There’s a lot of overlap between social work and public health, which makes an MPH/MSW dual degree a natural choice for professionals working in either field. One of the most important jobs of social work, after all, is helping individuals and families access health care, whether it is care for pregnant women, mental health or substance abuse treatment, nursing facilities for the elderly, or pediatric care. The main role of public health, in turn, is disease prevention and treatment for populations – which begins at the individual and family level, where social workers thrive.
Should I Get an MPH – MSW Dual Degree?
An academic study from 2015 found that MPH MSW dual degree programs are on the rise across the US, driven by a changing public health and social work field that requires more collaboration and networking between agencies. According to the Advances in Social Work study, dual degree programs are an important way to address these changes, providing the kind of education social workers and public health professionals need today. The current healthcare system puts an emphasis on trans-disciplinary action, and according to the study, bringing together public health and social work is a crucial step in working toward health justice.
What is the Benefit of Combining a Master of Public Health degree with a Master of Social Work Degree?
The complementary skills of the public health and social work are clear. Public health works on a large scale, making use of statistics, biostatistics, and epidemiology to identify health problems in a population. They then design plans to address these problems, implement those plans, and analyze and evaluate the results. Social work, in turn, does all of those things as well, but on the immediate level, working directly with individuals and families rather than whole population and communities. Social workers draw on their knowledge of the social system to solve problems and connect people to the agencies or organizations that can meet their needs.
A professional with a thorough education in both public health and social work becomes a more effective professional in either field. Public health professionals with social work expertise understand the nitty-gritty of putting major public health initiatives into actual on-the-ground practice, making plans far more effective. Social workers with public health expertise, on the other hand, are able to draw on a larger body of knowledge to become much more effective at connecting clients to services. The dual degree also prepares professionals for leadership, management, and administration in a range of settings, including government, nonprofit, and the private sector health industry.
The Most Affordable MPH MSW Dual Degrees
Choosing an MPH MSW dual degree means finding a program with solid regional or national reputation, accreditation, and affordability. Regional accreditation is a crucial sign of quality. For a dual program, the best choice would be a program that has both accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE).
MPH Online has put together a ranking of the most affordable MPH MSW dual degree programs, focusing only on programs with regional accreditation and program accreditation for both the public health and social work portions of the degree.
1. New Mexico State University – Las Cruces, NM
New Mexico’s oldest public university, New Mexico State University has had the good of New Mexico’s people at the heart of its mission from the beginning. Founded in 1888 (when New Mexico was still a territory), NMSU began as a land-grant agriculture and mechanical school, focused on bringing practical education to the people. Today, New Mexico State continues to build on that tradition, preparing New Mexico’s workers, professionals, leaders, and educators with top-notch, affordable programs. The CSWE-accredited School of Social Work brings that excellence to the field that most directly impacts citizens’ living and well-being, with a commitment to social justice, diversity, and cultural understanding.
The NMSU School of Social Work collaborates with the Department of Public Health Sciences to offer an MPH MSW dual degree. The two degree programs are designed to be complementary, combining large-scale public health information with attention to the needs of individuals and families. As in all of the School of Social Work’s programs, the dual MSW/MPH is focused on cultural competencies, as its location in New Mexico requires. Taking the dual program allows students to complete both degrees in 12 fewer courses than each program alone – 96 credits vs the full 108 – and the program culminates in a combined exam. One of the most affordable MPH MSW dual degrees out there, NMSU helps professionals make a difference, without burdening themselves with debt.
2. University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK
Oklahoma’s flagship, public research university, the University of Oklahoma was founded along with Oklahoma State and the University of Central Oklahoma in 1890. Nearly two decades before the Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were combined into the state of Oklahoma, OU brought education and research to the frontier. Oklahoma’s location on the border of the two territories signaled its centrality to Oklahoma life, and that continues today. OU is the university for all Sooners, and the Zarrow School of Social Work, combined with the College of Public Health, are bringing that tradition of community engagement and social responsibility forward.
The Zarrow School and the College of Public Health offer the University of Oklahoma’s MPH MSW dual degree for working professionals in the social work or health fields. The only CEPH-accredited public health program in Oklahoma, and the state’s premier social work school, work together to prepare students for leadership and management in government agencies, nonprofits, private health organizations, and more. Students learn to combine the public health research paradigm with social work’s focus on practical solutions and action; skills include program assessment, planning, and evaluation, filtered through evidence-based knowledge. Students must be accepted separately into both programs, but the combined program is around 20% shorter than the two separate programs. The OU MPH MSW dual degree is a low-cost, high-return investment in a career making life better for communities and populations.
