Many motivated students have a hard time narrowing their interests down to just one. When you’re trying to find the most fulfilling academic path, choosing a major is often where you could get tied up and experience stress because you can’t settle on just one area of study. If you’re one of these aspiring professionals, pursuing a dual degree could be just the right thing.
What is a dual degree?
When you’re going back to school for your master’s degree, a dual degree can be extremely valuable and impressive to employers. Students enroll in two programs that typically allow some credits to apply to both, which makes it easier for these degree seekers to graduate in a shorter time than if they pursued each credential separately. For instance, rather than earn two separate master’s degrees in four years, students can typically earn a dual degree in about three years if they attend school full time.
Most colleges provide suggestions to students about which fields of study can match appropriately with other degrees, such as music and business, broadcasting and management or public health and physical therapy.
Master’s degree in public health
If you’re someone who has always found a passion for encouraging healthy lifestyles and providing a service to others, a career in public health could be a wise opportunity for you. Complex health issues that are constantly a hot topic of debate will be at the helm of your course curriculum, as well as pressing issues like environmental hazards, ways to improve substance abuse problems and controlling infectious diseases.
Additionally the type of role you may take in the public health sector can appear drastically different, depending on your interests. You can teach public health, be an administrative manager, social worker, attorney or environmentalist, among other diverse roles.
Choose the right dual degree
After you’ve decided that you’re going to graduate school for your public health master’s degree, you can start to research other areas that may complement your program. At the University of Southern California, for example, the master of social work program aligns with the public health master’s degree, allowing you to further pursue your desire to help others and potentially work in a nonprofit organization, promoting health and improving health services in whichever community you may live.
The double degree compiles 81 credit units, and 16 can fulfill requirements for both degrees. The average time that most students complete this intensive program is three years – however, two years is possible for those who are seeking a more accelerated track and are interested in taking summer courses as well.
In general, consider what your career goals are and think about what skills you will need to make them a reality. For example, if you dream of opening your own public health organization, perhaps a master’s degree in public health coupled with a master’s degree in social work would give you the knowledge you need. While the communications program could teach you more about PR, the MBA program could help you develop the entrepreneurial skills you would need to run your own business.
When beginning the job hunt, degree holders with two master’s degrees under their belt might stand out among even the toughest competition. You can begin looking for openings at hospitals, government agencies, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, all of which often hire specialists who can assist them with social and healthcare services.
One of the greatest aspects of earning advanced degrees is making valuable connections in your particular area of expertise. Many of your peers have likely already stepped out into the work world and may know of job opportunities that could be perfect for you, or you could stumble upon a dream internship opportunity while finishing your degrees.
As a dual master’s degree holder, the doors to many advanced positions are now wide open, allowing you to apply to jobs that may require training other staff members or consulting with colleagues on ways to improve office practices.