6 Best BSW and MSW Dual Programs – 2023

Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

Are you interested in a career that involves service to others? Do you feel accomplished when you face challenges and overcome them or help others to do the same? Have you considered a career as a social worker but do not know where to begin or which degree is best? Maybe you want to earn a degree and begin working as soon as possible, but you also like the idea of earning a master’s degree, which takes a bit longer to accomplish. If so, a BSW and MSW dual program could be the perfect option for you!

If you have thought of earning a bachelor’s or master’s in social work, you may have heard of dual degree options but wonder, “What are the best BSW and MSW dual programs?” As you continue reading, you will find the answer to that question as I share the 6 best BSW and MSW dual programs for 2023. I will share information about the programs, their cost, and curriculum and answer some frequently asked questions to help you decide if this is the right academic and career path for you.



The goal of BSW and MSW dual programs is to provide students with the opportunity to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in social work at an accelerated pace. These programs aim to offer high-quality educational experiences through classroom and field education training designed to produce social workers capable of providing exceptional social work services to individuals, families, and communities.


BSW and MSW dual programs are an excellent combination. The programs give you the opportunity to start on the ground floor in social work, earn a baccalaureate degree, and continue on to earn your master's degree with a seamless transition. The programs cost less and take less time than you would spend if you pursued each degree separately, which makes them good money and time investments, as well.


BSW and MSW dual programs can be challenging to complete. The programs involve earning both an undergraduate and a graduate degree, which means heavy courseloads. Additionally, you will participate in field training experiences that require a lot of time. However, despite the difficulty of the programs, if you plan carefully, allow plenty of time for study, and create a healthy balance between work, personal life, and school, you can succeed!


BSW and MSW dual programs offer the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop important skills and abilities. One of the awesome things about the skills and abilities you gain in these programs is that you can apply them to any part of your life, including if you transition to a new career path later. Let us take a moment to go over seven of the most important skills and abilities you will learn in one of these dual programs.

1. You will gain the skills needed to analyze complex problems:

BSW and MSW dual programs will prepare you to address complex issues or problems your clients face. When you analyze the situation, you can help your clients adjust to challenges in their lives in a positive way, helping to promote more positive outcomes.

2. You will grasp an understanding of the importance and use of research:

Social workers use research methods to collect information necessary for making informed decisions and identifying the most appropriate resources for clients. In your program, you will learn effective methods of gathering research data and how to evaluate the effectiveness of plans you implement based on that data.

3. You will learn to apply cultural competence in client care:

Social workers provide services to clients from diverse backgrounds, which means appreciating and respecting cultural differences is vital for your success in the profession. In BSW and MSW dual programs, students learn to identify cultural identities and gain greater awareness of beliefs, biases, and stereotypes, which could affect how they provide services. You will develop an understanding of how to approach clients with cultural differences and develop and implement plans to address their issues with respect for those differences in mind.

4. You will learn how the social environment affects human behavior:

As you research different BSW and MSW dual programs, you will find that curriculum plans typically include a class called Human Behavior and the Social Environment (or something similar). This class is especially important because, as a social worker, you must be aware of your client’s social environment and identify how things in their environment may impact their interactions with you and others. A person’s environment can impact a person’s behavior and desire to act in a particular way and can facilitate or discourage interpersonal relationships and the benefits associated with social support.

5. You will learn how to establish and enforce healthy boundaries:

Being a social worker means you must learn to show empathy and compassion. At times, especially when dealing with sensitive situations, it can become easy for the lines of professionalism to blur. Among the many skills and abilities you will develop in these programs, you will learn about healthy boundaries and how to establish them. Establishing healthy boundaries is important as they define the limits for what you feel are acceptable, effective, and safe behaviors between you and your clients.

6. You will learn active listening techniques:

Active listening is one of the most important skills you will develop in BSW and MSW dual programs. Active listening involves showing genuine interest in what your client says and being "fully present" in the conversation. You will learn to listen to understand, not just respond, while withholding judgment or advice, which is crucial in developing a good client/practitioner relationship.

7. You will learn effective ways to advocate for clients:

Social workers advocate for clients on an individual basis, based on their distinct needs. As an advocate for your clients, you may negotiate or navigate healthcare or legal systems, mediate between law enforcement or healthcare providers, and collaborate with other professionals to help your clients gain access to essential shelter, medical, and educational services.


