Interdisciplinary expertise grows in value as the traditional lines between public and private organizations increasingly blur. Today's governments and nonprofits employ increasingly innovative and entrepreneurial approaches, and many contemporary businesses consider their social responsibility and contribution. Consequently, organizations value a diverse blend of management skills, knowledge, and acumen.
Learners who pursue a dual master of business administration (MBA) and master of public administration (MPA) online prepare themselves for upper-level careers in this changing landscape. Allowing enrollees to earn two master's degrees through a single 2-3 year program, the MBA MPA program's overlapping core courses reduce credit requirement totals. Many online dual-degree programs entail 60 credits, which is less than earning both degrees separately.
MBA MPA dual-degree program applicants usually must meet prerequisites for both programs. Applicants usually need a bachelor's degree, a 3.0 minimum GPA, good GMAT or GRE scores, and sometimes two years of professional experience.
MBA MPA graduates can make a good living, particularly in the private sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites a median annual wage of $69,820 for business and financial occupations, while PayScale data indicates that MBA graduates average nearly $89,000 annually.
What Can I Do With an MBA MPA Dual Degree?
A master's in public administration or public policy focuses heavily on policy ethics and analysis, often preparing graduates for local government positions. An MBA equips graduates for management positions in the private sector. Earning both degrees empowers graduates to pursue administrative, regulatory, or analyst careers in either or both private and public sectors.
Possible nonprofit or government sector careers include social or community service manager, community outreach coordinator, policy coordinator, or policy analyst. These nonprofit careers often pay between $40,000 and $65,000, but salaries depend on credentials and professional experience. Professionals with two master's-level degrees can often considerably increase their earning potential.
Many professionals pursue an MBA MPA dual degree to transition from one sector to the other, or to qualify for salary advancement or promotion. Common business careers for online MBA MPA graduates include management analyst, business consultant, compliance officer, and financial manager. According to the BLS, these professionals earn median annual salaries between $73,000 and $130,000.
Some MBA MPA dual-degree programs offer niche specialization options that can further prepare graduates for particular careers.
What is a Dual Degree Program?
Unlike single master's or MBA programs, which often entail 30-50 credits, an MBA MPA dual-degree program allows enrollees to earn two degrees by completing 50-60 credits. Dual degree curricula typically include about 20 core courses from each discipline, plus some elective or concentration credits. Because several core courses meet core requirements for both degrees, dual degree enrollees complete fewer credits than they would if earning each degree separately.
Dual-degree programs often require 2-3 years to complete, with timelines depending on transfer credits, enrollment status, and program design. Dual-degree program applicants typically must meet admission requirements such as holding a minimum 3.0 GPA and an accredited bachelor's degree related to either or both disciplines. Many programs require applicants to submit recommendation letters, GMAT or GRE scores, and a resume detailing related professional experience.
Accreditation for an MBA MPA Dual-Degree Program
Prospective students can help ensure their education's return on investment by choosing MBA MPA dual-degree programs and schools that meet high programmatic and institutional accreditation standards. A voluntary evaluation and improvement process administered by accrediting agencies approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), accreditation may affect financial aid and credit transfer.
Only students at schools accredited by CHEA-approved national or regional accrediting agencies can receive federal financial aid. Degrees and credits from nationally accredited schools usually do not transfer to regionally accredited schools because the former do not meet the latter's rigorous academic standards.
Good public administration programs may also hold programmatic accreditation by organizations such as the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. Top business programs are often accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Prospective learners can verify accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education's accreditation database.
Distinct from an MBA concentration, an MBA dual degree incorporates substantial coursework from two degree areas and awards two degrees.
Yes, master's graduates can earn an MBA. Some MBA programs accept transfer of relevant prior graduate coursework credits, thereby shortening time-to-degree.
A dual-degree program combines core and elective courses from two programs and confers both degrees to enrollees upon graduation.
Dual-degree programs typically involve more credits than a single program. However, the added time investment often proves worthwhile for students seeking the expanded career options that accompany possession of two degrees.
What Are the Requirements for an MBA MPA Dual Degree?
Many dual-degree programs require applicants to meet admission prerequisites and standards for both the MBA and the MPA programs. Applicants typically need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, at least two years of relevant professional work experience, and above-average GMAT scores (or their equivalent). Eligible candidates demonstrate commitment to professionalism and leadership. Applicants must typically submit recommendation letters, official transcripts, resumes, and essays.
MPA MBA programs usually require at least 60 credits of core and specialization coursework from both disciplines. By entering a dual-degree program, enrollees often complete 12-24 fewer credits than they would need to earn each degree separately. To graduate, MBA MPA students typically must complete a capstone project or internship involving a real-world worksite.
Courses in an MBA MPA Dual Degree Program
Typically combining core coursework and electives from both subject areas, MBA MPA dual-degree programs prepare graduates for careers identifying and solving organizational and societal problems. Through coursework, internships, and capstone projects, MBA MPA programs build advanced skills in data collection, analysis, policy and program design, and leadership.
