Should I Get a Psychology/MBA Dual Degree?

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Updated October 14, 2022

Are you interested in getting psychology and advanced business degrees? Learn more about Psychology/MBA dual degree programs.

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An MBA and psychology dual degree trains learners to lead and manage organizations. Students learn to optimize interactions among people and groups in business settings. An MBA/psychology program also teaches degree-seekers to impart those abilities to others.

MBA/psychology programs integrate coursework and practical activities. Students in MBA/psychology dual degrees explore using research data to apply psychological concepts and practices to aspects of business.

There are several options for dual MBA/psychology degrees. An MS in psychology/MBA, an MA in psychology/MBA, and a Psy.D./MBA emphasize different aspects of psychology and their applications to business.

Graduates of dual MBA/psychology programs work in training and development, as top-tier business professionals, and as consultants. A dual MBA/psychology degree can also prepare you for certification or licensure as a psychologist or a comparable role.

Why Enroll in an Online Psychology/MBA Dual Degree Program?

An MBA takes around two years to complete. Online options may allow students to accelerate their degree, reducing both time and costs.

Earning an online MBA/psychology dual degree allows learners to take classes on a flexible schedule. Programs vary in length, but some dual degrees span as few as three years.

A standard MBA focuses on business, but an MBA/psychology degree pairs business and psychology essentials. The curriculum trains students to use both skill sets in organizational settings and business environments.

Students enrolled in an online MBA/psychology dual degree can work full time while earning a degree. Most MBA/psychology dual-degree programs allow students to take psychology and MBA classes concurrently. Online degrees often provide ways for degree-seekers to complete practical requirements at their current job.

Programs vary in length, but some dual degrees span as few as three years.

Specific classes and requirements vary by degree, but the skills gained in an MBA/psychology program remain consistent across programs.

  • Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking skills help learners solve individual problems and identify human behaviors that influence business. This applies to both short- and long-term activities. Business and psychology programs teach students to manage and guide people and groups in business to improve productivity and work environments.
  • Communication: Communication in verbal and nonverbal forms operates at the core of human interactions. Students in an MBA/psychology dual degree learn how to listen, empathize, and exchange ideas with others in writing and in spoken interactions. Degree-seekers also explore communication in business management and marketing.
  • Leadership: Leaders possess communication skills like strategic thinking and communication, but leadership involves additional abilities. Leaders understand how people work together on a team. An MBA/psychology degree trains students to inspire others, embrace change, and nurture growth in a business environment.
  • Research: Research involves gathering, analyzing, and using data to make decisions and come to conclusions. By learning about qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools, students can compile information and present findings to others. MBA/psychology dual degrees teach students to use both business and psychological practices in their research.

MA vs MS in Psychology

An MA and an MS in psychology include much of the same core psychology coursework. Learners begin by taking foundational classes in psychological theories and concepts.

Students then take advanced classes in topics like human development, cognition and learning, and psychological treatments. Both degrees have about two years of requirements, including an internship or practicum.

The difference between an MA and an MS in psychology involves emphasis. An MA includes more liberal arts and humanities coursework, while an MS focuses on the scientific method and research.

An MS in psychology may also have additional science and clinical requirements. An MA often has a thesis or non-thesis option for completion, while an MS often includes a thesis.

The choice between an MA and an MS in psychology comes down to career and educational goals. An MA prepares students for working in education and business. It can also serve as a step to earning a Ph.D. in psychology.

An MS in psychology can lead directly to earning a license or certification for a clinical role. Prospective students should check the state board requirements to see if their chosen program meets licensure criteria.

MA degree in Psychology vs. MS degree in Psychology
Degree Type Cost Program Focus Program Length

Master of Arts in Psychology

~$15,000 total tuition

Social and cultural courses

2 years

Master of Science in Psychology

~$15,000 total tuition

Hard sciences and mathematics

2 years

Doctorate in Psychology

~$100,000 total tuition

Research

3-5 years

Source: Datausa.io

What to Expect From an MBA/Psychology Dual Degree Program

Most MBAs last two years and include about 30 credit hours. Earning a traditional master's degree in psychology spans two years and requires 30 credit hours. An MBA/psychology dual degree allows students to complete the program in as few as three years.

