For students applying to college who are interested in medical and other healthcare professions, there are several combined programs that can accelerate your path to a degree. Pursing a dual degree often means you finish a year or two sooner than others, and you are guaranteed a place in both undergraduate and medical school, or other healthcare-related graduate program.

Examples of Dual Degree Programs
There are dual-degree programs for many healthcare professions. Examples are:

  • Physician-BS/MD or BA/MD
  • Physician Assistant-BS/MS
  • Nursing-BS/BSN
  • Dental-BS/DDS or DMD
  • Optometry-BS/OD

About Physician Dual-Degree Programs
Students in a BS/MD program complete a BA or a BS degree and then proceed directly to medical school for a MD degree. This often allows students to bypass the application process for medical school, including not having to take the MCAT. Many of these programs are eight-year programs, but some are six or seven years. Programs have students earning their Bachelor’s and MD degrees from one university, and there are also some that give an undergraduate degree from one university, and a medical degree from another university.

With thousands of students applying to these programs, gaining admission is very competitive, and students will benefit by working with a counselor early on in high school in order to be able to present a strong profile. 

Check out our list of schools offering BS-MD programs.   

Read more about BS-MD programs.  

About Physician Assistant Dual-Degree Programs
Students in dual-degree physician assistant programs complete a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences or biological sciences, and a Master of Science (MS) in physician assistant studies. Program lengths vary, but in many the Physician Assistant coursework begins after three years of undergraduate studies. This is followed by two years of physician assistant studies. A benefit of physician assistant dual-degree programs is that students do not have to submit the CASPA application or GRE scores.

About Nursing Dual-Degree Programs
Dual-degree programs in nursing are for students who want to complete both a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and a Bachelor’s degree in nursing  (BSN).  Programs vary in length from four to five years. Some programs have students complete both degrees at the university. Others have students complete their BA or BS at a university and then have arrangements with a nursing school separate from the university where students complete the BSN.  

About Dental Dual-Degree Programs
Similar to the BS/MD programs, the BS/DDS or DMD combined degree is typically completed in six to seven years. This is one or two years more than a typical program in which someone pursuing a dental career would spend four years in undergraduate school and four years in dental school.  Examples of the pathways in combined dental programs are: two years of undergraduate studies, and then three years of professional studies; three years of undergraduate studies, followed by three years of professional studies; or four years of undergraduate studies, and then three years of professional studies. These programs are very competitive to gain admission to, and students will benefit from working with a counselor early on in high school to make sure their coursework, grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities are as strong as possible. Contact us for a free consultation to get started with a counselor. 

About Optometry Dual-Degree Programs 
The BS/OD degree often involves three years of undergraduate work and four years to obtain the OD degree. The seven-year program is one year less than the typical eight years. The program may include a partnership between a university and a College of Optometry.

College Counseling for Dual-Degree Programs in Healthcare
In addition to the healthcare professions we’ve described, there are numerous others with dual-degree programs including the podiatry, physical therapy, pharmacy, and veterinary fields.

These combined programs in healthcare are very competitive, with only a small percentage of students being admitted. Working with an experienced counselor who has guided students to gain admission to these programs, will help you stand out from the competition. Contact us today for a free consultation.  


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