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Combined Degree and Physician Scholar Programs

MD/Master of Business Administration


The MD/Master of Business Administration (MD/MBA) program is designed for Perelman medical students interested in integrating the study of medicine with training in managerial, financial, and technical expertise in the health care field. The majority of students who matriculate in the MD/MBA program enroll in the Health Care Management major at Wharton, but other majors are also available. Matriculation into the MD/MBA program obligates the student to follow all regulations and policies of the Medical School and of the Wharton School. For a look into current trends, check out the article: Dual MD/MBA Programs on the Rise. Also, take a look at the 2014 News Release: Penn Study Shows Changing Roles of Physicians with MBAs (http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/06/asch/).

The rest of this site includes the following sections:

Information Gathering

The first step of the process is to gather information regarding the MD/MBA dual degree. Interested students have several resources:
  • Wharton MBA website (http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/admissions/index.cfm) – the Master of Business Administration program website provides detailed information on the program and application process.
  • Wharton Health Care Management website (https://hcmg.wharton.upenn.edu/programs/mba/) – this website provides more specific information on the Health Care Management major within the MBA Program at Wharton.
  • "Visit Wharton" webpage (http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/admissions/visit-wharton.cfm) - this webpage provides information on MBA information sessions, visiting classes, etc. These are good resources if you have questions about the MBA program in general, financial aid, admissions process, etc.MD-MBA Information Session
  • MD/MBA Information Session – every fall the Combined Degree office holds an MD/MBA Information Session for medical students. Email announcements are sent out to students prior to the event.
  • Amy Nothelfer – students are encouraged to contact Amy, Coordinator of MD-Masters Programs, at nothelfe@mail.med.upenn.edu to discuss their interest in a Master's program.
  • MD/MBA Student Directory – Perelman medical students are encouraged to stop by the Combined Degree Office to pick up a copy of the MD/MBA Student Directory, which provides information on the current MD/MBA students. Current students are a great resource of information on the program.
  • Perelman SOM Office of Admissions and Financial Aid – As soon as a student is considering the pursuit of an integrated dual degree program, financial aid counseling and planning is strongly advised.

Perelman medical students interested in the MBA program may opt to take a MBA course in the Fall or Spring of their first year or Fall of their second year of Medical School, before applying to Wharton, so they have a better understanding of what the program entails.


Once a student has applied for the MD/MBA program , the student must notify Helene Weinberg, Registrar of the PSOM, with his/her intention to pursue the MD-MBA.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a staff member in the Perelman SOM Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to discuss financial issues. (See Financial Information below.)

Curriculum & Program Structure

Program Requirements:

The MBA degree is composed of 19 credit units:

  • 15 credits at Wharton*
  • 4 transfer credits from the Perelman School of Medicine

Required Course Units:               19

* Note: Wharton tuition includes up to 16.5 credits. 15 credits are required for the degree.

For information on the curriculum of the MBA program, visit the Wharton MBA website: http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/academics/curriculum/index.cfm. Here you will find information on the curriculum structure, majors, electives, and other program information.

Perelman medical students interested in the MBA program may opt to take a MBA course in the Fall or Spring of their first year or Fall of their second year of Medical School, before applying to Wharton, so they have a better understanding of what the program entails. The course:

1. can’t be one of the core requirements;
2. won’t count toward the 15 credits required for the MBA (should the student be accepted at a later date); and
3. can be taken as pass/fail.


Students are enrolled in the MD program full time for the first three years and in MBA course work full time during year 4. During the summer between year 4 and 5, typically students participate in a business internship. However, some students have elected to do research or additional clinical rotations during the summer. Then in year 5, students will do a semester at Wharton and a semester at the Medical School – students can choose to do either one in Fall and the other in Spring.

MD/MBA Degree Completion Time:               5 years

MD/MBA Study Plan:

The 5 year curriculum for the combined MD/MBA below is meant to provide details about the timing of MBA course work for those who are already familiar with the Perelman School of Medicine curriculum.





