The University of Washington makes it possible to build the kind of concurrent degree program that fits your professional career goals. The most common concurrent degrees that align with social work are in public health or public policy. For details about creating a concurrent degree plan, including advantages and drawbacks, please first review our Concurrent Degree Guide and then contact the School of Social Work Admissions Office with questions.

All students considering a concurrent degree program should review the UW Graduate School’s Memo 35: Concurrent Degree Programs, describing how both formal and informal concurrent degrees work.  Both the MSW/MPA and MSW/MPH dual degree programs are considered an Informal Concurrent Degree program. It is the responsibility of each student to make sure their plan of study aligns with the requirements of the respective schools and the UW Graduate School: http://grad.uw.edu/policies-procedures/graduate-school-memoranda/memo-35-concurrent-degree-programs.

The School of Social Work additionally offers opportunities for students to pursue certification in Prevention and K-12 School Social Work (details below). 

 

 

Overview

The University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and School of Social Work concurrent degree option offers interdisciplinary preparation in the fields of social work and public policy and governance, leading to the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration. Earning degrees in both areas prepares students to be professionals who work at the interface of the two fields in practice, research, planning, administration, and policy development.

Graduate School Requirements

All students considering a concurrent degree program should review the UW Graduate School’s Memo 35: Concurrent Degree Programs, describing how both formal and informal concurrent degrees work.  The MSW/MPA dual degree program is an Informal Concurrent Degree program.  It is the responsibility of the student to make sure her or his plan of study aligns with the requirements of the respective schools and the UW Graduate School. 

Admissions

The concurrent degree is offered by the School of Social Work and the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. The program enables students to complete the requirements for the MSW and MPA degrees within approximately three years, which would require four years of academic work if earned separately. In addition, it will most likely require a full-time summer block practicum that fulfills the practicum requirement for the MSW and internship requirement for the MPA. 

Students must apply to and be accepted by both schools. The concurrent degree option described here assumes that students are pursuing degrees in the School of Social Work MSW DAY program and the Evans School‘s full-time MPA degree.  Note: Social Work EDP students may pursue a concurrent degree program with the full-time MPA degree, but would likely find it less expensive to, instead, pursue a fee-based concurrent or subsequent degree or certificate through Professional and Continuing Education. For more information, please visit: https://evans.uw.edu/academicprograms/mpa/part-time-mpa-track

While the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required to apply to the SSW, it is a requirement to apply to the Evans School. Students who matriculate into the full-time day program in either the School of Social Work or the Evans School are eligible to apply for the concurrent degree program. Students in the day program are strongly encouraged to complete their first year of studies in Social Work before entering the MPA program. Applications for both programs are typically due in January. Please check departmental websites for actual dates. Typically, students apply to the School of Social Work in January and enter the MSW program the following September. Then they apply for the Evans School the following January. Students may begin taking MPA coursework as early as spring quarter of the Social Work foundation year. Staggered entry generally permits completion of requirements within three years. 

The Evans School certificate programs are also an excellent way for both Day and Extended Degree Program students to take relevant coursework without the GRE requirement expected in the degree program. Please visit this website for more information:

https://evans.uw.edu/academic-programs/certificates-and-program-options

Program entry and foundation preparation

Given the integrated first-year curriculum in both programs, students will complete the first year of foundation study in each program largely without substitution. The concurrent degree option is flexible enough to allow students who begin in either program to decide during the first year to pursue the concurrent degree. However, students who know at the point of initial application that they will pursue the concurrent option are strongly advised to complete the Social Work foundation year in Year 1 and the Public Policy & Governance core year in Year 2, with the rest of the coursework for both programs in Year 3. This will allow greater flexibility in scheduling electives and provides a marginally more coherent sequencing of theoretical and research methods content.

Advanced specializations

Students in both programs choose an area of specialization for their advanced work. Social Work students select a specialization during the first year of their studies and complete the coursework related to their specialization in their second year, after completing a common foundation curriculum. There are three specializations in the fulltime MSW program, each of which consists of 9-12 credits of advanced required courses and 680 hours of supervised practicum. Most MSW/MPA students align with the following two:

  • Administration and Policy Practice

  • Community-Centered Integrative Practice

The Evans School offers eight suggested concentrations, and students focus their elective coursework in one or more of these areas of study. Students have the option to pursue one of seven transcriptable program options, which is not required. 

