MBA/MS in Biochemistry Dual Degree

Program Background

The Department of Biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University offers an MS in Biochemistry program, which caters to college graduates and strengthens their academic backgrounds prior to applying to medical school, graduate school or for enriching their credentials for the job market. The Weatherhead School of Management offers its MBA program, which is recognized as an innovative approach to management education and builds on a foundation of core skills to prepare graduates for what's happening in business right now.

The dual degree program will prepare students to participate in the fields of medical research and management as well as give students an opportunity to develop expertise in areas of substantive interest. Moreover, dual degree students will be more likely to have greater job opportunities that are at the intersection of translational science and business. 

Program Structure

To earn MBA and MS degrees independently, you would need to complete 60 hours for the MBA program and 36 hours for the MS program (a total of 96 credit hours). In the dual degree program, cross counting allows for a reduction in the total number of class hours to 75 credit hours for both degrees as described below. 

The 60 credit hour and 36 credit hour numbers are for the independent programs as accredited through the Board of Regents in Columbus.

The dual degree requires students to complete 75 credit hours. The MS in Biochemistry requires 27 credit hours of coursework for the completion of the MS degree (plan B). Weatherhead School of Management requires 48 credit hours of coursework for the completion of the MBA program as part of the dual degree.

In the first year, students must complete the mandatory management core classes and one elective, totaling 30 credit hours of coursework toward the MBA portion of the dual degree. There are a variety of ways in which to complete the requirements for the MBA and MS degrees (examples shown below). Students can take the year-long elective either in the second or third year of the program.


Students begin in the Weatherhead School of Management and complete the first year curriculum. For the Biochemistry MS degree, students would have multiple options with an example shown below.

With this option, the student spreads the second MBA year and year of biochemistry into two years. This allows the student to directly relate the basic science with the WSOM classes and should enhance the student’s ability to select relevant WSOM classes in the third year. An advantage to the straight MBA class is the increased diversity brought to the classroom by a fellow student immersed in scientific study at the same time.

Year 1

First year WSOM curriculum

Semester 1

Course Credits
ACCT 401 3
MBAC 504 3
MBAC 512 3
MBAC 515 3
MBAC 511 3

Semester 2

Course Credits
MBAC 507 3
MBAC 508 3
MBAC 506 3
MBAC 517 3

Year 2

Semester 1

Course Credits
BIOC 407 4
BIOC elective 3
MIDS 420A/ORBH 430A 3

Semester 2

Course Credits
BIOC 408 4
BIOC elective 3
MIDS 420A/ORBH 430A 3

Year 3

Semester 1

Course Credits
BIOC 601 2
BIOC 412 3
BIOC elective 3

Semester 2

Course Credits
BIOC 601 2
BIOC 434 3
EXAM 600 1

ELECT = MBA elective

As the first year curriculum of the WSOM is required before MBA electives are selected, the same is true for the Biochemistry portion where BIOC 407 and 408 are required, but the additional classes are very much up to the student.  Depending on the student’s orientation, BIOC 412 is highly recommended as it provides a solid base for how enzymes work.  BIOC 434 focuses on structural biology and may be of particular use for students who see rational drug design as a part of their future.

Successful completion of the program would require 75 credits:

Program Total Hours
Weatherhead School of Management 48
Department of Biochemistry 27
Dual Degree Program 75

Dual Degree Student Advising

Dual degree students will be advised concerning matters related to the MBA degree by the Associate Dean of MBA Programs (currently Professor Simon Peck). In addition, dual degree students will be granted priority registration for upper class courses, ensuring that they will be able to accommodate their scheduling needs in obtaining needed classes.

Dual degree students will be advised concerning matters related to the MS in Biochemistry by Graduate Program Advisor as designated by the Graduate Education Committee of the Department of Biochemistry (currently Professor William Merrick).

By regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, master's students are required to maintain a GPA of 2.75 or higher; this will be applied to the combined GPA for Biochemistry or approved Biochemistry elective courses. The MBA program requires a GPA of at least 2.5 and a grade of C or higher in WSOM core courses; this will apply to all courses taken towards the MBA degree.

Twice a year, immediately after the end of the fall and spring semesters, or more frequently if necessary, the Associate Dean of MBA Programs at the WSOM and the Graduate Program Advisor of the Department of Biochemistry will meet to discuss the progress of all students in the program. Students performing unsatisfactorily in the MBA or the MS components of the program or both, will be given warning that they will have one semester to show substantial improvement. If not, they will be dismissed from the component(s) in which they are performing poorly.


Students wishing to enroll in the dual degree program initially apply to and are admitted into each program separately.

For students originating in the biochemistry program, Weatherhead School of Management will waive the GMAT requirement for admission to the MBA program and will accept the GRE scores as used in the MS Biochemistry Program admissions process. Likewise, the MS in Biochemistry program will accept the substitute of the GMAT for the GRE. 

Once the program is up and running, students will be able to submit a joint application to the WSOM, which will forward materials of students who are admissible to that program, to the Department of Biochemistry for their consideration. Once students have been admitted, they will consult with the Department of Biochemistry Department Liaison and Associate Dean for MBA Programs at the Weatherhead School of Management to determine their appropriate course of MBA study and the MBA/MS Advisor of the Department of Biochemistry to determine their appropriate program of MS study.

Student Activities

Students are encouraged to participate in regular WSOM and Department of Biochemistry activities as well as those targeted to them. 

All MBA students enrolled in the dual degree program will meet twice a year in a colloquium retreat (approximately one-half day in length) to:

  1. ensure the programs are meeting the expectations of the students and the faculty in charge
  2. capture the benefits of the interdisciplinary experience
  3. socialize the dual degree students as a group, instead of small groups of isolated students, and
  4. explore the intellectual and professional challenges of doing interdisciplinary work

In addition, prior to registration, the Associate Dean of MBA Programs meets with each dual degree student to review their schedule and to explore any other issues on which they need guidance and advice. All new students will be partnered with an experienced student to address questions the students may have about the program and life as a graduate student at CWRU. These students will initially be drawn from the ranks of WSOM and Biochemistry students, and will grow to include advanced MBA/MS Biochemistry students. A get-acquainted dinner will be organized during registration week in the fall to facilitate this process.

To fulfill the MS degree portion of the dual degree program, students will focus their capstone writing requirement (EXAM 600) on the subject of their work in the Department of Biochemistry. The MBA/MS Advisor from that department will serve as a co-supervisor of this research.

Other appropriate activities for the MBA/MS students include attending the weekly Departmental Seminar and Student Seminars, as well as annual named lectureships, participating in annual retreats, and one or more journal clubs. Additional events include the general Department of Biochemistry picnics and the Annual Holiday Party in December. 

Advantages of the Joint Degree Program

The key advantage of the dual MBA/MS program is the integration of the two disciplines during the time of the students receive their training, allowing students to develop a unique focus on their studies in each of the two disciplines.

In addition, the usual Master of Science in Biochemistry is a two-year program, but the students in the dual degree program will be able to complete the program requirements in just 12 months beyond the time required to obtain the MBA degree.