Concurrent Degree in Public Health (MSW/MPH)

Berkeley Social Welfare and the School of Public Health offer a three-year Concurrent Degree in Social Welfare and Public Health (MSW/MPH) that combines the epidemiological approach from public health with a bio-psychosocial approach from social work. Upon successful completion of requirements for both degrees, Concurrent Degree Program students are awarded the Master of Public Health (MPH) and the Master of Social Welfare (MSW).

The fields of public health and social welfare are both concerned with prevention, and both focus on vulnerable population groups. Combined interventions such as community needs assessment and planning, community organizing, and client/consumer education, focus on population groups within the context of community. Historically – and particularly at Berkeley – each field has been characterized by a community perspective and by advocacy for the underserved. Both public health and social welfare require skills in administration, program planning and evaluation, consultation, training, and direct clinical practice. Public Health Social Workers practice in a range of settings and with a broad level of interventions.

The MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree program aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote health, prevent disease, and enhance the delivery of health and social services in the community. Students will build interdisciplinary skills and an interdisciplinary professional identity by developing an understanding of the breadth of each field and their interface, while permitting concentration in particular specialization areas. Graduates are prepared for work in a variety of interdisciplinary settings, and for some, the concurrent degree may provide a basis for future doctoral study.

Admission to the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program

All candidates seeking admission to the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program apply by submitting a single concurrent degree program application through the online UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission.

  • Prospective graduate students interested in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree must apply directly to the “Social Welfare & Public Health MSW/MPH” Concurrent Degree Program at the time of application for admission to graduate study at Berkeley. Note that the Public Health SOPHAS application is not required in order to apply to the concurrent degree program option.
  • Current Berkeley MSW or MPH students seeking to be admitted into the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program may apply during their first fall semester of graduate study by submitting a single “Social Welfare & Public Health MSW/MPH” Concurrent Degree Program application through the online UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission

For more information and specific instructions, please seee MSW Admissions Application Instructions.

Applications to the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program are reviewed and evaluated by faculty admissions committees from both Berkeley Social Welfare and the School of Public Health, applying the same admissions requirements for concurrent degree students as for all other applicants. To be accepted into the Concurrent Degree Program, applicants must be recommended for admission by both schools.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

Students in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program are assessed UC Berkeley Graduate Professional Fees, which include Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST) and student health insurance fees. Concurrent degree program students are assessed the higher of the PDST in effect for each program. For current rates please visit the Registrar’s Current Fee Schedule.

For information about financial aid opportunities in both schools, please  see:

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree students must complete a minimum total of 90 units Social Welfare and Public Health in order to earn both degrees. Individually, the MSW requires 54 units of course work; the MPH requires 48 units of course work.

The MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program is a full-time program, and students are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 units each academic semester. In order to meet all degree requirements, MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree students typically must complete 14-20 units each semester.

Concurrent Degree students complete the rigorous course of study in three years (six semesters), plus at least one intervening summer, instead of the four years (eight semesters) it would typically take to earn the two degrees separately. This three-year program option allows students to enter both degree programs simultaneously, and is designed to permit students the maximum amount of flexibility while fulfilling the requirements for both degrees. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to promote health, prevent disease, reduce disparities in health outcomes and enhance the delivery of health social services in the community.

Specialization Areas

Students in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program pursue coursework and field education in any of the three MSW specialization areas:

AND one of two areas of study within the School of Public Health:

The specialization choices guide the curriculum of each individual student on a path unique to the combination of the two curricula. Each specialization has a set of required courses and electives. Additionally, the specializations shape the field education placements in both programs. Applicants must choose their specialization areas at the time of application to the concurrent degree program.

For current course descriptions, class schedules, and more details on degree requirements for the MSW and the MPH, please see: