Welcome to the Master of Social Work Program

MSW Program Mission

The aim of Washburn University’s Master of Social Work Program is to prepare graduate students for the competent practice of clinical social work in order to meet the multilevel needs of clients and other people that we serve. The program is committed to providing quality education for students with or without a baccalaureate social work degree.

The MSW program has an overarching commitment to ensure that students understand, adhere to, and promote the value base of the social work profession within both generalist and clinical settings. Upon completion of the MSW program, graduates will be prepared and committed to providing direct clinical social work services to individuals, families, and groups in inner-city, urban, and rural settings, with particular emphasis on those who are at-risk, unrepresented or under-represented, culturally diverse and oppressed.

Dual Degrees & Concentrations

MSW students have the option (but are not required ) to select a specialization within the degree. Explore the options below.

School of Law (JD) & Social Work (MSW) Dual Degree Program

Recognizing that many problems faced by people in today's complex society require solutions that cross traditional boundaries of professional expertise, Washburn University offers the Dual Degree Program in Law and Social Work which allows students to obtain Master of Social Work (MSW) and Juris Doctorate (JD) degrees.

The goal of the JD/MSW Dual Degree Program is to prepare students with combined skills in both social work and law for professional practice with complex social and legal issues in areas where social work and law converge. Although graduates of this program will be particularly well-prepared to work with clients having problems in the areas of mental health, children and youth, family relations, and the elderly, they will also possess the knowledge and skills necessary to work in any area where the legal system interacts with the social services delivery system (e.g., criminal and juvenile justice administration, legal services to disadvantaged persons, and housing and community development). The program curriculum meets all applicable American Bar Association and Council on Social Work Education accreditation guidelines.

On its own, the JD program at Washburn University School of Law requires 90 credit hours; the MSW program at the Washburn University Department of Social Work requires 66 credit hours for regular-standing students or 33 credit hours for advanced-standing students. Thus, pursued separately, the two degree programs would require a total of 156 credit hours for regular-standing MSW students or 123 credit hours for advanced-standing students. Under the Dual Degree Program, certain courses are accepted for credit by both schools: six credit hours of law school courses may count toward the MSW, and six credit hours of graduate social work courses may count toward the JD. Students can therefore obtain both degrees with a total of 144 credit hours for regular-standing MSW students or 111 credit hours for advanced-standing MSW students.

JD/Regular-Standing MSW Program


Required Hours (if pursued separately)

Joint-Degree Hour Reduction Joint Degree Required Hours
JD 90 6 84
MSW Regular 66 6 60
TOTAL HOURS 156 12 144

JD/Advanced-Standing MSW Program

PROGRAM Required Hours (if pursued separately) Joint-Degree Hour Reduction Joint Degree Required Hours
JD 90 6 84
MSW Advanced 33 6 27
TOTAL HOURS 123 12 111

The MSW Program Director in conjunction with the student’s academic advisor from the Department of Social Work will determine which law school courses will count toward the MSW degree. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Law School will determine which MSW courses will count toward the JD degree.. (Grades will not transfer between schools; for the transferee school, the courses will be treated as credit/no-credit.) No credits for social work courses will transfer to the Law School until the student has obtained 12 credits of social work courses.

Students may choose to begin either their legal studies or their social work studies first. However, credit for social work classes taken before students have completed their first year of law school will not transfer to the law school. Whenever they start the law school program, students must take the full first-year curriculum without interruption. Students will not be permitted to take social work courses during the first year of law school. After the completion of the first year of law school, students may choose in each semester whether to take courses in the social work department, in the law school, or in both. If students simultaneously take courses in both programs, the total number of credits enrolled in at one time must stay within the parameters required by the American Bar Association's standards governing accredited law schools. Students are also required to participate in the various orientation and assessment activities of both programs.

Students must separately apply to and be accepted by both academic programs. Students are asked to indicate to each school, at the time of application, that they are applying to the JD/MSW Dual Degree Program. Students will pay tuition for law school courses at the normal rate for that school and will pay tuition for social work courses at the normal rate for that school.

Within the clinical emphasis of Washburn's MSW program, students may choose to receive specialty training in school social work. For students in the School Social Work Concentration, nine (9) credit hours of clinical elective courses are required.

To be consistent with the requirements of most states, the Department of Social Work at Washburn University requires students in the school concentration to successfully complete three graduate-level electives (for a total of nine hours) with emphasis on social work practice in educational settings.

For more information, visit the School Social Work Concentration page.

In the field of social work, health care settings have been a top employer of social workers consistently for many years, and their prevalence in healthcare settings is only going to grow. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that 25% of professional social workers will be employed in healthcare. A concentration in healthcare social work practice will not only provide you with the knowledge and skills specific to practice in healthcare settings, but also makes you more marketable in your post-graduation job search!

For more information, visit the Healthcare Concentration page.

Dr. Rhonda Peterson Dealey

MSW Program Director

Dr. Rhonda Peterson Dealey, DSW, LCSW



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