Advanced study in social work and public health is available through a dual degree program co-sponsored by the School of Social Work and the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health/Division of Epidemiology in the School of Medicine.

The dual degree M.S.W. and M.P.H. program allows students to earn two degrees with a minimum of 84 credits rather than the 105 credits necessary if the two degrees were pursued separately. This efficiency lowers the overall cost of tuition while also reducing time to earning both degrees.

Program goals

The objectives of this dual degree program are to:

  • Prepare graduates to work with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations
  • Advocate for social, health care and economic justice in a diverse and multicultural society
  • Promote physical and mental health across the life course

Potential benefits offered by participation in the dual degree program include student competency in:

  • Advocating for policy change to promote social justice and improve the health of vulnerable populations
  • Applying a systems-thinking approach to enhance the delivery of health and social services in a community
  • Applying theoretical principles to develop community-based interventions targeting health behavior change and designed to reduce risk factors contributing to poor health outcomes
  • Assessing the effectiveness of programs to improve societal conditions and health issues
  • Applying research methods to advance the science of health equity

The diplomas for this dual degree program are awarded simultaneously, after completion of the requirements for each degree program. Students receive both degrees upon graduation from VCU.

Student learning outcomes

See each degree program page for student learning outcomes. 

Other information

Advising

The student is assigned an adviser from each program to develop a plan of study. Advisers coordinate regarding program curriculum as appropriate. Primarily, the coordination occurs to ensure that M.S.W. students complete a social work field placement that aligns with requirements of the M.P.H. program. In addition, advisers coordinate guidance to ensure that the M.P.H. integrated learning experience (capstone project), which frequently is based on work of the social work field placement, meets the requirements of the M.P.H. program. Advisers share curriculum sequencing documents for advising students in registration for course work to ensure consistency and uniformity in their guidance.