Master of Social Work (MSW)/Master of Public Health (MPH)

The MSW/MPH dual degree program is a 100-credit course of study leading to the award of both the Master of Social Work and the Master of Public Health. The program is based on the recognition that many social workers are involved in the health delivery system and are interested in taking a broader, population-based look at the system. In addition, new roles are evolving for social workers in the health sector. These include social work in the administration of health delivery systems and participation in the health policy process at local, state, and national levels.

The MSW/MPH program may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Students may earn the MSW prior to completing the MPH, as they are not simultaneous degrees. Students then continue their studies at the School of Public Health.

The MPH is a 48-credit degree. MSW/MPH students must complete a minimum of 40 credits in residence at SPH and 8 credits are completed at SSW. All courses counted to the MPH portion of the MD/MPH must be numbered SPH XX 700 and above. No courses taken outside of the School of Public Health will count toward the MPH, including courses taken at other Boston University schools and colleges.

MSW/MPH students generally complete more than 40 credits of SPH coursework because PH 717, PH 718, and PH 719 can substitute for SSW requirements, and PH 720 can substitute as an elective, so the credits are shared.

SPH Core Courses

  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods in Public Health (4 cr, meets SSW Research II requirement)
  • SPH PH 718 Leadership and Management in Public Health (4 cr, either PH 718 or PH 720 is designated as an SSW elective)
  • SPH PH 719 Health Systems, Law, and Policy (4 cr, meets the SSW Advanced Policy elective)
  • SPH PH 720 Individual, Community, and Population Health (4 cr, either PH 718 or PH 720 is designated as an SSW elective)

MPH Certificate & Elective Coursework

Students select and complete one functional area certificate as their interdisciplinary, professional skills base (16 credits) and have the option to take a context certificate (focused on key populations or areas of interest in public health, 12 credits) or elective courses to fulfill the minimum 24 credits of SPH coursework beyond the core courses. A maximum of 4 credits may be shared between a functional and a context certificate.

The MPH functional certificates are:

  • Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Design and Conduct of Public Health Research
  • Environmental Hazard Assessment
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Health Communications and Promotion
  • Healthcare Management (CAHME)—26 credits
  • Health Policy and Law
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Program Management

Context Certificates—12 credits

  • Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Global Health
  • Infectious Disease
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Social Justice, Human Rights, and Health Equity
  • Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
  • Pharmaceuticals

Students follow the SPH Grading Policy for the SPH courses.

Profession Development and Practical Experience

  • SPH PH 746 Career PREP (0 cr)
  • SPH PH 976 Practicum (240 hours, 0 cr)
  • SPH PH 985 Required Integrated Learning Experience (0 cr)

MSW/MPH students earn 8 credits toward the MPH by completing their MSW elective courses from the following approved list:

  • CP 806 Theory and Practice with LGBTQ Populations (3 cr)
  • CP 809 Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: Identification and Early Intervention (3 cr)
  • HB 720 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3 cr)
  • HB 741 Family Violence in Society (3 cr)
  • HB 743 Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants (3 cr)
  • HB 749 Social Perspectives on Health and Illness (3 cr)
  • MP 783 Planning and Program Development (3 cr)
  • SR 906 Qualitative Research Methods (4 cr)
  • WP 700 Social Welfare Policy I: Conceptions, Scope, History & Philosophies of Social Welfare (3 cr)
  • WP 701 Social Welfare Policy II: Contemporary Social Policy Analysis (3 cr)


Students are not required to apply to the School of Social Work and School of Public Health simultaneously. Students are admitted to one of the two schools first (generally the School of Social Work) and complete that school’s basic coursework. Before the end of the first year, an application is made to the other school. MSW/MPH students are held to the same admission standards and processes as students applying only to the MSW or MPH.