Joint Masters and PhD Programs

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What are Joint Masters and PhD Programs?

Dual masters and PhD programs allow you to seamlessly earn a masters degree then a PhD. Referred to as dual degrees, joint degrees, or masters and PhD combined degrees, grad schools with these practical programs provide a formal plan of study for completing two degrees at the same time.

Explore this list of a dozen partner grad schools with dual masters and doctoral programs.

  1. Boston University
  2. University of Southern California
  3. Fairleigh Dickinson University
  4. American University
  5. Nova Southeastern University
  6. George Mason University
  7. Widener University
  8. New York University
  9. Pennsylvania State University
  10. Loyola University of Chicago
  11. Boston College

Featured Schools

Depending on the school and the type of dual degree you’re pursuing, usually the same institution offers both programs. However, at other schools, you may pursue your masters and PhD at two different universities that have a partnership agreement.

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What is a Dual Degree Program or Joint Masters and PhD Programs?

A dual degree program is typically structured to double-count some of students’ earned course credits to the completion of both degrees – masters and PhD. While the policies that govern these programs vary, essentially, dual masters and doctorate degree programs allow participants to:

  • Meld two different interests and study immersion-style
  • Customize their course plan
  • Bulk up a resume with extra skills and knowledge
  • Research at the highest academic level
  • Course share instead of completing the same material twice

How to Apply to Joint Masters and PhD programs?

Applicants for dual masters and doctorate degree programs may need to apply separately for admission to both the schools within their university. This then indicates their intent to pursue a dual degree.

As a result, you should talk to admissions counselors and program directors during the application process. That’s one way to ensure you have all the required materials for starting graduate study.

Dual Degree vs Double Major

Joint masters and PhD programs are not to be confused with double majors or two degrees at the same academic level. A conjoined Masters/PhD program blends two postgraduate programs in areas such as:

  • Business administration
  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Medicine
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Nursing

The curriculum usually draws from the syllabus of both programs, though the course load is a bit heavier. This may stretch out time to completion. But still usually takes less time than earning the degrees separately.

For example, American University offers a MA / PhD in Psychology. In this case. courses are an in-depth analysis in concentrations such as Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology.

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12 Common Joint Masters and PhD Programs

Some grad schools with joint masters and PhD degree programs may have a separate page devoted to dual degree and joint degree programs. Then again, they might require a conversation with the departments.

Below are some common programs to consider, including dual masters and PhD programs online. Remember, though you may not see the particular dual degree you’re looking for, this list of schools is open to joint masters and PhD degrees. Therefore, contact admissions to see if the one you want to pursue is a possibility.

Are there PhD and MBA dual degree programs?

There are multiple MBA / PhD joint programs to consider that enable graduate degree students to hone their grasp of the day to day management issues that today’s professional face along with functional skills in another area. In many of these programs, the MBA coursework usually comes first.

Here are a few joint masters and PhD programs in business administration to check out, with partner programs that offer each type of dual degree.


Executive MBA/Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Students at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Carey Business School could study patient care and safety as they deepen their grasp of corporate leadership in a DNP / Executive MBA. The first step is learning more about the Executive MBA and adding a DNP.

During this program, courses strive to teach problem solving skills as students refine their ability to lead health care teams through a blended course plan. This melds the core of an MBA (operations, marketing, finance) with the essentials of a DNP, such as population health and translational evidence.

Dual Degree Programs at Johns Hopkins:


Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The dual-degree program in business and law is planned out so that students might complete both degrees with six fewer courses than would be required if the degrees were pursued separately. Students who complete the dual degree earn an MBA with a focus in business law as well as the JD degree.

Meld interests in business with the background needed to function in the legal sectors through a Joint JD/MBA program at George Mason University.

Dual Degree Programs at George Mason University:


MBA / Doctor of Medicine (MD)

During these programs, tomorrow’s doctors analyze how to more efficiently run independent practices or pursue leadership roles in hospitals by developing savvy boardroom skills.

The joint MBA / MD program at Boston University is designed for students who are interested in both clinical medicine and the business side of healthcare. This program usually takes students five years to complete and covers topics in both profit and non-profit settings.

