M. Fabregas-Janeiro, P. Nuno de la Parra

Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UNITED STATES)
UPAEP University in Mexico and Oklahoma State University (OSU) in the United States recognize that international corporations are seeking professionals capable of working in diverse environments, with the ability to recognize, respect, and adapt to different cultures. UPAEP University and Oklahoma State University (OSU) understand the needs of a new global society and have partnered to create twenty-five different Master Dual Degree Programs. Mexican and American students could earn two world class graduate degrees (one from UPAEP University and one from OSU) in two years while studying approximately one year at each university.

In 2006, UPAEP University developed and presented a proposal to OSU to offer for the first time twenty-five Dual Master Degree Programs between a private university in Mexico and a public university in the United States. This unique partnership between UPAEP University and OSU has allowed students from Mexico and the United States to study in two countries and gain the experience of living in two different cultures while earning two master degrees in two different languages (English and Spanish).

Each student enrolled in the program has a “home” institution that awards the degree, and a “host” institution that allows the student to study abroad by taking courses in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements of both the “home” and the “host” institution. The key of the success of these Dual Degree Programs is the flexibility of the curriculum at UPAEP University and Oklahoma State University. The students along with their academic adviser build their own curriculum. Students are allowed to pick their classes from many options offered by the UPAEP Center Interdisciplinary of Graduate Studies and by OSU. The process is simple. The student admitted into the program selects the classes he/she will take in the “home” institution. The student then selects the classes he/she will take in the “host” institution. After the student completes his/her selections, a plan of study is developed. One academic advisor from each institution reviews the student’s selections and matches the classes in their own institution to facilitate the credit transfer.

However, this partnership has faced many challenges. The most important of these challenges has been the inability of the students to speak other languages with enough proficiency to cover the admission requirement from both institutions. Both institutions are continually communicating to facilitate the admission requirement and retain the rates.

The Master Dual Degree Programs provide a richer global perspective than either degree on its own. This opportunity gives the student a chance to live in another country and be a part of a unique intercultural experience, which will no doubt foster their professional development and enrich their global perspective of the world. The students’ managerial skills will expand, and they will receive an invaluable real world multicultural experience. This partnership allows students to experience an easy transition from one degree program at UPAEP University to one degree program at OSU and vice versa, which allows a seamless integrated curriculum.