In MSW / MPH dual degree programs, you can earn a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health at the same time.
Enrolling in these programs jointly can help you understand the interplay between the two fields. You can learn how pairing skills from both areas can contribute to more effective health and wellness initiatives.
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Plus, dual MSW and MPH programs provide a time-saving, money-saving approach to earning graduate degrees in both of these fields.
Online MSW & MPH Dual Degree Programs
Social work and public health can go hand in hand. By pairing these two disciplines, professionals can tackle issues of physical wellbeing and mental health in ways that support individuals and improve communities. These fields work well together because they both focus on health and wholeness, whether physical, emotional, or social.
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If you are committed to disease prevention, healthcare equity, health education, policy development, or social justice, then an MSW/MPH dual degree program may be a strategic educational path for you.
Master of Social Work
Social workers can help relieve people’s burdens. For those who are struggling, social workers provide support, guidance, and connections to community services.
A Master of Social Work (MSW) is a graduate degree for those who want to increase their understanding of complex social issues and develop a more robust set of problem-solving skills.
If you choose to earn an MSW, you might take classes about:
- Counseling skills for individuals, families, and groups
- Grief counseling
- Healthcare social work
- Human growth and development
- Social policies
- Social work theories
Social work masters programs usually include internships as well. Earning an MSW can be an important step toward social work licensure. The exact license for which you’d qualify would depend on your state’s regulations as well as the classes and clinical experiences covered in your program.
Master of Public Health
Public health professionals research health issues at the community level. They conduct research about diseases, tackle social issues that affect health, and advocate for more equitable access to care.
A Master of Public Health (MPH) is a degree path for those who aspire to lead initiatives or head up research teams.
An MPH program typically includes course topics related to:
- Behavioral science
- Community health assessment
- Disease prevention
- Healthcare equity
- Public health leadership
MPH programs often involve practicums or internships in which you spend time in public health departments or related organizations. Licensure isn’t typically necessary for public health jobs, but a master’s degree may equip you for industry certification and leadership roles.
Public Health & Social Work Careers and Salaries
Healthcare social work is a top job category for those with a dual degree. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that there are around 185,000 healthcare social workers in the United States.
This type of social worker may serve as a liaison between doctors and patients, help people cope with diagnoses, and facilitate support groups. MPH and MSW graduates are often interested in disease prevention. For that reason, community health education may be another line of work to consider.
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Health educators coordinate programs and prepare materials to help people learn more about factors that influence their physical and mental wellbeing. They also encourage people to make healthy choices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social workers earn a median annual salary of $51,760.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$104,280|
|Social and Community Service Managers||$69,600|
|Social Workers, All Other||$64,210|
|Healthcare Social Workers||$57,630|
|Health Education Specialists||$56,500|
|Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers||$48,720|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||$48,430|
|Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors||$47,660|
|Community Health Workers||$42,000|
Your eligibility for various roles may depend on your master’s program coursework, your certifications and licenses, and your experience. These factors can affect your salary as well.
Earning a master’s degree can also enhance your expertise and qualifications for a management position. Suitable management roles can be found in community or social service organizations. There are also professionals in the field who oversees health services in a hospital or public health department.
Of course, MSW-MPH graduates can also branch out into roles that lean more toward one field or the other. Public health jobs include epidemiology and community health intervention. Social work roles may entail counseling clients, working in schools, managing child welfare cases, or providing support for those in addiction recovery.
Joint Masters Admissions Requirements
Social work dual degree programs can be rigorous, so it’s beneficial to submit application materials that showcase your ability to handle the workload. Your application packet may include:
- College transcripts that reflect undergraduate studies in any field
- Professional recommendations
- Statement of purpose highlighting your interest in the dual program
- GRE or other standardized test scores (if required)
Getting into a dual program usually involves submitting two separate applications. Depending on the school’s guidelines, you may send them at the same time or apply to one program after already being in the other for a semester or more.
Holding two master’s degrees from a regionally accredited university can be a strategic way to set yourself apart as a candidate for various healthcare social work jobs. Regional accreditation is a universally accepted mark of a reputable college.
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While holding regionally accredited degrees can be invaluable during a job search, that’s not all that accreditation status is good for. It can also be important if you plan to use federal financial aid for your studies. Plus, accredited courses may transfer to other colleges or prepare you for admission to a doctoral program someday.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Finances shouldn’t make or break your decision to get a dual degree. If you’re convinced that a career in public health social work is right for you, then you can start searching for financial aid that can help you afford an MPH-MSW program. Turning in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be your first step.
State and federal loans can help you spread out your tuition payments over time. There may be grants available to you as well if you qualify. Scholarships and fellowships may help reduce how much tuition you owe. You might qualify for one of these awards through either the social work program or the public health program at your college.
Employers sometimes offer tuition help to employees whose further education could benefit the organization. If you’re going to school part-time while continuing in your current job, you may want to ask your HR department about this option.
What Is Public Health Social Work?
Public health social work is an interdisciplinary field that addresses the health of both individuals and communities.
