Dual grad degree in social work, public health launched at CSU


Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Public Health have partnered to launch a new graduate program that combines social work and public health — letting students earn two master’s degrees in less time and at a lower cost than if they were earned separately.

The dual master of social work/master of public health degree is being offered for the first time in fall 2016, addressing a need for trained individuals to address some of society’s most challenging and complex social health issues.

Whether the topic is health equity, disaster relief or social justice, those with a joint MSW/MPH degree are needed in hospitals, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and other settings. Social workers in public health settings are designing, implementing and evaluating interventions that promote health for individuals as well as entire populations.

Students who finish the program leave with both an MSW and an MPH with a concentration in global health and health disparities. The training focuses on both physical and behavioral health, as well as knowledge of the social and ecological determinants of public health.

Two-year option

Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in the past seven years qualify for advanced standing and can complete the MSW/MPH program in two years. Otherwise, the dual degree takes three years.

The two fields are a natural fit. Both programs heavily emphasize cross-cultural, global content in classes as well as social justice. Each is evidence-based, trans-disciplinary and focused on promoting health and preventing disease.

“Public Health and Social Work have significant overlapping areas of concern in terms of health and well-being, and dual training offers graduates an opportunity to become future leaders in efforts to transform the health-care system and impact the well-being of the state, nation and world,” said Lorann Stallones, director of the ColoradoSPH at CSU.

“The MSW/MPH dual degree program gives a graduate unique knowledge and skills to be leaders addressing critical health issues,” said Audrey Shillington, head of the CSU School of Social Work. “Both the MSW and MPH professions have a strong focus on social justice aimed at improving global health and health disparities.”

Job possibilities

Individuals with MSW/MPH degrees pursue careers in a variety of areas, including prevention-oriented clinical practice, health education and health promotion, health policy analysis, health system and health care management, public health advocacy, patient services management and teaching as part-time or adjunct faculty in MSW/BSW programs.

The School of Social Work is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. The Colorado School of Public Health is a collaboration among CSU, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Northern Colorado.

The application deadline for the inaugural MSW/MPH class is Jan. 2. For more information, visit http://col.st/q7p6C. 

The vision of CSU’s School of Social Work is to advance social, environmental and economic justice, promote equity and equality, alleviate oppression, and enhance human health and well-being across local and global community systems. The School’s mission is to provide exemplary education, applied research, and transformative outreach toward the accomplishment of its vision.

The Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top-tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region’s health and well-being. Collaboratively formed in 2008 by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases and costly injuries. Learn more and follow ColoradoSPH’s updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

MSW Program Coordinator Timothy Frank, left, and MSW student Abby Simon