Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health Joint Degree

The Master of Social Work and the Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH) joint degree program is offered by the School of Social Work, and Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine.

The MSW/MPH Joint degree program will provide social work students with a deeper understanding of complex determinants of health and the scientific methods necessary to operate in an interprofessional environment. Building on the natural overlap between public health and social work, the MSW/MPH degree will strengthen and deepen the knowledge base necessary to address health disparities, urban health challenges, and equip students with the skills to qualify for employment that demands integration of prevention, research, and social epidemiological methods. Interprofessionally trained public health social workers will master the requisite knowledge and skill sets required to utilize community–based interventions to assist in the development of sensitive and need-based public health and social welfare policies.

View our "From a Student Perspective MSW/MPH Information Session" for more information on the program from students, faculty and advisors. 

Benefits of the MSW/MPH Joint Degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for healthcare and public health social workers is estimated to grow 20 percent over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).  A burgeoning number of families will require health and behavioral services as baby boomers continue to age.  This estimated demand will require a social service labor force to serve public and private health and behavioral health service demands. The changes that health care reform will produce are also anticipated to affect healthcare delivery and emphasize primary prevention needs. Job opportunities include positions at Wayne County Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Wayne Community Mental Health Authority, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Hospital Systems, Karmanos Cancer Institute, ACCESS, Michigan League for Public Policy and many more.

Admission requirements

The MSW/MPH Joint Degree will meet the requirements of both MSW and MPH Degrees by requiring:

  1. Grades and Transcripts: Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 and a copy of all post-secondary school transcripts are required including all requirements for admission to the Graduate School. Demonstrated math proficiency evidenced by a grade of B or above in a college-based mathematics or statistics course, preferably within the last 5 years. Applicants with a deficiency in this requirement may be asked to take a college-level algebra course before being considered for admission into the joint degree program.
  2. English Proficiency Requirements: If applicants have not completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the US or in a country where English is the native language, they must demonstrate English proficiency either by passing the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or equivalent test such as the International English Language Test System (IELTS). satisfactory attainment of scores in the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery.
  3. GRE Requirement: The completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with the expectation that scores of verbal reasoning greater than 60th percentile, quantitative reasoning at or above the 55th percentile, and on the analytical writing section at or above the 50th percentile. Individuals who have already completed a graduate level degree (MS, MBA, MSN, Ph.D., etc.) from an accredited institution can apply for a waiver of the GRE requirement.
  4. Curriculum Vitae, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation: The submission of a professional curriculum vitae together with a personal statement indicating the applicant's background, research and/or work experience, interests, and career goals as they relate to attainment of the MSW/MPH degree. Three letters of recommendation will also be required. Click here for guidance on writing the personal statement.

Admission to the MSW/MPH joint degree requires evidence beyond that required for the MSW degree: the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), college-level algebra/statistics, and a personal statement that incorporates both social work and public health interests.  Once both programs have made a determination of the applicant's admission status, the SSW will notify the applicant and facilitate entrance procedures. New student orientations will be coordinated between programs. The SSW will be the primary academic home, and students will be assigned academic advisors in each program.

Students who are currently enrolled or have been accepted to the MSW program  and are interested in pursuing the MSW/MPH joint degree should contact the Director as soon as possible to discuss application procedures for the MPH.

Students who already hold a MSW degree are not eligible for the MSW/MPH Joint Degree Program in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. However, those who have an MSW degree and are interested in further education/credentialing in public health are encouraged to consider the MPH Certificate Program. "The Wayne State University Graduate Certificate in Public Health Practice provides specialized training for individuals of varying backgrounds and experience who are committed to working in a public health related field." For more information click here

Curriculum and credits for individual programs

MSW Program - The MSW program consists of two academic years of full-time study for a total of 60 credits. The credits are a combination of coursework and field education (900 hours of supervised practice in a social services community based agency per semester). Applicants can enter the MSW program after earning a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a baccalaureate degree in another discipline besides Social Work. Those applicants with a BSW degree enter as an "Advanced Standing" full or part-time student and must take 38 credits. Those applicants with a baccalaureate degree in another discipline must take 60 credits. Course curriculum in the advanced year is determined by the concentration selected. View curriculum.

MPH-PHP (Public Health Practice) Program - The MPH Program requires 42 credits of cores and required classes, elective classes and culminating experiences. Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, and a substantial proportion of our applicants have additional graduate and/or professional degrees. Applicants for this Joint program would matriculate into the Public Health Practice concentration.

Curriculum and credits for MSW/MPH Joint Degree Program

MSW/MPH Joint Degree Program – The MSW/MPH Joint Degree Program fulfills both the MSW requirement and the MPH degree program requirement. A total of up to 20 credits can dually serve both degree requirements. The MSW credit hour requirements are also dependent upon concentration chosen (Interpersonal Practice or Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership) and whether the student possesses a Bachelor degree in Social Work (is an Advanced Standing student) or is a Core Student (Bachelor degree in a non-Social Work discipline). Students enrolled in the MSW/MPH joint degree program will complete their advanced year field placement at a public health/social work setting. Additionally students complete a MPH Practicum in a public health/social work setting. A Plan of Work for each student will be developed in conjunction with the advisor and MSW/MPH Director based on the concentration of study.

Admission process

Applicants for the joint MSW/MPH degree program complete one online application --"MSW/MPH Combined Degree" graduate application. Do not apply to each program separately. Applications may be submitted up to one year prior to the start of the beginning term of the program. Earlier admission is best for scholarship eligibility, field placement, and course section selection. Once both programs have made a determination of the applicant's admission status, Social Work will notify the applicant and facilitate entrance procedures. New student orientations will be coordinated between programs. The School of Social Work will be the primary academic home, and students will be assigned academic advisors in each program. Apply and submit all application materials online at here and select "MSW/MPH Combined Degree" for the graduate program.

All application materials must be submitted by the application deadline of March 31st.

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