You will learn many skills during BSW and MSW dual programs, and you will gain many advantages as well. These programs offer you the opportunity to have a great educational experience and provide many perks when looking for a future career. Let us talk about five of the main advantages you will gain and what they will mean for you before and after school.

1. You can be instrumental in eliminating social injustices:

Social justice involves promoting equity and fairness in society, including promoting equal educational, financial, and work opportunities. Social workers challenge social injustices such as workers’ rights, unemployment, and poor labor practices. You may engage in forming or participating in labor unions to help improve working conditions and services provided to your clients.

2. You can help improve the quality of life of your clients:

One of the awesome things about choosing a career in social work is that you can play an integral role in improving the quality of life of your clients. In BSW and MSW dual programs, you will learn measures to help clients cope with issues they face in everyday life, such as personal or family problems, how to communicate in relationships, and how to access essential services.

3. You will have a wide range of job options:

There are many types of social workers, which means you can choose to work with a specific client population or in a setting that interests you most. For example, you may choose to work with children and families or communities. You could work as an environmental social worker, mental health social worker, or in criminal justice.

4. You can enter the workforce while working on your graduate degree:

Another excellent advantage of BSW and MSW dual programs is that when you complete the BSW component of the program, you can begin work as a licensed social worker. Doing so means you can become established as a social worker and earn an income while continuing to earn your MSW.

5. Social work is a growing field with a positive long-term outlook:

Social workers provide essential services to people of all ages from all backgrounds. The field of social work is ever-growing and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will continue to do so for at least the next decade. What this means for you is that there is good potential for finding employment and having career stability.


While there are several advantages of BSW and MSW dual programs, it is also necessary to acknowledge that there are disadvantages, as well. Knowing the pros and cons gives you something to ponder as you decide if earning dual degrees is the right path for you. The following are three main disadvantages of these programs.

1. BSW and MSW dual programs require a significant time commitment:

If you pursue your degree through one of these specialized dual degree programs, you can expect to spend at least four to five years in school. The programs feature rigorous curriculum plans and several hundred hours of field training.

2. You may work in unsafe environments:

Depending on the type of social work you pursue, you could find yourself in unsafe environments. For example, children and family social workers are often required to make home visits to check on clients. Unfortunately, not everyone lives in a safe neighborhood or healthy environment, which could leave you feeling at risk.

3. Social workers often have heavy caseloads:

The need for social work services is often greater than the number of licensed and available social workers, which means you could face heavy caseloads. Being self-aware, knowing your limits, and prioritizing self-care are essential to maintaining balance so you can perform your job effectively.


When choosing any college degree program, one of the most critical things you should verify is whether the program is accredited. In your search for the best BSW and MSW dual programs, look for programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The CWSE is a national association representing social work education throughout the United States and has members including more than 800 baccalaureate and master's social work programs and affiliated faculty, educators, staff, practitioners, agencies, and students.

S.NO.Accrediting Agency
1Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)


BSW and MSW dual programs start at various times throughout the year. Each school determines how many start dates to offer and when to offer them. The size of the school, the number of available staff, and field training sites are important factors that determine how often programs begin.

At Loyola University Chicago, you can begin the dual degree program in the fall, spring, or summer. Deadlines for applying are typically two months prior to the semester start date.

The program offered at Simmons University offers start dates in the spring and fall semesters each year.

Hawaii Pacific University has only one start date each year for its BSW and MSW dual degree program. Students begin classes in the fall.

Students at Sacred Heart University begin classes in the fall semester each year.

At Marywood University, you can choose to begin the BSW/MSW dual degree program in the spring or fall.


The best BSW and MSW dual programs typically require students to complete between 100 and 160 credits. Because of the nature of the programs, most schools allow students to enroll in the MSW component of the dual degree program with advanced standing after completing the BSW competencies. This is important because advanced-standing students typically receive credit for around 30 credits toward the MSW, which is why you can complete the dual degree program in less time.

At Loyola University Chicago, you will complete 120 credits in the BSW track over the course of four years. In the fifth year of the program, you will select a specialization and track and complete 49 additional credits to earn the MSW. The program offers a Micro Practice Specialization with the option to choose one of four tracks and a Leadership, Mezzo, & Macro Practice Specialization with a Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy Track.

