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JD/MSW with the School of Social Work

An understanding of critical social and legal issues and interpersonal dynamics enhances your ability to represent and advocate for your clients. The dual MSW/JD prepares you for a range of practice options, including direct representation or clinical work, systemic reform, legislative advocacy, and community development. Offered jointly with the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, the four-year dual Master of Social Work (MSW)/JD program gives you a broader understanding of the human concerns in legal interventions.

The joint degree program is applicable to many fields, including child welfare, domestic relations, domestic violence, education, immigration, juvenile justice, mental health, and services to the elderly. Within the MSW program, you may choose one of two tracks: the clinical track or leadership track. Field placements are available in a number of settings, including mental health, child and family, geriatric and chemical dependency.

You will achieve all learning outcomes of both the JD and MSW degrees. Your studies in each program will be enhanced by designing a curriculum tailored to your interests and career goals.

Curriculum

You will work with your advisors to plot your course sequence based on admission time, career goals, and course availability. Here is a sample plan:

Year One

Fall and Spring Semesters

Full-time Law Program, 29-30 credits

Summer Semester

Law internship recommended

Up to 6 credits of Social Work coursework

  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Welfare and Social Work

Year Two

Fall Semester

8 credits of Law School coursework

  • Advocacy
  • 2 elective courses
    • 7.5 credits of Social Work coursework

      • Field Instruction I and Integrative Seminar
      • Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
      • Social Work with Individuals and Families I

Spring Semester

11-12 credits of Law School Elective coursework,

  • Professional Responsibility
  • 3 elective courses

3.5 credits of social work coursework

  • Field Instruction II
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment II

Summer Semester

2 credits of Law elective coursework

9 credits of Social Work coursework

  • Social Work Research
  • Social Work Groups
  • Social Work with Individuals and Families II

Year Three

Fall Semester

3 credits of Law School elective coursework

9 credits of Social Work coursework

  • Field Instruction III
  • Integrative Seminar
  • Policies and Strategies for Community Intervention
  • Research Practicum or Elective
  • Elective based on specialization

Spring Semester

4 credits of Law School elective coursework

4 credits of Social Work coursework

  • Field Instruction IV
  • Research Practicum

Summer Semester

Law internship

Year Four

Fall Semester

10 credits of Law School elective coursework

6 credits of Social Work coursework based on specialization.

Spring Semester

10 credits of Law School elective coursework

4 credits of Social Work coursework

Degree Requirements

To earn a JD/MSW dual degree, you must complete a total of 128 credit hours, including 77 law credit hours, and 51 MSW credit hours, including two internships. The dual degree can be completed in four years of concentrated study. You will spend your first year as a full-time law student. JD foundational course requirements and skills and experiential course requirements will be taken in the second, third and fourth years, concurrent with social work courses.

Admission

Applicants for the dual JD/MSW degree should apply separately for admission to both the School of Social Work and to the School of Law, indicating intent to pursue a dual degree.

Tuition and Fees

The School of Law and Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their legal education at Loyola affordable.

With proper planning, you can benefit from tuition adjustments. The University's Student Business Office (SBO) will calculate the tuition of each dual degree student. School of Law financial awards are applied to School of Law tuition only.

FAQs

Why would I want to consider a dual degree program?

By pursuing two degrees through the dual degree program, you may obtain both degrees simultaneously in less time than if you pursued the degrees separately. The dual JD/MSW program provides students with both a social and legal perspective to meet the challenges of many areas of professional practice. Graduates can pursue a range of practice, including direct representation or clinical work, systemic reform, legislative advocacy, and community development.

How does the academic advising system work?

At the School of Law, each dual degree student will be matched with an appropriate law school professor who will serve as the academic advisor for the student. Advising with respect to the social work program will be coordinated with the School of Social Work.

In what order to I complete the program?

You must apply and be admitted to both programs separately. Once you've obtained admission, you'll enroll and complete the first year of law courses and will add social work courses in year two. In years 2 through 4, you'll complete a mix of courses in law and social work, including your experiential learning and internship requirements. Once admitted to the School of Law, you complete your first year law courses before you take courses in the social work program. You may also apply for the dual program during your first year in the MSW program.

When do I need to do when I decide to enter the program?

Individuals admitted to the School of Law should declare their dual degree status at the earliest possible time:

  • Upon admission (at the Office of Admissions)
  • Upon entry into the law school (at the School of Law)
  • Later in your law studies (at the School of Law Registrar)
You are permitted to enter a dual degree program as late as the beginning of your final year of law studies; however, you may not be eligible for the full range of benefits of the program.