MBA-MES Dual Degree

Wharton is pleased to offer a program that combines a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Environmental Studies (MES).

This dual degree complements and enhances Wharton’s multi-disciplinary approach to integrating knowledge and advancing educational goals in the business and environment sectors. The MBA/MES program expands the range of skills and knowledge that Wharton students can develop in the field of environmental management. The MES Program is offered through the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) within the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS).

The multi-disciplinary nature of the MES curriculum exposes Wharton students to faculty and students with similar interests in environmentally related topics throughout the Penn community. The capstone component for the dual MBA/MES degree gives students the opportunity to participate in research initiatives in a concentrated field of study. This program is very flexible to meet students’ needs and individual interests. Students can start MES coursework the summer prior to starting the MBA, take courses over the summer while conducting an internship, and various other options. Students can also take advantage of graduate-level courses throughout the university, such as from the Engineering School, the Design School, and others. The program is coordinated by Professor Arthur van Benthem and Professor Sarah E Light (Wharton) and Yvette Bordeaux, PhD (MES). Any questions regarding this program may be directed to enviro.curriculum@wharton.upenn.edu.

Schedule and Credit Distribution

MBA students must take a minimum of 19 credit units (CUs) to graduate, including the core and courses required for their major, and MES students must take 12 CUs to graduate, for a total of 31 CUs.  The MBA/MES dual degree program reduces the total required CUs from 31 to 24 (15 CUs in the MBA program; 9 CUs in MES), by permitting some double-counting as explained below. The dual degree program reduces the typical residency for the two programs from seven to six semesters, including one summer semester, and is designed to be completed in 2½ years.

Because the dual degree MBA/MES program involves a student matriculating into more than one degree program, students have a “primary” program each semester, either MBA or MES. Students will be in primary status at Wharton for three semesters and in primary status at SAS for three semesters (two semesters plus a summer capstone course).

During their three semesters in primary status at Wharton, students must complete a minimum of 15 credit units (CUs) of Wharton courses, including the core. During their three semesters in primary status at SAS, students must complete a minimum of 9 CUs of courses that qualify for the MES degree.

Of the 9 CUs taken in SAS, Wharton will accept 4 graduate level courses to count toward the minimum 19 CUs required for the Wharton MBA degree. Of the 15 CUs taken in Wharton, MES will accept 3 graduate level CUs to count toward the minimum 12 CUs required for the MES degree.

Special Rules for MBA/MES Dual Degree Students

  • Of the 9 CUs taken while MES is the primary program, 8 must be taken in SAS. Only one course taken outside of SAS, while MES is the primary program, can be counted toward the 9 CUs for the MES degree.
  • MBA/MES students must take all foundation courses in the sciences required for the MES program.
  • The Capstone project should combine the expertise gained in the MBA program with the environmental knowledge gained from the MES program.
  • Students may start the MES in the summer prior to their first Fall semester in the MBA program. Consult with the program directors for this sequencing.

Timeline of Courses

The timeline below has been designed by the faculties of both Wharton and SAS. Students wishing to follow a different timeline must first consult with the Directors of both the MBA and the MES sides of this dual degree program.

Notes: Double counts for the MES are taken in semesters 1, 2 or 6. Double counts for MBA are taken in semesters 3, 4, or 5.

Admissions and Application Procedures

Students wishing to participate in the MBA/MES program must apply separately to each program. Students who have already matriculated in either the MBA program or the MES program may apply to the other program; however, to receive the benefits of the program, such applications must occur in students’ first year.  When applying, the student should indicate on each separate application that they are applying to the MBA/MES dual degree program.

The applications will be reviewed separately by the admissions committees for each program. Acceptance into one program of the dual degree does not guarantee acceptance into the other program. Students applying to the MBA/MES dual degree may submit their GMAT scores to both programs (the GRE will be waived for applicants submitting the GMAT for the MES). For additional questions regarding admissions, please see Wharton Admissions or contact mba-admiss@wharton.upenn.edu; MES Admissions  or contact lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students are subject to the tuition and fees and any financial aid available for the program in which they are in primary status. Thus, for the three semesters during which participating students are primary at Wharton, they pay tuition and fees to Wharton, and receive Wharton financial aid, scholarships or other financial assistance. For the three semesters during which participating students are primary in the MES program, they pay tuition and fees to SAS. Please note that the MES program does not provide financial aid, scholarships or other financial assistance for any of its students. Thus, dual degree candidates must be aware of which program is primary and the corresponding tuition and fees that are applicable. For more information about tuition and financial aid, please see: Wharton Tuition and Financial Aid or contact financialaid@wharton.upenn.edu; MES Tuition & Fees or contact lps@sas.upenn.edu.

For more information, please visit Wharton’s Interdisciplinary Programs.

For more information about resources at Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania more broadly on climate, energy, environment, and sustainability, please click here.

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