The dual degree program at Marywood University includes 121 BSW credits. After completing the undergraduate BSW degree, you will complete 60 additional credits to earn your MSW.

At Hawaii Pacific University, the BSW/MSW dual degree program requires 120 credits to meet the BSW requirements and an additional 30 credits to earn the MSW.

Students enrolled in the program offered at Rhode Island College complete 153 credits. You will earn 120 credit hours in the BSW pathway and continue to complete 33 credit hours to earn the MSW.

Sacred Heart University’s BSW/MSW dual degree program includes 120 credits. Completion of the BSW allows you to waive the first 30 credits of the MSW pathway and enter as an advanced standing student, completing only 30 additional credits.


BSW and MSW dual programs typically take four to five years to complete. Many programs are designed for full-time enrollment. However, some schools offer part-time study options. If you choose a part-time program, you could extend your time to graduate to six or seven years.

The BSW and MSW dual degree program at Loyola University Chicago takes five years to complete.

At Simmons University, you can earn the dual BSW and MSW degrees in four years.

The BSW and MSW dual degree program at Hawaii Pacific University takes approximately five years to complete. Four years are spent earning your BSW. You will then complete an additional year on the accelerated track to earn the MSW.

Marywood University offers an accelerated program giving you the opportunity to complete BSW and MSW dual degrees in five years if you enroll full-time.

At Sacred Heart University, you can earn both the BSW and MSW degrees in five years. The first four years of the dual degree program involve earning your baccalaureate degree in social work. You will then transition to the MSW program, completing it at an accelerated rate in one year.


It can be expensive to earn your degree through BSW and MSW dual programs. Among the top programs featured in this article, the cost ranges between $74,000 and $220,000. You can help offset some of the expenses of earning your degrees by applying for grants and scholarships. Also, by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can find out if you qualify for federal grants or loans.

At Loyola University Chicago, tuition is based on whether the course is classified as undergraduate or graduate. Undergraduate courses cost $925 per credit, and graduate tuition costs $1045 per credit hour. The dual degree program includes 120 undergraduate credits and 39 graduate credits, making tuition come to an average of $151,755.

The cost of attendance at Simmons University is $1,382 per credit for undergraduate courses and $1,148 for graduate courses. Students at Simmons complete 128 BSW credits and 37 credits for the MSW program. Therefore, the total tuition cost comes to approximately $219,372.

Undergraduate tuition at Hawaii Pacific University costs $1,310 per credit. Graduate tuition costs $1,235 per credit. The program includes 120 undergraduate and 30 graduate credits, which makes tuition cost an average of $194,250.

At Rhode Island College, tuition is determined by whether you live in the state or out of state. In-state students pay $372 per credit for undergraduate courses and $495 for graduate-level courses. Out-of-state students pay $919 for undergraduate courses and $964 for graduate courses. Students complete 120 undergraduate credits and 33 graduate credits, which means tuition costs between $74,967 and $91,212, based on whether you live in the state or out of state.

The cost for the program offered at Sacred Heart University is based on an undergraduate per-credit rate of $1,544 and a graduate per-credit rate of $840. With 120 undergraduate and 30 graduate credits, the program costs approximately $210,480.


The minimum GPA requirement to get into BSW and MSW dual programs is typically 3.0 based on a 4.0 grading scale. The requirements may vary among schools. For example, Hawaii Pacific University requires applicants to have an overall grade point average of 2.75 for all undergraduate coursework. To progress to the MSW component of the dual degree program at Sacred Heart University, you must earn a minimum BSW grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

As you search for programs and review their admission criteria, pay close attention to what the school uses to determine your GPA. For example, some schools accept candidates with a 2.75-3.0 high school or college GPA to begin the BSW component of the dual degree but require them to maintain a 3.0 or higher to advance to the graduate component and earn the MSW.


Just like with the GPA, the admissions requirements for a BSW and MSW dual programs can vary. For initial entry, you need to fill out a college application. Also, you often need to prove that you have what it takes to complete college-level classes (which often include letters of recommendation). For the MSW portion, you need to apply and submit transcripts, writing samples, and more letters of recommendation. The standards can change based on the program.

Here are some of the admission requirements for the top BSW and MSW dual programs in the USA. You can use this guide to help you prepare.

