Dual-Degree in Social Work and Special Education

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Smile Ese

Social work and special education are two professions that require you to look at situations from a different perspective. By obtaining dual degrees in social work and special education, you will be able to help children with any issues they have in their lives.

In 1988, Boston University launched dual degree programs in social work and education in recognition of the reality that social workers and educators are deeply involved in resolving a variety of educational and social challenges. The programs’ objectives are to give students opportunity to develop skills in both professional and personal areas, as well as to take the lead in planning and implementing innovative direct service and programmatic responses to the changing needs of schools, families, and communities.

Keep reading to see detailed information on dual degree social work and psychology, list of social work dual degree programs online, masters in education dual degree, and degrees that complement social work.

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Dual-Degree in Social Work and Special Education

The programs include a multifaceted course of study leading to either two master’s degrees (MSW and EdM) or a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in Special Education (MSW and EdD).

Note: The MSW/EdD program is currently on moratorium.

Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Education (EdM) students have the option to focus either in Special Education or Educational Leadership. Teacher licensure in Special Education or school administration may also be obtained with additional coursework beyond that which is required for the MSW/EdM. The MSW/EdM usually takes two-and-a-half to three years of full-time study, though more time will be required if the student wishes to pursue teaching licensure in Special Education.

Programs and Goals

  • The dual degree programs are designed to give students skills that crosscut the disciplines of social work and education and that will be applicable in a variety of social work and education settings and in a variety of professional roles.
  • Interested students concentrate in either Clinical or Macro Social Work at the School of Social Work. At the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, they concentrate in Special Education or Educational Leadership and may obtain teacher or school administrator licensure with additional coursework.
  • Program graduates are currently working in a wide variety of positions, including early intervention programs, AIDS education, school administration, school social work, and program planning and policy development at the local, state, and federal levels.

Degree Requirements

  • Students are expected to meet the core requirements of both schools. Course savings come from the capacity to use electives in one program to take courses in the other school, and from a limited number of pre-approved courses that count for credit in both schools.
  • Students seeking two master’s degrees may graduate with both degrees with a total of 83 credits as opposed to 101 credits if the degrees were taken separately. Many students opt to take the maximum number of courses covered by their tuition.
  • Students seeking an MSW and EdD graduate with both degrees with a total of 95 credits as opposed to 110 credits if the degrees were taken separately. (Note: This program is currently on moratorium.)
  • Students starting at the School of Social Work will find their first-year coursework similar to that of other social work students. In the second year, coursework is commonly done at both schools. Students who start in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development may count some of their education courses toward fulfilling the social work elective requirements.
  • With approval of the student’s advisor, almost all education courses are open to dual degree students in fulfillment of their education degree.

Field Education

The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development requires a field placement only for students who are seeking Special Education Teaching licensure. However, it is recommended for all students. The School of Social Work requires two social work internships for all students except Advanced Standing students, who complete one 1,000-hour field internship.

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Admission & Financial Assistance

Applicants may apply to both programs simultaneously or they can apply to the School of Social Work or the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development through the normal channels and, at the end of the first semester of matriculation, apply to the second school. Candidates are encouraged to apply at the end of the first semester of graduate study by filling out the application for the second school, interviewing with the program director of their primary school, and getting recommendations from current professors or supervisors.

A grade point average of 3.0 or its equivalent in previous undergraduate or graduate coursework is required. The most recent grades (i.e., the last two years of undergraduate study) or recent graduate study will be given priority. The application fee is waived for the second school and previous test scores and transcripts will be forwarded by the primary school at the student’s request. Students applying to the doctorate (MSW/EdD) degree program must have at least three years of experience in education or a related field. Tuition and financial aid are based on the school in which the student is taking the majority of credits (the current primary school of residence).

While there are no specific scholarships exclusively for dual degree students, every effort is made to help students manage the financial obligations.

Earning a dual graduate degree in Social Work (MSW) and Education (M.Ed. or Ed.M) can allow students an interdisciplinary look at the many systems affecting the welfare of children, adolescents, and adults. Completing a joint degree program offers a lowered time to program completion as well as an integration of coursework. Here, prospective students can read about what to expect from a program like this as well as admission requirements.

