Social Work & Public Health

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.

NOTE: Since the School of Social Work (SSW) does not require standardized exams for its admissions, current students interested in the MSW/MPH program must plan to take the GRE before their application can be reviewed. International students must take the GRE plus the TOEFL. Please check with BU’s School of Public Health (SPH) admissions for more information on test requirements.

All applicants must comply with the online application processes of each school, both of which require a professional and personal essay. 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 program director and address the issues in their personal statements.

Paths & Deadlines

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.

  1. Attend an MSW/MPH Information Session, then make an appointment with the director or associate director of the program.
  2. Submit the Students Intent Form under “Program Guidelines and Intent Forms.”
  3. Formally apply to SPH using the online Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system.

Note: Application fee waivers are sometimes available from SOPHAS for students who meet the needs test and who apply early.

  • SSW students should apply to the dual degree program as early as possible (preferably by February 1). 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. Students who have not yet taken the GRE should plan to do so immediately and indicate the anticipated test date on the admissions application.
  • 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.

  • 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 (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.)
  • 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 mailed directly to the School of Social Work Admissions and Financial Aid Office at 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215.
  • Submit a resume, which should be uploaded to your online application.
  • SPH students are reviewed by the Admissions Review Committee; applicants who apply by the priority deadline of January 13 will receive a decision by March 1. As soon as students are admitted, planning for the field internship and classes begins.
  • SPH students are strongly advised to apply by January 13 for best field internship and financial assistance opportunities. We cannot guarantee that scholarships or space will still be available to applicants who apply by the final deadline of March 2. The best field internships and financial aid are available to early applicants.
  • SPH students commence the SSW portion of the program in the fall.

    • Applicants interested in applying and obtaining simultaneous admission to both schools should contact the program director or associate director as a first step.
    • Candidates should inform the admissions departments of both schools of their intention to apply simultaneously and note this on their applications.
    • 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.