The Best Online Dual Master’s Degree Programs

| TBS Staff


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An online dual master’s degree program is a great option if you’re looking for a convenient and affordable way to pair two areas of study into a single course-load.

Dual degree programs aren't necessarily right for everybody. Even online, the workload and demands can be significant. But if you excel at balancing tasks, managing your time, and approaching learning from an interdisciplinary perspective, the online dual degree program could be an excellent way to advance both your education and your career.

Online Dual Master’s Degree Programs 2021

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Best Online Dual Master’s Degree Programs

This ranking is alphabetical. Each of the schools on this list offers some of the best online dual master’s degree programs available today.

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Online Dual Master’s Degree Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What are Dual Degree Programs?

Dual degree programs — sometimes called joint degree programs or double degree programs — are programs of study that result in a student earning two distinct degrees (from different fields) at the same time. For students requiring additional specialization and qualification for their career or field of interest, dual degree programs offer superior flexibility, convenience, and affordability over their traditional, on-campus counterparts. Indeed, several reputable schools offer dualmaster’s degree programs online.

Dual degree programs will likely require students to earn more credits than you would in a traditional, single-degree program. However, dual degree programs typically allow for students to complete several dual-credit courses or combine work between fields, which lowers the total course load.

Most dual degree programs are offered at the master's degree level, but it is also possible to earn dual bachelor’s degrees online. It also bears noting that dual degree programs typically do not allow students to combine any two degrees. Dual degree programs are most often set by the schools, combining fields and programs that are different, but connected, such as a master of public health and a master of science in management, or a master of business administration and a master of science in nursing. This is true whether you're studying on campus or earning your dualmaster’s degree programs online.

Regardless of the path you choose, an online dual degree can allow you to advance your education and earning potential by leaps and bounds in a brief time, from your own home.

What is the Difference Between a Double Major and a Dual Degree?

Dual degrees should not be confused for double majors. A double major simply means that a student earned a single degree with enough coursework focused in two areas of study to constitute specialization in both of those areas. For example, if you enroll in an online bachelor’s degree program, such as a bachelor of arts, and you major in English, you'll have the option of using the bulk of your unassigned elective credits to focus in another field. So, for instance, you can focus those credits in philosophy, and eventually complete the requirements for a philosophy major.

This second major is not, however, the same as a second degree, as it doesn’t have any fundamentally different requirements from the English major other than a few field-specific courses. At the end of this double major, you would have a single bachelor of arts degree, with twin foci in English and philosophy. This method could even be extended to a triple major!

Regardless, this approach will not earn you a second degree and should not result in the degree taking any longer than normal. All the same credit requirements apply. A “four-year” degree is still designed to require four years of study (though it is typically more like five to six years of study in reality).

By contrast to the double major, a dual degree requires the student to complete two different courses of study, such as a master of business administration and a master of nursing. These are not just different fields, but different types of degrees altogether. A dual degree recognizes that the student has met the distinct requirements for each degree. While this will typically take longer than earning a single degree, the process does allow students to save some time on coursework. The advantage of a dual degree program is that it does take less time than would earning two single degrees, separately. In the above example, taking an online master’s degree in business administration followed by one in nursing could take roughly four to six years. By contrast, combining the two into a dual degree program should take about three years.

Are Dual Degree Programs Worth It?

Dual degree programs require a substantial amount of work; that’s a given. Earning two degrees at once is a challenging process. However, the benefits of dual degree programs are substantial, allowing you to get the advanced qualifications you need to secure the career you desire at a faster rate than normal, and often at a more affordable price tag.

For example, if you wanted to be a nursing director at a hospital or clinic, you would need significant qualifications in administration and nursing. Earning a master of business administration and a master of nursing separately can take a long time and require a lot of money. Dualmaster’s degree programs, however, would allow you to get the education you need much sooner, at a lower price tag. So, are dual degree programs worth it? That depends on your goals. If those goals require advanced knowledge beyond the scope of a single degree, then yes, dual degree programs are worth it.

Does a Dual Degree Cost More?

In total, dual degree programs cost more than traditional degree programs. However, dual degree programs offer significant savings over the cost of pursuing two separate degree programs. It is best to think of such programs in consumer terms, as a way of “bundling” your purchases for a discount. Colleges offering dual degree programs provide students with significant opportunities to save money while earning two degrees. Because online colleges allow you to bypass costs like housing, campus fees, and meal plans, pursuing an online dual degree program can provide yet further savings over the traditional, on-campus dual degree program. If you are concerned about the cost of earning two degrees, online dual degree programs can be a great option.

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