Admission to the BSW and MSW dual degree program at Loyola University Chicago requires first completing the 5-Year MSW Program Application. Candidates must provide high school and college transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a resume or curriculum vitae. To progress to the MSW part of the program, you must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the beginning of the senior year of your BSW degree.

At Simmons University, admission criteria for the BSW and MSW dual program, also referred to as the 3+1 social work program, include the following. You must complete an application for the School of Social Work. All applicants must submit a high school transcript and college transcripts (if applicable), SAT or ACT scores, a college essay, and two letters of recommendation, one from a teacher and one from a guidance counselor.

To be considered for the program at Hawaii Pacific University, you must first apply to and be accepted to the university and then complete an application for the BSW program through the School of Social Work. You must complete the BSW program with a minimum GPA OF 2.75, including earning a grade of “C” or higher in the prerequisites Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Social Work, and a Writing course.

At Rhode Island College, you must first apply to the BSW program. For admission to the BSW component, you must have a minimum college GPA of 2.0 and at least a 2.67 for any social work courses you have previously taken. You must provide a personal statement and a letter of recommendation. After being accepted into the BSW program, you may request conditional admission to the MSW major.

You must maintain a 3.0 average for the BSW program to transition to the MSW pathway. Before beginning the MSW component, you must provide another letter of recommendation from a BSW faculty member.

At Sacred Heart University, students apply to the dual BSW and MSW degree program as freshmen and are admitted to both programs simultaneously, guaranteeing them a spot in the MSW program as long as the criteria for progression are met. In addition to submitting a program application, you must provide an admission essay, resume, and personal statement. Progression to the MSW portion of the dual degree program requires maintaining a 3.0 average for the BSW program and completing an interview with an MSW faculty member.


The curriculum plans for BSW and MSW dual programs are usually quite rigorous. You will first complete undergraduate courses and field training requirements, then transition to graduate studies. The following are examples of some of the classes offered at five of the top programs in the nation.

Some of the classes at Loyola University Chicago include Lifespan Development Human Behavior Trauma & Theory, Assessment of Client Concerns in Context, Power, Oppression, Privilege, and Social Justice, Community Organizing & Policy Practice, Leadership & Supervision in Service Organizations, and Social Work Policy and Community Intervention.

At Marywood University, you will study in classes including Social Work Perspectives on Psychology/Psychopathology, Social Policy Advocacy, Social Work Perspectives on Trauma, Human Sexuality: Issues for Social Work, and Concepts & Issues in Gerontology.

At Hawaii Southern University, you will take classes, including Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Global Systems & Development, Advanced Practice with Diverse Organizations & Communities, Culture & Diversity in Advanced Practice, and Research Methods in Advanced Practice.

The curriculum for the BSW/MSW dual degree program at Rhode Island College includes classes such as Social Work Practice: Grief & Loss, Child Sexual Abuse, Motivational Interviewing, Social Work Practice & Substance Use Disorders, Generalist Practice with Groups & Communities, and Research Methods.

At Sacred Heart University, you will study courses, including Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Human Diversity & Social Justice, Social Work Practice, Social Welfare Policy, Research Methodology in Social Work, and American Government & Politics.


All accredited BSW and MSW dual programs involve field training. According to the Council for Social Work Education, accredited BSW programs require students to complete at least 400 hours of supervised field experience. MSW programs require at least 900 hours of supervised practicum.

When you enroll in a dual degree program, like the ones featured in this article, you can expect to complete an average of 1,000 practical training hours. The following are examples of the field training requirements for five of the nation’s top programs.

At Loyola University Chicago, the BSW/MSW program includes two internships totaling 1,000 hours of practical training. The first internship is completed in the senior year of the BSW program, which is your fourth year in the program, and consists of 400 hours. The second internship occurs during the final year of the program.

Simmons University’s dual BSW/MSW degree features more than 500 hours of field experience during each of the BSW and MSW components of the program. The School of Social Work has partnerships with more than 300 internship sites, including hospitals, schools, private organizations, and government agencies.

The program offered at Hawaii Pacific University requires students to complete 550 hours of field practicum in the BSW component. You will transition to the MSW component with advanced standing and complete an additional 450 practical training hours.

At Rhode Island College, students in the BSW and MSW dual degree program complete 1,080 hours of practical training. Training is divided into four practicum experiences, which are accomplished during the final two years of the program.

