Program accreditation
Council on Education for Public Health (M.P.H.)
Council on Social Work Education (M.S.W.)

To qualify as a dual degree student in any of the training paradigms which appear in the Bulletin, a student must have evidence of having been simultaneously enrolled in one or more courses of both of the programs constituting the “dual degree” for at least one semester.

Through a collaborative program between the VCU School of Social Work and the Division of Epidemiology in the School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, students complete a three-year full-time program of study, including summer course work, to obtain the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees. The purpose of this dual degree program is to prepare graduates to work with individuals, families, groups, communities and/or organizations; advocate for social, health care and economic justice in a diverse and multicultural society; and promote physical and mental health across the life course.

Prospective students are required to apply separately to both programs through the appropriate application portal indicated in the admission requirements section of this Bulletin and must meet both sets of admission requirements. Once admitted to both programs, the student is assigned an adviser from each to develop a plan of study, typically starting with the M.S.W. course work. It is preferable that students apply to both programs at the same time so that the structured dual degree curriculum can be optimally planned. Students in one program may also apply to the second program during the first year of study.

Dual degree efficiencies

Students are required to complete a minimum of 45 M.S.W. credit hours and a minimum of 37 M.P.H. credit hours for the dual degree program. In the M.P.H. program, the curriculum includes 25 credit hours of core and required courses, a minimum of nine credit hours in the applied public health concentration and a minimum of three credit hours of a capstone project that examines a relevant public health topic. These courses within the M.S.W. curriculum count toward the M.P.H. degree:

SLWK 601Human Behavior in the Social Environment I3
SLWK 606Policy, Community and Organizational Practice II3
SLWK 793Concentration Field Instruction I3

These courses within the M.P.H. curriculum count toward the M.S.W. degree:

BIOS 544Graduate Research Methods II3
EPID 571Principles of Epidemiology3
EPID 600Introduction to Public Health3
EPID 622Maternal and Child Health3

If students were to complete both degrees independently, a minimum total of 105 graduate credit hours would be required.

Note that some elective courses may not be available in certain years or may require instructor permission for registration. During the third and last year of study, dual degree students are placed in internships through the School of Social Work that focus on public health; the internship placement is approved by both the M.P.H. program director and the director of the M.S.W. field instruction. With adviser approval, the student may develop a capstone project based on work in this public health/social work placement.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

School of Medicine graduate program policies

The School of Medicine provides policies applicable to all programs administratively housed in the school. Information on master’s programs is available elsewhere in this chapter of the Graduate Bulletin.


For the M.P.H., apply online at and submit a supplemental VCU application (available on the department website) following instructions available at; for the M.S.W., apply online at the Graduate Admissions website.

Please review the admission requirements for each stand-alone degree (Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work) in the VCU Graduate Bulletin to learn the specific application requirements for each program.

Curriculum requirements

Program core
BIOS 543Graduate Research Methods I3
BIOS 544Graduate Research Methods II3
EPID 547Applied Data Analysis Lab I1.5
EPID 548Applied Data Analysis Lab II1.5
EPID 571Principles of Epidemiology3
EPID 580Public Health Ethics1
EPID 593Foundations of the Public Health Profession2
EPID 604Principles of Environmental Health3
HCPR 601Introduction to Health Policy3
IPEC 501Foundations of Interprofessional Practice1
SBHD 605Introduction to Social and Behavioral Health3
SLWK 601Human Behavior in the Social Environment I3
SLWK 602Policy, Community and Organizational Practice I3
SLWK 603Social Work and Social Justice3
SLWK 604Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups I3
SLWK 605Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups II3
SLWK 606Policy, Community and Organizational Practice II3
SLWK 609Foundations of Research in Social Work Practice3
SLWK 610Human Behavior in the Social Environment II3
SLWK 693Generalist Field Instruction I3
SLWK 694Generalist Field Instruction II3
Concentration courses
Select one of the following M.S.W. concentrations:9
M.S.W. clinical concentration:
Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Clinical Social Work Practice I
Clinical Social Work Practice II
M.S.W. SWAPPP concentration:
Strategies for Social Work Planning and Administrative Practice
Social Work Planning and Administrative Practice I
Social Work Planning and Administrative Practice II
SLWK 793Concentration Field Instruction I3
SLWK 794Concentration Field Instruction II3
Select an M.P.H. concentration (applied public health shown):9
Introduction to Public Health
Public Health Policy and Politics
Maternal and Child Health
Integrative learning course
EPID 694MPH Capstone Project3
Noncurricular requirements
In addition to course work, students must attend 12 public health seminars and complete 20 hours of community-based service-learning.
Total Hours82

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for the dual degree M.P.H./M.S.W. is 82.

Typical plan of study

Many students often end up taking more than the minimum number of hours required for a degree program. The total number of hours may vary depending upon the program, nature of research being conducted by a study, or in the enrollment or funding status of the student. Students should refer to their program websites and talk with their graduate program directors or advisers for information about typical plans of study and registration requirements.

Juan Lu, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.D.
Associate professor graduate program director, M.P.H. Program
(804) 828-9786

Sarah K. Price, Ph.D.
M.S.W./M.P.H. combined program coordinator, School of Social Work
(804) 828-0579

Additional contact
Lisa S. Anderson, M.P.H.
Director of educational programs, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health
(804) 628-2512

Program websites: and