Social Work and Education

Working with at-risk families is an intrinsic area of responsibility for both educators and social workers. For more than 25 years, our dual degree program in Social Work and Special Education has addressed this disciplinary cross-over. The primary aim is to help graduate students develop professional skills in both fields and take the lead in the design and administration of creative direct service and programmatic responses to the changing needs of schools, families, and communities. Our program offers a multifaceted course of study leading to two graduate degrees—Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Education (EdM)—or to an MSW and a doctorate in Education (EdD). Students can also concentrate on special education and earn teacher certification through additional coursework beyond the dual-degree requirements.

Today, our graduates work in a wide variety of social work and educational positions from early intervention programs, AIDS education, and school administration to school social work and WMCA program planning. Some alumni describe themselves primarily as social workers, others as teachers or administrators, and still others as a combination.


  • Students are expected to meet the core requirements of both Schools. Course savings come from the capacity to use electives in one program to take courses in the other School, and from a limited number of pre-approved courses that count for credit in both Schools.
  • Students can graduate with both master’s degrees with a total of 83 credits as opposed to 101 credits if the degrees were taken separately.
  • Students starting at the School of Social Work will find their first-year coursework similar to that of other social work students. In the second year, coursework is commonly done at both Schools. Students who start in the School of Education may count some of their education courses toward fulfilling the social work elective requirements.

Part Time & Advanced Standing Students

While not designed as a part-time program, it is possible to be completed on a part-time basis. Interested candidates should work closely with their advisors to ensure effective coordination. Advanced Standing students are not eligible for the program.

How do I apply?

Candidates are encouraged to apply at the end of the first semester of graduate study by filling out the application for the second School, interviewing with the program director of their primary School, and getting recommendations from current professors or supervisors. The application fee is waived for the second School and previous test scores and transcripts will be forwarded by the primary School at the student’s request.

Please visit our Dual Degree Applications page for more information.

Whichever professional track you ultimately decide to pursue, we welcome your interest, as well as your questions. Please feel free to contact us:

School of Social Work

Trudy Zimmerman
Assistant Dean, Field Education
(617) 353-3754

School of Education

Special Education
Donna Lehr, PhD
Associate Professor
(617) 353-3240