Western New England University School of Law and the Springfield College School of Social Work offer a combined JD/MSW degree program that allows interested students to save time and tutition by obtaining both degrees at the same time. The JD/MSW combined degree program prepares students for practice in areas where law and social work converge. The combined degree program is well-suited for students who contemplate careers in the social services or social policy. The knowledge and skills gained through the combined degree program may be especially useful in such practices areas as: representing the disabled, child welfare, family law, juvenile justice, mental health, social welfare policy, domestic violence, law enforcement, human rights, and legal aid services.

The sample curriculum is designed to permit full-time students to complete the requirements for both degrees in four years (including part-time course work during 2 summers). Ordinarily, the two programs taken separately would require five years of study. Under the combined degree program, twelve credit hours of law school courses will be accepted by the School of Social Work toward the Masters of Social Work degree, and twelve credit hours of graduate-level social work courses will be accepted by the School of Law toward the Juris Doctor degree.

Applications and acceptances are separate for each school. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other program. For more admissions information, please contact the admissions offices of the respective programs:

Springfield College School of Social Work:

Chris Hinely
Admissions Coordinator

Western New England University School of Law

More Information:

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Kathleen O'Malley,
Class of 2004


As a graduate of the Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work combined degree program , Kathleen is able to understand clients concerns from both a legal and social perspective, strengthening her advocacy skills and enabling her to serve as an effective liaison between opposing parties within the judicial system.

Upon graduation from law school Attorney O’Malley served a term as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Probate and Family Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court.

She worked with the judges in the Probate and Family Court, aiding in their resolution of a variety of family law issues such as the issuance of protection and restraining orders, judgments of divorce, and all issues relative to the care and custody of children, including adoption.

She also assisted in handling probate matters such as estate administration and guardianships. Her work at the Department of Social Services during her school of social work program practicum also allowed her to effectively utilize the combination of these two degrees. Her duties within the Department ranged from conducting assessments and preparing termination plans to drafting findings for the court.

Attorney O'Malley now works as a staff attorney in the Family Law Unit of Western Massachusetts Legal Services.  Her practice places her at the intersection of law and social work, where she must wrestle with difficult problems that have both a legal dimension and a social work dimension.

Attorney O’Malley credits her skill in handling such tough issues to her advanced generalist training of the M.S.W. program. Her social work training has intensified her observation, interview, and advocacy skills; essential elements of good lawyering. Her background in social work has also prepared her to serve as an effective Guardian Ad Litem for the court.

Her M.S.W. degree has prompted her to look beyond the adversarial approach to litigation and work to apply more effective measures of mediation when families are involved.  “In the future I would like my legal work to extend beyond the courtroom, addressing the needs of children and families within the legislature. The extensive policy coursework offered by the School of Social Work has prepared me for that and more.”


1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119
Main University: 413-782-3111
Admissions: 413-782-1406 or 800-782-6665