Social Work (MSW) and Public Health (MPH) Dual Masters Student Handbook

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1 Social Work (MSW) and Public Health (MPH) Dual Masters Student Handbook OVERVIEW The University of South Florida offers a dual-degree program with a clinical social work concentration combined with a public health concentration in either Maternal & Child Health OR Behavioral Health. The MSW and the MPH programs were developed as mandated by the Florida legislature to respond to the public health and social welfare needs of the state. The dual-degree program was initiated in 1986 and produced its first graduate in Social Work is an essential component of both maternal and child health as well as behavioral health. The combination of degrees in public health and social work ideally equips graduate students to prepare for careers in both social work and public health settings with the ability to fill clinical, administrative, and evaluative roles, which positively affect the lives of women, children, and various populations-at-risk in a changing society. For social work students seeking the dual-degree, expanded study in public health encourages a wellbalanced macro-micro orientation to clinical practice. Such expansion can equip the social work student with specific skills that result in comprehensive and effective client interventions in health care settings. The fundamental methodological tools of public health, such as biostatistics, epidemiology, and health management and evaluation, further assist the social worker in targeting the needs of individuals and communities. The MPH / MSW dual-degree program is a two-and-a-half to three year, full-time course of study. The MPH with a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Concentration prepares health professionals and individuals in related fields for leadership roles in community based organizations that focus on major public health problems of women, children and families, especially among culturally diverse and underserved populations. Using multidisciplinary approaches, students develop analytical, advocacy, programmatic and evaluative skills to address health disparities, and to emphasize health promotion and disease prevention among populations in need. Areas of programmatic focus include child health, women's health, childhood injury, family and community violence, children with special needs, and others. (Contact is Martha Coulter, MSW, DrPH, ). Find the MCH concentration at The MPH with a Behavioral Health (BH) Concentration is concerned with the study of mental disorders and substance disorders in community populations. The focus areas include children's mental health services, community-based prevention, evaluation and accountability, evidence-based practice in behavioral health, homelessness, multi-cultural issues in mental health, and epidemiologic issues in mental disorders, including co-occurring disorders. (Contact is Bruce Levin, MPH, DrPH, Find the Behavioral Health concentration at 1

2 TAKING COURSES PRIOR TO ADMITTANCE Public Health It is recommended that students take some Public Health courses prior to admission to the dual-degree program. This reduces stress related to logistical conflicts in course scheduling. These courses can be taken prior to full admission to the College of Public Health and before acceptance to the dual-degree as the College of Public Health allows students to transfer in a maximum of 12 credits taken before admittance to a course of study. Students who have been admitted to the College of Public Health may elect to take core courses in public health in the summer prior to matriculation in full coursework. There are no required pre-requisites in the MCH or the BH concentration. Social Work advanced standing students may also wish to take public health courses the fall before social work courses begin. It is recommended that students take two of the Public Health Core Courses immediately upon admission: Most public health core courses are available online every semester. PHC 6000 Epidemiology (3) PHC 6050 Biostatistics I (3) Please refer to the following pages for specific information on the requirements for individual concentrations in the College of Public Health: 1) Maternal and Child Health Concentration page: 2) Behavioral Health Concentration page: Note: Students requesting waivers for any courses must meet with their assigned advisors to present their case. APPLICATION TO THE DUAL MASTERS DEGREE A. Two options: Students currently have two options for entering the dual masters program. In each case, students must gain admissions to both the School of Social Work and College of Public Health. A third option, simultaneous admission to both the schools, is currently not available, but discussions are underway and may become available in the future. First option: A School of Social Work student applying to the College of Public Health Social Work students interested in the MSW/MPH program should make an appointment with one of the two Social Work faculty advisors for the dual masters program: Dr. Manisha Joshi or Dr. Marion Becker Once they have met with one of the two faculty advisors, students should submit an option 1 internal screening form (link to the form will be made available shortly) for MSW/MPH program. After a brief screening process, Social Work students will be granted formal approval to apply through an letter from one of the Dual Degree Program faculty advisors. Social Work students will need to apply to the College of Public Health through SOPHAS (see the College of Public Health Admission page at Social Work students should include a statement that discusses how the dual degree program would 2

