JD & Master's in Social Work Dual Degree
Individuals interested in social and legal systems may consider earning a dual Master of Social Work and Juris Doctor degree. Learn about program length and common course options.
Earning a Dual Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work Degree
By enrolling in a Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work dual degree program, the time it takes to complete both may be shortened, as some individual courses will apply to both, thus students can complete the dual JD/MSW degree within about four years. Although dual degrees require students to be enrolled in both programs concurrently, the application process is threefold as applicants must be admitted to the college or university and to each respective graduate school. While GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores are not always required for admission, applicants can expect minimum undergraduate degree GPA requirements of 3.0 or higher, letters of professional and academic recommendation, CV (curriculum vitae) submissions, and LSAT scores for entry into the Juris Doctor program. Following are descriptions of typical course offerings.
Civil procedure courses serve as introductory courses to the judicial system. The litigation process is followed from jurisdiction to appellate review, and students may participate in skill building exercises that promote the values emphasized in civil litigation. Students may be asked to examine the problems within the mediation process of civil cases as well as produce conceptual analysis of civil adjudication. Topics may also include jurisdiction, pre- and post-trial motions, discovery, and appellate review.
Torts are wrongful acts upon the individual that exist outside of legal contracts. Acts against another that intentionally violate their legally protected interests will usually be covered. These acts may include assault, battery, and false imprisonment. Torts are not only restricted to person to person infringements but also includes liability involving defective products, which may be addressed.
Constitutional law courses will invariably study the three branches of the federal government and the powers that each respective branch holds. The balance of power between state and federal governments will also likely be explored. Judicial review, sovereign immunity, and other forms of judicial power and the limits set forth upon them are also likely topics in constitutional law courses. Constitutional law as it applies to civil rights, commerce power, and foreign policy and a host of other federal legislative, federal judicial, and federal executive powers are plausibly addressed.
Contracts courses provide instruction on the various principles of accepted contract laws. Students may learn to analyze common laws and statutes as well as how to appropriately apply those laws. Along with negotiating and drafting, other topics may include parole evidence, third party rights, and defenses to enforceability.
Social Welfare History and Policy
This course often provides an overview of the primarily economic, political, and social influences on past to present social welfare policies and programs in the United State, but coursework may also include the religious and ideological motivations that also hold sway over policy implementation. While learning about existent social welfare programs, students might be challenged to critically assess and measure the effectiveness of these programs in promoting social welfare in terms of promoting health and well-being and alleviating poverty, along with other stated goals. The role of the social work professional and their powers of advocacy are also commonly studied in this kind of course.
Theories of Human Behavior
Human behavior courses as they relate to social work embrace broad philosophies from many different perspectives. Students are often provided with an introduction to knowledge and evidence-based theories on human behavior and development across the lifespan. They might compare and contrast normal development within various theoretical frameworks while also analyzing theories and knowledge surrounding maladaptive behaviors. Employing ecological and cognitive theories, among others, students could gain understanding in how human development is impacted by a host of factors, including biological, societal, and traumatic experience factors, while also viewing development through the lens of social welfare and how social justice and economics play a role.
Dual degree enrollment in a Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Social Work program reduces the overall time it takes to complete both by integrating some of the curricula, so students are able to graduate in about four years. Students can take advantage of immersive learning experiences that involve field study plus seminars to advance knowledge in social welfare and legal systems thus producing graduates endowed with the skills and knowledge to improve social welfare policies and laws.