Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business and the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) have teamed up to launch a cooperative two-degree program that allows students to earn both the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master of Business Administration.
“After medical school, many osteopathic physicians go directly into private practice for which a certain amount of business education is needed,” says Pamplin Dean Richard E. Sorensen. “A business education is particularly valuable for physicians seeking positions as hospital or other health-care administrators or those seeking to manage their own practice.”
Under the dual-degree program, VCOM students would complete the MBA requirements between their third and fourth years of medical school. “We may later offer students an option to complete the MBA before starting medical school,” Sorensen says.
Steve Skripak, Pamplin associate dean of graduate programs, says the program expects to admit three to five VCOM students a year, to be selected jointly by VCOM and MBA administrators. Admitted students must meet academic benchmarks for admission to the dual-degree program, he says, and would have passed their first round of medical board exams.
Students would take a combination of existing MBA courses, new hospital administration courses to be created by VCOM, and free electives from either courses in the Pamplin College or from within an approved set of VCOM courses.
MBA core courses would comprise 27 of the required 48-credit hour curriculum. In addition, Skripak says, students would take a three-credit course in entrepreneurial leadership, “as many will essentially become entrepreneurs by opening their own practices.”
Hara Misra, VCOM’s associate vice president for research and graduate studies, says his college will develop six new credits in the field of hospital administration. The remaining 12 credits would be electives from one or both colleges.
VCOM and Virginia Tech have had a collaborative agreement in research and student services since 2002, when the osteopathic medical school was first established in Blacksburg. “This joint venture between VCOM and the Pamplin College of Business is a natural evolution of our now seven-year collaboration and provides students with the benefits of two strong academic programs,” says VCOM President Jim Wolfe.
The dual-degree format is similar in concept to the recently approved cooperative degree program between the MBA program and Tech’s Myers-Lawson School of Construction. “Our MBA program continues to grow,” Skripak says. “The joint program can bring us highly qualified students who as health professionals will bring a new and different perspective into the classroom, to the benefit of all students in the program.”
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