Master of Social Work (MSW)/Master of Public Health (MPH)

The MSW/MPH dual degree program is a 100-credit course of study leading to the award of both the Master of Social Work and the Master of Public Health. The program is based on the recognition that many social workers are involved in the health delivery system and are interested in taking a broader, population-based look at the system. In addition, new roles are evolving for social workers in the health sector. These include social work in the administration of health delivery systems and participation in the health policy process at local, state, and national levels.

The MSW/MPH program may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Students may earn the MSW prior to completing the MPH, as they are not simultaneous degrees. Students then continue their studies at the School of Public Health, where they must earn at least 32 credits in residence (primary registration at the School of Public Health in courses numbered SPH XX 700 and above). No courses taken outside of the School of Public Health will count toward the MPH, including courses taken at other Boston University schools and colleges.

Students generally may not earn the MPH before they earn the MSW, and most students find the curriculum works best if they earn the MSW first.

To earn the MPH, MSW/MPH students must complete all School of Public Health requirements, including core MPH courses, concentration, culminating, and practicum requirements. Students satisfy the requirement of SPH SB 721, the core course in Social & Behavioral Sciences, for the Master of Public Health, when they have successfully completed the MSW.

The following SSW courses are approved for elective credit at the School of Public Health and may be used to meet the 48-credit requirement for the MPH after the core, concentration, culminating, and practicum requirements for the MPH have been met:

  • CP 806 Theory and Practice with LGBTQ Populations (3 cr)
  • CP 809 Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: Identification and Early Intervention (3 cr)
  • HB 720 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3 cr)
  • HB 741 Family Violence in Society (3 cr)
  • HB 743 Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants (3 cr)
  • HB 749 Social Perspectives on Health and Illness (3 cr)
  • MP 783 Planning and Program Development (3 cr)
  • SR 906 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • WP 700 Social Welfare Policy I: Conceptions, Scope, History & Philosophies of Social Welfare (3 cr)
  • WP 701 Social Welfare Policy II: Contemporary Social Policy Analysis (3 cr)


Students are not required to apply to the School of Social Work and School of Public Health simultaneously. Students are admitted to one of the two schools first (generally School of Social Work) and complete that school’s basic coursework. Before the end of the first year, an application is made to the other school (generally School of Public Health). Students in each school are held to the same admission standards and processes as other students. While students may begin their studies at the School of Public Health, it is not recommended.