Students enrolled in the program offered at Sacred Heart University complete practical training in both the BSW and MSW components of the dual degree program. The BSW component includes three field practicums totaling 600 hours. After completing the BSW, you will have advanced standing in the MSW program and complete an additional 550-hour field practicum.


(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 6 Best online and campus BSW and MSW Dual Programs in the nation for the year 2023.)

1. Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

2. Simmons University - Boston, MA

3. Hawaii Pacific University - Honolulu, HI

4. Rhode Island College - Providence, RI

5. Sacred Heart University - Fairfield, CT

6. Marywood University - Scranton, PA



BSW and MSW dual programs can be challenging for several reasons. If you know what to expect, you can prepare for the challenges and plan ways to overcome them to ensure your success. Although each student faces different challenges, there are some that are quite common. The following are three major challenges students in BSW and MSW dual programs face and suggestions for how to overcome them.

CHALLENGE #1: The curriculum is intense!

About the Challenge:

BSW and MSW dual programs feature rigorous curriculum plans, including undergraduate and graduate-level courses and field training. The amount of work it takes to keep up can be overwhelming at times.

How to Overcome:

The most important thing you can do to address and overcome this challenge is to develop a study plan and stick with it. Consider your current responsibilities and time commitments to determine how much time you can devote solely to school.

When I taught at the college level, it was customary for faculty to suggest that students spend a minimum of three hours per week studying for each credit hour of coursework they were pursuing. So, for example, if you enroll in nine credit hours for the semester, you should plan to study at least 27 hours each week.

I understand that this seems like an enormous amount of time, and it is. Success requires firm dedication, though, and you can do this!!

CHALLENGE #2: Extensive Practical Time and Field Work

About the Challenge:

If you pursue your BSW and MSW dual degrees through an accredited program, you will spend an average of 900 to 1,000 hours completing field training requirements. The time you spend in practical training is in addition to classroom and study time. If you do not manage your time wisely, it can be easy to fall behind.

How to Overcome:

The truth is, the only way to overcome this challenge is to commit yourself to the time requirements and get through it. That may sound a bit harsh, but pursuing two degrees at once was never said to be easy.

Sometimes even the smallest efforts can make the biggest impact. For example, take advantage of breaks or spare time to review notes for class and tests. Get up early enough to eat breakfast and prepare mentally for the day. Make sure you gather all your supplies for fieldwork the night before, so you do not have to rush in the mornings. Finally, remember, this is your time to learn and glean from experienced social workers. So, take advantage of every learning opportunity you can.

Challenge #3: Choosing a Social Work Specialty

About the Challenge:

Some social work schools offer specialty tracks for students to pursue. If you are unsure which path you want to take for your professional career, it can feel like a challenge, as there are many types of social work.

How to Overcome:

One of my best friends, Tosha, is a social worker. Much like I did with nursing students, Tosha told me she encouraged social work students to think about what interests them most before choosing a specialty track.

For example, if you have a special interest in community welfare, you could become a Community Social Worker. If working with families and children interests you, you can pursue that path. The most important thing is to decide what matters most to you. When you find something you are passionate about, it makes even the most challenging days at work worthwhile.


Graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs can choose from many work environments. The type of social work that interests you most will be the main factor determining where you work after earning your degrees. The following are three of the top settings where graduates with dual BSW and MSW degrees work.

1. Government Agencies:

The government will employ social work professionals for a number of roles. Graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs may work to introduce policies that affect social welfare or work for community health centers and public health departments.

2. Substance Abuse Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centers:

If you are passionate about helping people overcome addictive or behavioral disorders, this could be an excellent setting for you to find work. Social workers who work in substance abuse hospitals and rehabilitation centers work closely with clients experiencing substance abuse, behavioral, emotional, or mental health issues. In this setting, you will collaborate with doctors, nurses, counselors, and clients to plan and coordinate care aimed at improving client outcomes.

3. Schools:

As a social worker, you can work in various school settings. Many social workers fill the role of school guidance counselor, vocational counselor, or student development advisor. In this setting, you will likely be responsible, to some degree, for all students in the population, focusing on the emotional and social needs of the students while preparing them for professional and educational pursuits following graduation.


With numerous specialties and subspecialties, you can choose from a wide range of jobs after graduating from one of the best BSW and MSW dual programs. The list below reflects six of the best, and most popular, jobs for social workers.