Some programs may emphasize policy while others focus on business management. Common concentration courses include human resources management, policy studies, and public finance. See below for common courses in many MBA MPA curricula. However, note that MBA MPA program curricula vary by school.
Often a core requirement in MPA MBA programs, this course covers financial management techniques and tools that many public service agencies use. Enrollees learn core budget types, including zero-based, program and performance, and line-item budgeting. By discussing the politics, principles, and decision-making involved in budgeting and engaging students in case studies and applied exercises, this course teaches learners how to oversee organizational finances and produce effective budgets for public sector organizations.
Sometimes a core component in both MBA and MPA programs, this course surveys computer information systems (CIS) principles, practices, risks, and costs. Students learn the values, advantages, and challenges of CIS technologies. Enrollees learn how to successfully implement CIS in various business contexts and functions, including supply chain, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management. The course also explores various ethical, legal, and social problems related to using CIS in business. Most courses feature both theoretical concepts and real-world applications.
Offering management perspectives on how to form and implement strategies, make decisions, and manage personnel, this core MBA course sometimes includes a capstone experience. Courses in some MPA programs teach methods for auditing, analyzing situations, and creating short-term and long-term strategic goals and plans. Through analytical tools and techniques, enrollees identify environmental and market trends, opportunities, and threats. By using case studies or simulations, this course prepares aspiring managers for successful strategic and operational planning and implementation.
A required course in many MPA programs, this course surveys relevant public service values, legal statutes, and practice standards. Learners study democratic participation, public interest, efficacy, and law. Students also learn about transparency laws, public resource use, financial gains laws, and public service decision-making. This course integrates theoretical perspectives and practical applications by incorporating case studies highlighting public management ethical issues and problems.
Some MBA MPA programs include an optional or required practicum or internship experience. Most practicum capstones focus on real-world issues and problems, particularly those facing an organization where students may already work. Some practica require an approved proposal, fieldwork and other research, a written paper, and an oral presentation. After completing various prerequisites, learners often take this course during the latter semesters of the program.
Certifications and Licensure for MBA MPA Majors
MBA and MPA degrees meet or exceed minimum education requirements for many public and business administration careers. However, earning a professional certification can further enhance job-seekers' qualifications. The following certifications serve aspiring public service managers, project management professionals, and financial management professionals in various sectors and industries.
Administered by the National Certified Public Manager Consortium (NCPMC), this certification requires applicants to complete a 300-hour NCPMC-accredited program that typically includes an examination, seminar, and capstone project. Enrollees demonstrate competencies in six areas, including change leadership, personal and organizational integrity, public service, and systemic integration. CPM certification requires a bachelor's degree, strong communication and management skills, public administration knowledge, and related professional experience.
Serving current or aspiring project managers in various contexts, this certification requires a four-year degree, 35 hours of project management training or education, and 36 months of experience leading projects. An additional 24 months of project management experience can replace the four-year degree requirement. PMP candidates also must pass the certification examination.
Serving professionals pursuing careers in public administration or financial management, CMA certification requires Institute of Management Accountants membership, a bachelor's degree from an accredited school or an approved professional certification, two continuous years of experience in financial management or management accounting, and passing results on the CMA examination.
Professional Organizations for MBA MPA Students
Business administration and public administration professionals and students experience many benefits from joining professional organizations, including continuing education programming, networking opportunities, and updates on current trends and developments. Professional organizations also frequently host conferences and maintain job boards and other career resources. Some professional groups perform advocacy, raise public awareness, and disseminate useful research findings.
American Society for Public Administration
A nonprofit for public administration professionals, scholars, and researchers, ASPA offers online learning, conferences, and a job board. Public administration students can forge professional connections and receive guidance through the young scholars' workshop, the student summit, and the fellowship program.
Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management
Committed to research and education in public policy and administration, APPAM keeps public policy professionals current on relevant news and research, offers continuing education programming, and holds conferences. Public administration students qualify for lower membership fees and can explore mentor and career guidance opportunities.
American Management Association
A public administrator association boasting over 9,000 members, ICMA supports top-quality leadership principles and practices. The group offers fellowship opportunities, research, and continuing education programming. ICMA members can advance their careers through the organization's credential programs and job boards.
Scholarships for MBA MPA Students
Some college and graduate students may qualify for scholarships. These financial awards are often based on merit, financial need, field of study, or group membership. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment. Eligible MBA MPA enrollees may apply to business or public service scholarships, including the ones below.
Who Can Apply: Undergraduate juniors in the top quarter of their class planning to pursue public service graduate degrees and jobs may apply. Eligible candidates typically possess impressive leadership skills, communication skills, and community service resumes. The applicant's undergraduate institution's Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative must nominate the candidate. Only U.S. citizens or nationals may qualify.
