MD and MPA Programs

MD and MPA programs offer graduate students a unique opportunity to earn dual degrees in medicine and public administration. Students enrolled in an MD/MPA program can expect to spend four to five years studying foundational medicine, health policy, and economics. Schools offering Public Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Admittance Requirements for MD and MPA Programs

Students hoping to gain admittance into an MD/MPA program should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Also, applicants are commonly required to submit academic essays showing proof of prior medical knowledge, transcripts from all institutions attended by the student, professional and personal recommendation letters, and standardized test scores. Prospective MD/MPA students may be required to attend and pass an interview with department staff before gaining admittance in the program. Many MD/MPA programs stipulate that prospective students must gain acceptance into both a medical school and a university before pursuing the MD/MPA dual degree track.

Common Courses in MD and MPA Programs

An MD/MPA program typically requires four to five years of full-time study to complete. Once enrolled in an MD/MPA program, students are expected to study courses in advanced medical sciences and health policy, in addition to courses leadership and economics.

Management and Leadership

A course in management and leadership often prepares graduate students to take on the complex challenges associated with administration and management positions. Students enrolled in such a course typically learn how to market their skill set, improve their self-confidence, and communicate with coworkers and employees more effectively and efficiently.

Introduction to Public Policy

An introduction to public policy course typically has several aims though most tend to focus on policy analysis. Students enrolled in an introduction to public policy course will likely practice analytic discussion of policymaking and its outcomes, an integral lesson for anyone seeking to earn their MPA degree.

Health Systems

Medical students are often required to take a health systems course that educates students on the organization and leadership roles within domestic and international health systems. This course may also seek to focus on the financial determinants that shape modern health systems and common challenges facing modern health care systems.

Health Economics

A course in health economics often focuses on the policies and economic factors that contribute to the state of the health care industry. The role that the government plays in the market for health care and health insurance is also a commonly addressed topic.

Issues in Health Policy

In addition to foundational knowledge of anatomy and physiology, the majority of medical students are required to take courses that explore contemporary issues and challenges in health policy. A heavy focus on government roles in health policy is standard, though some curriculums may also include specific issues drawn from current events.

MD and MPA Program Career Paths

Urban and Regional Planner

Urban and regional planners are responsible for planning new communities, composing and recommending residential and commercial revitalization projects, conducting research on current construction laws and codes, analyzing community development, and interpreting market data and research. Urban and regional planners often work with government and public officials, community leaders and business owners. As such, urban and regional planners must have a comprehensive understanding of leadership roles, professional communication techniques, and public policies.

Political Scientist

Political scientists research, analyze and evaluate political systems, policies, and trends. Political scientists often act as policy analysts for government institutions and civic groups, advising them on current political trends and offering predictions based on hard facts, extensive research, and statistical analysis. Because political scientists are expected to provide reliable and educated political forecasts, education in public policy systems and issues is essential to success.

Survey Researcher

Survey researchers are responsible for researching survey topics, creating new survey designs, testing their plans, and analyzing any resulting data. Survey researchers may work in a variety of departments and fields, including education, health, commerce, and politics. Many industries rely on survey data and research to implement new products, services, or policies. A survey researcher must be well-versed in public policy and economics.


Economists must research and evaluate economic data by conducting surveys, interpreting economic trends, and publishing their findings in academic journals. Economists commonly advise government agencies, businesses and individual members of the public on financial decisions and policies. The predictions that economists make are based on years of research and analysis, and economists must keep current with public policy and economic factors.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists engage in experimental research to collect and interpret data that may be used to improve medical care. Medical scientists often study pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and novel medical devices. Based on the research they conduct, medical scientists may also propose and help to create public and private health programs.

Job TitleMedian Salary (2018)*Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Urban and Regional Planner$73,05011%
Political Scientist$117,5705%
Survey Researcher$57,7001%
Medical Scientist$84,8108%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

An MD/MPA program allows graduate students to complete two master's degrees simultaneously. Upon completing an MD/MPA program, students can expect to explore a wide variety of career opportunities in the health care industry, local and federal government, and research.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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