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MD/MBA Program

The mission of the UC Irvine School of Medicine's MD/MBA Program is to train a select group of physicians in the aspects of business.

With this speciality training, these physician leaders will benefit the healthcare industry in a wide variety of fields, such as biotechnology, hospital administration, health information technology, entrepreneurial ventures, legislation and policy, medical research, managed care, academia, pharmaceuticals and more.

Our MD/MBA graduates also will be able to lead our community and the healthcare industry to meet the incredible challenges we face: providing patients with quality care that is financially and ethically responsible.

View a welcome message from MD/MBA faculty advisor Maria Chandler, MD, MBA ›

About the Program »


The UC Irvine MD/MBA joint degree program is aimed at individuals who are exceptional in ability and motivation and who seek a career as physicians with major responsibility for administration and management in healthcare organizations and institutions.

Students in this program pursue a combined curriculum for an MD degree from the UC Irvine School of Medicine and an MBA degree from the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business.

The UC Irvine program was founded in 1998, making it one of the oldest MD/MBA dual-degree programs in the United States.  Since that time, UC Irvine has taken a national leadership role in the development of physician leaders.  

Interested students apply to the program during their second year of medical school.  A variety of related opportunities are offered to students prior to that time. No previous business study or work experience is necessary to apply.

"An MBA degree has a tremendous potential to help in your career both as a resident and later as a physician leader," says Dr. Zeev N. Kain, professor in the UC Irvine School of Medicine's Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care. "As a resident you will have more opportunities to be exposed to leadership positions in your department and use your knowledge to improve hospital processes. As a physician, this additional degree will help you to open new windows and opportunities either in running your practice or to be part of a hospital or university administration."

Course overview

Students in the program complete a five-year combined curriculum leading to an MD from the UC Irvine School of Medicine and an MBA from the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business. The total number of units required to graduate from each program separately are satisfied by completing the MD/MBA program. Students begin the MBA program in the fall of their fourth year.  The fourth and fifth years of the program are divided across both schools.

Quarter

School Year

Summer

Fall

Winter

Spring

1st year MD
2nd year MD
3rd year MD
4th year MD MBA MBA MBA
5th year MD MD MBA MD
Admissions Process »


Interested students apply for the dual-degree MD/MBA program at UC Irvine's School of Medicine in their second year of medical school, after their admission and matriculation to the UC Irvine School of Medicine. A program information session is scheduled each year for current medical students who are interested in the MD/MBA Program.

View informational videos about our program:

During the first year of medical school, all students are encouraged to take the Business of Medicine course, which will expose them to several relevant issues and help refine their interest in the program. At the end of the first year, students should indicate their interest in the MD/MBA program to Dr. Maria Chandler.

Selection process

Admission to the MD/MBA program is competitive and not all medical students who apply are accepted. Once the application materials are submitted, they are reviewed by the MD/MBA Admissions Committee.  This Committee consists of representatives from both schools, who review each application thoroughly and score each candidate. Candidates are evaluated based on medical school academic performance, letters of recommendation, essays and résumé, which seek to elicit information about personal accomplishments, demonstrated leadership skills, managerial potential, motivation and ability to pursue a rigorous management graduate program.  Completion of three years of medical school training in good standing and passage of USMLE Step 1 serve as a waiver for the GMAT admissions examination usually required for application to the MBA program.  Finally, students are notified of their acceptance into the program in the spring of their second year, pending passage of the USMLE Step I.

Application checklist

  • Applications — MD/MBA Program applications are made available in September and are due at the end of January each year, which is still more than a year before beginning MBA coursework. Each student is responsible for submitting the following:
  • Online Application Form — The form can be found as a link on the MBA website. Please note that hardcopies are not accepted.
  • Transcripts — Undergraduate and other (non-UC Irvine) graduate transcripts are required and must be mailed to the MBA Recruitment and Admissions Office at the Merage School of Business. Unofficial copies are not accepted.
  • Two letters of recommendation — The application provides the option of online submission of recommendation forms. Please see the recommendation section of the application for additional details about the process. A supplemental letter may accompany these forms if your recommender chooses. If you obtain hard copies, please mail them to the MBA Recruitment and Admissions Office at the Merage School of Business.
  • Essays — This is an important part of the application. Please include any previous studies or work experience that you have had and describe your future goals as an MD/MBA.
  • Employment history/resume — Submit a copy of your resume. For each position held, include job title, a detailed description of your responsibilities and your reason for leaving.
  • Application fee — The application fee is waived for medical students. To receive a waiver, you must start the online application and email the MBA Recruitment and Admissions Office, mba@merage.uci.edu to request a waiver. They can then waive your application fee. Be sure to request the waiver prior to completing and submitting your application.
  • Admissions test — No admissions test is required. The MCAT substitutes for the GMAT. 

Please submit the online application and all supporting materials by March 15. Supporting materials can be mailed to or dropped off at the following address:

The Paul Merage School of Business, UC Irvine
Full-Time MBA Program, SBI 4500
Irvine, CA 92697-3125

Graduation Requirements »


The following are examples of requirements for receiving your MBA: 11 are core courses and the remainder are elective courses; four quarters in residency at UC Irvine.  MD/MBA students carry over 16 units; a grade point average minimum of 3.75 must be maintained. 

