MSW/JD Combined Degree Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I get both degrees?

Combining a social work degree with a law degree enables professionals to better serve their clients by understanding their clients’ issues from both a social and legal perspective. The professions of social work and law have a multitude of common characteristics. Employment of both professions has been rapidly expanding into numerous areas of the economy and public policy. They are both practiced within the private and public sectors. And, as institutional and professional activities, they are both very broad fields which continuously overlap and interact, more often than not dealing with the same issues.

Do I have to declare combined degree status at the beginning of my law studies?

No, you don’t. Although, by starting the MSW/JD program early you could earn both degrees in four years rather than the five years it would take if pursued separately. The student must make this choice either at the time of acceptance into one program or during the first year of that program.

Why don’t I just wait and get my MSW later?

By completing the Combined MSW/JD program at Western New England University, you save yourself time and money. By following the structured plan of study in four years, you will earn both of your degrees at the same time. The program design allows for credits of social work and law coursework to count towards elective requirements in both programs. Thus, in the School of Social Work the student must earn the 60 credits required to obtain the MSW; 48 credits will be taken in that School, with successful completion of law courses constituting the remaining 12 credits for the MSW degree. At the School of Law, the students must earn the 88 credits required to obtain the JD degree, but twelve of those credits will be earned through the successful completion of courses at the School of Social Work.

Why don’t I complete my MSW first?

According to American Bar Association guidelines, no MSW courses taken prior to acceptance into a law program can be used towards elective coursework in the JD program. All MSW courses approved as JD electives must be taken while in the JD program.

Are the MSW courses and JD courses on the same schedule?

Both the MSW and JD courses are offered in a traditional, 14 week Fall and Spring semester format. Students are encouraged to register for Summer courses at the Law School.

Do the different schedules create problems?

No. The first year of the program is undertaken completely in either the School of Social Work or School of Law, and consists of the traditional first year School of Social Work or School of Law curriculum. The Second year of the program is undertaken in the other school. The third year is dedicated to completing courses in the School of Law. The fourth year courses are taken in both the School of Social Work and the School of Law.

When are MSW courses offered?

In the full-time program, MSW classes are held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM leaving the remaining days open for field work and your studies.

You mentioned a significant savings on my MSW.  How much does the MSW cost?

Since there are fewer credits the MSW will cost less than your JD degree. However, because you have the advantage of using courses in each program to meet requirements in the other program the cost is lower. Tuition for the MSW program is approximately $36,660. The cross credit structure of the program can reduce this cost by about 20 percent.

I’m interested! How do I get started?

First, you must apply to and be accepted into both the JD program at the Western New England University School of Law and the MSW program at the School of Social Work. You can apply online at www.spfldcol.edu/ssw, or contact the Admissions coordinator at 413-748-3060 for an application. Applicants to the MSW/JD combined degree program must apply to and be accepted at both Western New England University School of Law and Springfield College School of Social Work. This requires that the applicant complete the application process for each institution. To begin the process at:

-- Springfield College School of Social Work contact:
                   Admissions Coordinator at 413-748-3060.
-- Western New England University School of Law contact:
                   Karen M. Romano, Director of Admissions at 413-782-1406.

If you are already accepted into the JD program and decide to apply to the MSW program, you need to do the following:

1. Complete the MSW application
2. Obtain one (1) recommendation in support of your application from a Law School faculty member.
3. Have the Admissions Office at the Law School forward copies of your application, transcripts, and other admission materials to the School of Social Work.

Great! When can I start taking courses?

Students start by taking courses at their chosen starting point, either the School or Social Work or the School of Law. Both programs are scheduled in a traditional, two-semester year, typically beginning in September. Please visit the appropriate school website for exact dates.

What if I have additional questions?

If you have additional questions, please contact teh Dean of Academic Affairs office at the School of Law, (413) 782-1262, or the Dean's office at the School of Social Work, (413) 748-3057.