MPP/MSW Dual Degree Programs

Sep 06, 2018

Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Social Work (MSW) dual degree programs are available at a few different institutions and typically involve hands-on learning through internship and/or practicum experiences for both portions of the dual program. Students in these programs can usually complete coursework within 3 years if taken full-time, and they'll be prepared to work in careers concerning social welfare policy. Find out more about this dual degree program and some common requirements.

Information for MPP/MSW Dual Degree Programs

As mentioned, MPP and MSW dual degree programs include plenty of hands-on experience through field experiences, internships and practica, and some of these programs may conclude in a paper discussing MPP methods used to evaluate practice. Courses may vary from program to program, but here we examine some of the more common courses for these dual degree programs.

Social Policy Analysis/Evaluation

Many MSW programs include a course in social policy analysis and/or evaluation that may be set up as a field instruction course or a lecture-based course. Lecture-based courses help students learn about policy analysis skills, while field instruction courses allow students to practice these skills through hands-on assignments, like case-based conferences, supplemental readings and other experiential learning opportunities. Topics in these courses may include the impact of policy on individuals and/or communities, social welfare systems and evaluation methods.

Community Development

Most MSW programs offer a course that trains students in the skills and strategies of community development. These strategies include social planning and the development of community-based programs and services, which students discuss in depth. These courses may also discuss a variety of factors that go into innovative development, such as diverse communities and economics.


Many MPP programs require students to take one or more courses in statistics that can be applied to public policy research. These courses usually expose students to different statistical software and different experimental designs. Other specific topics may include regression analysis, confidence intervals, probability theory, hypothesis testing and panel data.

Quantitative Methods

Students in the MPP portion of the dual program also usually take a course in quantitative methods, but these courses may take on a broad perspective or look specifically at methods for program evaluation. Courses that take a broader perspective may discuss topics and methods in asset allocation, cost benefit analysis or derivatives. Courses examining quantitative methods in program evaluation tend to focus on multiple regression analysis and how to develop and evaluate research.

Field Instruction/Practicum

These courses may be called different things, but MSW programs require extensive hands-on training through field instruction courses that require internships or practica. It is fairly common for students to take these courses multiple times, but most programs begin with a foundational course that may require as much as 200 hours of experience. These hands-on experiences must be supervised hours, usually at an approved agency.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students wishing to pursue a dual MPP and MSW degree program usually need to apply to each program separately and indicate interest in the dual program on the application. Although many MSW degree programs do not require GRE test scores, a lot of MPP programs do require GRE scores. Some MSW programs may have a minimum GPA requirement and/or require an interview process, and some MPP programs require work experience. Both programs typically require applicants to submit their official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and/or resume.

MPP and MSW dual degree students are prepared to work in the realm of social policy and graduate with social work and public policy experience. These dual programs can be completed in about 3 years and typically require separate admission to each program.

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