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Dual Master's Degree Programs in Social Work & Public Health

Students can earn a Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health dual degree at one of several schools throughout the U.S. in three years. MSW/MPH programs provide students with a deeper understanding of people, public health, and social welfare.

How to Earn a MSW/MPH Dual Degree

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH) dual-degree programs prepare students for work in a variety of professional roles, including social work practice and leadership. Programs can be completed in around three years and may consist of some of the courses mentioned below.

Social Welfare Policy

Social welfare policy courses provide an overview of social welfare policies both past and present. Students will learn how policies affect people and communities, and discuss opportunities for improvement. Course content may include issues regarding sexism, poverty, and racism, as well as privatization. Students should develop a foundational understanding of welfare services and policies in relation to social justice.

Quantitative Methods

In quantitative methods courses, students learn how to effectively review, analyze, and present data relevant to the fields of public health and social work. Students may study topics such as relative risk, parameter estimation, and statistical interference. Some courses may present various approaches to data analysis and data collection, including ethnography, interviews, and grounded theory. Upon completion of a quantitative methods course, students should be able to conduct and analyze statistical data and present it in a professional manner.

Public Health Management

Public health management courses explore key skills in leadership such as communication, ethics, and collaboration. Some courses may also discuss the healthcare system in the U.S. and the relationships and functions within it. In addition to personnel-related topics, students may also learn about the financial and regulatory features of public health. Students who have completed these courses are able to understand and implement public health administrative topics and tasks.

Social work with Individuals, Community, and Populations

These courses give students a foundational overview of community and clinical practice with various people. Courses may emphasize patient-relationship practice with groups, communities, individuals, and families. Students should learn basic health determinants and applicable approaches to address any concerns. Courses may feature modules built around each type of patient or group in order to give students sufficient knowledge to work with all populations.

Religion and Ethics

Religion and ethics courses explore frameworks and implications of religion and ethics in public health. Students may learn about religious and ethical traditions that may have controversial health aspects. Courses may present case studies to help students understand issues, the traditions behind them, and how to find a compromise when needed in order to maintain health outcomes. Course topics may include public school sex education, faith healing, stem cell research, and vaccine exemptions.

Social Justice in Social Work

Courses on social justice in social work often investigate at-risk populations, diversity, social justice, and oppression. Students may develop an appreciation for multiculturalism and advocacy by exploring topics such as social class, gender, age, and race. Students will learn how to have difficult conversations through discussions, and should be capable of providing all people with anti-oppressive attitudes and services.

Family Policy and Practice

These courses bring together principles of practice, policies, theories, as well as intervention and treatment strategies that apply to families. Students may explore how policies affect families and their relationships, as well as how fairly policies treat varying families. Courses give students the necessary tools to understand and treat families effectively.

Sexuality and Gender

Sexuality and gender courses may be separated or combined, and explore various topics on human sexuality and gender. Students may learn about sexual disorders, sex roles, and sexual dysfunction, as well as how to properly approach and treat any concerns (such as unhealthy relationships or attitudes). Courses may also discuss gender perspectives, LGBT challenges, and health-related issues, providing students with a better understanding of patients so that they can provide better care and services.

Admittance Requirements for MSW/MPH Programs

MSW/MPH programs often require students to apply to each program/department separately, requiring at least a bachelor's degree (in any subject) to have previously been completed. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree in social work may qualify for a shorter program by waiving some or many of the MSW courses. Programs may require students to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or similar as well as a copy of GRE or GMAT test scores. Students typically need to submit a resume, references or letters of recommendation, as well as at least one written statement expressing individual goals.

Students who have previously earned a bachelor's degree can earn both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health through a dual-degree program in around three years. Graduates of MSW/MPH programs should have a broad understanding of public health and social work topics, including diversity, policy, sexuality, and public health management.