3 meet the student's academic and career goals. The statement should be the personal essay on their SOPHAS application. Please visit the following link for helpful suggestions regarding the SOPHAS application: In addition to SOPHAS, students will need to fill out the application form for dual graduate degree available through the USF Graduate School (http://www.grad.usf.edu/student-forms.phpfrom) and required by the College of Public Health for the dual masters degree. The application form should be signed by one of the official dual degree faculty advisors at the School of Social Work and submitted to Dee Keiser at the School of Social Work. Dee will then return it to the Academic & Student Affairs Office in the College of Public Health. Once received the applications are reviewed by the Dual Degree faculty advisors from the COPH and School of Social Work. Social work students who are interested in becoming dual master's students should apply to the Public Health portion of the dual-degree program during their first semester and before starting their research project or field placement. Second option: A College of Public Health student applying to the School of Social Work Students in the Public Health Program interested in the MSW/MPH program should make an appointment with Dr. Martha Coulter if enrolled in the maternal and child health concentration and with Dr. Levin if enrolled in the behavioral health concentration. Once they have met with one of the two dual degree faculty advisors, students should submit an option 2 internal screening form (link to the form will be made available shortly) for MSW/MPH program. After a brief screening process, Public Health students will be granted formal approval to apply through an letter from Dr. Coulter or Dr. Levin. Public health students should then apply to the School of Social Work. For details on the admission requirements for the School of Social Work, visit: At least one new letter of recommendation may be needed for the application to Social Work, in addition to the three references used for College of Public Health admissions. These references will need to be made available to the School of Social Work by the College of Public Health. The applications are reviewed by the Dual Degree faculty advisors. Important Note about option 1 and 2: In choosing which program to apply to first, students should take into consideration the following: Requirements in Social Work for admission are different from those in Public Health; admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other; and of course, the student should consider her or his individual interests and career plans. Third option (currently not available but discussions are under way and may open up in the future): A student applying simultaneously to both the School of Social Work and College of Public Health. Prospective students should inform the admissions departments of the School of Social Work and College of Public Health that they are aiming to apply simultaneously and mention this on their applications. In addition, students should submit an option 3 internal screening form (link to the form will be made available shortly) for MSW/MPH program to Dee Keiser Once accepted, depending on the school whose courses you will begin on admission, you will either meet Dr. Manisha Joshi or Dr. Marion Becker in the School of Social Work and Dr. Martha Coulter or Dr. Bruce Levin in the College of Public Health (depending upon your public health concentration) to determine initial school of entry and first semester courses. 3

4 B. Admission requirements for MSW Admission to the MSW program is a two-part procedure. For complete details on the admission process, please visit: Full-time students are admitted to the MSW program in the fall semester. Applicants are urged to check the current University catalogue for admission dates. Advanced standing students can be admitted in the summer and spring. NOTE: Social work students who are interested in becoming dual master's students should apply to the Public Health portion of the dual-degree program during their first semester and before starting their research project or field placement. It is possible to enter during the second semester but when beginning the research project in social work, the Public Health advisor should be consulted. Failure to do so may lead to additional course work. To maintain good academic standing, a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in each program is required. C. Admission requirements for MPH Students applying to the College of Public Health need to apply through SOPHAS (see the college of Public Health Admissions page at Applications are currently accepted every semester. To be considered for admission, a first-time graduate student or a student transferring from another graduate program should meet the following minimum College of Public Health criteria: 1. Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university. 2. All applicants, except those with advanced degrees requesting a waiver as noted below, must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or an equivalent measure approved by the Board of Regents within five years preceding application. 3. MPH requirements include an earned "B" average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in all work attempted while registered as an upper division (baccalaureate degree) student OR a minimum GRE Verbal score of 153 (500 on scores before August 2011) and minimum GRE Quantitative score of 146 (550 on scores before August 2011). D. MSW Course Work Please refer to the following link for details on course work for the Master of Social Work Program: E. MPH Course Work 1. Refer to the Maternal and Child Health Concentration for course work details: Two foundation Courses in Social work may substitute for PHC 6410 Social and Behavioral Sciences Applied to Health. Substitutions will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Social Work Courses may be taken as 3 hours of Public Health approved electives or concentration support courses if approved by program advisor. Field Placement for MPH is usually combined with MSW clinical placement & Special Project for MPH is usually combined with MSW special project. 4

