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

The dual degree program in Social Work and Public Health is an interdisciplinary course of study leading to the award of both the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Master of Public Health (MPH). Areas of public health social work practice include prevention and health promotion; health program planning, development, and evaluation; health policy analysis; advocacy; health care management; and the advancement of health equity and global health.

The MSW/MPH program may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. The MSW or the MPH may be granted in advance of the other, provided that all degree requirements have been met. The flexible dual degree program makes it possible for students to merge two fields of study into one academic endeavor. Students may choose from a variety of combinations of tracks and certificates at both schools. 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 healthcare systems.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MSW program, students will be able to apply the following competencies, guided by the Council of Social Work Education:

  • Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Advance Human Rights, Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  • Engage in Policy Practice
  • Engage, Assess, and Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Upon completion of the MPH degree requirements, graduates are able to apply:

  • Evidence-Based Approaches to Public Health
  • Public Health & Healthcare Systems
  • Planning & Management to Promote Health
  • Policy in Public Health
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Interprofessional Practice
  • Systems Thinking

MSW Requirements

Students complete 65 credits for the MSW degree, which include 14 credits of SSW internship hours and up to 16 credits of SPH MPH 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)

Advanced Standing MSW students complete 34 SSW credits in addition to up to 16 credits of SPH MPH core courses. Additional MSW requirements can be found on the MSW page.

MPH Requirements

The MPH is a 48-credit degree. MSW/MPH students must complete a minimum of 40 SPH credits and up to 8 credits are completed at SSW. All courses counted to the MPH portion of the MSW/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.

Foundations of Public Health

  • SPH PH 700 Foundations of Public Health (0 cr)

SPH Core Courses

  • SPH PH 717 Quantitative Methods in Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 718 Leadership and Management in Public Health (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 719 Health Systems, Law, and Policy (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 720 Individual, Community, and Population Health (4 cr)

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 credits of SPH coursework beyond the core courses. A maximum of 4 credits may be shared between a functional and a context certificate.

Functional Certificates—16 credits

  • Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Global Health Program Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  • Health Communications and Promotion
  • Healthcare Management (CAHME)—28 credits
  • Health Policy and Law
  • Program Management

Context Certificates—12 credits

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

Students follow the SPH Academic Standing Policy for the SPH courses.

Professional 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 may earn 8 credits toward the MPH by completing MSW elective courses from the following approved list:

  • CP 806 Theory and Practice with LGBTQ Populations (3 cr)
  • CP 809 Substance Use Disorders: Assessment and Intervention (3 cr)
  • HB 720 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3 cr)
  • HB 735 Racial Justice (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)
  • 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)

Application

While students are not required to apply to the School of Social Work and School of Public Health simultaneously, it is recommended. Students can also be admitted to one of the two schools first (generally the School of Social Work for easier coordination of the field internship) and complete that school’s basic coursework. Before the end of the first year, the student can apply 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.

For current School of Social Work students who wish to apply to the MPH program:

bu.edu/sph/admissions/applying/programs/master-of-public-health/

For current School of Public Health students who wish to apply to the MSW program:  

bu.edu/ssw/admissions/msw/applying/