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Dual Degree Programs: Is It Right For Me?

Many of us are passionate about medicine because it gives us the freedom to chase after our goals. Other careers may provide similar opportunities, but medicine allows us to provide a lifetime of service. Today I want to talk about combined dual degree programs to show that careers in medicine can have a creative element when it comes to providing service. Dual degree programs are on the rise! Some of the popular Dual Degree programs include MD/PhD, MD/MPH (Masters in Public Health); MD/JD (Juris Doctor) and MD/MBA. These various dual degree programs help serve the multiple interests that many of us have.

For anyone who is interested in doing medical research and being a physician at the same time, MD/PhD is the correct program to look into! MD/PhD is combined program that focuses on developing physician scientists. A large percent of these graduates focus on medical research and teaching along with practice. This program allows physicians to be flexible with their interests. However, the process to becoming an MD/PhD graduate is a lengthy haul. Most programs last 7-8 years after undergraduate coursework which includes 2 years of medical and graduate coursework along with 3-5 years of doctoral research and a thesis. Despite this lengthy process, a survey that was done with medical school graduates show that graduates are highly satisfied with their education. In fact, more than 80% of them stated that they would repeat the program if they had to do it all over again!

Now for those of us interested in community health and overall population health, MD/MPH is the right program to consider! Graduates with MD/MPH are able to identify public health issues and implement evidence-based approach to health care. The process to becoming an MD/MPH is a 5 year long process after undergraduate. MPH portion of course could be in the first/second year of medical school where students can decide to have specific concentrations. Some of the concentrations can include Child and Family Health, Global Health Leadership, Environmental Health, Public Health Policy and Health Education and Promotion.

There are also many of us who have a strong desire to fight for what is right. For anyone with this fighting spirit, MD/JD is the dual degree program for you to consider! MD/JD graduates are able to work in academia, government, private sector pursuing health policies, bioethics, or biotechnology. It is important for me to express that this education in Law and Medicine will equip individuals to make health care decisions that will benefit citizens. The process to becoming an MD/JD is 6 years. Applicants applying to medical schools must also apply to a JD program at a law school separately (which requires taking the LSAT). The first 2 years of the 6 years will be MD education, the next 2 will be JD education, and the remaining 2 years will be combined MD and JD coursework.

It is also important to consider that medicine is not just about health care, but it is also a business. For those of us interested in the business aspect of medicine, MD/MBA is the right program to consider! This program allows physicians to have roles in hospital administration, healthcare policy research, or pharmaceuticals/insurance companies. These roles provide flexibility in regards to determining what type of medical career is right for you. MD/MBA is a 5 year program. This program requires GRE/GMAT along with MCAT for both medical and business school requirements. However, students do not apply to the actual business program until 2nd year of medical school.

I hope that this discussion fulfills the purpose of showing that the medical field is full of options for all of us who have a variety of interests and is definitely not limited! Combined dual degree programs are one way to fulfill our endless desires!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you all stay safe!

Considering a combined degree: MD-PhD, MD-MBA, MD-MPH, MD-JD. (2018, October 03). Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/considering-combined-degree-md-phd-md-mba-md-mph/

Popular Combined Degree Programs for MDs. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://www.princetonreview.com/med-school-advice/combined-degree-programs

Sauerwein, K. (2017, May 19). Many Washington University medical students seek dual degrees: The Source: Washington University in St. Louis. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://source.wustl.edu/2017/05/many-washington-university-medical-students-seek-dual-degrees/

Weiner, S. (2018, May 08). Majority of MD-PhD Graduates Pursue Research, New Report Finds. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/majority-md-phd-graduates-pursue-research-new-report-finds

MD-PhD in the Social Sciences or Humanities: Is it Right for Me? (2015, August 26). Retrieved September 11, 2020, from https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/article/md-phd-social-sciences-or-humanities-it-right-me/

What are the Different Types of Joint Degrees Available? (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2020, from https://www.bestmastersdegrees.com/best-masters-degrees-faq/what-are-the-different-types-of-joint-degrees-available

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