Public Health

MPH/MSW dual degree

Students can earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Policy.

Graduates of the MSW/MPH dual degree program will be well-positioned to find employment as a health policy advocate, health agency administrator or in an integrated behavioral health setting as a care managers, health coach, patient advocate, counselor, or team leader.

Students pursuing dual degrees must be independently admitted to each program. Only on-campus Regular Standing (RS), full-time MSW students (both clinical or PP&A concentration) will be admitted to the program.

What is public health?

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities – including animals and the environment. Public health professionals promote healthy lifestyles, research disease and injury prevention, and detect, prevent and respond to infectious diseases. Public health solutions are aimed at protecting the health of entire populations versus only individual patients. Via viewing patterns of population health, public health work also addresses health disparities and promotes healthcare equity, quality and accessibility. Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research.

How is social work related to public health?

A fundamental cornerstone of Public Health is promoting the health and well-being of communities. Social work is a complementary field to public health and links prevention and intervention in a variety of contexts, including communities, schools and health care agencies. Social Work and Public Health fundamentally overlap by providing efforts to improve personal, familial, community, and environmental outcomes. Social work and public health graduates are educated and trained to advocate for the needs of the clients, provide access to resources to improve all types of patient outcomes, and to help support those in need.

What kinds of jobs are available for Public Health and Social Work graduates?

This dual degree will prepare you for jobs in both fields and a wide variety of careers such as a health policy advocate, policy analyst, program evaluator, instructor, health agency administrator, integrated behavioral care manager, health coach, patient advocate, case manager, counselor, or team leader.

What is the dual Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health degree program like?

Students in this dual degree emphasize on health promotion, developing community-based interventions, and providing access to interventions for populations in need. They learn how community programs are developed and evaluated, as well as the role of social work to connect people and communities to the resources available. The dual degree program is a total of 79 graduate credit hours, 54 credit hours are required by the programs, and there are 25 elective credits to share between both programs. Credit requirements, shared hours, and curriculum focus conform to the requirements of the MU Graduate School, the national accrediting body for graduate education in public health (CEPH) and the national accrediting body for graduate education in social work (CSWE). The capstone and internship will satisfy the requirements of both programs and will focus on the intersection of subject matter between social work and public health. The MPH and MSW can be completed either on campus here in Columbia, or fully online.

How long will the dual degree program take?

Both degrees can be earned simultaneously while studying at MU. Typically, a full-time graduate student would complete the Master of Public Health or Master of Social Work in two years. Completing dual degree program removes 1 year of coursework from completing the degrees separately. Therefore, students in the dual degree program can complete both degrees in as little as 3 years of full-time study.

What do I have to do to get into the program?

You need to be admitted separately to both the Master of Public Health and the Master of Social Work program to be in the dual-degree program. The MPH application is available online. You will be asked to fill out basic information about yourself provide short essays about your interest in public health.

Who can help me while I’m in the program?

The MPH program has an academic advisor that meets with all students. The advisor can help you choose and navigate your courses and your program of study. Additionally, you are assigned an academic advisor for your social work curriculum. Your Public Health and Social Work advisors will work together to help you complete the dual degree.

Admission and application

You need to be admitted separately to both the MPH and the MSW programs to be in the dual-degree program.

Request information

Complete our online form, and a Department of Public Health representative will follow up with you.