Tuition and Billing

Maximum Direct Loan Eligibility


MD curriculum
(Modules 1,3,6)

MD curriculum
(Modules 2,3,6)


MD tuition fall and spring



MD curriculum
(Modules 2,3,6)

MD curriculum
(Modules 4,6)

MD curriculum
(Modules 4,6)

MD tuition fall and spring



MD curriculum
(Modules 4,6)

Boards 1 and MD curriculum (Module 5)

MD curriculum
(Module 5)*

MD tuition fall and spring





Wharton internship**

Wharton tuition fall and spring



MD curriculum
(Module 5)***



MD tuition fall;
Wharton tuition spring

$20,250 fall;
$16,500 spring

* Check when Wharton’s pre-term and the Health Care Management major’s pre-term sessions are in July/August.
** Typically students participate in a business internship in Summer of year 4. However, some students have elected to do research or additional clinical rotations during the summer.
*** These semesters are interchangeable. Students need to notify each School in the Spring of year 4, so they are billed correctly. They also need to apply to both schools if financial aid is needed.

Medical School Planning:

There are several things to keep in mind when making your Medical School plans:

Financial Information (2014-15)

As soon as a Perelman medical student is considering the pursuit of an integrated dual degree program, financial aid counseling and planning is strongly advised. Students should contact Jean Fox at the Perelman SOM Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.  She is available to help explain program costs, the financial aid process, funding options and how to apply for financial aid. Here are some things to consider:

1.When paying Medical School tuition and registered as a medical student, an individual can retain his/her Perelman School of Medicine Scholarship and has a Direct loan eligibility of $40,500.  When a student is registered as a full-time MBA student, he/she is not eligible for Perelman School of Medicine Scholarship and has a Direct loan eligibility of $33,000.  In accordance with federal regulations, all sources of aid (loan, scholarships, fellowships,) cannot exceed the student budget.

2. Direct loans have aggregate limits, which are cumulative and include any undergraduate, graduate, and medical school loans borrowed in the Direct loan program. For any semester when a student is a full-time MBA student or a full-time MD student, the program aggregate limit is $224,000.

3. Students who require funds in excess of their Direct loan may apply for a Direct PLUS loan. Details on this loan and instructions for applying can be found at http://www.med.upenn.edu/financialaid/gradplus.shtml.

4. Tuition will be billed each semester based on course registration and program requirements. Financial aid is available only from the school charging tuition. It is the student’s responsibility to file all of the financial aid applications and documents required to the school in which he or she is enrolled. Students may not receive financial aid from both schools during the same semester. The student is limited to the policies and federal regulations surrounding each school’s educational program. Specific costs are determined annually and are available from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.


Selection Criteria:

Admission to the program is competitive and not all Perelman medical students who apply are accepted. Candidates seeking admission are evaluated based on academic and personal accomplishments, emphasizing demonstrated leadership, managerial potential, motivation and capacity to pursue a rigorous management graduate program. Professional development, diversity of background and outside interests, depth of self-appraisal and commitment are especially valued.

Application Process:

There are two steps to applying:

1) Apply to the Master of Business Administration Program

Perelman medical students who wish to enroll in the MD/MBA program must take the GMAT or GRE exam and must submit an application directly to the Wharton School for the MBA program. Please see the Wharton Admissions website for further information.

2) Submit Master's Program Registration Form to the Combined Degree Office

In addition to submitting an MBA application to Wharton, Perelman medical students must also submit a Master's Program Registration Form to Amy Nothelfer (nothelfe@mail.med.upenn.edu) in the Combined Degree and Physician Scholar Programs Office (104 Stemmler Hall).

Application Timetable:

All Perelman medical students must apply in Round 1 of their 3rd year of Medical School. The MD/MBA application will not be accepted at any other time. An MD/MBA Information Session is scheduled each fall for current medical students who are interested in the MD/MBA program as well as other opportunities at Wharton. Advising is also available through the Combined Degree Office and Wharton to assist students in considering their career interests and plans.

