University of Pittsburgh
August 30, 2007

The University of Pittsburgh's Schools of Law and Social Work Join Forces to Create Cooperative Degree Program

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-This fall, the University of Pittsburgh's Schools of Social Work (SSW) and Law will launch a cooperative degree program through which students may earn both the Master of Social Work (MSW) and Juris Doctor (JD) degrees. The MSW is the primary professional degree in social work; the JD is the first professional degree in law.

"In real-world situations, it is fairly common for the two fields to overlap professionally," said Lambert Maguire, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in SSW.

"Students with training in both law and social work will be better equipped to play an effective role in making and influencing public policy, whether through positions in government or nonprofit organizations or through impact litigation," said Lu-in Wang, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in Pitt's School of Law.

The MSW-JD program will emphasize such areas as child welfare, juvenile and criminal justice, low-income housing, among others. The program will enable students to engage in a highly integrative educational experience that will include academic courses, field placements, and research opportunities in both professions.

Potential students for the MSW-JD program would apply and be accepted to both of the schools as well as complete a joint-degree application. The program will follow a four-year curriculum in which students will register as full-time law students for five terms and full-time social work students for three.

The combined credit-hour requirements to obtain the MSW and JD degrees separately are 148, 60 for the MSW and 88 for the JD. The joint degree program will award the two degrees after completion of 121 integrated credit hours, 46 for the MSW and 75 for the JD.

The MSW-JD program is one of many collaborative efforts between the Schools of Social Work and Law. Faculty members in one program often lecture in the other. Both schools also host the Rubash Lecture Series in the spring semester of each academic year.

For more information, contact MSW-JD program faculty advisors, Kevin Deasy in the School of Law at 412-648-5642, or Jeffrey Shook in the School of Social Work at 412-648-9365.