Medical student enrollment in dual-degree programs has surged over the past 10 years as physicians-to-be prepare for a rapidly changing health care landscape that demands new expertise, American Medical News reports.
According to Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) data:
- 3,921 students were enrolled in MD/PhD, MD/JD, and MD/MBA programs in 2002; and
- 5,349 students were enrolled in those programs in 2011, a 36% increase.
The AAMC says that about 5,000 students were in MD/PhD programs in 2011, but "suspects its MD/JD and MD/MBA tallies are undercounted."
To meet the growing demand, AAMC's Henry Sondheimer says that more schools are offering dual degree or certificate programs. For example, Association of MD/MBA Programs data show that at least 65 medical schools nationwide now offer MD/MBA programs, up from just six schools in 1993 and 33 schools in 2001.
Some medical schools also are partnering with nearby institutes. For example, the Mayo Medical School in 2007 partnered with Arizona State University to offer new programs in business, law, biomedical informatics, biomedical engineering, mass communication, and clinical science.
"Our reason for providing dual-degree programs stems from the realization that the standard medical school curriculum will not adequately prepare all students for medicine as it will be practiced over the next 30 years," according to Joseph Grande, Mayo Clinic's associate dean for academic affairs.
However, dual-degree programs are not suitable for all medical students, said Stan Kozakowski, the American Academy of Family Physicians' director of medical education. Depending on the degree or program, medical students may need to absorb additional costs and undergo several more years of training (Krupa, American Medical News, 4/23).