Completion of requirements

The MSW program requires 75 credits for graduation; the MPA program requires 72 credits. Students in the concurrent degree program may complete both of these requirements in fewer than 142 credits, since courses taken at one school fulfill some elective requirements for the other.  Students should generally plan for a minimum of 3 years of academic work to complete both degree programs.  

**A note that MPA students must take a minimum of 60 credits with the PubPol curriculum prefix to graduate, regardless of substitutions and waivers.  Additionally, students will need to complete two sets of 36 credits with no overlap that meet the UW Graduate School requirements, as outlined in Memo 35, above.**

Concurrent students who begin in Social Work are advised to do a partial block of their Advanced Social Work Practicum during the summer, to make time available for coursework during the academic year. MPA coursework, if available, might also be considered. 

At the time of application for degree, students must submit a list to the Graduate School showing which courses are counted solely for each degree and which credits are shared. This form must be filed with the Graduate Program Advisor in each school.

Permitted Substitutions and Waivers

Some substitutions are possible and are detailed in the sample plan of study, available through the contact person listed below. These possible substitutions are presented for information purposes only and reflect the schools‘ anticipated curriculums. All actual substitutions must be approved by the graduate program director in the affected school.

Typical substitutions allowed for MSW Students:

  • Soc W 505 & 506 – MSW students admitted to or enrolled in both programs may elect to use PubPol 527-528 as substitutes for Soc W 505-506.

  • MSW-APP students are required to take 3 of the following 4 courses: Soc W 550, 560, 551 and 561.  (non-dual degree students must take 550, 560, and either 551 and 561.)

  • MSW-APP students may take PubPol 550 instead of Soc W 550.   

  • Up to 9 credits of PubPol courses may be counted for the Soc W elective requirement.

Additionally, MSW students should discuss with their MPA advisor whether they may use Soc W 550 to count toward PubPol 550 as an elective or Concentration course. 

Further Information

For more specific information regarding the MSW/MPA concurrent degree and for a sample plan of study, MSW students should contact MSW Advising (mswadvising@uw.edu).  Jennifer Brower, APP co-chair and Field Faculty can also provide information and guidance related to the MSW/MPA program (jjb2@uw.edu).

MPA students should contact the Director of Student Affairs.

MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program

The MSW/MPH concurrent degree program offers interdisciplinary preparation in the fields of social work and public health, leading to the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees. Public Health and Social Work share an interest in a preventive approach to health and social problems, a community perspective, and a focus on vulnerable populations.  Both fields recognize the influence of social, behavioral, and environmental factors on contemporary health problems, and acknowledge the need for research and interventions that address all three components.

The objective of the concurrent degree program is to prepare professionals who will function at the interface of both fields in practice, research, planning, administration, and policy development. Students will develop (1) competence in social work practice in community health, (2) understanding of the organization and functioning of the health and social service delivery systems, and (3) basic analytical skills necessary to conduct research and to perform competently in a variety of public health social work roles. Students will also have an opportunity for in-depth study of particular issues related to their special interests and career goals.

All students considering a concurrent degree program should review the Graduate School Memo 35 regarding concurrent degree programs.  The MSW/MPH programs would be an Informal Concurrent Degree Program:  http://grad.uw.edu/policies-procedures/graduate-school-memoranda/memo-35-concurrent-degree-programs/

 

WHO MAY APPLY FOR THE CONCURRENT DEGREE PROGRAM?

Concurrent degrees are offered by the School of Social Work and the Departments of Health Services (DHS) and Global Health (DGH) in the School of Public Health.  The program enables students to complete the requirements for the MSW and MPH degrees within approximately three years, which would require four years of academic work if earned separately.  In addition, it will most likely require a full-time summer block practicum that partially fulfills the practicum requirement for both programs.

Most concurrent MSW/MPH students align with the following specializations because they align more with coursework and practicum experiences accepted by Public Health programs.

