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Dual Degree Programs

MSW Dual Degree Programs

There are several common dual degree programs that universities offer with the MSW, and a few that aren't so common. Dual degree programs do a little cross-pollinating, so that a limited number of credits from one program are applicable in the other. The level at which this occurs depends largely on the degrees involved. Our discussion of the dual degree options available address the methods that various schools use to integrate separate graduate degree programs into a single academic track.

    • MSW - Juris Doctor: This option will provide the MSW graduate working in the area of social justice and community support a degree with some teeth attached. Social workers who know the law and can present a case in court can be far more effective as advocates than someone who would have to seek out legal support in order to apply legal pressure. The University of Pittsburgh offers a four year program for this dual degree which would require some summer study as well. The intersection of legal affairs and social work also occurs in policy making situations where statute law often defines a social service responsibility and the limits of that responsibility. There are also schools that have developed this program in collaboration. San Diego State University offers its MSW/Juris Doctor program in conjunction with California Western School of Law.

    • MSW - Master of Public Health: The MSW/MPH is a dual degree option for students interested in the public health sector, obviously, but also specifically in the field of public health policy. The three year program at the University of Washington stresses the fact that the delivery of social services and public health services has long been closely associated, more so each year as health insurance is increasingly out of reach for many people and as the unemployment rate remains stagnant. This particular program also suggests that a student complete the first year of the MSW program before beginning the Master of Public Health track. The program at Tulane is heavily oriented to international public health, noting that it might be particularly attractive to students who have completed a year in the Peace Corps or a similar program.

    • MSW - Master of Public Administration: This is another policy-oriented marriage. The MSW-MPA degree provides the leadership skills for someone who wishes to move into the public sector in a management position for social services. The program at West Virginia University allows for electives in one program to be required courses in the other program; completion of both degrees can take between 24 and 33 months depending on whether or not the student attends summer sessions. While there are few undergraduate prerequisites for this particular pair of degrees, Arizona State University requires a biology course for the MSW, and for the MPA a course in social statistics and another in American history.

    • MSW - Masters in Child Development: This is a three year program at New York University conducted in collaboration with Sarah Lawrence College. Students must complete the first year of the child development program before starting the MSW. Graduates will have the skills to manage school counseling situations, to handle family interventions for at-risk children, and to manage child services programs at the regional or state level. The program at Loyola University of Chicago is conducted in partnership with the Erikson Institute, an educational institution that specializes in infant and child development.

    • MSW - Masters of Business Administration: It seems like an odd pairing at first, but the MSW-MBA degrees are offered for the purpose of developing in-depth management skills for career social workers. The three year program at Boston College requires students to take the first year for each degree in subsequent order; for the third year of the program classes from each program are combined. At the University of Pennsylvania, the orientation is a little different. The theory there is that any business manager is going to need in-depth understanding of human characteristics, whether the business is entrepreneurial or non-profit.

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