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Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH) Joint Degree Program

Introduction to Public Health Social Work

Social work and public health take highly complementary and often overlapping approaches to advancing individual and community health and well-being. Public health social work emphasizes prevention, not just intervention after a problem has developed and it draws on multiple methods and systems to effect change including clinical interventions, education, research, advocacy, policy development, community organizing, and a range of other micro to macro interventions. Given these complementary approaches, it makes sense and adds value when the two degrees are pursued jointly with some shared course work. In light of this, the UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work (JACSW) and the School of Public Health (SPH) offer a joint program leading to the Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH). The joint MSW/MPH degree allows students interested in the field of public health social work to complete the degree in a shorter period of time and provides students more opportunities to integrate the respective competencies and perspectives of the two disciplines in a deliberate and coordinated way.

Programs of study leading to joint MSW/MPH degrees are currently available to students in the following MSW concentrations and MPH Divisions:

MSW Concentrations

  1. Child and Family
  2. Community Health and Urban Development
  3. Mental Health
  4. School Social Work
SPH Divisions

  1. Community Health Sciences
  2. Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
  3. Epidemiology
  4. Health Policy and Administration

Length of Program

Full time students may complete the programs in three to three and one-half years.

Admission/Application Requirements

All MSW students are eligible for the MSW/MPH joint degree: Full-time students, PM/Extended Study students, and Advanced Standing students. Note: Full-time and PM/Extended Study applicants start the joint degree in the MSW program; applicants eligible for MSW Advanced Standing start the joint degree in the MPH program and so should apply to the MPH program and enroll in MPH coursework prior to applying to the MSW program. For more information please contact Associate Dean Christopher Mitchell.

Students must apply to and be admitted separately to both the School of Public Health and the College of Social Work master's degree programs. The policies of each program with respect to admission requirements, degree requirements, and other academic requirements are applicable. To be considered for admission students must take the GRE (required for admission to SPH), have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, and satisfy other application requirements for each college.

Transferring into MSW/MPH joint degree program
Students who enter either of the individual degree programs and later decide to transfer into the joint program may do so before entering their second year of study if they meet the admissions requirements of the other degree program. Students must apply and be accepted into both individual degree programs. Students entering from the SPH individual degree program will begin the Social Work core sequence immediately.

Students currently enrolled in the MSW program (full-time foundation year or PM2 students) may apply to the MPH degree by submitting the following documentation:

  1. Scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) submitted directly to UIC SPH.
  2. A Request for Change of Graduate Degree
  3. A personal statement
  4. An updated resume
MSW students who are interested in applying to the joint degree should contact Associate Dean Christopher Mitchell.

Program Requirements

Note: Academic advising is essential for students in the joint degree program. Early and frequent contact with academic advisers in both programs is highly recommended.

Students must complete a minimum of 42 semester hours of course work at SPH as required by the specific SPH division and must complete 62 semester hours of course work as required for the MSW (inclusive of shared credit hours).

Required Coursework
The coursework for the joint degree will include 1) core courses in Social Work (1st year MSW), 2) core courses in Public Health, 3) divisional core courses in either Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health, or Health Policy and Administration; 4) concentration courses in Social Work (2nd year MSW), 5) shared electives; 6) field work, optimally at a site which allows the student to integrate his or her training in social work and public health, and 7) a capstone project reflecting the integration of the student's public health and social work training.

Required coursework for the MSW includes: SocW430 Practice I: Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families & Groups, SocW410 Human Behavior and the Social Environment, SocW460 Research I: Social Work Research, SocW570, Field Instruction I, SocW431 Practice II: Generalist Practice with Task Groups, Organizations, & Communities, Socw411 Social Work in a Multicultural Society, SocW420 Policy I: Social Welfare Policy & Services, and SocW571 Field Instruction II; and six semester hours of electives which may be satisfied by counting public health coursework. In addition, 34 SH of advanced coursework in one of three areas of concentration: Community Health and Urban Development (CHUD), Child and Family, or Mental Health Concentration.

  • Community Health and Urban Development (CHUD) Concentration Requirements: SocW 519, 531, 572, 520, [563, 565 or 567], 573; and 6 SH electives
  • Child and Family Concentration Requirements: SocW 582, 552, 572, 583, [563, 565 or 567], 573; and 6 SH electives
  • Mental Health Concentration Requirements: SocW 586, 554, 572, 587, [563, 565 or 567], 573; and 6 SH electives
  • School Social Work Concentration Requirements:SocW 588, 551, 572, SPED 410, SocW 589, 565 School SW Research/Eval., 573; and 3 SH electives
Required coursework for all MPH students includes: CHSC 400, CHSC 401, BSTT 400, HPA 400, EPID 403 or EPID 400 depending on the student's division, EOHS 400, IPHS 698, IPHS 650. (*Students in the MPH Pilot Core complete 14 SH of coursework, IPHS 650 and IPHS 698; increasing elective hours by 5 SH. ) Remaining courses and their distribution depend on the specific area within the Master of Public Health chosen. The further required coursework for these degrees are:
  • Community Health Sciences Core Requirements: MPH Students in Community Health Sciences must complete CHSC 431, CHSC 433, CHSC 446, CHSC 480. In addition, students must select one of the following: CHSC 527, CHSC 543 or HPA 430.
  • Environmental and Occupational Health Core Requirements: MPH Students in EOHS must complete: Select one of the following Exposure Assessment courses: EOHS 411 Water Quality Management, EOHS 421 Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, OR EOHS 432 Air Quality Management. Select one of the following Health Assessment Courses: EOHS 455 Toxicology OR EOHS 551 Occupational Diseases. Along with these divisional requirements, students in the joint MSW/MPH program would also be required to complete EOHS 480 Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. In addition students must complete up to 9 semester hours of electives in consultation with their advisor.
  • Epidemiology Core Requirements: MPH Students in Epidemiology must complete EPID 404, EPID 406, EPID 410, EPID 411, EPID 591 and BSTT 401.
  • Health Policy and Administration Core Requirements: MPHAll students must complete a minimum of 19 semester hours of electives, at least half of which must be HPA courses.

