8 Best MSW/MPP Dual Degree Programs – 2024


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Are you interested in a social work career but also enjoy learning about public policy or want to advocate for changes that affect people and populations? Do you have a bachelor's degree and think it is time to earn a higher degree? If you could combine your love for social work and public policy to earn a dual graduate degree, would you? If so, an MSP/MPP dual degree program could be the answer!

You may have heard of dual MSW/MPP degrees but wonder how to get started or question, “What are the best MSW/MPP dual degree programs?” If this sounds familiar, this article is a great place to find answers! As you continue reading, I will share the 8 best MSW/MPP dual degree programs for 2024 and give you information about their cost, curriculum, practical training, and the advantages of earning the degrees. You will also find answers to some frequently asked questions to help you decide if this type of degree is something you should pursue.



RECOMMENDED ONLINE MSW PROGRAMS

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOAL OF AN MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM?


MSW/MPP dual degree programs offer an integrated curriculum combining two disciplines, social work, and public policy. The goal of these programs is to blend professional social work training with methodological tools and an understanding of public policy. The programs aim to prepare students for versatile, upper-level careers in private, public, and nonprofit sectors addressing public policy and social welfare issues.



IS AN MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM HARD TO COMPLETE?


You probably have several questions as you search for the best MSW/MPP dual degree programs. One of the most pressing is whether a dual MSW/MPP is hard to complete. The programs offer a rigorous curriculum covering two graduate degrees. Therefore, yes, they can be hard to complete.

There are ways to improve your chances of success. Good time management skills and devotion to studies will help you overcome challenges and earn a dual degree. Please take advantage of opportunities to counsel with faculty and academic advisors and learn from preceptors, as they are invested in your success. Finally, believe in yourself. If you genuinely want to succeed in a dual MSW/MPP program, you can!



5 MOST IMPORTANT SKILLS AND ABILITIES YOU WILL GAIN IN AN MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM


MSW/MPP dual degree programs prepare you for diverse career paths and opportunities. The skills and abilities you develop and hone while enrolled will be used for years to come and cross professional boundaries, making you an excellent candidate for a variety of jobs. The following are five of the most important skills and abilities you will gain in an MSW/MPP dual degree program.

1. The ability to use quantitative research skills:

When you earn a degree through dual MSW/MPP programs, you will learn to use quantitative research to evaluate and understand the impact of policies on industries and populations. This skill is vital as it will guide you to make decisions to promote positive outcomes for the individuals, populations, and organizations you represent.

2. The ability to use strong analytical skills:

As a public policy social worker, you will identify current and potential problems affecting the public. In MSW/MPP dual degree programs, you will hone the ability to analyze important data and propose solutions for identified problems.

3. The understanding of and ability to demonstrate cultural competence:

Cultural competence deals with one’s ability to identify their own culture, beliefs, and affiliations and respect those of others. Students in dual MSW/MPP degree programs learn the importance of cultural competence and how to demonstrate it effectively.

4. The ability to use legislative processes to lobby for legislative changes:

Earning a dual degree, like the dual MSW/MPP, prepares you with an understanding of the legislative process that you can use to lobby for new legislation or changes to existing legislation.

5. A deeper understanding of human behavior:

Understanding human behavior is vital to effective social work. In an MSW/MPP dual degree program, you will learn to provide services to diverse people and populations without allowing personal biases to cloud your judgment. Your understanding of human behavior will guide you as you develop professional relationships with clients and peers.



3 MAIN ADVANTAGES OF MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS


There are many advantages to earning a college degree, and dual degrees are no exception. Weighing the pros and cons of a college program beforehand is an excellent way to decide the best path for your academic and professional career. The following are three main advantages of MSW/MPP dual degree programs.

1. Dual degrees mean more job opportunities!:

When you earn a degree through dual MSW/MPP programs, you have the benefit of two graduate degrees. You may find a job as a public policy social worker. However, you also have the option to pursue a career in public policy or social work. Having two degrees makes you an excellent candidate for more job opportunities.

2. Long-term job security:

Social workers are instrumental in using public policy, which is vital in helping to address societal challenges and find resolutions to needs. Whether you pursue a career path focused on public policy or social work or find a job that combines the two degrees, the potential for long-term job security is good.

3. You will have good income potential:

Graduates of dual MSW/MPP programs earn an average annual salary of more than $87,000. Your income could be significantly higher depending on where you work, your role, and experience.



WHEN DO DUAL MSW/MPP PROGRAMS START?


