FAQ

Can the program be done part time?

Yes, both schools can create part time options for interested students. Students should remember, however, that SSW field internships are two days a week the first year, and three days a week the second year.

Can I major in anything I want to?

Yes.  At the School of Social Work, students choose from Macro or Clinical Methods. At the School of Public Health, there are eight concentrations from which to choose. Certain specialty certificate programs are not available to MSW/MPH students unless they are willing to take more than 100 credits.

Can I concentrate in more than one area at SPH?

It’s possible, but it is not recommended academically. Your time at SPH is shortened by participation in a dual program. If you double concentrate, you will find you have little time for electives or to enjoy the breadth of offerings available to you.

Can I start my studies in either school?

Yes. The program works best if started at the School of Social Work. However, students sometimes begin at SPH, and with careful planning, the program can be adapted. Interested SPH students contact the program director immediately to ensure they do not take courses that are not required of MSW/MPH students. The contact person at SPH is Professor Leonard Glantz: lglantz@bu.edu; the Program Director is Betty J Ruth: bjruth@bu.edu. Professor Luz Lopez is Associate Program Director: luzlopez@bu.edu

Will I finish one degree first, or do I have to “wait” for both until the end?

You may finish one degree first. As soon as you have completed the requirements for a degree from one of the schools, you may apply to graduate. Most students who start at SSW will finish the MSW after their second year. By studying full time, most students will finish the MPH degree at the end of the third year. Being able to obtain the MSW degree prior to completing the MPH requirements is especially important to clinical social workers who may wish to work part-time or full-time and earn clinical supervision hours required for advanced licensure.

What kinds of jobs do graduates of this program find?

It depends on what you major in, and where you choose to work initially. MSW/MPH graduates are found in all aspects of both social work and public health: program planning; development and evaluation; clinical practice in public health social work; policy analysis and advocacy; health promotion; academia and research settings. For more information, please see the Program Directors who can help you connect with some of the more than 300 alumni from the program. Also, check out our www.publichealthsocialwork.org website and read about what some of our MSW/MPH alumni are doing.

If I have an MPH or an MSW from another school, can I still be in the MSW/MPH program in order to save time and money?

No. This program is only for people who do not have either degree. If you do have another master’s degree, there may be ways to test out of or waive certain courses. Explore these options when you meet with the Admissions Department of the school to which you are applying.

What if I start the program, find that I do not like it, or that I cannot continue? Are there penalties?

No. We have deliberately created a program to meet the needs of adult learners and we recognize that there are times when personal circumstances or professional direction may require change. If you apply and decide to not do the program, there is no penalty to you. If you apply, begin the program, but find you cannot continue, there is no penalty. You still receive the first degree as long as you complete the requirements for it. Even as late as the third year, a student may withdraw from the program. This is a rare occurrance, because support, advising and planning help ensure maximum participation and success.

What about financial aid? Are there special scholarships?

There are a few special public health social work scholarships available at BUSSW, but you do not need to complete a separate application for them. Students should be sure that that all financial aid forms are completed in a timely manner.   Financial aid is handled by each school individually, and awards depend on where you are in residence. Typically, students spend four full-time semesters in residence with SSW and two full-time semesters with SPH.  Students frequently work as employees on research grants, in work-study positions, or full time for the university, which helps with tuition reimbursement or remission, depending on the job. Many jobs, particularly post-MSW,  include a continuing education benefit that can be used to fund a part of the program. In addition, there are some paid internships.

Will courses taken at other schools be accepted for transfer credit?

No. You must complete 100 credits at Boston University, with the exception of advanced standing MSW students. We have already reduced the number of credits you would normally be required to complete “in residence” for these two degrees. No additional credits can be eliminated from the program.

Can I opt into this program if I am almost finished at one of these schools?

Yes. As long as you are enrolled at BUSSW or BUSPH, you are eligible to apply to the MSW/MPH program. But keep in mind that program “savings” occur when you enter the MSW/MPH as described above. Entering the program late will result in some loss of course savings and options. However, please contact the directors to discuss your individual situation.

Can I participate in this program if I am SSW Advanced Standing or if I am in the Off-Campus MSW program?

Advanced Standing is handled on a case-by-case basis.  Students interested in doing so are encouraged to contact the program directors as soon as possible following admission to discuss options. Similarly, students in the Off-Campus Programs should plan to attend an Information Session and discuss their interest early on in the program. Both AS and OCP students have participated successfully in the MSW/MPH program.

My undergraduate GPA is under 3.0 or my tests scores are not very good; am I automatically disqualified from this program?

The MSW/MPH program is designed for capable students with a proven track record. While we recognize that sometimes students have undergraduate difficulties and/or low test scores, applicants will need to address these and prove their capacity for graduate level work to the admissions committees at both schools.  In your application, please address the reasons for previous difficulties or low test scores, and provide evidence that these will not impair your ability to participate in the program. If you are having difficulty in one master’s program, you can be certain that you will not gain admittance to the dual-degree program. If you have had academic difficulty in the past, you should seriously consider whether a dual degree program is appropriate for you, or whether you would benefit from concentrating on successful completion of one degree.

Do I need to have health care experience in order to apply?

No. But you should be able to articulate why you want to combine public health and social work, and have some ideas about how you might do that. In addition, you can choose health related field placements so that you can gain important exposure to the health care field.

What kind of career advising and program support is there for someone in the program?

You will have an advisor assigned to you at both schools at all times. In addition, the program directors serve as ongoing career and program advisers. Another valuable source of support is your fellow students. Normally, 15-20 people are admitted each year, and approximately forty people are in the program at any time. We meet as a group twice a semester, and students carpool, create study groups, and choose courses together. In addition, active and invested alumni are available through the MSW/MPH Mentoring Program. Please check the MSW/MPH bulletin board outside room 210 for continual information, updates, and job postings.

Can I take summer classes at either school?

Yes. In fact, it is highly recommended that you take SSW HB735 Racial Justice between your first and second year of the SSW program. You may take other courses that fit with your program needs, and students often find this is a good way to free up time in an upcoming semester. Be advised that due to residency requirements, you cannot shorten the program to less than three years by trying to take a year’s worth of courses over two summers.

Are there particularly relevant SSW or SPH courses which I should take?

Yes, there are many courses which will be helpful to you. Clinical students report that courses in Trauma, Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy, Brief Treatment, and Adult Psychopathology are useful. Macro students often recommend Financial Management and Poverty as relevant courses for all social workers. At SPH, the four-credit Health Law, Mental Health Law, Program Evaluation Research, and Sexual Violence get very high recommendations.

I’m a student at SPH and would like to enroll in the MSW/MPH program. Can I do it, and how do I get started?

Yes, SPH students are welcome to apply to the MSW/MPH program. Please complete the brief pre-application on pages 13-14; email it to the Program Director, and alert SPH Professor Leonard Glantz that you will be applying to the MSW/MPH Program. lglantz@bu.edu

Where can I get more information on the program?

If you have additional questions about this program, start by contacting the program administrators: Betty J Ruth bjruth@bu.edu; Luz Lopez luzlopez@bu.edu; or Leonard Glantz lglantz@bu.edu.