Dual MSW-MS Student Affairs Administration

The Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Science in Student Affairs Administration (MS SAA) programs both are housed within the College of Community and Public Affairs and are considered professional terminal degrees.

By carefully structuring the sequence of courses, recognizing comparable course offerings and using courses in one program to count as electives in the other, the MSW-MS SAA dual degree program allows students to complete both degrees in three years of full-time study, without compromising the professional standards of either program. The 64-credit hour MSW program and the 45-credit hour MS in Student Affairs Administration program can be completed as part of a 88 credit program.

About the Program

One of the most compelling reasons to establish a dual degree MS SAA/MSW program is the rise of case management in higher education. A dual degree bolsters a student’s marketability for these emerging roles.

College student mental health has been of increasing concern since the 1990s. The annual National Survey of Counseling Center Directors consistently reports increased demand for counseling services on campus, typically without corresponding increase in the number of clinicians. 

In the wake of these concerns, many colleges and universities have adopted a case management approach to students of concern. A case management approach grows out of the field of social work.  

Employment opportunities in higher education that call for case management are increasing. They can be found in functional areas including counseling services, student wellness, residence life and the office of the dean of students.

Why a dual degree? A dual degree allows students to combine the knowledge and skill base from student affairs administration (college students and college student development, organization and administration of student affairs, campus environments and cultures) and that of social work (case management, interprofessional team work, and the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health concerns). This combination of knowledge and skills make graduates of the program uniquely qualified for these emerging positions in a way that neither program would by itself.

Admissions

Students must apply and be admitted to both the MSW program and the MS program. These are separate applications and each requires an application fee to the Graduate School. Students who begin one program and then apply to the other program later will need to meet with the appropriate advisors for both programs to develop a customized program of study; completion within three years may not be possible for students who do not begin the programs in the same semester.