Programs leading to dual Master’s degrees are becoming increasingly popular in both the online education world as well as in more traditional on campus programs. In some cases, dual masters’ degrees are awarded from two separate schools while other programs offer dual degrees from within the same university.
UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, often cited as having one of the best MBA programs in the country for both their online courses and on campus programs, has an exciting new program called the Global EMBA for Asia Pacific. There is a similar track focusing on the Americas, the GMBA-Americas.
Both programs are designated as Executive MBA (EMBA) degree offerings that have as a cornerstone of their admission policies a requirement of ten years’ full-time work experience after receiving their bachelor’s degree and to currently be in a high-level managerial position. The Global EMBA program consists of six 2-week segments spread out over 15 months. Two of the segments are offered in Los Angeles, two in Singapore, one in Shanghai, and one in Bangalore and New Delhi. During the interim periods, students maintain their existing full-time jobs while maintaining active interaction with faculty and fellow students online.
At the conclusion of the 15-month program, the successful student will receive two MBA’s degrees, one from UCLA, and the other from the National University of Singapore. In the case of students choosing the GMBA-Americas option, UAI Escuela de Negocios in Chile will award the second MBA degree.
UCLA is not alone in offering innovative and exciting dual graduate degree programs. An increasing number of universities, both traditional on-campus programs and online schools, as well as hybrids of both online and on campus degree programs, are realizing the advantages of offering a path for students to gain dual degrees. In many cases, the dual degrees can be obtained with a significant reduction in the total number of credit hours and overall cost, when compared to the cost and time required for getting two separate degrees.
Stanford recently announced a dual program leading to an MS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA. Wharton School of Business offers a three-year program leading to an MBA from Wharton and a J.D from Penn State. Yale allows students enrolled in their J.D. program to select from a variety of master degree programs offered by Yale to get a J.D. and MS degree at the same time.
In the world of pure online schools, Benedictine University offers dual masters degree choices entirely online in several combinations, including an MS in Nursing and an MBA; MBA plus an MS in Management and Organizational Behavior; and an MBA plus an MS in Public Health. The university notes that students pursuing a dual online track will save up to 25% of the time, and costs compared to pursuing each degree separately.
Kelley Direct Programs, part of Indiana University Kelley School of Business, offers five different options for adding an additional master’s degree to the core MBA program. Taking these programs separately would require 81 total credit hours, while the combined program takes only 63 credit hours, saving the student substantial time and cost.
The caution for students enrolling in the dual degree programs is realizing that the academic workload will be substantial. While colleges have recognized that a dual degree program can effectively eliminate some overlap in coursework, students are still expected to show a high level of mastery of the course material in both programs. While some programs, such as the UCLA Global EMBA program are set to end within a specific time, others allow the student to take as much time as needed to complete the requirements. The danger for a student who underestimates the time requirements is that they could end up attending class, either on campus or online, for years and not realize enough credits in either program to get either degree.
Some programs allow a hybrid of online courses and on campus courses in earning dual degrees. This permits the student to focus on the primary degree on campus while taking the second degree online, either concurrently or electing to finish the secondary degree at a later date.
The potential payoff to the student of having multiple masters’ degrees is undeniable. A potential employer will see the dual degree holder not only as having a greater skill set with the dual degrees, but will also be impressed by the demonstration of ambition, focus, and self-discipline required to earn dual degrees.
The incremental cost of the second degree in a dual program will be substantially less than taking two separate program tracks spread out over time. In fact, the UCLA GMBA program, is a 15-month program leading to two MBA degrees, has a cost of $102,688 plus the student is responsible for their own travel and per diem costs in the four overseas study segments. However, the standard UCLA EMBA program, with a two-year on campus track, has a total tuition of $138,758. Unless a student spends more than $35,000 in travel cost, the GMBA student will have two degrees in 15 months, compared to one degree in 2 years and at less cost.