Social workers in public health provide tools and support to help individuals and families deal with issues of health and safety. They also consider these types of issues on a community-wide level and develop strategies for improving population health.
Public health social workers have a unique perspective that allows them to address individual needs while also studying population trends and data. Their work may focus on disaster response, disease prevention, infant health, drug and alcohol abuse, or other areas of concern.
Can I Get a Dual Master’s Degree?
There are a variety of programs that allow you to earn two master’s degrees at the same time. This approach to graduate studies can help you save time and money while pursuing two fields of interest.
If you’re interested in becoming a public health social worker, you may benefit from an MPH-MSW dual-enrollment program. If you pursue these two degrees, you’ll study community health, mental health, social services, and disease prevention.
Learning to address issues on both the individual level and the population level can help you tackle complex social problems on multiple fronts.
Why Should I Get an MPH MSW Joint Program?
MSW MPH programs can help you develop two separate sets of skills, offering you the opportunity to be a well-rounded, fully informed professional.
You might be a good candidate for an MSW MPH joint program if you want to:
- Conduct research
- Engage one-on-one with individuals
- Provide leadership in community organizations
- Improve access to healthcare and social services
- Save time and money by earning two degrees together
If you pursue a dual masters degree program in public health and social work, you may graduate with the tools to address health issues that face individuals as well as communities.
What Can You Do with an MSW-MPH Dual Degree?
Students who enroll in social work and public health graduate programs tend to pursue jobs in healthcare social work.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 14% of social workers are employed by ambulatory healthcare organizations. Hospitals or public health departments could be potential workplaces as well.
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Health education specialist is another common career path for some MPH-MSW graduates. Health educators generally earn anywhere from $33,720 to $101,890 each year (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Management roles in social and community service organizations may be an additional option. The annual pay often ranges from $42,230 to $115,800. With a median salary of $87,720, social and community service management roles in local government tend to pay the most.
Is a Combined MPH/MSW Worth It?
Yes, a combined MPH/MSW is worth it for many professionals. Getting two degrees in these complementary fields may equip you to develop innovative, effective solutions for helping people live healthier lives.
Your understanding of health research, your counseling tools, and your interdisciplinary leadership skills could help set you apart in your specialization area. Public health and social work are both in-demand fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for medical and health services managers are increasing at a 32% rate.
For social and community services managers, the rate of growth is 17%. Meanwhile, jobs for social workers are growing at a rate of 13%, and jobs for health education specialists are growing by 11%.
Universities Offering MSW and MPH Dual Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online, campus, or in a hybrid format.
Florida International University offers a dual degree program for students interested in obtaining a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health.
The program can typically be completed in 3 years and includes a field placement. To be eligible for the dual degree program, applicants must be accepted into both the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health programs.
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
John Hopkins University offers a number of dual degree programs, including a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health. Students can usually complete the program in 3 years. Applicants must meet all requirements for both degrees except for the 2 years of health-related work experience.
Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
New York University offers a dual degree program for a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health. The program, which is offered solely on campus with full-time study, typically allows students to graduate in 3 years. Applicants must be accepted into both the MSW and the MPH programs to be eligible for the dual degree program.
New York University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Saint Louis University offers a dual degree program for a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health. To graduate, students must complete 320 hours of MPH practice experience and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must be admitted into both programs to be eligible for the dual degree.
Saint Louis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
SUNY Albany offers a dual degree program for students interested in obtaining both a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health. Students in the program can also complete a concentration in Macro Social Work and a concentration in Health Policy Management. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
UAlbany is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Denver offers a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health dual degree program. Students must complete 108 credit hours to graduate. Classes can be taken in a hybrid format. Applicants must apply to both programs if they wish to enter the dual degree program.
The University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Maryland offers a dual degree program for students interested in obtaining a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health. The program can usually be completed in 3 years. Applicants must submit an online application with 3 references, official transcripts, and GRE scores.
The University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Memphis offers students the option to pursue a dual degree for a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Health. Students can have a maximum of 15 credit hours dedicated to the dual degree. Applicants must apply to both programs to be eligible.
The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The University of Missouri offers a dual degree program for those interested in receiving both a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work. To graduate, students must complete 79 credit hours. Applicants must submit an online application and a short, personal essay.
The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Washington offers a dual degree program for students interested in both a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work.
To graduate, students must complete at least 90 credits and a thesis. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a statement of purpose, a personal statement, and 3 letters of recommendation.
The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Joint MPH-MSW Degree Online
Public health and social work are two fields that routinely intersect. Enrolling in an MSW/MPH joint degree program can help you develop your skills as a practitioner who impacts people’s wellbeing. Each field of study can enhance your understanding of the other.
You may save time and money by earning these two degrees concurrently. Getting an online social work degree combined with an online public health degree is one beneficial option for graduate studies. Online programs from accredited schools can allow you to earn credible MPH and MSW degrees.
If flexible, online combined masters programs complement your lifestyle, you can start exploring MSW MPH online programs today to find the one that best fits your professional interests.