Amount: Up to $30,000
Who Can Apply: Eligible applicants hold U.S. citizenship, maintain a 3.2 minimum GPA, and show acceptance to international affairs or other foreign policy-related graduate programs at approved professional or graduate schools. Rangel fellows receive foreign service appointments from the State Department and must serve for at least five years.
Amount: Up to $42,000 annually for up to two years
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to U.S. or Canadian minority students planning on government finance careers. Applicants must be enrolled full time in business-related programs. Eligible fields include public administration, finance, accounting, and economics. Applicants must submit a letter that addresses their current and future contributions to the public sector.
Who Can Apply: Sponsored by the Texas City Management Association, this scholarship goes to Texas students enrolled in graduate programs in public administration-related fields and planning on city government careers. Eligible students take at least six credits per semester in graduate programs entailing at least one year or 30 credits of coursework.
Who Can Apply: The American Society for Public Administration awards this scholarship to members aspiring to public service careers and attending public administration-related graduate programs.
Best Online MBA MPA Dual Degree Programs 2020
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
A large, public university in Amherst, Massachusetts, UMass Amherst ranks among the nation's best colleges. UMass' College of Social & Behavioral Sciences' School of Public Policy runs an MPPA MBA online dual degree program for aspiring leaders across government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors.
To complete this three-year program, students complete a year in one program before beginning core coursework for the second program during year two. During year three, enrollees usually complete remaining elective requirements. Program length depends on part-time or full-time attendance pacing. Each of these two degrees requires a summer internship, so students maintain engagement with this online dual degree program year-round.
Most enrollees have at least two years of public policy or administration professional experience. Applicants submit GRE scores, two recommendation letters, a purpose statement, and official transcripts. UMass Amherst maintains rolling admissions.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
A large state school based in Corvallis, OSU offers both dual-major and concurrent master's degree options for online students interested in public policy and business administration.
Dual-major master's students earn one degree but get to incorporate courses from two majors. Students need formal admission to both majors and must complete all degree requirements and exams for both majors. Examination and thesis committees must include faculty from both majors. To graduate, students need at least 60 credits, which usually takes full-time learners at least three years to complete.
Concurrent degree candidates must complete all requirements, including capstone projects and experiences, for both majors. This option may take almost twice as long as the dual-degree option. Often serving working students seeking career advancement, OSU's master of public policy builds knowledge and skills for domestic and international public service careers. The MBA program emphasizes global perspectives, social responsibility, and innovation in business administration.
Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Known for its emphasis on experiential learning and social justice, HU is private liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota. HU offers a hybrid or online MBA MPA dual degree program that highlights the need for multi-sector approaches to complex business and public administration issues.
Students can pursue online or hybrid versions of the MBA and MPA. Online coursework runs asynchronously, allowing working students to participate during after-work hours. Hybrid students attend weekend residencies every eight weeks. Degree timelines vary based on learners' enrollment pace and prior coursework. Most online students enroll part time and take at least three years to complete this dual degree program.
Online MBA courses cover topics such as cybersecurity, leadership and change management, and business analytics. MPA coursework focuses on decision-making, data analytics, and public policy analysis.
HU offers rolling admissions and does not require GMAT scores. Application requirements include a resume, two recommendations, official transcripts, and a personal statement.
Hamline University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Appalachian State University
One of 17 University of North Carolina campuses, Appalachian rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the town of Boone, North Carolina. Appalachian's 60-credit MBA MPA dual degree program prepares graduates for leadership roles in business or public organizations.
Distance learners complete a part-time version of this program designed for working students.
This online dual degree program entails 21 MBA and 21 MPA credits, six credits of shared courses, six internship or field research credits, and 12 elective credits. MBA courses include executive skills, business analytics, managerial finance, and an international experience. MPA coursework covers public policy analysis and program evaluation, budgeting and fiscal administration, public personnel administration, and two capstone courses.
Eligible applicants hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and knowledge of core business topics including economics, corporate finance, organizational behavior, and statistics. Evidence of this foundational MBA knowledge can come from professional experience, coursework from a prior school, or Appalachian's accelerated prerequisite program. Application requirements include GRE or GMAT scores.
Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A public university located in Lubbock, Texas Tech offers a 42-credit MBA dual degree program that permits enrollees to add a second master's degree for as few as 12 additional credits. A collaborative effort by Rawls College and other colleges, the dual degree path requires 12-24 fewer credits than earning two degrees separately.
The MBA entails 24 required credits in topics such as leadership and ethics, strategic and global management, and financial management. Enrollees also complete 12 MBA elective credits and 12 credits from the second master's program. Texas Tech's MPA program may include an internship but does not require a thesis. MBA MPA students cultivate advanced skills in leadership, policy and program analysis, problem-solving, and communication. Distance learning may entail synchronous and asynchronous participation.
Texas Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.