Students pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree often receive a generalist perspective on social issues facing individuals and communities, so those who are interested in specializing their education may consider pursuing a joint degree program. Joint degrees often reduce the amount of time that it would take to earn two degrees consecutively. Core courses are usually taken in each program and then used as electives to fulfill each degree's remaining requirements. Within the state of New York, there are a very wide range of dual MSW degree options available.
New York Schools with Joint MSW Programs
Syracuse University MSW/MFT
Syracuse University offers students the opportunity to pursue a joint MSW/Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). This is the first joint degree program in these disciplines in the country. This program takes three years to complete. Students are introduced to the underpinnings and distinctions of each profession, and gain extensive clinical skills for work with families or with couples. Courses may include family systems theory and family therapy perspectives on cultural diversity. A component of the program is a practicum providing therapy at the Falk College Couple and Family Therapy Center. Students pursue other fieldwork opportunities as well.
University of Buffalo MSW/MPH
The University of Buffalo provides an MSW/Master of Public Health (MPH) program for students interested in gaining an interdisciplinary education around issues in social work and public health. The program is typically completed in three years of study, but those who have a bachelor's in social work may complete it in two years. Issues concerning trauma-informed care and human rights are integrated throughout the social work program. Course topics may include environmental health and health behavior.
New York University MSW/MPA
At New York University, students have the opportunity to pursue an MSW/Executive Master of Public Administration (MPA). If students take summer courses, the dual degree can be completed in two years of study. Coursework may include strategic leadership and financial management. Study abroad programs offered during spring break and the January term can add a global lens to the study of social work and public administration as well.
Columbia University MSW/MUP
Columbia University offers the opportunity to earn the MSW/Master of Urban Planning (MUP) dual degree. Typically six terms, or three years, of study are required to complete the 90 total credits. Overall studies may focus on economic and physical conditions that affect quality of life for urban residents. Individual course topics include planning methods and geographic information systems.
Students enrolled at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany can pursue a joint MSW/Juris Doctorate (JD) degree. Students can complete both degrees in four years of full-time study, but must begin with courses taken at the law school. Overall courses may include legal methods, professional responsibility, and community-building. Those interested in additional social work study can also look at certificate options in public affairs and non-profit management.
Typically, admissions to each component of a dual degree program are independent. This means that those who are applying must meet the admissions standards for each of the schools/departments offering the separate degrees. Depending on the university, applications might be made to both programs concurrently, or to the second program after completion of a year of academic study. All applicants should hold an earned bachelor's degree, and can expect to provide transcripts, recommendations, a personal statement, and relevant standardized test results such as the LSAT or GRE.
Pursuing a joint degree program can offer graduates a wide lens with which to examine social problems. An MSW degree combined with a second graduate degree takes roughly two to four years to complete.