MSW Specializations:

  • Administration and Policy Practice
  • Community-Centered Integrative Practice
  • Clinical Social Work Practice
     

MPH Programs:

  • General MPH in Health Services (offered in the “Day”, also called a State-subsidized program)
    Admissions information for the General MPH in Health Services--General MPH, Health Services Department: http://depts.washington.edu/hservmph
    Health Services applicants select the General MPH, and may choose an area of concentration within the General MPH (Social and Behavioral Sciences or Health Systems & Policy) when applying or during their first year in the MPH. The MSW program requires 75 credits for graduation; the MPH Program in Health Services requires 63 credits (including a thesis or capstone for 9 credits). Students in the concurrent degree program usually complete 115-125 for both degrees, depending on the number of electives taken.

 

  • General MPH in Global Health (offered in the “Day”, also called State-subsidized program)
    Admissions information for the MPH in Global Health: https://globalhealth.washington.edu/education-training/master-public-health
    Concurrent students who wish to apply to the Department of Global Health should select the General Track or the Leadership, Policy, and Management Track.  Most students who are accepted have experience in a low or middle income country or work with refugees and immigrants domestically. The MSW program requires 75 credits for graduation; the MPH Program in Global Health requires 63 credits (including a thesis or capstone for 9 credits). Students in the concurrent degree program usually complete 115-125 for both degrees, depending on the number of electives taken.

 

  • Community Oriented Public Health Program (COPHP) – offered as a self-sustaining program
    The Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice is a unique program using a problem-based learning approach. It is a self-sustaining, fee-based program administered in collaboration with UW Continuum College (UWC2). Students pay a flat quarterly fee covering their course expenses, plus a quarterly UWC2 registration fee.  Fees are due on the same schedule as the State-subsidized programs. Cost per quarter (for up to 12 credits): $9,950 (2020-2021 rate).  All efforts have been made to find ways to reduce the cost of the joint COPHP/MSW DAY program by sharing credits and approving waivers.  For non-Washington State residents, the cost of the MSW/COPHP concurrent degree will be less than doing one of the state subsidized concurrent programs at non-resident rates.  Additionally, students in the MSW CCIP Concentration have sometimes found that the project-based learning and community-oriented curriculum in the COPHP program is a good match with added value.  More info about costs and financial aid for the COPHP program at: http://www.mphpublichealthpractice.uw.edu/overview/costs/

 

UW PUBLIC HEALTH CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

http://sph.washington.edu/prospective/edprograms.asp?degree=cert

All SW graduate students in the Day and EDP program are eligible to apply and are easily admitted to one of many formal certificate programs in the Department of Global Health (see above web link). The Graduate School allows up to 6 credits to be shared between a degree program and a certificate program, but only if those 6 credits count as electives in both programs.  More information about the rules governing certificate program is at: http://grad.uw.edu/policies-procedures/graduate-school-memoranda/memo-43-graduate-certificates/

 

INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE MPH/MSW CONCURRENT DEGREE PROGRAM?

School of Social Work

Field Practicum inquiries including practicum planning, and potential field placements and logistics around timeline in fulfilling required MSW practicum: contact Sonia Duckworth, Field and CCIP Faculty for additional information and guidance related to the MSW/MPH program at soniduc@uw.edu. 

Curriculum and Academic Course Planning: MSW Academic Advisor, School of Social Work, mswadvising@uw.edu

Application questions for the MSW program: Admissions Office, School of Social Work, Box 354900, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4900, uwsocialwork@uw.edu, 206-543-5676, https://socialwork.uw.edu/admissions/apply-to-msw

 

School of Public Health

Health Services General and COPHP MPH

Prospective student inquiries:

Lauren Bedson, Marketing and Student Recruitment Specialist, Dept of Health Services,
School of Public Health, Box 357660, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7660, (206) 616-1397; hservask@uw.edu

http://depts.washington.edu/hserv

Global Health

Noura Youssoufa, Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Box 357965, University of Washington, Seattle, WA  98195, 206-685-1292, ghprog@uw.eduhttp://depts.washington.edu/deptgh

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Do you need a concurrent degree?

