Earning a dual graduate degree in Social Work (MSW) and Education (M.Ed. or Ed.M) can allow students an interdisciplinary look at the many systems affecting the welfare of children, adolescents, and adults. Completing a joint degree program offers a lowered time to program completion as well as an integration of coursework. Here, prospective students can read about what to expect from a program like this as well as admission requirements.
MSW/MEd Dual Degree Programs
A dual degree in social work and education will require students to finish core requirements in each program, and then to select electives that can be utilized towards the completion of each degree. Some programs allow students to take courses in both the school of education and the school of social work for all years enrolled; while in other programs students can choose a school to begin with for the first year and then transition into the next school for the remaining time. In most dual degree programs, students can complete the requirements for both degrees in 2.5-3 years, as classes can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. Two social work field placements could also be expected as well as a semester-long student-teaching assignment, if students are seeking initial licensure as a teacher.
Common Courses in MSW/MEd Dual Degree Programs
Time-Effective Treatment Methods
Social workers focused on practice with children and schools must have a solid understanding of time-effective treatment methodology, including brief or single therapy situations and crisis intervention. This course will focus on an understanding of the theoretical basis of these modalities and the application of these techniques with children and families. Students often engage in role-plays to increase their clinical skills.
Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities
A course in behavioral and emotional disabilities may provide students with an introduction to how to assess and treat common behavioral disorders of children and adolescents. The impact of these disorders on the school, mental health system, individual child, and family could be discussed. Various societal conditions impacting behavioral disabilities, including culture and trauma, are considered.
Children at Risk
This course will provide an introduction to a range of clinical issues that affect children and families, including abuse, poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness. Students may consider both individual interventions to assist families in these situations. An examination of historical and current social policies addressing some of these serious concerns is also a likely component of the course.
Childhood trauma has a significant impact on well-being and behavior. A course in this topic may consider a range of theoretical and clinical approaches designed to address those suffering from trauma. Students could develop an understanding of how trauma develops, including developmental trauma, single-incident trauma, and PTSD. Case studies might increase understanding of these issues.
A psychopathology course may explore a wide range of psychological diagnoses and distress. Developmentally, students could explore the differences between typical and pathological behaviors. The relationships, resources, and biological processes that contribute or help to resolve adverse conditions might be explored. It is possible that case studies are a component of the course as well.
Practice with LGBTQ Populations
A course like this may first examine sexual identity and orientation. Students could then explore frequent misunderstandings and violence that those identifying as LGBTQ may face. How to understand and work with same-sex couples is a potential topic as well.
Students applying to a dual master's degree program in social work and education usually hold a bachelor's degree. Students can apply simultaneously to each school or apply to the second school during their first semester of graduate study, but they typically earn admittance into each program separately. Students should also expect to submit transcripts, personal statements, recommendations, and a resume. Interviews may be required as well.
A dual degree program in social work and education can provide students with a range of experience and knowledge in the social issues facing both children, families, and adults in a range of contexts. The program should take about three years to complete.