A call for dual degrees: Medicine and law



Part 1
Dual or double degree programs are a continuing trend in cross-border universities. These programs are also labeled as combined degree, conjoint degree, joint degree, simultaneous degree, or double graduation program. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubledegree>. They involve a student pursuing two different university degrees in parallel, either at the same institution or at different institutions (sometimes in different countries), completing them in less time than it would take to earn them separately. The two degrees might be in the same subject area (especially when the course is split between countries),” or in two complementarydisciplines.<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubledegree>

Double degrees are not exactly new in the Philippines. Xavier U- the Ateneo de Cagayan offered five-year dual degrees—AB-BSE and AB-BSEE in the late 1960s.The liberal arts/general education courses of both degrees, as expected, were similar. A student could have the same major, such as in English, for both degrees. The then education department welcomed such degrees; master degree holders were scarce; AB graduates, while taking masters courses, taught collegiate courses. “In Canada, Australia and increasingly Hong Kong, many teacher candidates study simultaneously for a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Educationas ‘concurrent-education’ programs.” <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double degree>.

More than ever, today’s labor market calls for competencies beyond the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy. “Collaboration, creativity and problem-solving aside from character qualities like persistence, curiosity and initiative” are a must. Today’s HEIs, no longer ivory towers as they were centuries ago, actively tailor innovative degree programs to develop these competencies in relevant workplace settings. Theory and informed practice go together. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubledegree>. “Pursuing a joint degree is more than just a wish for two degrees. It’s a desire to understand and blend two fields.” <http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=1416>. What then are these innovative trends, particularly for the medical and legal professions?

Dual degree in medicine in the Philippines. Medical curriculum in the Philippines consists of a four-year baccalaureate in pre-med followed by a four-year MD proper and a one-year PGI, or a a total nine years. In the early 2000, the UP College of Medicine, Manila, introduced the innovative Integrated Liberal Arts and Medicine (INTARMED) program lasting seven years, and thus shortened “the whole medical education by two years.” Adding an eighth year, UP introduced “a dual degree in MD-PhD (Molecular Medicine)” with scholarships from DOST—to train “aspiring physician-scientists for careers dedicated to the pursuit of basic and applied biomedical research towards the advancement of health from individual to global levels.” Graduates of this program can also practice medicine. See details at <http://upcm.ph/ sites/all/files/BROCHURE2014-15.pdf>.

The Ateneo de Manila University offers a nine-year program from baccalaureate to an MD-MBA. Psychology/science baccalaureates may apply for admission to the MD program. (AdM has its selective admission, retention and graduation system for compliance of all AdM students.)After the first two-year basics of Medicine proper are the junior and senior clinical years. Students learn “the social determinants of health—leadership, ethics, sociology, legal medicine, family and community medicine, public health and management.” Functional disciplines required for the Master in Management (are) taught in a more focused way.” At this stage, “the students will not only have matured sufficiently age-wise but will also have been exposed to various organizations and integrated concepts in management as applied to health and medicine.”<http://www.ateneo.edu/aps/asmph/curriculum-brief>. A year of internship completes the5-year dual MD-MBA program.

Dual/joint degrees in MD outside the Philippines. The Bachelors of Medicine and of Surgery in Europe are the equivalent medical degrees awarded as Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in countries like ours, that follow the system in the US. Current trend in medical education is to transform the once-prescriptive science-based pre-med and MD to a seamless curriculum, leaving space for a masters or doctoral degree as its dual pair. UC-Berkeley and UC-San Francisco have a joint five-year MD-MS degree. <http://meded.ucsf.edu/mse/programs#MD/MS%20Joint%20Medical%20>Program>.Stanford U with UC-Berkeley allows MD students specializing in the” Scholarly Concentration in Community Health” to earn an MD-MPH joint degree. The program is designed “to train medical students to be effective physician scholars and public health leaders.” Students integrate their year of training at Berkeley with the community-based work started at Stanford, and “to complete original research . . . requirements for both degrees.” At Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine, the MD/MA in Urban Bioethics<CBUHP@temple.edu>and the MD/MPH<publichealth@temple.edu>programs require students to complete master requirements concurrent with the medical school courses with no additional time necessary to complete the masters coursework. Similarly, Georgetown U and the University of Michigan, each offer, a five-year MD-MBA.<https://som.georgetown.edu/prospectivestudents/degrees/dualdegree><https://www2.bus.umich.edu/MyiMpact/academics/dual-degree-opportunities-medicine>

To summarize, medical curriculum, if seamless, pre-med-MD and a joint master/doctorate—is reduced to seven instead of nine years. MD, jointly with either a masters or a doctoral degree, reduces the dual program to five to six years, respectively. Pairing MD with a business degree either as a pre-med (such as in the University of Sydney) or as an MBA, train students “in both of these worlds, allowing them to more successfully navigate the areas in which the two worlds meet.” Medicine and business complement each other. As a student of Vanderbuilt University School of Medicine says, “With the rise of cost containment efforts, business training is becoming more and more important within medicine” even as “scientific training is invaluable in areas of business that deal with technological products, particularly given the recent rise of genomics and the explosion of the biotech industry” www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/?ID=1416

(Next week: Other dual degree models)

Email: ttumapon@liceo.edu.ph


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