Dual Nursing Degree Programs
What is a Dual Nursing Degree?
Types of Dual Nursing Degree Programs
Dual Nurse Practitioner Concentrations
Is a Dual Degree Program Right for Me?
Advantages of a Dual Nursing Degree
Before applying for a dual nursing degree program, do thorough research to ensure that the program is accredited by all of the appropriate third-party accreditation bodies. For nursing programs this primarily includes:
Commission on the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Additional accreditation bodies for nursing programs can include:
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA)
American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation (ACNM)
Also be certain to check that other programs that are part of the dual degree, such as the MBA or MPH program, are also fully accredited by the appropriate organizations.
Students interested should also research program options at colleges in their area of interest. Some programs may be offered on campus only while others may be offered online or both on campus and online. Finding the program that meets your needs plays a crucial role in your success.
The first step to pursuing a dual degree is to thoroughly research colleges and programs related to your goals and interests. Understanding what each individual program requires of its students and how the program is structured is important in determining how well it will fit with your goals and your career aspirations.
Additionally, take note of the programs accreditations, whether the programs are offered in online or on-campus formats, the programs costs, and what types of financial aid and scholarships are available for students.
Yes, colleges are increasingly offering online dual nursing degree programs. It’s important to note that students who are enrolled in an online program are still required to complete clinical and lab hours. In many cases, online nursing programs allow students to complete their clinical rotations at local medical and health care facilities. Some programs may even allow students to complete virtual clinical experience through online simulations.
When researching online nursing programs, be sure to determine what options are available for clinical experience and internships. For out-of-state students, some colleges may have agreements with other universities across the country to facilitate hands-on laboratory experience.
Dual degree programs may cost more than regular programs, but be sure to check with your preferred program. Despite taking approximately the same amount of time to complete, dual degrees require students to undertake a heavier course load. The larger number of courses may result in a higher per semester cost. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even if it costs more per semester there are generally cost savings because dual degrees may be earned faster than getting each degree on its own.
Additionally, students may qualify for nursing school scholarships or financial aid. This can also help to offset the higher costs of the program.
Dual nursing degree programs combine an MSN degree with a second master’s degree program. By completing a dual degree program, graduates will earn both their MSN and another master’s level degree. Programs vary by college, but often pair an MSN with an MPH, MBA or MPA degree.
A dual degree program differs from a dual major in that students who complete the program earn two separate degrees. This generally means that students earning a dual degree must complete a larger body of coursework and credits in order to graduate with both of their degrees. Often the programs are custom tailored to provide a comprehensive yet complementary education.
Regardless of which type of dual nursing degree program you ultimately choose to enroll in, you should expect a rigorous curriculum that combines clinical courses, hands-on practicum, internships, and general nursing courses alongside the courses required for your second degree.
Generally, students will need to take a full course load year-round, including during winter and summer semesters, to successfully complete most programs.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the highest degree obtainable within the nursing field. There are many DNP programs available at colleges across the country. Some colleges do offer students the option to enroll in dual DNP-PhD programs. Upon graduation students will earn their DNP degree alongside their PhD.
Students applying to a dual DNP program must have at least completed their bachelor’s degree in nursing. As with traditional PhD programs, as part of a dual degree program, students are required to complete a dissertation in order to complete the PhD degree.
Students who graduate from a dual DNP program may work in advanced clinical settings, completing medical research or working within direct patient care as nurse practitioners. Other graduates may wish to return to an academic setting, enjoying careers as nursing educators.