MASTER OF SOCIAL WORKMasters in Bioethics

The Master of Social Work/Masters in Bioethics (MSW/MBE) is a dual degree program sponsored by the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy. The aim of the dual degree program is to prepare students to be leaders in bioethics-related, research-based program and policy venues in the social services, life sciences, and medicine. This dual degree program blends the like missions and values of social work and medicine for equitable service provision, knowledgeable development of ethical policies, and just decision making in the 21st century global environment of rapid technological and social change.

Students will have the opportunity to earn both degrees in two years (two academic years and two summers).

This program is intended to:

  • Provide valuable tools for social workers in local, state, and national venues;
  • Expand the range of frameworks applicable to decision making in matters of bioethics and social policy and practice; and
  • Stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration in research, policy making, and implementation.

Application Process

Students apply first to SP2. Only upon acceptance to the MSW program should students apply for the MSW/MBE dual degree.

  • Students applying to the MBE may use the same letters of recommendation used for the MSW application.
  • The MBE degree requires no GRE or other standardized test scores.

The MSW/MBE degree is open only to full-time MSW students on the clinical or macro practice track.

Tuition and Tuition Assistance

SP2 will be the Home School for all of the first year, as well as the summer of year 1 and the fall of the second year.

The Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy will be the Home School for the spring and summer of the second year.

Tuition assistance decisions are made by SP2 alone. The Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy does not offer any tuition assistance, grants, or scholarships.

Course of Study

In order for a student to receive both degrees, they must complete the independent degree requirements of each program.

For the MSW

Students must complete 16 CUs for the MSW portion of the degree:

  • SWRK 6010, 6020, 6030, 6040, 6140, 6150, 7010, 7020, 7040/7080, 7140/7180, 7130, 7440 and BIOE 6010 and 6020, a policy option, and a SWRK elective of their choice (SWRK 7600 must be chosen if the student is pursuing the clinical concentration)

For the MBE

  • Students must complete nine course units toward the MBE portion of the degree.  Of these, students take six course units in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy (BIOE 6010, 6020, 9960, and 3 electives) and three course units at the School of Social Policy & Practice (SWRK 7010, 7020, and 7440)

Combining non-course requirements from both programs

Students have two options after completion of SWRK 7440:

  • If the final paper for SWRK 7440 relates to Bioethics, the student can petition it to count as BIOE 9960, the final project for the MBE.
    • Students who would like to count SWRK 7440 as their MBE final project must submit a Petition for Action and receive approval from the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy Director of Education prior to the semester in which the writing is to be done.
    • If the student chooses this option, then they may take a BIOE elective instead of BIOE 9960.
  • Alternatively, the topic discussed in SWRK 7440 can be built upon and completed as BIOE 9960, the final project for the MBE.

The following table illustrates how the double counting works:

MSW/MBE Degree Completion Requirements (Required)

16 for MSW/MBE16 for MSW5 for MBE
SWRK 6010SWRK 6010
SWRK 6020SWRK 6020
SWRK 6030SWRK 6030
SWRK 6040SWRK 6040
SWRK 6140SWRK 6140
SWRK 6150SWRK 6150
SWRK 7xxx (Policy Option)SWRK 7xxx (Policy Option)
SWRK 7010SWRK 7010SWRK 7010
SWRK 7020SWRK 7020SWRK 7020
SWRK 7040/7080SWRK 7040/7080
SWRK 7130SWRK 7130
SWRK 7140/7180SWRK 7140/7180
SWRK 7440SWRK 7440SWRK 7440
SWRK 7600 (for clinical students; SWRK 7xxx for macro students)SWRK 7600 (for clinical students; SWRK 7xxx for macro students)
BIOE 6010BIOE 6010BIOE 6010
BIOE 6020BIOE 6020BIOE 6020

MSW/MBE Degree Completion Requirements (Elective)

4 for MSW/MBENone for MSW2 for MBE
BIOE 9960 or xxxx*BIOE 9960 or xxxx*
BIOE xxxxBIOE xxxx
BIOE xxxxBIOE xxxx
BIOE xxxxBIOE xxxx

* If the student uses their SWRK 7440 as their MBE final project, then the student would take 4 BIOE electives (xxxx).

Scheduling Courses

Students register for courses in one program in that program’s registration period and according to that program’s registration rules and procedures. The timing and location of course scheduling must also be considered so that students are best able to attend all classes.

Issues Particular to the Program

Contact Us

Mai Le, JD, MSW

Administrative Director, MSW Program

215 746 4031

MBE Administrative Coordinator