Shared Credit Hours

  • Shared Elective Hours All students may reduce the number of credit hours by six, counting six semester hours of public health coursework toward the MSW course electives (3 for school social work concentration students). Depending on the student's MPH concentration, the joint program may be reduced by an additional 1 to 9 semester hours by counting advisor-approved social work courses toward MPH elective hours.

    Available elective hours by MPH concentration: 2 sh CHS; 1 sh Epidemiology; up to 3 sh (one pre-approved SocW course) EOHS; 9 sh HPA].

  • Shared Field Work/ Field Instruction Hours With proper planning and approval of the SPH advisor, the joint program may be reduced by an additional three to five semester hours by incorporating a significant public health experience into the Social Work Field Instruction (SocW 570-573).
  • Shared Didactic Course Hours Students in the Community Health Sciences Division may count the following required Social Work courses as satisfying CHS divisional requirements, further reducing their program of study by up to six semester hours: SocW 460 Research 1 Social Work + SocW Research II course (SocW 563, 565, or 567) may substitute for CHSC 446 Research Methods in Community Health; and SocW 420 Policy I: Social Welfare Policy and Services + SocW Policy II course (SocW 552, 531 or 554 may substitute for the CHSC policy/advocacy selective (CHSC 430, CHSC 527, CHSC 543 or HPA 430). Similarly, MSW students have the option of taking CHSC 446 in lieu of SocW 460.
Maximum Permissible Shared Hours
The maximum allowable number of shared credit hours is 20 semester hours. The actual number of shared credit hours that will be permitted is dependent upon the student's division and advisor approval.

Progression through the Program
Students will typically alternate between the colleges beginning with the MSW; for example, in Year 1 students will complete the MSW core course requirements in Year 2. Students will complete the majority of MPH course requirements in Year 3. Students will return to the College of Social Work to complete their MSW concentration requirements and may also take MPH coursework. Students may require one additional semester to complete their MPH coursework within the School of Public Health.

Leaving the program before the requirements for the joint masters is complete
Students who leave after completing the necessary hours for one of the degrees, either the Master of Social Work or the Master of Public Health, but before completing the joint MSW/MPH, will receive the former degree. Students completing solely the Master of Public Health may (depending on background experience) be required to satisfy requirements of a comprehensive MPH program.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees charged by the two programs differ. Students will be charged MSW tuition and fees for their first year of study and MPH tuition and fees for the second year. In year three, MSW tuition and fees will be applied again. If students must then complete remaining credit hours for the MPH program, the student will be charged MPH tuition and fees for their final semester of attendance. More information regarding tuition and fees is available here.

MSW/MPH Course of Study

(Example for illustrative purposes1)

I.  Full-time Student
Year 1 Full-time in the MSW Program

Fall Semester Spring Semester
SocW 410 Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3 credits)

SocW 411:  Critical Social Work in a Multicultural Society (3 credits)

SocW 430 Practice I: Generalist Practice  (3 credits)

SocW 431 Practice II: Generalist Practice (3 credits)

SocW 460 Research I: Social Work Research
 (3 credits) OR
CHSC 446 (4 credits)

SocW 420 Policy I: Social Welfare Policy and Services (3 credits)
SocW 570 Field Instruction I (5 credits) SocW 571 Field Instruction II (5 credits)
Total credits:  14 or 15 Total credits: 14
Year 2 Full-time in the MPH Program (Community Health Sciences Division2)

Fall Semester Spring Semester
BSTT 400 Biostatistics I (4 credits)

CHSC 431 Community Assessment in Public Health (3 credits)

CHSC 400 Public Health Concepts and Practice
 (3 credits)

CHSC 433 Public Health Planning and Evaluation
(3 credits)

CHSC 401 Behavioral Sciences in Public Health
(3 credits)

CHSC 480 Health Education and Health Promotion
(3 credits)
EPID 403 Introduction to Epidemiology: Principles and Methods (3 credits) EOHS 400 Principles of Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
HPA 400 Principles of Management in Public Health (3 credits) Elective (3 credits)
Total credits: 16 Total credits: 15
Year 3 Full-time in MSW Program (Mental Health Concentration3)

Fall Semester Spring Semester
SocW 586 Practice III: Mental Health

SocW 587 Practice IV: Mental Health

SocW 554 Policy II: Mental Health

Social Work Research II Selective (SocW 563, 565, or 567)

MPH Policy Selective
(3 credits)

SocW 572: Field Instruction III (8 credits shared with IPHS 650)  
Total credits: 17 Total credits: 15
1This course of study is an example only and is not intended to represent an officially endorsed course of study. Please see the joint degree advisor for more information about course selection.

2The course selection for students in other MPH Divisions will vary.

3The course selection for students in other MSW Concentrations will vary.


Contact Information

For further information about this joint degree program, please contact the following individuals:

School of Public Health
Babette J. Neuberger, JD, MPH
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Public Health
(312) 996-5381

Jane Addams College of Social Work
Christopher Mitchell, PhD
Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies and Academic Programs
(312) 996-8509