Dual-Degree In Social Work And Special Education

Boston University’s Master of Education (EdM) program in Special Education prepares you as a future educator through a combination of carefully sequenced coursework and field experience.

This program prepares you to work successfully in a high-demand profession in roles such as a co-teacher in an inclusive classroom, inclusion facilitator, resource room teacher, or teacher in a self-contained classroom. You will learn to ensure that your students make progress in  the general education curriculum through the use of evidence-based practices to meet the needs of a wide range of learners with disabilities.

Specializations:

  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8)*
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Pre-K–Grade 8) combined with Elementary Education (Grades 1–6)*
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades 5–12)*
  • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (Ages 3–21)*
  • Special Education teaching licensure* (in the licensure field and grade levels listed above) and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)
  • Special Education Administration*
  • General Special Education
  • General Special Education and Social Work (Dual Degree Program)

mswmed dual degree programs

A dual degree in social work and education will require students to finish core requirements in each program, and then to select electives that can be utilized towards the completion of each degree. Some programs allow students to take courses in both the school of education and the school of social work for all years enrolled; while in other programs students can choose a school to begin with for the first year and then transition into the next school for the remaining time. In most dual degree programs, students can complete the requirements for both degrees in 2.5-3 years, as classes can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. Two social work field placements could also be expected as well as a semester-long student-teaching assignment, if students are seeking initial licensure as a teacher.

2021 List of Social Work Dual Degree Programs [Ultimate Guide]

Common Courses in MSW/MEd Dual Degree Programs

Time-Effective Treatment Methods

Social workers focused on practice with children and schools must have a solid understanding of time-effective treatment methodology, including brief or single therapy situations and crisis intervention. This course will focus on an understanding of the theoretical basis of these modalities and the application of these techniques with children and families. Students often engage in role-plays to increase their clinical skills.

Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities

A course in behavioral and emotional disabilities may provide students with an introduction to how to assess and treat common behavioral disorders of children and adolescents. The impact of these disorders on the school, mental health system, individual child, and family could be discussed. Various societal conditions impacting behavioral disabilities, including culture and trauma, are considered.

Children at Risk

This course will provide an introduction to a range of clinical issues that affect children and families, including abuse, poverty, substance abuse, and homelessness. Students may consider both individual interventions to assist families in these situations. An examination of historical and current social policies addressing some of these serious concerns is also a likely component of the course.

Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma has a significant impact on well-being and behavior. A course in this topic may consider a range of theoretical and clinical approaches designed to address those suffering from trauma. Students could develop an understanding of how trauma develops, including developmental trauma, single-incident trauma, and PTSD. Case studies might increase understanding of these issues.

Child Psychopathology

A psychopathology course may explore a wide range of psychological diagnoses and distress. Developmentally, students could explore the differences between typical and pathological behaviors. The relationships, resources, and biological processes that contribute or help to resolve adverse conditions might be explored. It is possible that case studies are a component of the course as well.

Practice with LGBTQ Populations

A course like this may first examine sexual identity and orientation. Students could then explore frequent misunderstandings and violence that those identifying as LGBTQ may face. How to understand and work with same-sex couples is a potential topic as well.

Admission Requirements

Students applying to a dual master’s degree program in social work and education usually hold a bachelor’s degree. Students can apply simultaneously to each school or apply to the second school during their first semester of graduate study, but they typically earn admittance into each program separately. Students should also expect to submit transcripts, personal statements, recommendations, and a resume. Interviews may be required as well.

A dual degree program in social work and education can provide students with a range of experience and knowledge in the social issues facing both children, families, and adults in a range of contexts. The program should take about three years to complete.

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Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

An admission advisor from each school can provide more info about:

  • programs & curriculum
  • career opportunities
  • tuition & financial aid
  • admissions & starting dates
  • 1Stanford UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • California (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
  • 2Harvard UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 3University of PennsylvaniaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 4University of Notre DameSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 5Vanderbilt UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 6University of FloridaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 7Cornell UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • New York (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Coursework
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 8Boston UniversitySchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at Boston University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 9University of GeorgiaSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
  • 10University of LouisvilleSchool InfoSchool locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)Program InfoAreas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas

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