5 Public health courses with a clinical content may count toward Social Work licensure, but the Director of the School of Social Work must first approve them. Minimum of 51 credit hours for MPH. 2. Refer to the Behavioral Health Concentration for course work details: PHC 6410 Social and Behavioral Sciences Applied to Health may be waived for students with extensive social work, psychology, or counseling backgrounds. Minimum 45 credit hours for MPH. 3. For Both Concentrations: Field Placement: PHC 6945 Supervised Field Experience (Public Health - see is usually combined with the Social Work clinical placement. The placement is handled primarily through the Social Work Department, with prior consultation with the Public Health advisor. The dual-degree program is designed to afford students an opportunity to learn a more holistic interdisciplinary approach to planning services particularly in maternal child health settings. Students enrolled in the dual-degree program will take three semesters of field placement, in accord with the requirements of the MSW program. Research Project: The student should consult with the Public Health and Social Work advisor before beginning the joint research project. Work on the research project is most often done simultaneously with the field placement. Note: A comprehensive core exam is also required before completion of the MPH portion of the dual masters program. F. Course Substitutions and Waivers Decisions about course substitutions and waivers will be made on a case by case basis. FINANCIAL AID Given how the system currently operates, students may not receive financial aid for all the courses required in both the programs although they may request aid to do so. Therefore, students seeking the dual-degree are strongly encouraged to review information provided under the Graduate Section of the following webpage: Students are advised to ask for assistance from the USF financial aid office (their financial advisors) to learn more about financial aid so that they can make the best possible and an informed decision regarding pursuing the dual-degree program. Check the student resources section below for information on scholarships and other funding opportunities that students can explore. 5

6 STUDENT RESOURCES Please look at the following for student resource information. We have pointed out some specific ones of which we encourage you to be aware: Public Health Tuition and Fees and Financial Assistance at: Graduate Assistantships: Graduate assistantships are awarded each semester and are available through both the School of Social Work and the Department of Community and Family Health. Graduate assistants may be assigned to assist with research or teaching functions, assist in developing seminars or workshops, or do other work that is related to graduate study as well. Graduate assistants are paid a biweekly stipend and sometimes qualify to receive tuition waivers as well. Students should inquire within the department, with the office of field placement, and with individual faculty members about upcoming assistantship openings. Maternal-Child Health (MCH) Leadership Traineeships: Federally funded traineeships in maternal and child health leadership are available to students admitted to the MPH or Ph.D. programs in maternal and child health within the Department of Community and Family Health. Traineeships provide stipends and/or financial assistance toward tuition as well as a program designed to support the development of MCH leadership skills. MCH traineeships are competitive awards and the availability of the traineeships is dependent on annual funding. Interested students should have career goals that indicate a clear commitment to MCH. Applications should be forwarded to students once the application for admission to the graduate school is received. Applications for the traineeships are accepted in early summer. Both first and second year students are eligible for the awards. Students should indicate their interest in the traineeship at the time of application. For more information, visit: Scholarships from the School of Social Work: There are many scholarships available to social work students including the Betty Bodde, Margaret Wright, and Wayne Vasey Scholarships which are offered by the School of Social Work at various times throughout the year. You might start by contacting the USF Office of National Scholarships (ONS). That office is dedicated to providing guidance and support for USF s students as they compete for scholarships across all disciplines. The scholarships and fellowships are for creative, motivated, academically strong students who are leaders in and out of the classroom. You can also go to the School of Social Work web site where you will find an extensive list of available scholarships and fellowships. Additional list of scholarships: Check scholarships under News section of social work website (http://socialwork.cbcs.usf.edu/newsevents/news.cfm) College of Behavioral and Community Sciences website: Look at the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences Website for other funding opportunities that may be available. Here is the link to that: 6

7 IMPORTANT FACULTY LINKS Please contact the following faculty for more information on the dual degree program: Dr. Manisha Joshi Profile: Dr. Marion Becker Profile: Dr. Bruce Lubotsky Levin Profile: Dr. Martha L. Coulter Profile: ADDITIONAL LINKS College of Public Health Admission Requirements: MPH degree requirements: College of Public Health Course Descriptions: Department specific guidelines for special project, field experience, and program information: Academic and Student Affairs: Registration, Academic Procedures, etc: Tuition and Financial Aid: School of Social Work Admission Requirements: School of Social Work course requirements: School of Social Work important resources and links: 7

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