Dual MSW/MPP programs offer various start dates. Some schools begin once yearly in the spring or fall semesters. Others offer rolling admission and multiple start dates. The following are examples of five of this article's featured programs and their start dates.

At the University of Michigan, classes begin in the fall semester. You may apply for both the MSW and MPP pathways simultaneously or begin one pathway and apply to the second during your first year.

The University of Houston offers fall and spring semester start dates each academic year. Students typically spend the first year in the MMP program and the second dedicated to MSW coursework to prevent overlap.

At Rutgers University, the MSW/MPP dual degree program begins in the fall semester.

The University of Denver offers start dates in the fall, winter, spring, and summer semesters based on the number of students seeking admission and available faculty and clinical resources.

The dual MSW/MPP program at the University of California at Berkeley begins in the fall semester of each academic year.



HOW MANY CREDITS ARE THERE IN DUAL MSW/MPP PROGRAMS?


The curriculum for MSW/MPP dual degree programs typically consists of 80 to 120 credits. However, the number of credits each student needs varies, depending on previous degrees earned and whether there are any transferable credits.

At the University of Michigan, students integrate the 48-credit hour Master of Public Policy program with the 60-credit hour Master of Social Work program to earn the dual MSW/MPP degree. With 18 credits double counted, you will complete 90 credits instead of 108.

Students enrolled in the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore complete 90 credits. The program is designed in a full-time format, requiring students to complete a minimum of 12 units of credit each semester.

The MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of California at Berkley includes 88 credits of coursework. You are required to get at least 88 credits and must be a full-time student enrolled in at least 12 units each semester.

At Rutgers University, students in the MSW/MPP program complete 81 credits. You will earn 36 credits at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and four credits with the Rutgers University School of Social Work.

The MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of California at Los Angeles includes 68 Public Policy and 56 Social Work units of credit.



HOW LONG ARE MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?


Dual MSW/MPP programs can typically be completed in three to four years. The total time it takes you to graduate from a program is determined by your previous degree, whether you have transferrable credits and whether you pursue the degrees part-time or full-time. The following are examples of how long it takes to complete some of the best MSW/MPP dual degree programs.

At the University of Denver, you can pursue the MSW/MPP dual degree program full-time and graduate in three years. Part-time students take four to five years to complete the program.

The MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of California at Los Angeles takes three years to complete.

The dual MSW/MPP degree program at the University of Michigan is designed in a full-time, three-year format. The average length of dual degree programs at the University of Michigan is three years.

Students enrolled in the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of Maryland-Baltimore graduate in three or four years, depending on whether they enroll part-time or full-time.

The dual degree MSW/MPP program at the University of Houston takes three years to complete.



HOW MUCH DO MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS COST?


MSW/MPP dual degree programs can have costs ranging from $35,000 to more than $200,000. Schools may charge tuition per semester, academic year, or per-credit. The amount of time it takes to complete the program and the number of credits you need can influence your program's cost. The following are examples of the cost of some of the dual MSW/MPP programs featured in this article.

At the University of Michigan, Michigan residents pay $15,519, and non-residents pay $24,820 per academic year. Most students complete the dual MSW/MPP degree program in three years. Therefore, in-state students can expect to pay $46,557, and out-of-state students pay an average of $74,460.

At the University of Denver, tuition is charged per credit. Credits for the MPP component cost $1,331, and MSW credits cost $1,141. The program requires 48 MPP credits and 66 MSW credits, making the program total approximately $139,194.

University of Minnesota at Twin Cities: The University of Minnesota at the Twin Cities charges tuition per semester. Non-resident students pay $14,932, and residents pay $9,877. If you complete the program full-time, you can graduate in six semesters. This makes the cost average $59,262 for resident students and $89,592 for non-residents. This price does not include books, supplies, room and board, transportation, or loan fees.

At the University of California at Berkley, students enrolled in the dual MSW/MPP program pay the tuition rate for the component with the highest rate. The MPP program’s tuition is higher than the MSW program. Therefore, that rate is what is used to calculate the student’s cost. Resident students pay $16,349 per semester, and non-resident students pay $22,948. The program can be completed in six semesters full-time or eight semesters part-time. The total cost is between $98,094 and $130,792 for in-state students. Out-of-state students pay between $137,688 and $183,584.

The University of Maryland-Baltimore charges a per-credit tuition rate of $1,124.90 for residents and $2,081.88 for non-residents. The program features a 90-credit curriculum, making the cost $101,241 for in-state students and $187,369.20 for non-residents.



WHAT IS THE MINIMUM GPA REQUIRED TO GET INTO MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?


