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MPA + MSW Dual-Degree Program

Public Administration and Social Work

The MPA + MSW Dual-Degree Program prepares students for administrative positions in social service agencies. It also helps social workers gain the management and administrative skills needed for roles as supervisors, administrators and agency heads. Similarly, public administration practitioners recognize the need for specialized knowledge and skills to respond to an environment of increasing policy and organizational complexity within social welfare agencies. The program is designed to ensure students acquire both the management and social work skills necessary to excel in these environments.

By carefully structuring the sequence of courses, recognizing comparable course offerings, and using courses in one program to count as electives in the other, students are often able to complete both degrees in three years of full-time study without compromising the professional standards of either program. 

Successful completion of the dual-degree programs results in two degrees: a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) and Master's in Social Work (MSW).

Graduate Degrees Offered

  • MPA + MSW

Related Degree Programs

Application Deadlines

Students must apply to both the MPA program and the MSW program by their individual deadlines. Applicants need to create two separate online (Embark) accounts in order to submit the two separate applications. Each application requires an application fee to the Graduate School. In order to participate in the dual-degree program, students must be admitted to both programs concurrently.

  Fall Admission Spring Admission
MPA January 15 (funding)
April 15 (regular) 
October 15
MSW February 1 n/a

Admission Requirements*

The standards maintained by The Graduate School and individual departments and programs are applied to ensure that applicants admitted to the University are well qualified and trained to study at this institution and have a reasonable expectation of successfully completing a graduate program, and who, with the benefit of graduate education, are most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields.

To be eligible, you must have and provide:

  • A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
  • Complete set of your undergraduate and graduate transcripts. At minimum, a 3.0 GPA is required. See details.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Online graduate degree application and application fee
  • Transcripts from each college/university you have attended
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)

And, for international applicants:

  • International Student Financial Statement form (PDF)
  • Official bank statement/proof of support
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores

Applicants must also meet the following program-specific requirements:


  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who know the applicant in a professional capacity, such as professors, work supervisors, and professionals from organizations where the applicant has served as a volunteer or in another capacity. When evaluating the letters of recommendation, the admissions committee looks for evidence of academic achievement, community involvement, and personal characteristics that suggests the applicant has the capacity to foster an institutional culture that advances democratic administration and governance.
  • Personal statement
    • The personal statement should be no more than 500 words or two (2) double-spaced, typed pages and should answer the question,"Why do I want an MPA?" You may wish to describe your reasons for pursuing graduate studies in public administration, your career aspirations, your special interests within your field, and any unusual features of your background that might need explanation or be of interest to your program's admissions committee. In the personal statement, the committee assesses the student's commitment to public and/or nonprofit administration as well as his/her ability to communicate in writing.
  • Significant work experience (5 or more years in the public and/or nonprofit sectors) can earn applicants a positive adjustment to their admissions scores. However, the lack of work experience does not result in a penalty.
  • The GRE is not required. If GRE scores are submitted, the admissions committee evaluates them by averaging the applicant's quantitative, verbal, and analytical writing scores.


  • Minimum of 24 credit hours (undergraduate) in the liberal arts and sciences, with a minimum of 15 credit hours in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, sociology)
  • Paid or volunteer experience related to human services
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your potential for graduate study, such as those with whom you have worked in an academic, professional, volunteer or work-related capacity
    • The MSW program has a special letter of recommendation form that must be used to evaluate MSW applicants. Use the Letter of Recommendation for MSW form. Please download and save the form to the computer first, before beginning to fill out the form. Then, open the file from the computer and enter text. Please do not use the version that opens in the web browser.
    • If you are a college student or a recent graduate, one letter must be from a college instructor.
    • If you are or have recently been employed, one letter must be from an employment supervisor.
  • Personal statement (6-8 pages)
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages)
    • Include paid or volunteer experience related to human services.
  • A signed copy of the Social Work Contract
    • By signing the above document, you agree, if admitted to the program, to abide by the professional standards of social work as set forth by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.
    • Review the Code of Ethics before signing the contract.
  • A signed copy of the Certification of Information

*This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to keep it accurate and up-to-date, we recommend you contact the department for program-specific requirements.

How to Apply button


Brianna King, Coordinator of Student Services (MPA)

Brian Flynn, Director of Admissions and Student Services (MSW)

MPA-MSW Dual-Degree Program

College of Community and Public Affairs website


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Last Updated: 2/26/15