Sample Course Requirements for MBA Degree

 

Fall Winter Spring Summer
4th year 200 - Intensive
209A - Finance
201A - Statistics
205 - Marketing
203A - Accounting
207 - Info Tech
204A - Microecon
202 - Org. Behavior
Elective
Elective
208 - Ops. Mgmt.
210 - Strategy
Elective
Elective
Elective
Medical School
5th year Fall Winter Spring Summer
Medical School 4 Electives Medical School Residency

Full course descriptions are available at the Paul Merage School of Business website.


School of Medicine 3rd year requirements

Rotation

Weeks

Inpatient Medicine

8

Ambulatory Medicine

4

Surgery

8

Ob/Gyn

6

Pediatrics

6

Psychiatry

6

Family Medicine

4

Radiology

Clinical Foundations III 2
Neurology 4
Elective/Vacation 4
   

Total 3rd year Requirements

54

Vacation

2

School of Medicine 4th/5th year requirements

Rotation

Weeks

Senior Sub-I (Med, Peds, Surg)

4

ICU (PICU, SICU, MICU)

4

Emergency Medicine

2

Clinical Foundations 4

2

 

 

Total Required Courses (above)

12

Total Additional Electives

20**

Total 4th /5th year Requirements

32**


**MD/MBA Students receive 4 weeks of SOM elective credit for 2 business school healthcare elective coursework.  Normally, MD students complete 24 weeks of electives (20 must be clinical) in their 4th year, for a total of 36 weeks in the 4th year.

Electives »


School of Medicine Electives

  • Business and Politics in Medicine Lecture Series — Sponsored by the UC Irvine Chapter of the American Medical Association. This is a 10-week lecture series that will introduce first- and second-year medical students to physicians, politicians, lawyers and other professionals who are experts in the business of medicine.
  • 698A Medical Economics Elective — Offered to 3rd- and 4th-year medical students.  It is a 2- or 4-week experience.
  • 698B Business of Healthcare — Offered to all medical students. Mandatory for all MD/MBA students.  Meets monthly.
    One unit shows on transcript but doesn’t count toward graduation.

Business School Electives

Thirty-six units of elective courses apply toward the 76 units required for the MBA degree.  Students select electives with respect to their educational and career goals and interests. 

Functional areas include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Information Technology
  • Marketing
  • Operations & Decision Technologies
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Public Policy
  • Strategy

Elective courses develop additional depth in a discipline or interdisciplinary area, or specialized competence in the use of a particular set of technical tools and methods.

Business School Healthcare Electives (Subject to change and availability)

The following is a sample of healthcare-related courses previously offered at the business school:

  • 262 Managing Nonprofits — Designed for students interested in the management of nonprofit organizations. Examines similarities and differences between for-profit and nonprofit organizations, major management issues specifically associated with nonprofits, and exposes students to career opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
  • 266 Economics of Healthcare Services — Uses the basic tools of microeconomics to study the organization and delivery of medical care services in the United States. The economic criteria of efficiency and equity are used to analyze the performance of health care markets, government programs and public policies affecting both.
  • 267 Understanding Managed Care — Covers all aspects of the "managed care revolution," emphasizing the latest development and future trends. Topics include market competition and organizational strategy, the changing role of providers, integrated delivery systems, quality management and the impact of new technologies.
  • 264 U.S. Health Policy — Course provides an overview of U.S. health policy with a particular emphasis on current policy developments and debates. Students will be introduced to the basic tools of policy analysis and will apply them to health policy issues.
  • 290 Healthcare Entrepreneurship: From Physician to CEO — Course is structured to build business development skills to create and manage a medical practice or a science-based enterprise. The class will center on the value proposition of small ventures in a large pharmaceutical/healthcare provider-dominated industry and how one can maximize the potential of such an undertaking.

  • 290 Development of New Ventures in Healthcare Services — The emphasis of the course is to introduce the student to the process of developing a medical services company. The use of case studies and outside lecturers, e.g., entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, are designed to provide the student with knowledge, skills and insights into the entrepreneurial process as it applies to health care delivery.
  • 290 IT in Healthcare — Information technology plays a central role in prominent strategies aimed at controlling health care costs and improving quality. The challenges associated with achieving these goals arise from economic and organizational factors that are generic to the adoption of new technologies as well as unique institutional features of the health care industry. This course provides an overview of these issues, with an emphasis on both the strategic decisions facing firms and the implications of those decisions for the health care system and social welfare. Cases studied will focus on technologies that impact health care providers, payers and consumer/patients.
  • 290 New Healthcare Ecosystem: From Volume to Value - This course is intended for MBA students who have an interest in leveraging understanding of current landscape to start or manage ventures in healthcare sector. Specifically this course focuses on providing background knowledge on the current state of healthcare in the post ACA (Affordable Care Act) era and opportunities it creates in the realm of business of health.  Students will be exposed to different aspects of business of healthcare ranging from healthcare policy, delivery system reform, value based insurance design to the innovative role of social ventures, digital health and the new age of consumerism. This will be done in the context of healthcare cases, interactive class discussions and speaker presentations.
Class Profiles »


