The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has become the latest US university to launch an accelerated programme for those who want to study medicine, through its medical school, and business, through its Kenan-Flagler business school. Other universities that already offer such programmes include Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Columbia, Pennsylvania and UNC’s neighbour Duke. In March, New York University also announced that it would offer an MD/MBA programme.

The university says the UNC programme is different from most MD/MBA programmes as it includes courses on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship and uses experiential learning as part of the programme. Students will also work with healthcare practitioners to apply business principles to improving patient care.

First students will enrol on the programme this autumn and will graduate with both degrees in five years.

James Dean, dean of Kenan-Flagler, said the collaboration was part of a larger partnership to train healthcare professionals. “This unparalleled program - fusing the assets of top business and medical schools - will prepare leaders in science to continue to drive innovation in human health while they master tools to transform healthcare to reflect higher standards of affordability.”

The joint degree is just the first collaborative move between the two schools, which have plans to create healthcare courses for the MBA, and business electives for medical students studying for PhDs, for example.

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