Dual Degree Applications

Applying for a Dual Degree: What You Need to Know

We appreciate your interest in Boston University’s unique crossdisciplinary programs. Dual degree applicants must apply and be accepted to both programs in order to begin a dual degree program.

Below, you’ll find important information about application requirements and the admission process for each of the three dual-degree programs—public health, education, and theology.

We look forward to your application and welcome your questions. Please feel free to email us at busswad@bu.edu or call 617-353-3750.

Application

Dual Degree Programs in Social Work and Education

Overview: 50 credits in SW, 24 credits in SED, 9 in either SW or SED

Social workers and educators are deeply involved in working with children and families who are at risk. The goal of the program is to provide opportunities for students to develop skills in both professional arenas and to take leadership in designing and administering creative direct service and programmatic responses to the changing needs of schools, families, and communities.

The program is a multifaceted course of study leading to two master’s degrees—Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Education (EdM) in either Special Education of Educational Leadership or to an MSW and a doctorate in Special Education (EdD). In Social Work, students may concentrate in either Clinical or Macro social work.

Program graduates are currently working in a wide variety of positions from early intervention programs to AIDS education, school administration and school social work to YMCA program planning. Some describe themselves as primarily social workers, others as primarily teachers/administrators, and still others as both.

The MSW/EdM program usually takes two and a half to three years of full-time study, though more time may be required if the student wishes to pursue teacher licensure. The MSW/EdD in Special Education program is contingent on completion of comprehensive examinations and dissertation research. Coursework takes about three years.

Students applying to the MSW/EdD degree must have at least three years’ experience in education or a related field and must complete their MSW before beginning their dissertation.

Applicants may apply to both programs simultaneously or they can apply to the School of Social Work or the School of Education through the normal channels and, at the end of the first semester of matriculation, apply to the second school. 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.

A grade point average of 3.0 or its equivalent in previous undergraduate or graduate coursework is required. The most recent grades (i.e., the last two years of undergraduate study) or recent graduate study will be given priority. 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. Students applying to the doctorate (MSW/EdD) degree program must have at least three years of experience in education or a related field. Tuition and financial aid are based on the school in which the student is taking the majority of credits (the current primary school of residence).

Current students at SED who are interested in applying to SSW are asked to do the following: 

  • Request that their current official transcripts from BU and any previous colleges/universities and two recommendations from their SED application be forwarded to our Admissions and Financial Aid Office.
  • Submit one additional reference using an SSW online form. A complete reference includes our required form and a letter of support.
  • Complete and upload a personal statement using the SSW guidelines.
  • An updated resume, which also can be uploaded, is preferred, but not required.
  • Complete an SSW application online and request a fee waiver (which will be granted as long as in addition to filling out the fee waiver form at the end of the application, you email busswad@bu.edu to inform us of your current student status.) 

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and financial aid are based on the school in which the student is taking the majority of credits (the current primary school of residence). While there are no specific scholarships exclusively for dual degree students, every effort is made to help students manage the financial obligations.

For more information on the Social Work and Education dual degree, click here.

The Basics

The MSW/MPH program at Boston University is the largest of the three dual-degree programs. The program is rigorous and designed for highly motivated students capable of balancing the demands of earning two degrees at the same time. The admissions process, which comprises requirements from both schools, reflects the challenging nature of the program.

To start, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a graduate GPA of 3.3 are strongly recommended. Students with “incompletes” or in the process of a formal status review are ineligible to apply. The GRE exam is required and scores in the 50th percentile or above are strongly recommended.

All applicants must comply with the online application processes of each school. In addition to having the original references resent, it is recommended that students obtain one or two additional letters that support their application to the second program.

Students who, for any reason, deviate from the recommended GPA and GRE profiles should consult with the SSW MSW/MPH Program Director and address the issues in their personal statements.

Please explore SPH admissions requirements at the following link: School of Public Health Admissions Requirements 

Pathways to Admission

There are three pathways into the MSW/MPH program. All require students to gain admission into both schools, either sequentially or simultaneously. Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Simultaneous Application to SSW and SPH

  • Applicants interested in applying and obtaining simultaneous admission to both schools should contact the program director or associate director as a first step.
  • Both schools have application fees; waivers may be available upon request at SSW.
  • Upon acceptance, applicants work with the program director to determine initial school of entry. Students are strongly encouraged to begin at SSW.
  • Generally, participants begin taking courses in the second school after the foundation semester.
  • Please explore SSW application requirements and SPH application requirements

School of Social Work Students Applying to the School of Public Health

  • Attend an MSW/MPH Information Session, then make an appointment with the director or associate director of the program.
  • Submit the Students Intent Form under “Program Guidelines and Intent Forms.”
  • Formally apply to SPH using the online Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system.
  • SSW students should apply to the dual degree program as early as possible. Early application increases the likelihood of obtaining a fee waiver from SOPHAS. SSW students may begin the SOPHAS application process before they have taken the GRE exam.
  • All students must submit copies of GRE scores (or its equivalent, such as LSAT or MCAT) to SPH via SOPHAS.
  • MSW/MPH applications are reviewed regularly, and most students will know of the decision within six weeks of submission.
  • SSW students admitted to the MSW/MPH program in the spring begin the program the following fall, enrolling in one or two SPH courses, while maintaining primary residence in SSW.

School of Public Health Students Applying to the School of Social Work

  • Attend an MSW/MPH Information Session, then make an appointment with the director or associate director of the program.
  • SPH students apply to SSW using the SSW online application.
  • Request a fee waiver by emailing busswad@bu.edu to inform us of your current student status.
  • Submit three references using the SSW online system. A complete reference includes our required form and a letter of support. Recommendations should should address the applicant’s interest in public health social work.
  • Complete and upload a personal statement using the SSW guidelines.
  • Request official transcripts from all previous undergraduate, current BU SPH, and, if applicable, other graduate academic institutions, including study abroad transcripts if the course names, grades, and credits from your study abroad experience are not listed on the transcript from your home institution and have them uploaded to your online application.
  • Submit a resume via your online application
  • SPH students commence the SSW portion of the program in the fall.

    Application

    Students are encouraged to begin their application process by applying to the Boston University School of Theology (STH). Although students do have the option of applying first to the School of Social Work (SSW) or to both schools at once, the program has been organized to flow most smoothly if students begin their studies at the School of Theology.

    Students will be close to completing the core and concentration requirements of the first school before applying to the second school.

    Application to the second school should be accompanied by a letter from the first school, affirming the student’s 3.0 or better GPA and ability to relate constructively with colleagues and mission. The admissions documents validated by the first school of residence are accepted by the second school so long as a 3.0 GPA is maintained in the programs.

    Individuals who are interested in applying to this dual degree program should contact the SSW Social Work & Theology Program Director immediately to discuss admission plans.

    Current students at STH who are interested in applying to SSW are asked to do the following: 

    • Request that their current official transcripts from BU and any previous colleges/universities and two recommendations from their STH application be forwarded to our Admissions and Financial Aid Office.
    • Submit one additional reference using an SSW online form. A complete reference includes our required form and a letter of support.
    • Complete and upload a personal statement using the SSW guidelines.
    • An updated resume, which also can be uploaded, is preferred, but not required.
    • Complete an SSW application online and request a fee waiver (which will be granted as long as in addition to filling out the fee waiver form at the end of the application, you email busswad@bu.edu to inform us of your current student status.) 

    Tuition and Financial Aid

    Tuition and financial aid are based on the school in which the student is taking the majority of credits (the current primary school of residence).

    For more information on the Social Work and Theology dual degree, click here.