The minimum GPA required for admission to MSW/MPP dual degree programs varies from one school to the next. The average GPA needed is usually 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. However, some schools use a holistic review to determine a candidate's program eligibility. The following are examples of the minimum GPA required to get into some of our featured programs.

The minimum GPA required to get into the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is 3.0.

Although the MPP program does not list a minimum GPA requirement, MSW students must demonstrate a college GPA of at least 3.0. Therefore candidates seeking admission to the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of Houston must have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.0.

The University of Michigan uses a holistic approach to review applicants and accepts a wide range of grade point averages. However, the average GPA of incoming students is 3.5.

At the University of Denver, admission to the MSW/MPP dual degree program requires either a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 credits of your bachelor’s degree or a 3.0 GPA for all graduate coursework. If you have earned a master's degree or higher, your master's GPA is considered instead of your undergraduate GPA.

Applicants seeking admission to the Rutgers University dual MSW/MPP program must have a minimum college GPA of 3.0.



WHAT ARE THE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS FOR MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?


As you begin applying to dual MSW/MPP programs, you may find some differences in admission criteria. Most programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a 2.5-3.0 college GPA, and experience in social welfare or public policy. Each school will likely require candidates to submit supplemental documents such as transcripts, resumes, curriculum vitae, and written essays. The following are examples of admission requirements for some of the programs featured in this article.

Prospective students interested in applying to the dual MSW/MPP program at the University of California at Berkley must apply online using the UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission. If you choose to apply to Berkeley, you must submit a Statement of Purpose for the Berkeley School of Social Welfare and Goldman School of Public Policy programs. Additionally, candidates must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, and one year of post-baccalaureate social welfare or human services experience. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a professional resume, a Statement of Purpose, and a Personal Essay.

At the University of Maryland-Baltimore, applicants must have a minimum college GPA of 3.0 and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university to be considered for admission to the MSW/MPP dual degree program. All applicants must submit a professional resume, Policy Statement of Purpose, Personal History Statement, official transcripts from all post-secondary schools, three letters of recommendation, and official standardized test scores. Additionally, candidates must complete an introductory statistics course with a minimum grade of "C" and have at least one year (2,100 hours) of volunteer experience or paid employment relevant to human services or social welfare.

The University of Michigan requires prospective students to apply and be admitted to both the School of Social Work and School of Public Policy. Candidates must have a minimum college GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Applicants must submit an Academic Statement of Purpose, official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended, a Personal Statement, GRE test scores, a professional resume or curriculum vitae, and three letters of professional recommendation.

You must apply to the MSW and MPP programs at Rutgers University separately. Once admitted to both programs, you will be identified as a dual degree MSW/MPH student. You must have a minimum college GPA of 3.0 and have a completed bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate school. Candidates must complete an introductory statistics class covering descriptive and basic inferential statistics procedures. To apply, you must also submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools you attended, three letters of academic or professional recommendation, a Personal Statement, and a current resume.

At the University of Houston, you must be separately accepted by the School of Social Work and the School of Public Policy. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, a Statement of Purpose, a professional resume, and provide GRE scores if available. Candidates need a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and have a bachelor’s degree earned at an accredited college or university.



WHAT KIND OF COURSES WILL YOU TAKE IN MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS?


The curriculum for dual MSW/MPP programs is content-heavy and can be rigorous. After all, the programs combine two graduate degrees. The following are examples of some of the classes you will take when you pursue one of these programs.

Students enrolled in the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of California at Los Angeles take Advanced Quantitative Modeling, Political Analysis, Philosophy & Public Policy, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Welfare Policy Analysis, and Advanced Research in Social Work.

At the University of California at Berkley, the MSW/MPP dual degree curriculum includes classes such as The Economics of Public Policy Analysis, Decision Analysis, Modeling, & Quantitative Methods, Diversity: Sensitive & Competent Social Work, Health Policy: A social Welfare Perspective, and Group, Organizational & Community Dynamics.

The University of Michigan’s dual MSW/MPP degree program offers classes, including Economic Analysis in the Practice of Public Policy, Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation, Microeconomics for Public Policy, Practicing Policy with Current Events, Research for Social Work Practice, and Essentials of Community & Organizational Practice.

As a student in the MSW/MPP dual degree program at the University of Denver, you will study Research and Analytic Methods, The Policy Process and Democracy, Economics and Public Finance, Public Policy Analysis, Human Behavior & the Social Environment, Social Policy Analysis, Advocacy, & Policy, and Power, Privilege, and Oppression.

