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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
For more specific information regarding the MSW/MPA concurrent degree and for a sample plan of study, MSW students should contact MSW Advising (email@example.com). Jennifer Brower, APP co-chair and Field Faculty can also provide information and guidance related to the MSW/MPA program (firstname.lastname@example.org).
MPA students should contact the Director of Student Affairs.