrid environment, consider the following tips.

  • Do research on the alumni network - it may be more challenging to network remotely, so make sure your school promotes networking opportunities that you can participate in.

  • Participate in discussions - make sure you are staying engaged in your virtual classroom and online discussion boards to maximize your learning while in the program.

  • Connect with peers - online learning can feel lonely, so make sure you are going out of your way to connect with the school's peers, faculty, and staff.

Alumni Perspectives: Where Are They Now?

Spotlight: Halle Tecco

Halle is an entrepreneur and investor passionate about public health, digital health, and fixing our healthcare system. She is an adjunct professor in Columbia University’s MBA program and co-founder of multiple healthcare organizations and a digital health venture fund. Halle received her BS from Case Western Reserve University, MBA from Harvard Business School, and MPH from Johns Hopkins University. 

  1. How have your MBA and MPH degrees impacted your career trajectory?

To me, the MBA was about gaining skills and the MPH was about gaining subject matter expertise. 

  1. What has your experience been like intersecting public health and business?

I love what I get the privilege of doing every day – supporting innovators and founders hoping to make healthcare better for all.

  1. What advice would you give to someone considering getting a dual MBA MPH degree?

It really depends on where you are in your career, and where you want to go next. Grad school in the US is expensive, plus there’s the opportunity cost of what else you could do with that time/money. Also, you don’t have to get the degrees at the same time.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, it is critical to conduct personalized research when selecting an MBA/MPH dual degree program. As shown from the profiled programs here, MBA/MPH program education and experiences can vary drastically, so confidently embark on your research journey and choose the best fit for you. Use the ten programs profiled here as a starting point for your exploration, and come back periodically throughout your search to ensure you are considering the important factors. The intersection of business and public health will continue to expand, so now is a great time to dive in and explore getting a dual MBA/MPH degree.

About the Authors

Written by:

Kerra Henkin, MPH, ML

Kerra Henkin, MPH, ML, is a program manager at one of the largest academic medical centers in the country. In her current role, she aligns and expands programming with needs identified in the federally mandated community health needs assessment, and deploys organizational resources to support community health improvement. Prior to this role, she was a community health educator for an advocacy nonprofit organization in Philadelphia. She has co-authored multiple research papers on criminal justice and substance abuse, and will be presenting on law enforcement assisted diversion at the 2023 American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting. 

Ms. Henkin holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master in Law (ML) from the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences from Ithaca College.

Opinions and information published by the author on are of her own and do not necessarily represent the views of opinions of her employer.

Kerra Henkin headshot

Kerra Henkin, MPH, ML

Program Manager

Education: University of Pennsylvania

Knowledge: Community health education

Reviewed by:

Katherine Paul, MPH

Katherine Paul, MPH is a senior project manager at a leading medical communications and publications organization. She supports multidisciplinary teams handling large-scale accounts, the deliverables of which improve health outcomes and patient well-being. Ms. Paul holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and passed the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) shortly after graduation. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Dickinson College.

Ms. Paul previously worked at a public health non-profit where she managed all aspects of diverse health-related projects, including the implementation of a randomized controlled clinical trial on sexual health for teens with developmental disabilities, as well as the evaluation of a statewide tobacco cessation program with more than 20,000 annual cases. She has developed and delivered posters and presentations at national conferences including the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting. 

Opinions and information published by the author here on are of my own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of my employer or other organizations for my designated roles.

Katherine Paul

Katherine Paul, MPH

Editorial Lead

Education: Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

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