3. University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah dates back to 1850, several years before the Utah Territory (then known as Deseret) became a state. As the oldest university in the state, UU has been highly influential on the development of Utah’s society and culture, including government, business, and medicine. The UU School of Medicine is the state’s only medical school, founded in 1905, and a crucial part of Utah’s healthcare system, educating the state’s doctors, nurses, and other professionals for over a century. The College of Social Work, in turn, is one of the most respected and productive social work schools in the West, preparing social work professionals for more than 80 years.
Together, the School of Medicine’s Division of Public Health and the College of Social Work offer the University of Utah’s MPH MSW dual degree program. The MPH dual degree is intended to prepare professionals in the public health sector to apply social work skills to implementing public health initiatives – making plans, managing services, and working to make sure individuals, families, and communities have access to the care they need. The 82-credit dual program relieves students of 23 extra credit hours that would be required to earn both degrees separately. Of course, students must be accepted into both programs to earn the MPH MSW dual degree. With the University of Utah’s commitment to the good of Utah’s people, and the low tuition of a public university, graduates can be sure of a rewarding, lifelong career.
The University of Denver is the state’s oldest and most prestigious private research university, founded by the Methodist Church in 1864 to bring civilization to the rowdy mining town. In that spirit, the university is primarily known for professional programs in areas like law, business, psychology, and other urban professions. The University of Denver is also home to the state’s only Graduate School of Social Work, founded in 1931. The Colorado School of Public Health, on the other hand, belongs to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the state’s premier academic health complex and home of the CU medical, nursing, and dentistry schools as well. It is the region’s foremost public health program, with all the resources CU Anschutz can provide.
These two institutions have combined their forces to provide an MPH MSW dual degree that stressed the areas where the two fields overlap – child welfare, mental health, and substance abuse, in particular. With a grounding in the skills needed to plan, implement, and evaluate programs that meet population health needs, graduates are ready for leadership in a variety of interdisciplinary teams and settings. Credit requirements between the two programs – which operate on a quarter system (UD) and a semester system (CU) – are significantly reduced for students in the dual program, making it possible to complete the two degrees in a much shorter time together than separately. The University of Denver and the University of Colorado are Colorado’s most respected private and public research universities; degrees from both, at a reasonable tuition rate, are a significant bargain.
5. San Diego State University – San Diego, CA
San Diego State University is one of the most important, productive, and effective institutions in California, from the perspective of doing good for California’s people. Dating back to 1897, when it was established as a normal school for training young women to teach in the city’s school system, San Diego State has been central to life in San Diego ever since. Today, SDSU is one of the city’s biggest single employers, as well as one of the largest contributors to the economy: more than 60% of graduates stay in metropolitan San Diego, and the university’s economic footprint is over $2 billion a year. SDSU is also one of the most diverse universities in the nation, and one of the leaders in producing minority college graduates.
The CEPH-accredited Graduate School of Public Health and the School of Social Work offers San Diego State’s MPH MSW dual degree, a program combining the two degrees. Students must apply to and be accepted to both schools to complete the dual program; successful graduates receive two degrees, one from each school: the MPH in Health Management and Policy, and the Master of Social Work. Students learn to use the community-based communication and advocacy of social work to advance public health initiatives like disease prevention and health access. The dual program is designed to be completed in three years.
The University of Houston is a top-tier, public research university and a long-standing part of Houston’s professional and academic life. Founded in 1927 as a junior college program that met nights in a local high school, UH stands today as Texas’ 3rd-largest university (as more than 43,000 students) and the flagship of the University of Houston System. Houston, TX, is also home to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the world’s largest medical center and the site of UT’s medical and health sciences schools. The UTHealth School of Public Health is one of the highest-ranked and largest public health schools in the nation, with five regional campuses.
The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and the UT School of Public Health have combined their forces to offer an MPH MSW dual degree. Students gain exposure to the skills necessary for administrative, managerial, and other advanced positions in the public health sector, such as hospitals. Courses include areas like biostatistics data management, and ethics, applying social work knowledge to improving public health. Students must be accepted into both programs within the same year, and the GRE is required for both. Once admitted, the full program, including both degrees, can be completed in just three years. As public universities, both UH and UTHealth keep tuition prices affordable for a smart investment.
