Dual Degree Programs in Social Work and Education

The dual degree program in Social Work and Education was established at Boston University in 1988 in recognition of the fact that social workers and educators are deeply involved in addressing a range of educational and social issues. The goals of the program are 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 in ways that support the well-being of all.

The program is a multifaceted course of study that leads to two master’s degrees (MSW and EdM).

Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Education (EdM) students have the option to focus in justice-oriented Clinical or Macro Social Work, and in either Special Education or Educational Leadership. Teacher licensure in Special Education or school administration may also be obtained with additional coursework beyond that which is required for the MSW/EdM. The MSW/EdM usually takes two-and-a-half to three years of full-time study if starting in the MSW program, though more time will be required if the student begins in the EdM program or wishes to pursue teaching licensure in Special Education.

Please note: The MSW/EdM is the only program option available for the Social Work and Education dual degree. Students are no longer admitted to the MSW/EdD program option.

Programs and Goals

The dual degree programs are designed to give students knowledge and skills that crosscut the disciplines of social work and education, providing an interdisciplinary professional education that will be applicable in a variety of social work and education settings and in a variety of professional roles.

Interested students concentrate in either Clinical or Macro Social Work at the School of Social Work. At the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, they concentrate in Special Education (which includes behavioral and mental health) or Educational Leadership, and may obtain teacher or school administrator licensure with additional coursework.

By integrating the two degrees, students are prepared through graduate-level study in each discipline, while maximizing their elective options to enhance learning in areas of chosen specialization.

Program graduates are currently working in a wide variety of positions, including early intervention programs, after-school programs, community-based mental health with children and families, school social work, school administration, program design and leadership, advocacy, and policy development at the local, state, and federal levels.

Degree Requirements

  • Students are expected to meet the core requirements of both schools. Course savings come from the capacity to use electives in one program to take courses in the other school, and from a limited number of pre-approved courses that count for credit in both schools.
  • Students seeking two master’s degrees may graduate with both degrees with a total of 83 credits as opposed to 101 credits if the degrees were taken separately. Many students opt to take the maximum number of courses covered by their tuition.
  • Students starting at the School of Social Work will find their first-year coursework similar to that of other social work students. In the second year, coursework is commonly done at both schools. Students who start in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development may count some of their education courses toward fulfilling the social work elective requirements.
  • With approval of the student’s advisor, almost all education courses are open to dual degree students in fulfillment of their education degree.

Field Education

The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development requires a field placement only for students who are seeking Special Education Teaching licensure. However, it is recommended for all students.

The School of Social Work requires two social work internships for all students except Advanced Standing students, who are required to complete one 1,000-hour field internship. The two social work internships for traditional track students generally equate to 16 hours per week in the first placement and 24 hours per week in the second placement.

Admission & Financial Assistance

Applicants may apply to both programs simultaneously or they can apply to the School of Social Work or the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development 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. 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.