Because an MBA/psychology dual degree blends disciplines, the program may hold accreditation through one or more field-specific organizations.

The American Psychology Association serves as the accrediting body for psychology degrees, while business programs may be accredited by one of three agencies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Designed for those interested in both psychology and business, an MBA/psychology program includes roughly the same number of classes as the two individual programs. Students complete core coursework in both disciplines in anticipation of advanced courses and electives. Programs also include a thesis requirement, an internship or practicum, or both.

Degree and Concentration Options

Most graduate schools do not offer a dual MBA/psychology degree. Institutions may offer separate MA or MS programs in psychology and MBAs. An MA or MS focuses on psychology, but students have options to take elective classes in topics such as organizational psychology or general business.

Some MBA degrees have advanced coursework or concentrations that emphasize psychology in business:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Industrial psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Strategic management
  • Training and development

With a master's degree in psychology, people can work in education, business, social work, counseling, or psychology. An MBA specifically prepares learners for roles in business professions. Combining the two opens employment opportunities across these industries, opening up a student's professional options.

Master's degrees in business psychology and organizational psychology also exist. These programs include fewer credit hours in each discipline with roughly 30 credit hours of requirements.

Curriculum for Psychology/MBA Dual Degree Programs

Coursework in MBA/Psychology dual degrees differs by institution, but some courses remain consistent. Core classes in business include management communications, strategic management, and managerial finance. Additional research classes accompany courses in developmental psychology, personnel psychology, and organizational psychology.

  • Management communications: Management communications coursework explains how to relay information effectively and efficiently. Students learn to tailor verbal and written communications to colleagues. Additional topics include presentation styles, persuasion, and strategic delivery. Learners take part in interactive activities and create communications as part of a portfolio or final project.
  • Strategic management: A course in strategic management introduces students to the concepts, tools, and principles used in business operations. Learners explore opportunities and challenges in business and how to address them using different strategies. By using research data and case studies, strategic management builds understanding of internal and external assessments, evaluation and control, and strategic implementation.
  • Managerial finance: Managerial finance coursework emphasizes analysis of financial activities in the context of business operations. Students learn to optimize financial performance by identifying risks and opportunities, and applying financial theory to real-world scenarios. Specific topics include valuation, financing, pricing models, and depreciation and taxes.
  • Developmental psychology: Developmental psychology classes focus on physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development across the human lifespan. Students learn about psychological theories that assess human development. Coursework in developmental psychology also explores environmental and natural influences on human development, morality, parenting, and death and dying.
  • Personnel psychology: A class in personnel psychology combines psychological theory, research, and practice with their use in business situations. Personnel psychology coursework covers job analysis, performance appraisal, training, and criterion development. By learning conceptual frameworks for personnel practices, students gain insight into their practical and legal implications.
  • Organizational psychology: Organizational psychology coursework focuses on human behavior in the workplace. Students learn psychology theory and how to apply it situationally. Additional topics include research methods, principles of motivation, performance evaluation, and leadership and supervision.

Admissions Process

The admissions process for MBA/psychology dual degrees varies by program and institution. Most programs require at least a bachelor's degree and some professional experience. Applicants submit resumes, transcripts from previous coursework, letters of recommendation, and an admission essay.

Students can enter an MBA/psychology dual degree with an undergraduate in psychology or business. Applicants may not need previous training in one or both of these disciplines, but may need to take additional prerequisite coursework.

There is no uniform minimum amount of professional experience to pursue an MBA/psychology degree. Two or three years in the workforce may increase an applicant's chances of acceptance.

Graduate programs often require applicants to have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA. This may also apply to any previous graduate coursework. Applicants may need to take the GMAT or GRE to apply to their program.

The ROI of a Psychology/MBA Dual Degree Program

The ROI, or return on investment, of an MBA/psychology degree involves determining if the overall payoff of the degree exceeds the cost. Alongside expenses like tuition, books, and fees, earning an MBA/psychology dual degree requires time and energy.