7. University of Alabama at Birmingham – Birmingham, AL
The University of Alabama at Birmingham may have began simply as an extension campus of the University of Alabama (back in 1936), but 80 years makes all the difference in the world. Today, UAB is second in student body only to the flagship in Tuscaloosa, while the university is the only Carnegie Foundation R1-classified research university in the state. UAB’s reputation rests in large part on the UAB Health System, Alabama’s preeminent academic medical center and the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. UAB has the biggest impact on Alabama’s health and economy, contributing more than $4 billion annually to Alabama’s economy and ensuring that Alabama’s urban, suburban, and rural residents alike have access to the highest level of medical care.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health offers the UAB MPH MSW dual degree in collaboration with the University of Alabama (UA) School of Social Work. This dual program is distinctly tied to the specific needs of Alabama’s people and health care system, especially the state’s rural, low-income, and minority populations. The MSW focuses on addressing a shortage of experienced social work professionals to meet mental health and family needs, while the MPH prepares students for leading in large-scale community and population programs. UAB’s low tuition rate gives prospective social workers a way to enter leadership roles without a troublesome debt.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is the state’s foremost academic medical complex, and frequently ranked as one of the best in the nation. Founded in 1880 as a private medical school, the UNMC grew greatly after joining the University of Nebraska system in 1902, becoming the home of the system’s medical, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, and public health schools. The College of Public Health opened in 2007, dedicated to responsible, social justice-oriented education, research, and practice. Along with UNMC, the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Grace Abbott School of Social Work is one of the Midwest’s leading social work schools, offering the state’s only accredited MSW program.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Omaha have partnered to offer an MPH MSW dual degree that builds on both their strengths. Coming from two of the nation’s top schools in their field, the MPH dual degree program prepares students for leadership in the public health sector, from populations to communities. The MSW dual degree, in turn, prepares students to use the human-centered practices of social work to get public health initiatives directly to the people who need them. Students must apply and be accepted to both programs; the length of the program varies depending on the student’s current education level, such as whether they have a BSSW or all of the required prerequisites. The Abbott School’s MSW degree also qualifies graduates for licensure as an independent social worker, for professionals who want to forge their own way or start their own nonprofit. Making tuition affordable is just one more way the University of Nebraska makes like better for the Cornhusker State.
9. IUPUI – Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis is one of the nation’s most innovative, most influential public research universities. Founded in 1969, IUPUI came about when Indiana University and Purdue University combined their extension programs in Indianapolis, Indiana’s capital and largest city. IUPUI quickly became a central part of Indiana’s higher education system, as the home of the medical and dental schools, and the home of all kinds of programs related to modern urban life – such as the Fairbanks School of Public Health, and the School of Social Work. One of U.S. News & World Report’s top up-and-coming universities, IUPUI is also recognized by the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.
IUPUI’s MPH MSW dual degree comes from these two world-class programs, each contributing the highest level of expertise and experience to social work and public health. Students must be accepted to both programs, but once they enter the program, students work through the two degrees simultaneously, including a coordinated practicum that fulfills the requirements of both the MPH and the MSW. With IUPUI’s location in Indiana’s largest city, students have access to a wealth of opportunity for research, internship, and employment, and IUPUI’s impact on Indiana and Indianapolis is immense. Tuition is also kept at a reasonable rate, so students can trust their dual degree to pay off in their career.
10. University of South Florida – Tampa, FL
Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida is a rarity – the first public university built from the ground up (not from an extension campus, prior institution, etc) in the 20th century. USF was intended to bring affordable higher education opportunities to Florida’s southern Gulf Coast, where there were no public universities. With a high level of demand from Florida’s booming population, USF quickly grew into a major research university, and stands today as a Carnegie Classification top-tier institution, as well as one of the most productive research universities, according to National Science Foundation data. USF is also a nationally-recognized center for public health, having founded Florida’s first accredited College of Public Health (in 1984), and issued the first public health degrees in the state. The USF COPH offers numerous degrees in more than 25 concentrations, as well as many fully online certificate and online MPH programs.
USF’s MPH MSW dual degree brings the College of Public Health and the School of Social Work together to prepare students for the complexities of modern health. Students are steeped in small and large-scale practice, from working with individuals and families (the realm of social work) to planning and implementing community health programs (the work of public health). Two concentrations are available: Maternal & Child Health, or Behavioral Health. Students must be accepted into both schools, but can start with a major in either before adding the second degree. USF is widely known for its engagement with the community, and its impact on Florida’s communities, so the MPH dual program is a natural choice for Florida’s service professionals.
