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Question: What Is the Difference Between a Dual Specialization and a Dual Degree MBA Program?

Answer: A dual specialization means something very different from a dual degree in the context of MBA programs. A dual specialization indicates that a student has completed advanced MBA coursework in two areas of concentration, for example marketing and finance. A dual degree program indicates that a student is enrolled concurrently in an MBA program and a separate graduate degree program in a field like medicine, nursing, law, computer science, engineering, environmental studies, or applied science.

Dual Specialization vs. Dual Degree MBA Programs

Specializations are integrated into many MBA programs as part of the Master of Business Administration curriculum. They consist of two or more courses in a specific and specialized area of business operations and management. These specialization may include advanced coursework in many of the basic business functions like accounting, finance, and marketing, as well as in particular areas of business, including engineering management, healthcare management, hospitality management, and information technology management. A specialization does not constitute a separate degree. Rather, it indicates that a student has completed a certain number of upper-level courses that focus on unique aspects of business operations and management in a specific field. Many programs allow students to choose more than one of these specializations, which constitutes a dual specialization MBA.

Dual degree MBA programs are set to up for students who want to pursue an MBA and a second graduate degree concurrently, rather than sequentially. This allows students to earn an MBA and a complementary degree in law, medicine, science, engineering, education, technology, and many other fields in less time than it would normally take to earn the two degrees separately. For example, there are programs that allow students to earn an MBA and a Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) in three years as opposed to the four years it might typically take to complete the two programs separately. However, enrolling in a dual degree program extends the time it takes to earn just an MBA. The advantage of a dual degree program is that, in addition to shortening the overall time to completion for both degrees, it allows students to integrate MBA training with training in another field, and in some cases there may be courses that can count toward crediting in both programs.

MBA Dual Specializations and Dual Degrees

There is no direct parallel between a dual specialization and a dual degree in the context of MBA programs. The first indicates that a student has taken several courses in an area related to business administration, which is akin to majoring or minoring in a particular discipline as an undergraduate. A dual degree, on the other hand, refers to a program of studies that leads to the conferral of two distinct graduate degrees – e.g., an MBA and a Doctor of Medicine (MD); an MBA and a Juris Doctor (JD); an MBA and a Master or Public Policy (MPP); or an MBA and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). A dual specialization does not impact the application process to an MBA program; a dual degree program requires students to apply and gain admissions to two separate graduate programs. A dual specialization typically does not add additional crediting requirements to an MBA program; a dual degree requires students to complete the crediting requirements for an MBA and for the second degree program. And, unlike a dual degree program, which takes longer than an MBA program to complete, a dual specialization can be completed in the time it would normally take to finish an MBA program.

Examples of Dual Specialization and Dual Degree MBA Programs

Common MBA dual specializations include:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Accounting and Taxation
  • Analytics and Finance
  • Analytics and Marketing
  • Analytics and Accounting
  • Cybersecurity and Logistics
  • Human Resource Management and Organizational Leadership
  • Marketing and Finance
  • Marketing an Operations Management
  • Marketing and Human Resource Management
  • Operations and Human Resource Management

Common dual degrees include:

  • MBA/Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • MBA/Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • MBA/Juris Doctor (JD)
  • MBA/Master of Education (MEd)
  • MBA/Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • MBA/Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • MBA/Master of International Affairs (MIA)
  • MBA/Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • MBA/Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MB/Master of Public Policy (MPP)
  • MBA/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • MBA/Master of Social Work (MSW)

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