Social Work

Should I Get a Dual Degree MSW/M.Ed.?

Should I Get a Dual Degree MSW/M.Ed.?
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Nedda Gilbert profile
Nedda Gilbert April 8, 2018

There are many personal and professional benefits to pursuing a dual degree as a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) and a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.).

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Perhaps you’re an aspiring educator who wants to make a lasting and positive difference in the lives of your students. Or you want to help transform education in our nation’s schools. Or you want to pursue a develop programs that respond to the growing needs of children within their school communities.

Whatever your particular aspirations, the dual MSW/M.Ed degree is an aspirational one. It is designed for students who want to pursue leadership roles in a variety of educational settings and related fields. If this seems like your calling, then a joint MSW/M.Ed may be right for you.

Are You Ready? Advantages of the MSW Dual Degree

The decision to pursue a joint degree is a personal and financial one. Importantly, it should reflect your career goals and ambitions. That’s because there are unique challenges in pursuing a cross-disciplinary degree. It requires a significant commitment investment of time and finances.

The dual MSW/M.Ed program takes 2 to 3 years to complete. And most programs require that a student make a full-time commitment; it is unlikely this degree can be earned part-time. Further, if a student is interested in teacher licensure, or special education, specializing in this area may take longer.

With this in mind, you may want to ask, are you up to the personal impacts on your life in studying for two degrees at once?



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There are some primary advantages to pursuing the dual degree:

  • Students can complete the coursework required for two advanced degree in far less time (and with fewer tuition dollars) than it would take to complete each program individually.
  • Graduates standout in their job search and their earning potential. The return-on-investment, commonly referred to as ROI, may also greater than their MSW only peers.
  • Graduates qualify for higher level managements and leadership positions upon graduation accelerating their career.

The rewards of pursuing the joint MSW/M.Ed. may be great. The dual degree positons graduates to work in a variety of social work and education settings, and in many different professional roles.

What Are the Degree Requirements for the MSW/M.Ed.?

The joint degree program is a dual course of study that leads to two masters degrees: the MSW and the Master of Education (M.Ed.). It is possible at some schools to obtain additional certification in Special Education with additional coursework. Likewise, it may be possible to specialize in unique practice areas of social work and earn an additional stand-alone certificate. These offerings will vary by school.

Dual degree programs require that students satisfy the core requirements of both schools. Students with a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) or prior relevant work experiences may receive pre-approved credit or advanced standing in a program.
There will likely be overlap in the requirements between the two programs. This will offer you course savings, allowing you to satisfy requirements in one school by taking classes in the other. Again, this will vary by school.

Field Education Requirements

Social Work students are expected to complete the required two full year field experiences to be eligible for licensure. The third year of school in may be used for an internship in an educational setting.

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About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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Categorized as: Social WorkTeachingEducation & Teaching