Our MD/MBA program is nationally well regarded, ranking:

  • First in Southern California, 11th nationally, Executive MBA, Financial Times (2007)
  • Third, Marketing, Business Week (2005)
  • Fifth, Intellectual Capital, Business Week (2002-2003)
  • Sixth, Information Technology, Wall Street Journal (2006)

In 2005, Paul and Lily Merage donated a very generous $30-million naming gift. An additional $20 million in pledges have been received to support our six centers of excellence and other school initiatives.

Ten highly regarded faculty members have been recruited in just the last few years, with several more arriving this year.

The annual New Venture Competition boasts potentially the most lucrative competition in the country. Winning student teams have the opportunity to garner up to $1 million in seed financing.

In addition to the dual MD/MBA degree program, the Merage School offers an undergraduate major and minor, four MBA programs (full-time, fully employed, executive and healthcare executive), PhD degrees, and custom-designed executive education courses for firms. It attracts outstanding students and its current enrollment is about 900. Most full-time students rank in the top one-third of all entering MBA students.

The MBA Class of 2018 had the following profile.

Alumni »


Merage MD/MBA program alumni are taking their knowledge to positions of influence across the country.

Here's what a few of them have said about the program:

  • Eric K. Wei, MD, MBA, 2009 graduate: "I’m now on the faculty at L.A. County-USC in the Emergency Department. I’m using my MBA as the assistant medical director of the ED, with focus on Operations and Quality Improvement. Thank you for setting up the joint MD/MBA program and being such an advocate for us!"

  • Brian Potts, MD, MBA, 2004 graduate: "The existence of the MD/MBA program was one of the key reasons that made me choose UC Irvine School of Medicine over other medical schools." He found the curriculum comprehensive in all aspects, citing as strengths the five-year program, coursework flexibility and opportunities to work with other business students from varied professional backgrounds."

  • Mario San Bartolome, MD, MBA, 2004 graduate and Buck Scholar: "The presence of the MD/MBA program was a primary factor for my choice to attend UC Irvine. The MBA curriculum was exactly what I expected — a curriculum that offered broad exposure to courses that in the end add another tool or dimension to aid in problem solving in medicine/business/life. Strengths of the program include “the broad nature of the courses [that] allow for application of principles across many aspects of medicine on a micro and macro level and the excellent health economics courses. At the time I completed the program, it was a two-year experience. I believe this was a plus because I had the opportunity to create real-life experiences — starting companies and learning from all of the successes and failures that are involved in startup companies. Honestly, nothing can replace jumping into the game while using the principles and analytical skills that I was learning to create solutions on the fly."

Where are they now?

Eric K. Wei, MD, MBA
Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Assistant Medical Director – Emergency Department
LAC+USC Medical Center
Clinical Faculty – Department of Emergency Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Brian Potts, MD, MBA, was accepted into his first choice of emergency medicine residency programs and is now an emergency physician at a major medical group in the Bay Area.  “One of the key reasons that they hired me” was “what I could bring to the table with my background in business.”  He has since advanced to leadership positions within the group and says he uses “leadership skills developed through the MD/MBA program on a daily basis.”

Mario San Bartolome, MD, MBA, received the residency of his choice in Family Medicine at Long Beach Memorial in Long Beach, Calif.  He also credits his MD/MBA training also in being hired afterward as the assistant director of community medicine and states “I believe that having an MBA was a factor that led to my position as a faculty member at a residency with responsibilities that also included coordinating practice management and technology.”  He has also been able to co-found multiple small businesses, including nonprofits.

Research Opportunities »


At UC Irvine's Merage School of Business, there are several collaborative opportunities available that allow you to customize your education.

They include centers for:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Global Leadership
  • Real Estate
  • Digital Transformation
  • Investment and Wealth Management
  • Healthcare Management and Policy

As the health care industry undergoes dramatic changes, the Merage School’s Center for Health Care Management and Policy is a source of important knowledge and information for those who are leaders and those who want to move into leadership roles.  The mission of the Center for Health Care Management and Policy is to build stronger ties with the health care community in Orange County and beyond. In so doing we aim to raise the level and profile of health care policy at The Paul Merage School and at University of California, Irvine more broadly.  The Center’s current activities are in two main areas: (1) organizing conferences and other events to disseminate research findings and to promote discussion of health policy issues and (2) contributing to the health care focus within UCI’s MBA programs. We expect our activities to grow dramatically in the next five years in an effort to achieve our vision of increased engagement in the health care policy space.

At the School of Medicine, the Center for Health Policy Research is lead by Sheldon Greenfield, MD, MPH, Donald Bren Professor of Medicine. His area of expertise is healthcare quality assessment, applying quality of care standards to physician performance and doctor/patient relationships.