At Rutgers University, students in the dual MSW/MPP program take classes such as Quantitative Analysis, Social Welfare Policy & Services, Economics for Public Policy, Human Behavior & the Social Environment, Applied Multivariate Methods, and Diversity & Oppression.



WHAT KIND OF PRACTICAL TRAINING WILL YOU UNDERGO IN DUAL MSW/MPP PROGRAMS?


MSW/MPP dual degree programs include field training and internship opportunities. Practical training requirements vary among schools and may differ for each student because of past work, volunteer experience, or academic accomplishments. Some schools arrange clinical practice sites and preceptors, and others require students to identify sites and preceptors for approval. It is essential to verify who arranges practical training early in the program to prevent delays in graduation. The following are examples of the practical training required to complete some of our featured programs.

At the University of Houston, the internship requirement for both the MSW and MPP components of the MSW/MPP dual degree program is met through the Graduate College of Social Work. The university offers students the opportunity to participate in the Austin Legislative Internship Program and intern at the Texas Legislature during the legislative session. This internship offers a unique opportunity to experience how policy is made in Texas. In this internship, you will work as a full-time staff member in the Legislature as a policy analyst with the Legislative Study Group, in legislators' offices, or as a Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives.

The dual MSW/MPP program at the University of California at Los Angeles includes a 400 public policy field internship. Additionally, you will complete approximately 1,100 field practice hours to satisfy the social work requirements. UCLA is affiliated with a wide variety of community and public agencies, offering excellent field placement opportunities. Field placement coordinators will work with you to establish appropriate partnerships to ensure your success.

The University of California at Berkley offers field consultant advisors who will work with you to develop field placement plans to satisfy the social work field placement and public policy internship requirements. In addition to practice experiences, you will develop an Advanced Policy Analysis capstone project designed to reflect your intellectual and professional interests.

At the University of Michigan, the MSW/MPP dual degree program includes a 10-week summer internship, which is completed during the summer between the first and second year of the program. The internship is designed to allow you to work in a policy-relevant position. Field faculty also work with you to select and approve fieldwork sites where you will meet the MSW field practice requirements.

The University of Minnesota- Twin Cities offers extensive field placement opportunities for dual degree MSW/MPP students. You will complete between 600 and 960 MSW field placement hours, depending on your previous degree and experience. The MPP component of the dual degree includes a 400-hour professional internship. Some students are exempted from the internship if there is a history of relevant previous employment.



WHAT ARE THE BEST MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS IN THE NATION?


(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 8 Best Online and Campus-Based Dual MSW/MPP Programs in the nation for the year 2024.)


1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI


2. University of California at Berkeley - Berkeley, CA


3. University of California at Los Angeles - Los Angeles, CA


4. University of Denver - Denver, CO


5. Rutgers University - New Brunswick, NJ


6. University of Maryland-Baltimore - Baltimore, MD


7. University of Houston - Houston, TX


8. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Saint Paul, MN



VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY



WHERE DO GRADUATES OF DUAL MSW/MPP PROGRAMS MOSTLY WORK?


MSW/MPP dual degree programs open doors to many job opportunities and work settings. The following are examples of some of the top places where graduates of these programs work.

1. Government Agencies:

Government agencies are often looking for MSW/MPP graduates who can thrive in government processes and help write and enact specific policies and social causes.

2. Community Groups:

Community groups can benefit significantly from those with both social work and public policy skills. These groups enable graduates to become involved in their communities and offer help and guidance to the people they live among.

3. Advocacy Organizations:

Advocacy organizations like nonprofits are a common place for MSW/MPP graduates to work. These organizations fight for specific changes and often are highly focused on a particular cause. Work at these organizations can be hard but is often highly rewarding.



3 BEST JOBS FOR GRADUATES OF MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS


Many job opportunities are available to dual MSW/MPP program graduates. The following are three of the top jobs that graduates may consider.

1. Government Policy Analyst:

Policy analysts use data collection and research skills to help influence action. In this role, you will use research to look at social issues, including healthcare, crime, and wealth gaps. You will use your research and data to determine what works and does not and create plans for effectively resolving social issues.

2. Social Work Professor:

With a dual MSW/MPP degree, you can work as a social work professor, preparing students for the field of social work and public policy. You will directly influence policy by establishing and implementing curriculum and learning opportunities for your students and school.

3. Community Social Worker:

As a community social worker, you may work in rural or urban areas and have diverse opportunities. The role involves improving the well-being of individuals, groups, and populations by working with local government, businesses, and community organizations to provide services tailored to population needs.