1. Marriage and Family Counselor:

As a marriage and family counselor, you will work with individuals, couples, and families to address issues that hinder healthy relationships. You may be involved in helping couples transition to new stages in their lives, such as when children are born into the family or grow up and leave home or help address relationship problems and resolutions.

2. Substance Abuse Counselor:

As a substance abuse counselor, you can help patients achieve sobriety and learn healthy ways to maintain a lifestyle free of substance abuse. Because of widespread drug abuse nationwide, there is a great demand for professionals capable of working as substance abuse counselors. In fact, the National Association of Social Workers offers a specialty certification option to become a Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco, & Other Drugs Social Worker (C-CATODSW) for qualified social workers.

3. Military Social Worker:

With increased awareness of mental health issues, the role of military social workers has become more popular. Military social workers help service members cope with mental health issues, including addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. This role may involve helping veterans transition to civilian life, offering employment resources, housing opportunities, and connecting them with educational resources.

4. Hospice Social Worker:

Another popular job for graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs is Hospice Social Worker. In this role, you will provide support for hospice clients and their families and loved ones. Your role in this job is to ensure your clients have the support and resources they need to make them and their loved ones comfortable during their time of transition. You can become certified as a Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker at both the BSW and MSW levels. The MSW certification is an advanced certification.

5. Policy analyst:

In some cases, social workers do not work directly with clients. You could take a different approach to the social worker role and focus on societal issues at the policy-making level. In this job, you will advocate for policy reform or to initiate new legislation to help advance social worker roles, which impact the populations social workers serve.

6. Forensic social worker:

As a forensic social worker, you may advocate for victims of crime, work with incarcerated individuals, or lobby for changes in the criminal justice system. Many forensic social workers work closely with law enforcement organizations, attorneys, or with non-profit organizations, such as The Innocence Project.


The starting salary for graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs is typically $22.78 per hour, $911 per week, and $3950 per month. This pay rate equals $47,390 per year.



The average salary of graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs is $78,465 annually. This salary is equivalent to $37.72 per hour, $1509 per week, or $6540 per month.



The ten-year job outlook for graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs is very promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates jobs for this category to increase by at least 11.09% between 2021 and 2031, which is much higher than all other jobs.

(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


As you saw in the last section, there will be a significant rise in demand for graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs in the next ten years. But why is this? In this section, I will lay out some of the reasons your skills will be in such demand in the years to come. Of course, there are many reasons, but these are a few of the main ones.

1. Increased awareness of mental health issues and the importance of treatment:

As society continues to learn about mental health and wellness and understands the importance of early intervention, the need for qualified professionals to help navigate the healthcare system rises, as well. Social workers bridge the gap between people needing mental health services and the organizations and professionals providing those services, which is one reason the demand for social workers is so great.

2. Long-term issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 continues to impact society, even three years after the initial crisis. Social workers have played an important role and continue to be an integral part of providing support to victims of COVID-19 and their loved ones. From providing support to patients, assisting family members with finding treatment, and addressing issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues arising from the pandemic, social workers are still very much at the forefront of the issue.

3. Social Workers reaching retirement age:

As the number of baby boomers continues to reach retirement age, there is a need to fill jobs left vacant. According to J2T Financial Recruiting, nearly 29 million baby boomers retired in 2020, and 75 million are expected to retire by 2030.


There is a lot to consider if you are thinking about earning a degree, especially if a dual degree program is on your mind. One of the most important factors that prospective students say influence their decisions about going to school is the cost. Knowing whether the money you spend on your education is worth the financial rewards you will gain later is crucial in making the right choice.

BSW and MSW dual programs can cost anywhere from $74,000 to more than $220,000, depending on which school or program you choose and whether you have some form of financial assistance. The beginning salary for program graduates is around $47,000, and the average income is a little more than $78,000.

When you compare the cost of BSW and MSW dual programs to your earnings, at first, it may not look like the return on investment is worth the cost. However, I believe if you look closely, you may conclude that the ROI is actually positive. It could take you three or four years to start seeing a clear profit if you choose one of the more expensive programs, but who says you must choose the most expensive school? Also, the average salary is just that...average. Many social workers earn much higher incomes, and most have some type of benefits package that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.


Choosing to pursue one of the top BSW and MSW dual programs is a big commitment. Before you can make such a huge decision, it is important to search yourself to ensure that you are not missing anything - and that you are fully prepared. In this section, we will talk about five questions to ask yourself before you even apply.

