Admissions

Social Work (MSW) and Public Health (MPH)

The University of South Florida offers a concurrent 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 concurrent degree program was initiated in 1986 and produced its first graduate in 1988.

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 concurrent degree, expanded study in public health encourages a well-balanced 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 concurrent 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, email mcoulter@health.usf.edu). Find the MCH concentration at Maternal and Child Health MPH

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, multicultural issues in mental health, and epidemiologic issues in mental disorders, including co-occurring disorders. (Contact is Bruce Levin, MPH, DrPH, email blevin@health.usf.edu). Find the Behavioral Health concentration at Behavioral Health MPH


Taking Courses Prior to Admittance

Public Health

It is recommended that students take some Public Health courses prior to admission to the concurrent 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 concurrent 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 prerequisites 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:
Note: Students requesting waivers for any courses must meet with their assigned advisors to present their case.

Application and Coursework

Two options: Students currently have two options for entering the concurrent 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 concurrent masters program: Dr. Manisha Joshi (manishaj@usf.edu) or Dr. Marion Becker (mbecker2@usf.edu). 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 email letter from one of the Concurrent Degree Program faculty advisors.
    • Social Work students will need to apply to the College of Public Health through SOPHAS. Social Work students should include a statement that discusses how the dual degree program would 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: Graduate Application Procedures
    • In addition to SOPHAS, students will need to fill out the application form for concurrent graduate degree available through USF (http://www.grad.usf.edu/student-forms.php) and required by the College of Public Health for the concurrent 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 (dkeiser@usf.edu) 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 Concurrent 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 concurrent 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 (mcoulter@health.usf.edu) if enrolled in the maternal and child health concentration and with Dr. Levin (blevin@health.usf.edu) if enrolled in the behavioral health concentration. Once they have met with one of the two Concurrent 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 email 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: http://socialwork.cbcs.usf.edu/masters/admissions.cfm
    • 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 Concurrent 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 (dkeiser@usf.edu).
    • 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.

Admission requirements for MSW

  • Admission to the MSW program is a two-part procedure. For complete details on the admission process, please visit: http://socialwork.cbcs.usf.edu/masters/admissions.cfm.
  • Full-time students are admitted to the MSW program in the fall semester. Applicants are urged to check the current University catalog for admission dates. Advanced standing students can be admitted in the summer and spring.

NOTE: Social work students who are interested in becoming concurrent master's students should apply to the Public Health portion of the concurrent 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.


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 http://health.usf.edu/publichealth/degreereqs.html). 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:

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university.
  • 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.
  • 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 58th percentile and minimum GRE Quantitative score of 25th percentile.

MSW Course Work

Please refer to the following link for details on course work for the Master of Social Work Program: http://socialwork.cbcs.usf.edu/masters/coursework.cfm


MPH Course Work

  1. Refer to the Maternal and Child Health Concentration for course work details: Maternal and Child Health MPH
    • 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.
    • 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 M.P.H.
  2. Refer to the Behavioral Health Concentration for course work details: Behavioral Health MPH
    • 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 http://health.usf.edu/publichealth/academicaffairs/fe/) 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 concurrent 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 concurrent masters program.

Course Substitutions and Waivers

Decisions about course substitutions and waivers will be made on a case by case basis.