Students may also lose income if they need to take time away from work to earn a dual degree. Some programs assist with tuition in exchange for work as a teaching assistant.

The overall personal and professional opportunities from an MBA/psychology dual degree may outweigh the costs. Earning a dual MBA/psychology degree can boost a student's professional reputation and build personal confidence on the job.

With a graduate degree, learners have opportunities to advance their careers and increase their post-graduation salaries.

2020 data from the Graduate Management Admission Council shows that most MBA program graduates see a nearly immediate increase in earning potential. Survey information reveals the median salary of MBA grads is 75% greater than the salary of people with only a bachelor's degree.

Psychology/MBA Career Opportunities After Graduating

Graduates of MBA/psychology programs have career opportunities across industries. With business and psychological knowledge and training, graduates can work as human resources executives, corporate consultants, industrial counselors, and corporate development specialists.

But an MBA/psychology dual degree cannot prepare graduates to open their own practice. A dual degree MBA and psychology is geared toward applying psychology in business settings.

Some programs meet some or all of the requirements for certification or licensure as a professional psychologist. Most states require a doctorate to practice as a psychologist, so this opportunity may be limited to programs offering a Psy.D.

Earning an MBA/psychology dual degree positions current business professionals to advance to leadership positions within their career. This increases earning potential. Payscale reported human resource executives earning average salaries of $85,000 in May 2022. This far exceeded the $53,050 average salary of human resources specialists as reported in June 2022.

  • Corporate consultant: Corporate consultants bring expertise in management and organizational leadership to different companies and offer suggestions for improvements. As external reviewers, they assess existing processes and practices to determine areas of growth, eliminate inefficiencies, and offer objective insights into how to maximize overall business outcomes.
  • Human resources executive: As supervisors of all human resources activities, human resources executives oversee policies, procedures, and practices involving employees. Human resources executives coordinate with managers and fellow executives to lead, and create and implement strategic plans.
  • Industrial and organizational psychologist: Industrial and organizational psychologists assess human behavior in the workplace. They may work internally or externally with a company. Industrial and organizational psychologists work with individuals and teams to improve existing practices, test new programs and policies, and reconcile human resource issues.
  • Corporate development specialist: Corporate and business development professionals work within a company to create business plans. They assess business processes and practices to identify ways to increase profit and production. Corporate development specialists communicate with clients, employees, and managers to understand the needs of all stakeholders in an organization.

Common Questions about Psychology/MBA Dual Degrees


How much does a Psychology/MBA dual-degree program cost?

The cost of an MBA/psychology dual degree varies by program. Some dual degrees cost about $20,000, but an MBA combined with a doctorate in psychology may cost as much as $100,000.

Is a Psychology/MBA dual degree worth it?

The worth of an MBA/psychology dual degree depends on overall career goals. Earning an MBA/psychology dual degree can help students advance to managerial and leadership roles in organizations or to become a psychologist in a business setting. What it cannot do is prepare psychologists to open their own practices.

Is it better to get an MS or MA in psychology?

Whether or not getting an MS in psychology is better than earning an MA in psychology depends on professional goals. An MS includes more clinical and hard science training, while an MA emphasizes the humanities and liberal arts.

What can I do with an MBA and Psychology master’s degree?

With an MBA and psychology master's degree, you can work in business, education, or as a consultant. The dual degree equips you with the knowledge and skills to work in executive and leadership roles.

Reviewed by:

Rayelle Davis is a nationally board-certified counselor, a licensed clinical professional counselor, and a board-certified telemental health provider. As a nontraditional student, she earned her associate degree in psychology at Allegany College of Maryland. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology online at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Davis earned her master's degree in counseling education with a concentration in marriage, couples, and family therapy from Duquesne University. She has taught several undergraduate psychology courses. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University where she has also worked as an adjunct instructor and clinical supervisor for master's students. She practices psychotherapy at her private practice in Maryland.
Rayelle Davis is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.


Featured Image: Valeriy_G / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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