  • Completing a concurrent degree is a unique and rewarding experience that comes with its own challenges. Here are some things to consider when thinking about whether pursuing a concurrent degree is a great fit for your academic and professional goals:
  • If your primary focus is clinical you don’t necessarily need the MPH, you can do this with an MSW. MPH does not focus on clinical skills.
  • If you want to do hospital social work you can do this with an MSW, you don’t need an MPH.
  • If you understand what Public Health is and have a strong clinical background and want to evaluate/research/do program development/prevention work then yes – concurrent is a good option.

If you would like to learn more, check out MPH/MSW: Which degree is a best fit for you?

Is the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) required for either programs?

  • No. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required to apply to the School of Social Work or the School of Public Health. 

Do I have to apply separately to both programs?

  • Yes. Students need to apply separately to both programs. Historically, students have applied to the School of Social Work first and enter the MSW program the following September.  Then, they apply to the School of Public Health during their first year in the MSW program (MPH applications are usually due in December 1st). However, some applicants are certain that they only want to attend if they are accepted into both programs. In that case, they should apply to both programs simultaneously and if accepted to both programs, request to defer at the School of Public Health.

How long does it usually take to complete a concurrent MSW/MPH and what does the schedule look like?

  • Students usually complete the MSW/MPH program within (+/-) three years. Ideally, students start the first year of their MSW program, and begin taking MPH courses as early as spring quarter in the same year. Students then start their second year completing MPH coursework. On their third year, students complete a combination of courses from both programs.

Is it possible for prospective students in the MSW Extended Degree Program (EDP) and Advanced Standing Program to pursue a concurrent MPH/MSW degree?

  • Yes. Prospective Advanced Standing Students to the School of Social Work are eligible for the concurrent program but should apply for both programs simultaneously. Extended Degree Program (EDP) students can apply and would likely be most interested in the Public Health Community Oriented Public Health Program (COPHP) due to both EDP and COPHP programs being self-sustaining. For EDP students interested in the MPH programs in Health Services and Global Health, EDP students may want to consider applying in the fall of their final year of their MSW program to the full-time SPH program and complete them consecutively rather than concurrently.  For more information about timeline and other logistics such as cost, please contact MSW Advising at mswadvising@uw.edu

Is a Master’s thesis required for the MSW/MPH concurrent degree program?

  • The MSW program has an optional thesis option, however, the MPH degree requires a thesis in both Health Services and Global Health.  For the thesis, the thesis chair is a member of either the Department of Health Services or Global Health, as appropriate. Students are encouraged to select the second committee member from among the Social Work faculty. Other members may be added at the student’s discretion.  A thesis is NOT required in the MPH concentration in Health Systems and Policy in Health Services (students may substitute a capstone); COPHP also has a capstone rather than a thesis requirement. 

Candidates apply for their certificate directly to the WA Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Application files can be opened prior to MSW graduation.

Students will need to present evidence of completion of MSW degree, and completion of the 30-hour course in school law. OSPI facilitates fingerprinting. The Praxis II exam is no longer offered or required.

Resources UW SSW and UW Tacoma will continue to offer (budget permitting):

  • School Social Work Course: UW Seattle and UW Tacoma offer the School Social Work course for current students and graduate non-matriculated students on a space-available basis. A different, and more abbreviated course is offered through the Puget Sound Educational Services District office in Renton and intended only for candidates that have completed their MSW degree. Both of thesecourses meet the requirements of WAC 181-79A-223.
  • Advising: Students interested in social work practice in a school setting can receive advising on School Social Work Certification from the Office of Field Education at UW SSW and the Practicum Coordinators at UW Tacoma. Additional advising is also available from the Washington Association of School Social Workers (WASSW) and OSPI. (Please see Contact page).
  • Field experience: UW SSW and UW Tacoma will continue to offer practicum/field experience to currently enrolled students provided the schools are able to meet the requirements of the Office of Field Education. For people who have already finished their MSW degree, the UW School of Social Work (Seattle and Tacoma) will not be able to coordinate a practicum/field experience for you. Please contact the WASSW for questions regarding practicum/field experience in school social work after having finished your MSW degree.