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UBC introduces dual degree program

Some students will be able to combine their undergrad studies with a master's of management.

By SAMUEL DUNSIGER | DEC 08 2014

Starting next fall, students will able to earn a bachelor’s and a master’s degree simultaneously in a new University of British Columbia program.

The master of management (MM) dual degree program at UBC’s Sauder School of Business will allow students to integrate their undergraduate studies with a master of management — and earn both degrees in four and a half years.

“This is not a typical program in business,” said Laura Rojo, director of recruitment and admissions at Sauder. “It’s integrated as one program, but students get two completely separate degrees. They have a diverse set of undergraduate training and they complement it with business management skills.”

She cited growing demand from both students and employers for a “fast-track” option. “Students don’t want to wait a few years to get an MBA. … And companies want people with basic business training. They want them to know how management works.”

Paul G. Harrison, associate dean of UBC’s faculty of science, said, “BSc graduates are already moving on to achieving the master of management. The dual degree option will provide a new way for students to reach their goals more quickly.” Combining science with business management might appeal to “a student hoping to work in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or electronic gaming industries, an NGO or environmental consulting,” he suggested.

UBC’s program isn’t the only one in Canada to combine undergraduate and graduate studies. At McMaster University, the department of biochemistry and biomedical science recently announced a biomedical discovery and commercialization (BDC) bachelor/master’s program in partnership with the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster. The dual-degree program will also begin next fall, with a cohort of 15 students piloting the program in January 2015.

And last year, the department of physical and environmental sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) and the faculty of applied science and engineering (FASE) launched a joint program, allowing students to earn both a bachelor of science and master of engineering in five years. The faculty of science and engineering also partnered with U of T’s Rotman School of Management to offer another integrated program, where students earned both a bachelor of applied science and an MBA in six years and eight months.

At UBC, the new combined program integrates the business component throughout the four-year undergraduate portion. It concludes with a six-month business course load, where the curriculum covers business fundamentals such as leadership, negotiation, accounting, IT, operations and logistics.

The program is aimed at students entering directly from high school. Ms. Rojo said Sauder expects to attract about 60 students in the first cohort starting in September 2015 and increasing numbers in the following years.
The undergraduate options that students can combine with the management track are so far limited to the arts, fine arts, international economics, kinesiology, media studies, music, science and science-wood products. But Ms. Rojo said that the school plans to expand the list of options.
“We want to create the possibility of an elite network across faculties. We want a cohort that includes arts, sciences, finance, media studies and international commerce, just to give a few examples.”
The selling point of this program, she said, is that “you can follow your passion and combine it with management studies.”

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