MSW & MPH Dual Degree

May 15, 2018

Earning an MSW & MPH dual degree makes sense because social issues and health issues are so closely related. An individual who holds the MSW & MPH dual degree is better equipped to deal with complex issues that affect individual and community welfare.

A Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) MSW & MPH dual degree is a collaborative program offered by a school of social work and a school of public health. By merging these two disciplines, colleges and universities prepare professionals to work directly with individuals and communities to address issues that affect individual and community health and well-being. Graduates are also qualified to serve in leadership roles in public health and social work.

How Long Will it Take to Complete the Degree?

Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the MSW & MPH dual degree program generally takes between three to four years to complete. Students studying full-time can complete the degree in three years. Those studying part-time can earn the degree in four years. MSW & MPH dual degree programs usually require at least 90 semester hours of study.

What Courses Are Required?

The list of courses in a program that requires 90 or more semester hours is extensive, however, the following are some courses you can expect to take should you enroll in an MSW & MPH dual degree program:

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

This course helps MSW/MPH candidates understand human behavior. It teaches students the cultural, social and psychological issues that impact individuals, family, and the community. Students look at issues that shape beliefs and values among various groups.

Social Work Practice

The social work practice course focuses on interventions with individuals and groups. In addition to a general social work practice course, you may take additional courses under this umbrella. For example, an advanced course may teach techniques for marriage and family therapy.

Social Work with Groups

In this course, students learn the methods and techniques for facilitating groups. Among the topics covered are conflict resolution and group processes. In the advanced version of the course, students develop skills in working with specific issues such as substance abuse.


This course takes a practical and theoretical look at factors related to race, ethnicity, and gender. Students will look at the impact of history and politics on disenfranchised groups. Students also explore the themes of globalization, oppression and social justice.

Social Work Field Instruction

Students in a dual MSW & MPH program put their skills to practice in this course. The Social Work Field Instruction course provides supervised practice in the field. Students are placed in a community agency during field instruction.

Global Health

In this course, students develop skills necessary for working in developing countries. There are opportunities to put theory into practice by analyzing data and setting priorities for addressing public health issues. Students explore opportunities and concerns associated with working abroad as a public health practitioner.


An epidemiology course looks at the determinants and distribution of disease in populations. Students learn to calculate prevalence, incidence, and rates of disease. Using statistical programs to analyze public health data for research and reporting is a skill that is developed in this course.


Students learn the role of statistics in public health. Topics include descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and probability. Probability distributions, data analysis, and statistical software are also covered.

What Are the Admission Requirements?

The school you select may require applications to both the Master of Public Health program and the Master of Social Work program.

General admission requirements for the MSW program include an application, official transcripts, a narrative statement, standardized test scores (GRE, MAT), letters of recommendation and a resume. Requirements for the MPH degree are similar. International students can expect to provide scores from the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). Other documentation may be required. To be accepted into a dual degree program, acceptance into both programs is required.

The Master of Social Work & Master of Public Health dual degree program will be an asset to an individual who desires to work in both public health and social work. The courses prepare a candidate for both direct service and leadership roles in social work and public health.

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