Dual Degree Programs at Boston University:


MBA / Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

While pursuing an MBA/PharmD degree, the curriculum blends business courses with a health care-infused syllabus and advanced pharmacy practice. For example, Nova Southeastern University offers a joint MBA / PharmD degree where you might complete a final project that could satisfy two of nine required advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).

Dual Degree Programs at Nova Southeastern University:

Additional MBA Programs at Nova Southeastern:


MBA / Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Dual Masters and PhD Programs in Psychology sometimes admit students to the MBA program during their second yea, as this is one of the programs where the MBA course come after initial courses in the PsyD program.

One example is the MBA / PsyD joint degree at Widener University, which is designed for students pursuing I/O psychology, consulting psychology, or organizational psychology. In this program, the core curriculum, applied field experiences, and professional development activities integrate clinical psychology with an in-depth analysis of organizational and business systems.

Dual Degree Programs at Widener University:

Masters and PhD Combined Programs in Law

For students who want to combine interests in law with a firmer grasp of policy and politics, there are several options to consider, such as the programs and sponsored listings below.


Juris Doctor (JD) / MA in International Affairs

The combined masters and doctorate program exposes international law enthusiasts to political, historical, and economic classes relevant to a career in international practice. At American University, students could pair a JD/MA in International Affairs.

Dual Degree Programs at American University:


Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Connect analytic thinking with an understanding of legal systems in a joint JD / MPP. Students examine how to craft legislation and assess public policy while they analyze legal practices that further (and prevent) policy implementation.

One of these programs is the JD / MPP program at the University of Southern California, which allows students to blend the analytical skills of public policy and an understanding of legal institutions and processes.

Dual Degree Programs at USC:


Juris Doctor (JD) / Master of Education (MEd)

Dual masters and PhD programs in Education could bridge courses in constitutional law with organizational theory. Students analyze theories, techniques, and methods of comparative and international education while they study civil procedure, contracts, and legal analysis.

Penn State University Law (PSL) and the Higher Education (HI ED) Program offer a joint degree program where you could earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Education (MEd) in Higher Education.

Joint Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Health

Some universities offer client-centered health and medicine programs with other degrees that may round out the curriculum. These programs are usually intensive and include some type of clinical practice as well as coursework.

In addition, the time it takes to earn these degrees vary depending on a number of factors, so be sure to check with a number of programs to find the option that’s perfect for you.

Check out some of the most common programs below and some of the sponsored schools that offer them.


Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) / Master of Public Health (MPH)

These programs offer dental students the opportunity to work towards a dual DDM/MPH, such as the Doctor of Dental Medicine and Master of Public Health program at NYU.

In their MPH courses, dental content is seamlessly integrated into the core through topics such as biostatistics for dental research and financing dental care.


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – DNP

Licensed RNs might consider doubling up on nursing degrees through a BSN to DNP pathway.

Many schools offer a BSN – DNP which rolls the MSN into the doctor of nursing practice degree.

Typically, these programs usually take three to four years for full-time students, depending on the program and concentration you choose, as the curriculum combine nursing courses and practicum along the way to advanced practice nursing.

Schools like Farleigh Dickinson University offers a BSN to DNP pathway with a choice of tracks such as clinical leadership and organizational leadership.

Dual Degree Programs at FDU:

Interested in these programs? Check out some of the other Nursing Bridge Programs


Medical Doctor (MD) / PhD

Research-oriented medical students could pursue a physician and scientist pathway via the MD/PhD program offered at Loyola University of Chicago. Candidates are not formally admitted to the PhD program until they have completed all of the preclinical subjects of the medical curriculum and Part I of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

Dual Degree Programs at Loyola University:


Master of Social Work (MSW) / PhD

For those who want to research and enhance their social work clinical skills, check out Boston College for a joint MSW and PhD in Social Work.

Another option is Widener’s joint MSW/PhD in human sexuality which strives to prepare professional social workers to pursue career avenues such as teaching, consulting, conducting research, and providing counsel and therapy in a variety of settings on complex issues of human sexuality.

Dual Degree Programs at Boston College:

Another Option from Widener University:

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