Concurrent Degree in Public Health (MSW/MPH)

Interdisciplnary graduate professional study that combines the epidemiological approach from public health with a bio-psychosocial approach from social work.

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.

Program of Study

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.

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.

For current degree requirements, course offerings and descriptions, and additional program options, please see the Berkeley Academic Guide.

Admission to the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program

Prospective and current Berkeley graduate students interested in pursuing the Social Welfare & Public Health MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program must meet the admissions eligibility requirements for both schools. Applicants for admission submit a single concurrent degree program application through the online UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission. The Public Health SOPHAS application is not required in order to apply to the concurrent degree program option.

Applications for admission may be submitted:

  • At the same time during the same application cycle for new applicants to graduate study at Berkeley.
  • During the first fall semester of graduate study for current Social Welfare MSW or Public Health MPH students.

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.