3.5b Concurrent Degree in Public Health (MSW/MPH)

The Social Welfare & Public Health MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program allows students to complete the two separate professional master’s degrees in three years, plus at least one intervening summer, instead of the four years it would typically take to earn the two degrees separately. Students in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program must complete a total of 90 units in Social Welfare and Public Health to earn both degrees. 

 When planning a program of study for the concurrent degree, emphasis should be placed on meeting course requirements in each school, utilizing approved substitutions where appropriate and strategically using electives. Faculty and staff advisers are readily available for ongoing individual assistance with developing a combined curriculum that meets the academic requirements of both schools. Since degree requirements for both programs are subject to change, concurrent degree students should check in regularly with advisers in both Schools for guidance ahead of each enrollment period. For current course descriptions and class schedules, please visit the Berkeley Academic Guide. For complete information on current MPH degree requirements, please also see the Berkeley Public Health Student Handbook.

Specialized Practice Curriculum

In the  MSW/MPH ConcurrentDegree Program, specialization choices in each degree program 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. 

Social Welfare MSW students may pursue the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree in any of the three MSW specialization areas. Examples of typical program curriculum sequences for the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree are available on the departmental webpage for on each MSW specialization area:

Approved Substitutions in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program

Students in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree program are permitted to count no more than 25% of total required units towards fulfillment of both degrees. Except as specified below, this rule only applies to units OTHER than required core courses. 

The following course substitutions are automatically allowed and do not require further approval:

CourseApproved Substitution
SOC WEL 200: Theories for Multilevel Practice

PB HLTH 203A: Theories of Health and Social Behavior

- or -

PB HLTH 210: MCH Core Course + PB HLTH 200L: Intro to Health and Social Behavior

SOC WEL 238C: Health Policy: A Social Welfare Perspective PB HLTH 200J: Health Policy & Management Breadth Course
SOC WEL 251: Program Development PB HLTH 205: Needs Assessment and Program Planning
PB HLTH 205: Needs Assessment and Program Planning SOC WEL 251: Program Development

Course Waivers

In some cases students in the MSW/MPH COncurrent Degree Program may petition to waive certain core course requirements based on previously taken course work. Course waiver petitions must be approved by the Head Graduate Advisor of the degree program in which the student is seeking to waive the required core course(s). If approved, students must replace these units with elective units in the same degree program. Students should consult their home department GSAO for further guidance on petitioning for a course waiver.

Completing Field Education Requirements in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program

In addition to completing the generalist and specialized field education curriculum required for the MSW degree, Social Welfare MSW students in the MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree Program also complete a required Public Health practice internship (PB HLTH 297-Public Health Field Placement, 3 units).

The Public Health practice internship requirement is a full-time (480 hours, or 60 days) placement, usually completed over the summer between the first and second year. MSW/MPH Concurrent Degree students typically complete their Social Welfare generalist field placement in their second year of graduate study, and the specialized placement in their third and final year in the concurrent degree program. 

With approval of faculty in both schools, an integrated placement may be developed in collaboration between Social Welfare and the Center for Public Health Practice and Leadership. The minimum requirement for an integrated placement is a combined 140 days and 15 units. Although it may be possible to combine public health and social welfare field placements, most students in the concurrent degree program have preferred to take advantage of the separate summer public health practice internship placement.