MSSW and Law Dual Degree

The dual MSSW/JD program recognizes the value of interdisciplinary study and encourages students having an interest in both social work and law to pursue these degrees simultaneously. Social workers and lawyers often seek to address identical or related societal concerns, albeit from different perspectives; understanding both disciplines enhances one’s effectiveness in both professional capacities. Law courses strengthen the social worker’s understanding of legal doctrine and structures that have impact on social institutions and human conditions; social work courses help lawyers to better understand human behavior, conflict resolution and social welfare institutions.

Students who participate in the dual program may reduce the aggregate credit hour requirement by 18 hours and earn MSSW and JD degrees in approximately four calendar years.

  • A student planning to pursue both degrees must submit a separate application and must be admitted to both the Kent School of Social Work and the Brandeis School of Law.
  • Students may begin the dual degree program in either Kent School or the Brandeis School. In the first year of study, the participating student will follow the full-time academic schedule of the program in which the student enrolls first. In the second year, the student will complete the first-year coursework in the alternative program. (For example, the student may begin in the Kent School and complete the standards first-year curriculum. In the second year, the student would complete the standard first-year curriculum at the Brandeis School.)
  • After completion of both first-year curricula, the student may combine law and social work courses during his or her third years. Careful curriculum planning is required. Some courses in each school are sequenced or have pre-requisites and must be taken in a specific order.
  • The following required Kent School Courses must be sequenced in either the third or fourth year; both fall and spring courses must be taken:
SW 641* Adv Social Work Practice I (3) 
SW 640* Adv Social Work Practice II (3)
SW 677* Adv Social Work Practice III (3)
SW 672* Adv Practicum I (3)
SW 673* Advanced Practicum II (3)
SW 668 Adv Research Practice I (3)SW 669 Adv Research Practice II (3)

*SW 641, SW 640 & SW 672 (Fall) and SW 677 & SW 673 (Spring) must be taken simultaneously.

These Kent School courses may be taken together or separately as shown. However, it is important to note that students who choose to take the research sequence without the field practicum will be expected to have access to a researchable topic related to their practice.

The Brandeis School does not have sequenced pairs of courses after the first year. It should be noted, however, that main upper division elective courses have pre-requisites. For example, evidence is a pre-requisite to trial practice and several externships; basic income tax and business organizations are pre-requisites to advanced courses in tax and business. Students should consult the law school catalogue for other prerequisites. In all cases, students should plan their schedules carefully and consult with advisors in both programs.

  • The Kent School will apply nine (9) credit hours in law as electives toward the MSSW degree. The Brandeis School will allow students in the dual degree program to apply nine (9) credit hours in social work as electives toward the JD degree. Cross-disciplinary credits will be accepted by each school on a pass/fail basis.
  • Students may find it necessary to complete some of their coursework during the summer in order to finish both programs in four calendar years.
  • Students may be awarded the MSSW upon completion of the 60 credits of required coursework. Students will not be awarded the JD degree until completion of both programs.

*The Kent School also permits a social work student who already has earned a J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school within the preceding five years to petition for

allowance of up to nine* law credits toward the elective requirements of the MSSW degree.


For further information contact:

Office of Admissions

Louis D. Brandeis

School of Law

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40292

(502) 852-6364

Coordinator of Admissions of Social Work

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY 40292

(502) 852-0414


For additional information, visit the Brandeis School of Law website: