Should I Get an MS/MBA Dual Degree?

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Updated October 10, 2022

Are you interested in getting more than one degree at the same time? Explore this page to learn more about MS/MBA dual degrees.

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An MS/MBA dual-degree program allows an enrollee to simultaneously pursue a master of science (MS) and a master of business administration (MBA) degree. The result is two separate degrees that graduates can use to advance their skills and careers. This dual-degree program teaches content from both disciplines. Therefore, enrollees explore a combination of courses that can lead to diverse career opportunities.

For instance, graduates of these programs can pursue work as healthcare administrators, environmental project managers, or computer and information systems managers. Depending on their industry and position, they may work with many other professionals, including software developers, engineers, and financial analysts.

MS/MBA programs require each candidate to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some schools may specify a bachelor's degree in science or business and require prerequisite courses.

In this guide, discover the potential career and salary benefits of enrolling in an online MS/MBA dual-degree program.

Why Enroll in an Online MS/MBA Dual-Degree Program?

Online MS/MBA dual-degree programs allow learners to pursue two degrees at the same time. The online environment cuts commuting costs and time. Additionally, asynchronous classes offer added scheduling flexibility, benefiting enrollees who work full-time.

This program generally takes 2-3 years to complete, while single-degree graduate programs take 1-2 years, on average. However, some schools include accelerated options, especially if several courses in each program overlap.

Degree-seekers can expect per-credit tuition for a joint degree MS/MBA to align with costs for single-degree programs. Still, the total program may cost more because of its additional credit requirements.

With an online MS/MBA program, learners develop skills that can yield diverse opportunities in various industries. For example, learning supply chain management can be helpful in the manufacturing, transportation, and technology industries.

Consider the following skills these programs build:

  • Financial Accounting: This standard course in both degree programs explores the process of recording and reporting an organization's financial records. Students learn to track expenses and revenue through detailed financial statements. The process helps organizations analyze their financial health and prepare reports and tax payments.
  • Business Data Analysis: While an MS introduces data science courses, an MBA explores data analysis as it relates to business. Learners combine these concepts to monitor organizational trends and performance. They also use their data knowledge to offer recommendations to improve financial and operational performance.
  • Project Management: Science and business degrees usually include project management courses. These courses teach students to oversee and improve projects throughout their development. Learners develop the necessary time management, communication, and delegation skills to become effective leaders.
  • Marketing: An MS/MBA program covers marketing topics, such as customer analytics, marketing management, and digital marketing strategies. Enrollees use market research and customer data to inform marketing decisions. They also apply advertising, SEO, and analysis tools to improve advertising campaigns.

What to Expect From an MS/MBA Dual-Degree Program

An MS degree typically includes 30-40 credits and takes 1-2 years to complete. These programs emphasize science, tech, and mathematics but are available in various concentrations, such as bioengineering or computer science. MBAs, which typically comprise 60 credits, typically cover leadership and business strategy over two years.

A dual degree MS/MBA requires students to complete each degree in its entirety. Enrollees can expect to graduate from the dual-degree program in 2-3 years, depending on how many classes overlap between their degrees.

Choosing an accredited MS/MBA program can lead to higher credit transferability. After graduating, degree-holders can usually apply credits to other advanced degrees at accredited institutions.

Degree and Concentration Options

MS/MBA programs vary significantly among schools. Some institutions provide several MS concentration options for learners to personalize their degrees. Others have just one type of dual degree MS/MBA concentration or general MS programs.

Some potential MS concentrations for dual-degree programs include:

  • Engineering: Learners typically pursue MS in engineering degrees alongside MBAs to pursue work as principal engineers or engineering project managers.
  • Biotechnology: Biotechnology explores research, innovation, and technologies in life sciences. Graduates may become lead researchers, healthcare managers, or agricultural engineers.
  • Supply Chain Management: This concentration blends well with an MBA, as some courses and concepts overlap. Students pursuing MBA/MS degrees in supply chain management can seek employment as procurement managers and chief operations officers.
  • Healthcare Management: An aspiring healthcare administrator can choose to combine a healthcare management MS with an MBA. This program explores recordkeeping, risk management, and auditing.

Curriculum for MS/MBA Dual-Degree Programs

An MS/MBA dual-degree program typically offers two separate curricula with courses that may overlap, depending on the MS concentration. Courses also vary based on the type of MS degree.

For instance, MBAs include accounting and financial management courses. An enrollee pursuing a dual MBA and MS in finance may have these courses in both programs, but they only need to take them once.

The following list explores common courses found in dual degree MS/MBA programs.

  • Financial Accounting: This course covers business-focused accounting skills and practices. Students learn to evaluate organizations' financial health, analyze trends, and make strategic decisions. Investing, lowering product costs, and preparing reports are critical components of financial accounting courses.
  • Supply Chain Analytics: Corporate sustainability depends on data to inform pricing and vendor decisions. Learners discover how organizations manage supply chains and use data to lower costs for the company and consumers. They also explore practical ways to harvest, store, and analyze supply chain data.
  • Machine Learning: In this class, students work with artificial intelligence systems to better understand how computers learn and complete processes. They apply their knowledge to industries that rely on artificial intelligence, such as banking, manufacturing, and retail.
  • Financial Risk Management: This course emphasizes the importance of financial analysis and strategic policies to mitigate risk. Enrollees also study financial securities markets and learn to balance risk with wise investment decisions.
  • Business Ethics: Coursework explores the moral obligations of an organization and how to create policies that adhere to corporate social responsibilities. Enrollees also consider compliance standards to ensure that organizations conform to laws and regulations.
  • Global Marketing Management: Learners investigate marketing practices, market research, and how marketing applies to global economics. Topics may include customer analysis, brand management, and product planning and development. Coursework often provides opportunities to work with global business leaders to incorporate culture and global issues.

Admissions Process

Most colleges and universities have a science school for MS degrees and a business school for MBAs. For acceptance into an MS/MBA dual program, applicants must apply to each school and meet its requirements.

To enroll in an MS/MBA dual-degree program, a candidate should have graduated from an accredited bachelor's degree program. Although a business or science degree concentration is not always a prerequisite, completing this specialty can help applicants stand out.

Generally, these programs require each applicant to send official transcripts and pay an application fee. Students may also need to include resumes, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Additionally, some schools require GMAT or GRE scores.

MBA programs often interview applicants before acceptance. Interviews allow schools to get to know candidates more personally, understand their goals, and determine if they are a good fit for the program.

The ROI of an MS/MBA Dual-Degree Program

Do you wonder if the cost of a joint degree MS/MBA is worth it? Determining a dual-degree program's return on investment (ROI) can help you decide if your degrees can help pay for themselves after graduation.

An MS/MBA program costs an average of $40,000-$100,000, depending on residency status. This type of program usually costs more than a single degree program because of its heftier credit load.

Additionally, students should consider the time investment of pursuing a dual degree. These programs typically last 2-3 years, compared to a master's degree 1-2 year timeline. A lengthier program could lead to fewer work hours and lower compensation as a result.

However, an MS/MBA dual degree can offer a high ROI. Payscale's June 2022 data indicates that MBA-holders earn an average of $92,000 per year, and MS graduates earn $81,000 annually, on average. With combined degrees, potential salaries and career opportunities can increase.

Other benefits, like connecting to broader networks and developing more diverse skills, may also outweigh a dual-degree program's financial and time investments.

MS/MBA Career Opportunities After Graduating

Graduates of MS/MBA dual-degree programs can blend their science and business knowledge to pursue various engineering, computer science, and project management careers. This program prepares learners to lead teams of skilled professionals in finance, construction, healthcare, and other math and science-focused industries.

With the skills a student develops in an MS/MBA dual-degree program, they can pursue career paths with excellent salary potential. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median 2021 salary of $159,010 for information systems managers.

Explore a few careers MS/MBA dual degree graduates might pursue below.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts evaluate organizations' finances to offer suggestions for improvement. They also study trends, prepare reports, and attend company meetings to inform stakeholders.

Environmental Project Manager

These professionals oversee teams of environmental specialists and scientists. They delegate tasks, monitor research, and analyze data to ensure that projects progress as planned. Environmental project managers also consult with business executives to report results.

Information Systems Manager

Information systems managers determine the best setup, maintenance, and upgrade plans for organizations' computer systems. These professionals primarily find ways to enhance technical systems for efficiency and productivity.

Construction Manager

A construction manager can combine an MBA with an MS in engineering, construction, or architecture to lead construction projects and teams. In addition to overseeing a project's plan and progress, a construction manager may negotiate contracts and manage budgets. They also ensure that the project complies with legal and regulatory specifications.

Common Questions about MS/MBA Dual Degrees

How much does an MS/MBA dual-degree program cost?

An MS/MBA dual-degree program typically costs more than a single degree program due to its additional credits. Students can expect to pay $40,000-$100,000, on average, for a joint degree MS/MBA, depending on their residency status.

How much money can I earn with an MS/MBA dual degree?

Payscale's June 2022 data lists the average salary of an MBA-holder as $92,000, while individuals with MS degrees earn an average of $81,000 annually. Some graduates may find increased job opportunities and salary potential with dual degrees.

Is an MS/MBA dual degree worth it?

An MS/MBA dual program can increase desirability to employers. Graduates can also broaden their career opportunities, thanks to the extra skills developed within two master's degrees.

What is an MS/MBA dual degree?

An MS/MBA dual degree combines a master of science curriculum with the course load of a master of business administration. Students complete both programs and receive two degrees, usually taking a few months to a year longer than a single degree program.

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