Application deadline:               3rd year, Round 1 - ONLY


Please note that policies concerning admissions, curriculum, funding, and financial aid are subject to change. Additionally, though variations in the curriculum may be possible, any change will need prior approval and may have financial implications. This website is meant to provide preliminary general overview information only. Students interested in or enrolled in the program should seek personal advising from relevant faculty and staff.


For Health Care Management only
June Kinney
Associate Director
MBA Program in Health Care Management
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
204 Colonial Penn Center
3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218

MBA Admissions & Financial Aid Office
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
420 John M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
see the website to arrange an interview http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba

Perelman School of Medicine
Amy Nothelfer, MSW, LSW
Coordinator, Elective Research and Combined Degree Programs
Suite 100 Annex (Room 104) Stemmler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6087

Helene Weinberg
Registrar's Office, SOM
Suite 100 Stemmler Hall

Jean Fox
Financial Aid Officer
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, SOM
Suite 100 Stemmler

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Are there opportunities to participate in healthcare business-oriented activities?
Yes. The Perelman School of Medicine has several relevant student groups and activities. Visit the Student Portal: http://www.med.upenn.edu/student/student.shtml. MD/MBA students have also suggested participating in the Penn Biotech Group, which is open to all graduate students. For more info, visit http://pbgconsulting.org/. In addition, MD-MBA students have suggested looking into a fellowship at the Center for Technology Transfer: http://www.ctt.upenn.edu/fellows.html.


1. When should I take the GMAT or GRE?
There is no recommended time to take the GMAT or GRE. Some students study and take the GMAT or GRE during the summer after their 1st year of Medical School. Other students study and take it over a winter break. It is up to the student to determine when the best time is.

2. How many Perelman medical students apply each year? How many of those students are accepted?
Each year roughly 5-10 Perelman medical students apply for the MD/MBA program. Acceptance rates vary each year.

Medical School

1. Any planning considerations when choosing Medical School electives?
As you plan your Medical School electives, please keep in mind that Wharton has a month-long Pre-term session that is required of all students. It is typically the month of August. In addition, the Health Care Management program has a two-day Pre-term session (just prior to the Wharton Pre-term), which is typically at the end of July. You are strongly encouraged to check on the exact dates, so there is not a conflict with a July elective (if you choose to do one). For more information on Pre-term, visit: http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/academics/curriculum-structure-pre-term.cfm.

1. Any advice on choosing to finish the program in the Fall versus the Spring semester of the last year?
Perelman medical students may take their final semester of Business School courses either in the Fall or Spring of their 5th year. Most students elect to take the final Business School semester in the Spring, so they have time in the Fall to submit their residency applications and go on interviews. However, residency interviews usually continue through January and sometimes early February, so you will need to contact your Wharton instructors, if you know you will miss class due to an interview.


1. What is the course workload like at Wharton?
The course workload is comparable to other graduate programs. The first year may be somewhat heavy due to taking the required Business courses in addition to the Health Care Management courses. However, MD/MBA students have found the workload to be manageable overall.

2. Does Wharton offer scholarships to MD/MBA students?
Wharton does not have scholarships specifically for Perelman medical students. However, medical students are eligible to apply for Wharton’s grants and scholarships. Please note that Wharton has a different financial aid process than the Perelman School of Medicine, so you will want to contact Wharton’s Financial Aid office to learn more about their process.

3. Are Perelman medical students only able to apply to the Health Care Management major?
No, students are welcome to apply to whichever Wharton major they are interested in, but all (or nearly all) MD/MBA students have enrolled in the Health Care Management Major because of its obvious relevance to a career in medicine and business.


1. What can MD/MBAs do with their degree after residency?
MD/MBAs have gone into a broad range of career paths such as an academic physician, owner of a clinical practice, director in a hospital, consultant in the business world, healthcare policy researcher, etc. The business skills you learn at Wharton are transferable in many fields and positions.