School of Medicine, Weatherhead School of Management to offer dual degrees in biomedical sciences, business

New graduate degrees a response to career opportunities created by changes in health care

To prepare students for increasing job opportunities generated by the changing health care environment, Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and Weatherhead School of Management are offering two new dual graduate degrees that combine the fields of biomedical science and management.

The new dual degree programs—MBA/MS in Biochemistry and MBA/MS in Medical Physiology—start in the 2014-15 academic year. The curriculum is designed so students can complete the required coursework in three years for the MBA/MS in Biochemistry, and 2½ years for the MBA/MS in Medical Physiology.

The new dual degrees target an increasingly vital space in the job market, where translational science and business share common ground.

“Anybody with this dual degree is going to be extraordinarily marketable,” said Thomas M. Nosek, professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, who helped orchestrate the new programs.

Nosek and William Merrick, professor of biochemistry, each met with Simon Peck, associate professor in Weatherhead School of Management’s Department of Design & Innovation, to design the dual degrees. Peck is Weatherhead’s associate dean for MBA programs.

Merrick expects the dual degree to open career possibilities for biochemistry students seeking options outside of medical school, and for future medical students who realize studying business management will be valuable long-term.

“In our program,” Merrick said, “you can blend the study of bioscience and an MBA very easily. I see this as another opportunity for our students to enhance what they want to do.”

Peck said graduate students in physiology and biochemistry might be interested in entrepreneurship, the pharmaceutical industry and a range of other health-care business possibilities “that make a link-up with an MBA program a no-brainer.”

Peck said the new degree offerings are a direct response to a dynamic health-care environment. Ongoing changes are spawning:

  • A growth in medical entrepreneurship and startups
  • Expansion in the medical device industry
  • A need for health care consulting
  • Demand for biomedical/business management, as the nation adapts to the Affordable Care Act

Dual degrees are more efficient, as they allow students to complete both degrees simultaneously rather than separately. As a result, some credit hours in each program can count as electives in the other. This sharing of credits means students often earn two degrees a year earlier than they could otherwise. The MBA/MS in Medical Physiology also offers an alternative for the first year, in which students can take the medical/science coursework online.

The dual degree option allows MBA students at the Weatherhead School the ability to enhance their professional credentials with science courses usually reserved for biomedical studies, once prerequisites for the sciences coursework are satisfied.

Capitalizing on Cleveland’s position as a global center for large research hospitals and biomedical startups, the Weatherhead School also offers a master’s degree in health care management as an evening program for working professionals.