WHAT STARTING SALARY CAN NEW GRADUATES OF THIS PROGRAM EXPECT?


New graduates of MSW/MPP dual degree programs earn an average of $25.38 hourly, $1,015 per week, or $4,400 monthly. This pay is equal to $52,780 annually.

Hourly$25.38
Weekly$1,015
Monthly$4,400
Annual$52,780



WHAT AVERAGE SALARY CAN GRADUATES OF MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS EXPECT?


The average salary for dual MSW/MPP program graduates is $87,400 annually. The annual pay is equivalent to $42.02 hourly, $1,681 weekly, or $7,280 per month.

Hourly$42.02
Weekly$1,681
Monthly$7,280
Annual$87,400



10-YEAR JOB OUTLOOK FOR GRADUATES OF MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS


The ten-year job outlook for MSW/MPP dual degree programs graduates is quite promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs in this sector will increase by 11.09% between 2021 and 2031, much higher than other jobs.

2021-31
+11.09%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



IS THE COST OF AN MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM WORTH THE RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)?


When choosing an academic and career path, one thing to consider is whether the cost of earning a degree is worth your potential return on investment. Dual MSW/MPP programs can cost from $39,000 to $190,000. The average annual income for graduates is $87,400. When you compare the cost of this dual degree to your lifetime earning potential, the return on investment appears well worth the program's cost.



BONUS! 3 EXPERT TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING ACCEPTED INTO THE TOP MSW/MPP DUAL DEGREE PROGRAMS


Admission to dual MSW/MPP programs can be competitive. The following are a few expert tips to help improve your chances of getting into a top program.

1. Write an outstanding Personal Statement and/or Admissions Essay.

A Personal Statement or Admissions Essay is an essential requirement when applying for MSW/MPP dual degree programs. Your statement should reflect a genuine desire for choosing the dual degree path and include information about your professional and academic background and experiences. Share your personal goals and discuss why you believe the school can help you achieve those goals.

2. Work on your college GPA.

Admission to MSP/MPP dual degree programs can be competitive. While most programs require a minimum college GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, working for a higher average can give you leverage over other applicants.

3. Get experience in the field before you apply.

MSP/MPP dual degree admission teams look for candidates who have work and/or volunteer experience. If you do not have work experience, consider applying for internships, volunteering, or shadowing professionals to get relevant experience.



MY FINAL THOUGHTS


If becoming a public policy social worker interests you, it is natural to ask, "What are the best MSW/MPP dual degree programs?” In this article, we addressed that question by sharing the 8 best MSW/MPP dual degree programs for 2024 and providing information about each. With good income potential, excellent job outlook, and a positive return on investment, the dual degree option is an excellent choice.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. What Is The Best MSW/MPP Dual Degree Program In The Nation?

The best MSW/MPP dual degree program in the United States is offered at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, MI


2. What Is The Minimum GPA To Get Into MSW/MPP Dual Degree Programs?

The minimum GPA to get into MSW/MPP dual degree programs is usually 3.0. However, earning a higher college GPA is best if you want to be a competitive applicant.


3. What Is The Typical Cost-Per-Credit For Dual MSW/MPP Programs?

The per-credit cost for dual MSW/MPP programs ranges between $400 and $1,200.


4. What Are The Most Difficult Classes In Dual MSW/MPP Programs?

Opinions vary about which classes are the most difficult in MSW/MPP dual degree programs. Many students express that some of the most challenging classes are Microeconomics for Public Policy, Economics and Public Finance, and Applied Multivariable Methods and Diversity & Oppression.


5. Can I Work Part-Time And Complete This Program?

Yes, absolutely. Many people work part-time while completing dual MSW/MPP programs.


6. Can I Work Full-Time And Complete This Program?

Working full-time and completing an MSW/MPP dual degree program is possible. It takes careful planning for your school and work schedules and dedication to both work and your studies.


7. How Much Do New Graduates Of This Program Make?

New graduates of dual MSW/MPP programs earn approximately $52,780 annually.

$52,78


8. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Make Per Hour?

The average hourly rate for MSW/MPP dual degree program graduates is $42.02.

$42.02


9. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of This Program Per Month?

Graduates of MSW/MPP dual degree programs earn approximately $7,280 per month.

$7,280


10. On Average, How Much Can Graduates Of Dual MSW/MPP Programs Make Per Year?

The average annual salary for MSW/MPP dual degree program graduates is $87,400.

$87,400


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
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).