11. University of Missouri – Columbia, MO
When Missouri was just a rough and tumble frontier populated by the hardiest farmers and traders, the University of Missouri was there. The first university founded west of the Mississippi (in 1839), Mizzou became a central part of Missouri’s culture and society – not just because of football, either. The University of Missouri brought professional education and research to the Midwest, from law and business to medicine and nursing, giving the state of Missouri a foundation for modern life. In addition, Mizzou helped pioneer social work, beginning with courses in what was then called “social economy” in 1906, and a social work school in 1916. WIth more than a century of experience, Mizzou understands social work.
The University of Missouri’s MPH MSW dual degree comes from the School of Social Work and the College of Health Professions, working together to combine the skills of both. With a concentration in Health Promotion and Policy, the MPH dual program aims to prepare highly competent leaders who can research, analyze, design, and implement health policy. The combination of social work and public health knowledge gives graduates the skills to understand both policy design and implementation on an institutional level and in the field – something a professional with only one experience may lack. Mizzou’s commitment to reasonable tuition also makes the MPH MSW dual degree a financially sound choice.
12. University of Georgia – Athens, GA
The University of Georgia is one of the nation’s most prominent public research universities, a Carnegie Classification R1 institution and one of the most comprehensive public institutions in the South. Founded in 1785, UGA is the first chartered public university and one of the first models of public higher education. One of the most selective public universities, UGA has been named a Public Ivy (a public university with the quality of the Ivy League), and regularly ranks in the top 20 public universities according to U.S. News & World Report. UGA’s College of Public Health and School of Social Work are two of the nation’s most acclaimed and trusted schools in their fields.
UGA’s MPH MSW dual degree brings together the highly-ranked College of Public Health and School of Social Work to prepare students for leadership and practice in both fields. This interdisciplinary program combines the strengths of both public health and social work, including evidence-based practice, policy analysis and implementation, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Graduates go into their careers with the understanding of public health issues linked to the understanding of best practices in working with people. Students must apply and be accepted to both schools. A concentration in Health Promotion & Behavior is available for the MPH. UGA’s reputation throughout the South – and its proximity to the CDC in Atlanta – make it a strong choice for tomorrow’s health leaders.
13. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN
A public research university in Tennessee’s 2nd-largest metropolis, the University of Mississippi began in 1912 as the West Tennessee Normal School, training teachers for the state’s school system. Within just a year, the normal school had expanded its mission to a college by taking over the private University of Memphis (which had formed in 1909), and in time U of M was a full, comprehensive state research university. With its location in a highly diverse, complex metropolitan city, U of M is one Tennessee’s most important locations for the research and education of service professionals. Memphis’ key programs include the nationally ranked School of Public Health and the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.
The University of Memphis MPH MSW dual degree offers students a way to earn credentials in both social work and public health for the difficult work of improving health in an urban setting. U of M’s social work and public health programs are focused on meeting the needs of the community directly, by giving students the tools to develop and put plans into place to prevent disease and treat families and individuals. U of M’s urban focus is a particular strength for future professionals in the field. Students must apply and be accepted to both schools, but 12 shared credits makes the process of earning the dual degree quite a bit shorter than earning both separately. The University of Memphis is known for its dedication to the community and people, making the MPH dual degree a trusted, and affordable, credential.
14. Florida International University – Miami, FL
In 1965, when Florida International University was founded, Miami, FL was Florida’s fastest-growing, most diverse city, with an international population that had no access to public higher education. The demand was obvious when FIU opened with the largest first class in history, and Florida International has never slowed down. Today, it’s the 4th-largest university in America, and a top-tier, R1 Carnegie Classification research institution. With its location in a global metropolis, urban life and health are central to FIU’s mission, and the Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work combines the professional disciplines that are most crucial to social well-being. The CSWE and CEPH accredited Stempel College is a vision for the future of the field.
FIU’s MPH MSW dual degree benefits from its home in one of the few comprehensive colleges in the US combining social work and public health. Rather than cobbling together programs from two separate divisions, the FIU dual degree emphasizes the connections between public health and social work, creating a seamless interdisciplinary degree. The FIU MPH MSW dual degree focuses on clinical social work with a concentration in either Health Policy & Management or Health Promotion & Disease Prevention. The MPH dual degree prepares graduates to work in a variety of nonprofit and clinical settings, and to take on managerial, administrative, and consulting roles. FIU’s low tuition and enormous influence in southern Florida makes it a reliable choice.
15. Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University was founded in 1870 to serve as Colorado’s land-grant research university under the Morrill Act. At the time, that meant providing the most current education in agriculture and mechanical science, which laid the foundation for a variety of modern STEM disciplines like engineering, bioengineering, and veterinary science. But the land-grant system also put a priority on practical, useful programs that would be affordable and accessible to everyone, and CSU continues that tradition in all of their programs. The Colorado School of Public Health and the CSU School of Social Work put the mission into practice with their top-ranked programs.
The CSU MPH MSW dual degree comes from the collaboration of these two trusted schools, providing future social workers and public health managers with the most current, immediately applicable skills and knowledge. The program uses the complementary goals of social work and public health – both working directly with communities, and developing large-scale intervention programs for populations. Students are prepared for careers across the spectrum of public health and social work, including clinical, managerial, and educational roles. Colorado State carries a strong weight on the job market in Colorado, and extensive connections in both sectors give students the assurance that their work will pay off in their career.
16. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Chapel Hill, NC
The second public university chartered in the US, and the first to admit students, the University of North Carolina has been setting the standard for public higher education since 1789. That’s a long time, and UNC has not only kept up with developments in education – in many instances, UNC has been the main driver in innovation. That’s certainly true in medicine and health sciences, in which UNC has been a pioneer and leader for generations. UNC is home to UNC Health Care, one of the nation’s most prominent academic health systems, but to the Gillings School of Global Public Health, the first state-supported public health school in history. The Gillings School remains the #1 public public health school in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The Gillings School and the School of Social Work come together to provide UNC’s MPH MSW dual degree. Through this cooperative degree program, UNC prepares students for a professional career that combines the scientific investigation and research skills of an MPH degree, with the practical clinical, managerial, and planning skills of social work. The MPH MSW dual degree focuses on Maternal & Child Health in local, national, and international contexts, from program management to policy analysis and evaluation. There is no better name in public health than the Gillings School, and no other program that combines job market influence and affordability like UNC.
17. University of Alaska Anchorage – Anchorage, AK
Alaska’s largest university, in Alaska’s largest city, the University of Alaska Anchorage began simply in 1954 with evening classes in the local high school – just a few years before the territory became a state. But with a population of over 300,000 – nearly half of Alaska’s population – UAA grew significantly, eventually encompassing not just the university, but four community colleges as well. With few educational options in the sparsely-populated state, UAA is crucial to professional education, academic research, and culture in Alaska. The UAA College of Health – the UA System’s health sciences campus – is especially important, including research centers like the Center for Rural Health and Health Workforce.
The UAA MPH MSW dual degree comes from this critically important College of Health, and both programs are in-house for the convenience of students. With both programs coming from the same college, UAA’s dual degree brings the two together neatly and with the most possible impact. Shared credits help students complete the two degrees in much less time than separately – 3 years rather than 4 – while the material is designed to complement each program without redundancy. With the MPH MSW dual degree, graduates are equipped to address serious public health issues in Anchorage, in Alaska, and around the world – all for a reasonable tuition rate that gets students into their professions without excess debt.
18. University of Wisconsin-Madison – Madison, WI
Founded in 1848, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began in the same year Wisconsin was admitted to the union. The oldest of Wisconsin’s public universities, and the flagship of the UW system, UW-Madison is one of the most prestigious public research institutions in the nation, with one of the highest rates of research expenditures, the highest Carnegie Foundation classification, and recognition as a Public Ivy. UW-Madison, as Wisconsin’s foremost university, is crucial to health and human services in the state, educating Wisconsin’s doctors, nurses, social workers, and public health experts through the School of Medicine and Public Health, and the School of Social Work.
Both the School of Medicine and Public Health, and the School of Social Work, are committed to targeting the areas of need in Wisconsin, where professionals are in short supply and services are lacking. That’s one reason for the UW-Madison MPH MSW dual degree, which prepares professionals for work in either the social work or public health fields, where leadership is in great need. Students in the dual degree program learn both the clinical and managerial skills necessary to take on administrative roles, as well as understanding how public health initiatives play out in the field. The dual program is a perfect expression of the Wisconsin Idea that has driven UW for generations – to make the work of the university stretch out the the people of the community.