1. Are you fully committed to social work?

Social work is a rewarding career, but it can also come with a lot of emotional and mental strain. Before you commit to any program, especially a dual degree program, be honest with yourself about how committed you are to the career.

2. Do you have a specialty concentration in mind?

Social work is a broad field with many opportunities to specialize or focus your work on a specific client population. Although it is not necessary to choose a specialization before beginning your program, knowing the path you want to follow could help you narrow your search for the right school and program.

3. Do you have healthy ways of coping with difficult situations?

One of the unfortunate things about social work is that you may be faced with working with difficult, often disheartening situations. Depending on your job, you may have clients who are victims of physical or sexual abuse, alleged offenders, or abused and neglected elderly. Dealing with these situations daily can take an emotional toll on even the most experienced person. While time and experience will help you develop stronger coping mechanisms, you need to be aware of the possibility of facing situations that are difficult and have a plan to care for yourself as you care for your clients.

4. What talents do you have that could help you be a good social worker?

Social work is not for the weak (to say the least). You need a specific set of skills that you can develop and hone to become effective in your new role. For example, a few talents that are essential for social workers are public speaking, self-management, analytical thinking, and networking.

5. How will you pay for your degrees?

When you have reviewed the pros and cons, asked yourself the hard questions, determined the income is enough, and decided on a specialty, now what? You have to get started, right? That brings us to the final question, how will you pay for BSW and MSW dual programs? I recommend making an appointment with the financial advisor at each school where you plan to apply to find out what programs are available for social work students. Apply for grants and scholarships first, as these do not have to be paid back. Then, consider student loans if you need them. Some schools offer work-study programs, which could also be helpful in offsetting some of the expenses of your education.


A career in social work can be fulfilling and rewarding. If you are considering becoming a social worker, there are many options to consider. Choosing a dual degree program allows you to earn your BSW and begin working while continuing to earn your Master of Social Work degree. With that in mind, it is natural to wonder, “What are the best BSW and MSW dual programs?”

In this article, we reviewed the 6 best BSW and MSW dual programs for 2023. I shared information about what it takes to get into a top program, what you will learn, how you will get practical training, and what to expect after graduation. If, after reading this article, you feel social work is the right career for you, I encourage you to reach out to some of these schools, get your questions answered, and start your journey! We need people like you who want to make a positive impact on society!


1. What Is The Difference Between BSW And MSW?

A BSW is an undergraduate, baccalaureate degree in social work. An MSW is a graduate-level Master of Social Work degree.

2. What Is The Best BSW And MSW Dual Program In The Nation?

The best BSW and MSW dual program in the nation is offered at Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

3. Is It Easy To Get Admission Into BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

Admission into BSW and MSW dual programs can be competitive and challenging. You must meet the admission criteria for the BSW program and maintain specific grades, and meet other criteria to be allowed to transition into the MSW component of the program.

4. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

On average, the minimum GPA to get into BSW and MSW dual programs is 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.

5. Do I Need Any Work Experience To Get Into BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

While some BSW and MSW dual programs may favor applicants with some type of social work-relevant work experience, most do not require work experience for admission.

6. What Is The Typical Cost-Per-Credit For BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

The cost per credit for most BSW and MSW dual programs can range between $500 and $1,100.

7. What Are The 3 Hardest Classes In BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

I talked with a friend who teaches social work at a local university who told me her students struggle most with classes such as Research Methodology in Social Work, Statistics, and Differential Diagnosis. However, it is important to remember that each student experiences learning differently, which means you could find these classes easy and others more challenging.

8. How Much Do New Graduates Of This Program Make Per Year?

New graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs can expect to make $47,390 per year.


9. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Make Per Hour With Experience?

On average, experienced graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs make $37.72 per hour.


10. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Per Month With Experience?

The average monthly pay for graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs with experience is $6,540.


11. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of BSW And MSW Dual Programs Make Per Year With Experience?

On average, experienced graduates of BSW and MSW dual programs make $78,465 per year.


12. What Are The 3 Best Alternative Degree Options For BSW And MSW Dual Programs?

Three of the best alternative degree options to BSW and MSW dual programs include a Master of Public Health, a Master of Public Administration, and a Master of Healthcare Administration.

Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).