Public Health & Social Work

Public health social work is an integrated approach to preventing, addressing, and solving health problems. The discipline draws on both social work and public health theories, frameworks, research, and practice. Public health social work is:

  • Evidence-based: Focuses on today’s contemporary social health issues using current research on “what works”
  • Prevention-focused: Aims to improve health and wellbeing by preventing the occurrence of problems, not just intervening after they have occurred
  • Multi-method: Applies all of social work and public health’s tools and skills, such as research, policy analysis, clinical intervention, and macro and community-based approaches
  • Trans-disciplinary: Works across systems and professions to reach individuals, groups, communities, and populations
  • Strengths-oriented: Utilizes combined social work and public health approaches to reduce risk and promote resilience

The flexible dual degree program makes it possible for students to merge two fields of study into one academic endeavor. Graduates emerge with a rich and relevant educational experience, extensive field experience, and the ability to work in many areas of the social service and health care systems.

Program FAQs

  • Number of credits: 100, minimum of 32 in residence at BUSPH
  • Program Length: Variable (min of 3 years)
  • Full or Part Time: Both

Please contact Program Directors Betty Ruth and Leonard Glantz for more details.

A total of 100 credits is required to complete the MSW/MPH program—approximately 60 at SSW and 40 at SPH. This generally takes six semesters of full-time fall and spring coursework, and some students consider summer courses. One degree may be granted in advance of the other, provided all residency, course, and credit requirements have been completed.

At the School of Social Work, students may major in either clinical or macro methods. Approximately two-thirds are clinical majors. At the School of Public Health, students may choose from any a number of functional and context certificates, including Health Policy and Law; Program Management; Global Health, Social Justice, Human Rights; and Health Equity, and more.

Applicants must apply to both the School of Social Work and the School of Public Health programs separately and note on their application their choice of the dual MSW/MPH program. Applicants to the dual Social Work/Public Health program may apply to both programs at the same time or may choose to apply to one program first and then apply for the other once at the University. Applicants to each School are held to the same admissions standards as the rest of the applicant pool.

For all application-related questions, please contact SSW Admissions and SPH Admissions.

Please visit our Dual Degree Applications page for more information on how to apply.

MSW/MPH alumni work in a broad range of practice areas: prevention-oriented clinical practice; health education and health promotion; health program planning, development, and evaluation; health policy analysis; management at local, state, national, and international levels; and public health advocacy.

MSW/MPH dual concentrators have access to career advice through Career Services at BUSPH to help identify, interview for, and secure positions as they move forward along their career path.

Tuition and financial aid are handled individually by each School’s Office of Financial Aid. Students pay tuition and may receive financial assistance at the School in which they are “in residence.” Generally, students spend four semesters in residence at SSW and two in residence at SPH. Regardless of residency, students may cross-register for courses at the other school. Part time students pay the rates at the respective schools.

An application for financial assistance is included in the School of Social Work’s online application for admission. SSW applicants should indicate their intent to apply for the FAFSA (by January 15) and their interest in being considered for merit scholarships and/or work study. The priority deadline for applicants interested in being considered for merit scholarships at SSW is January 15. We cannot guarantee that merit scholarships will be available to applicants who apply after that date.

Intent Forms Current SSW and SPH students who plan to apply to either school to pursue the dual degree program must fill out an Intent to Apply Form and submit it to the program director, Betty J. Ruth, as soon as possible.
SSW Students Intent Form
SPH Students Intent Form