19. University at Albany (SUNY) – Albany, NY
Founded in 1844 as a normal school, the University at Albany is the oldest state-chartered university in New York. The state capital made a logical location for the state’s teacher training school, but it also gave the University at Albany the advantage of being close to the heart of government. That location made it possible for UAlbany to become a national leader in public policy, public health, and social work, especially through the work of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, the School of Public Health, and the School of Social Welfare. The University at Albany became part of the SUNY system in 1948, and today is regularly ranked a best value by publications like Kiplinger’s and the Princeton Review.
UAlbany has made itself central to government-related studies, developing deep relationships with NY State government agencies; the School of Public Health, for instance, partners with the New York State Department of Health for the most current research and instruction. The UAlbany MPH MSW dual degree makes the most of the university’s powerful connections for a program that has results. The School of Public Health offers three tracks – Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, or Health Policy – and the School of Social Welfare offers the MACRO concentration. The combination of the two, and UAlbany’s connections to the state’s social system, make the MPH MSW dual degree a career-launching program.
20. University at Buffalo (SUNY) – Buffalo, NY
The University at Buffalo is one of the most prestigious public research universities in the state of New York, as well as the largest and most comprehensive of the SUNY system. Founded by future President Millard Fillmore in 1846, UB began as a private medical school – a school which remains today as the only public medical school in the state. From that auspicious beginning, SUNY Buffalo has developed into a leader in the health sciences, including medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, and also become known for its programs in public health and social work. Buffalo is classified at the highest Carnegie Foundation level, R1, and has earned recognition as one of the top public universities in the nation – top 50 in U.S. News & World Report, and #1 in New York by the Times Higher Education ranking.
The UB School of Social Work has been named one of U.S. News’ top graduate social work programs, while the School of Public Health and Health Professions is a model, CEPH-accredited school. The two schools combine for the UB MPH MSW dual degree, a collaborative, interdisciplinary program intended to give social workers a strong grounding in public health. There are two tracks – a 3-year track for any bachelor’s degree holder, and a 2-year track for students with a social work bachelor’s. A reduction in time and credits required make it possible for dual degree students to begin putting their degrees to work much more quickly than other programs, adding to Buffalo’s already famed value.
21. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA
A top-tier Carnegie Classification research university, Virginia Commonwealth University began in 1838, as the medical school of Hampden-Sydney College. That founding set the stage for VCU’s excellence in medicine and health sciences, as the Medical College of Virginia became an independent institution, then merged with the Richmond Professional Institute to become a fully university. Today, VCU is a critical part of life and healthcare in Virginia’s capital city, as the home of the VCU Medical Center. VCU is Richmond’s foremost academic medical center and one of the most productive locations for health research in the Southeast. In addition to its top-tier medical programs, VCU is home to the South’s oldest School of Social Work, a comprehensive social work institution ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top 25.
Virginia Commonwealth’s MPH MSW dual degree is delivered by the acclaimed VCU School of Social Work and the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. Together, these schools prepare students to work in health promotion, access, and justice in diverse communities. Students must apply and be accepted by both schools, and the entire program of two degrees can be completed in three years (with summers). The School of Social Work places students in internships (with the School of Medicine’s approval) for practicum experience in the third year, and students must complete a capstone project to graduate. VCU’s national reputation and reasonable tuition make the MPH MSW dual degree a promising choice.
22. UCLA – Los Angeles, CA
The University of California, Los Angeles is one of the world’s most prestigious research universities, bar none. Originally founded in 1919 as the southern branch of the University of California – the second in the esteemed UC System – UCLA made its own name quickly, developing alongside the booming city of Los Angeles to become a global leader in fields as widely ranging as engineering and entertainment, medicine and art. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 public university in the nation (in a tie with flagship UC Berkeley), UCLA is also known for the Fielding School of Public Health, a U.S. News top 10 public health school.
The Fielding School of Public Health offers UCLA’s MPH MSW dual degree, combining the faculty and insights of the Departments of Social Welfare and Community Health Sciences. Drawing on the Fielding School’s decades of experience and excellence, the MPH dual degree is designed for professionals who want to combine the clinical and managerial skills of social work with the planning and leadership of public health. Students begin with one department in the first year, switch to the other in the second, and combine the completion work of both in the third year. The UCLA MPH MSW dual degree helps graduates of the Fielding School bring the best possible health to the people of Los Angeles, California, and beyond.
23. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, CA
Long ranked the #1 public research university in the nation (along with its sister institution, UCLA), the University of California, Berkeley, is California’s flagship and oldest public university. Founded in 1868, Berkeley was originally California’s land-grant agriculture and mechanical college, providing accessible, affordable education in applied sciences for the people of the young state. Berkeley’s commitment to access is one constant throughout its history; the other has been a commitment to outreach, using the university’s resources to make life better in Berkeley and throughout California. The School of Public Health and the School of Social Welfare are key parts of that commitment.
The School of Public Health and the School of Social Welfare have combined their expertise to offer UC Berkeley’s MPH MSW dual degree, with two distinct paths. The Concurrent Degree allows students to earn both degrees in a more flexible format, focusing on a public health concentration in either Maternal and Child Health, or Health and Social Behavior, and either Direct Practice in Health or Managment and Planning for the MSW. The Dual Degree, on the other hand, allows any combination of concentrations in either school; the dual degree is strictly scheduled for three intensive years, plus summers. Either way, students end with both an MPH and an MSW, and the skills to take on any role in the field.
24. University of Texas at Austin – Austin, TX
The flagship of the University of Texas System – one of the largest, most respected public higher education systems in the nation – the University of Texas at Austin is a model of higher education. Founded in 1881 in the capital city of Austin, UT became known as the academic and cultural heart of Texas, growing not only as an intellectual and research center, but as a mecca for music, art, and film. Today, UT Austin is known as a Public Ivy, providing opportunity of Ivy League quality for the low tuition costs of a public university. UT Austin is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 public universities in the nation, and many programs, like the Hicks School of Social Work and the School of Public Health, are nationally renowned.
UT Austin offers an MPH MSW dual degree that brings the Hicks School and the School of Public Health into partnership. This interdisciplinary program is primarily designed for social work professionals to enter the healthcare sector, combining their skills with knowledge of epidemiology, biostatistics, and other public health research. The combination of practical managerial skills, research skills, and people skills help make for more effective leaders and policy-makers. For students who already have a bachelor’s degree in social work, some credits are cut, but even the full-time program can be completed in just 3 years. UT Austin is the standard for higher education in Texas, and the MPH dual degree goes to show why.
25. Ohio State University – Columbus, OH
Ohio’s land-grant, public research university, The Ohio State University was founded in 1870 as an agricultural and mechanical science college. The land-grant mission meant that Ohio State primarily focused on making the most current, practical skills and knowledge accessible to Ohio’s rural residents. Today, OSU is known for much more than that – it’s the nation’s 3rd-largest student body, a U.S. News & World Report top 20 public university, and one of the nation’s best online educators. From business to health, OSU is central to learning, research, and career preparation for Ohio’s students and professionals.
The Ohio State University’s MPH MSW dual degree is an intensive, interdisciplinary program designed by the College of Public Health and the College of Social Work. This dual program makes the most of two of OSU’s strongest schools, building on OSU’s location in the capital city of Columbus and long history of networking with the government, nonprofit, and healthcare sectors. While students have many options for concentration – such as Aging and Health, or Mental Health and Substance Abuse – the College of Social Work recommends a concentration in Health Behavior and Health Promotion. Coming from one of the Midwest’s most trusted names, the OSU MPH dual degree should show significant career impact.
26. University of South Carolina – Columbia, SC
The University of South Carolina is one of the oldest public universities, having been founded as a state college in 1801. Placed in the capital city of Columbia – dead center of the state, to avoid the rivalry between the Lowcountry and Upcountry regions – USC was always intended to be a college for every South Carolinian, and it has stayed true to that mission. Certainly in size; at more than 50,000 students, USC is the largest university in both Carolinas. Named an up-and-coming national university by U.S. News & World Report, the University of South Carolina has been quietly building a reputation for quality and affordability that has brought national attention to programs like public health and social work.
These two programs – the Arnold School of Public Health and the College of Social Work – have developed USC’s MPH MSW dual degree, an interdisciplinary program for future leaders in the field. The dual degree program is offered with a concentration in Health Services Policy and Management, or Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. Students are prepared for advanced practice and leadership roles in diverse communities, with a focus not only on social health, but social justice, empowerment, and self-determination. Graduates of the MPH dual degree are more than equipped for the hard work of improving communities – they welcome it.
27. Portland State University – Portland, OR
Portland State University is Oregon’s public, urban research institution, the only Oregon public university in a metropolitan setting. PSU was founded in 1946 as an extension campus intended to meet the needs of returning WWII veterans, who were using their GI Bill funds to get college educations and return to civilian life. As Portland grew, however, the need for a full 4-year college, and for a public research university, became clear. Today, Portland State is primarily known for programs that make use of its urban setting, such as public health, social work, and health management. PSU is also known for its community engagement, including a pioneering program in which all students complete a community-based capstone project to graduate.
Portland State’s MPH MSW dual degree provides students with the opportunity to earn master’s from both the School of Social Work and the School of Public Health – two U.S. News & World Report nationally top-ranked programs. The combination of an MPH in Health Promotion and an MSW prepares students to be more effective, visionary leaders in community-based health programs. Students may apply for both programs at the same time, or apply to begin the MPH program after their first year of MSW work. Together, the combined degrees should take 3 years. With Portland State’s reputation for service and support, there’s no better choice for an MPH dual degree in the Pacific Northwest.
28. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, IL
The University of Illinois at Chicago was a long time in developing. Talk of a polytechnic branch in Chicago began even as the University of Illinois was founded in 1867, but never came about. Instead, a group of Chicago health schools formed the nucleus of the UIC when they were taken over by the state in 1913. Combined with an extension campus, which formed in 1946 to handle the influx of WWII veterans reentering civilian life and education with the GI Bill, the University of Illinois at Chicago was finally founded as an independent university in 1965. Today, UIC is known for the largest academic medical center in the US, and as a top-tier, Carnegie Classification R1 research university dedicated to health, social sciences, and business.
UIC is also known for the Addams College of Social Work, named for the pioneering “Mother of Social Work” Jane Addams, whose work in Chicago laid the foundation for the discipline. Dating back to 1946 (when it was founded at the Urbana campus), the Addams College is one of the oldest and most respected social work schools in the world. Together with the School of Public Health, the Addams College offers IUC’s MPH MSW dual degree. This interdisciplinary program seeks the overlapping, complementary aspects of the two fields and emphasizes the common skills to equip graduates for careers advocating and leading public health initiatives in communities. UIC’s location and reputation make the MPH MSW dual degree a natural choice for Chicago’s social workers.
29. University of Connecticut – Storrs and Hartford, CT
The University of Connecticut is one of New England’s most prominent public research universities, a Carnegie Classification R1 institution named a Public Ivy. Founded in 1881 as Connecticut’s land-grant university, UConn built on its foundation of agriculture and mechanics to become a node of New England’s Knowledge Corridor, stretching from Hartford, CT to Springfield, MA. Because of the proximity to Connecticut’s capital – with both the suburban Storrs campus, and the Hartford campus – UConn is intimately connected with the state’s government, nonprofit, and health sectors, and excels in areas related to social systems and healthcare.
The UConn College of Social Work is central to UConn’s work for the good of Connecticut’s people and communities, and they, along with the School of Medicine’s Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, offer UConn’s MPH MSW dual degree. Students in the interdisciplinary dual program are prepared for careers in social work that involve health promotion and awareness. Students can apply for the MPH program at the end of their first year of an MSW, but UConn recommends applying to both at the same time; planning well can help students complete the dual degree in only three years, taking their MPH MSW dual degree into the field with confidence.
30. Wayne State University – Detroit, MI
A public, urban research university in Detroit, and Michigan’s 3rd-largest university, Wayne State University grew by accumulation over a century and a half. The oldest part of the university, the School of Medicine, began in 1868, and over time the addition of a normal school, junior college, and law school to the city prompted the merger of all into Wayne State University. With such a multifaceted legacy, Wayne State has a central place in learning, research, and life in Detroit. As Michigan’s only urban research university, and a Carnegie Classification R1 institution, Wayne State’s impact on Detroit is immense, especially in urban-focused areas like business, law, health, and social work.
The School of Social Work and the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Services offer an MPH MSW dual degree designed to prepare social work professionals for leadership in healthcare. By supplementing an advanced social work program with the research, clinical, and analytical skills of public health, the dual degree helps graduates address the care disparities and unique challenges of urban healthcare. With its location in Detroit, Wayne State gives students access to opportunities and challenges that they could receive nowhere else. That location also means graduates are prepared for anything the job market, or their career, can throw at them.
all images sourced from the institutions website
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