A person educated both in the law and in social work is equipped to understand personal, social and community problems, programs, and policies that affect human lives and is prepared to utilize legal and institutional resources. The dual degree program in law and social work is a valuable preparation for careers in the administration of human service organizations or in executive, legislative or judicial branches of government concerned with problems such as child welfare, family law, services to disabled persons, family violence, corrections and social justice. The program exposes students to issues and methods of social work and to the relationships between social work programs and the legal system.
The dual program makes it possible to earn MSW and JD degrees within a span of four years. Study during one of the summers will ordinarily be required.
Interested students must apply separately to both schools, meeting application and deadline requirements of each school. In most cases, students who anticipate pursuing the dual degree apply to both schools simultaneously. If admitted to both, they defer admission to one school and begin taking the foundation/core curriculum in the school of their choice. It is also possible for students in the foundation/core curriculum of either school to apply to the other program and begin there the following year.
The 24-credit Foundation Curriculum is the same for all students. As part of the 36-credit Advanced Curriculum, the School of Social Work accepts 6 credits from the law school. These courses must be selected in consultation with Corey Shdaimah, PhD, LLB, LLM.
Dual-degree students have access to the full range of social work field instruction. Most dual-degree students want to do some of their field work in legal or forensic settings where social workers and attorneys interact, where clients have legal and social problems or where legislation is advocated or drafted.
Applicants apply to the School of Social Work and the School of Law, and they are expected to meet the usual deadlines, standards, and requirements for admission.
In most cases, students who anticipate pursuing the dual degree apply to both schools simultaneously.
If admitted to both, they defer admission to one school and start taking the foundation/core curriculum in the school of their choice. It is also possible for students in the foundation/core curriculum of either school to apply to the other program and to begin there the following year. Some students apply to one of the schools for the second time (having not gained admission the first time), after having begun work in the other school. The Assistant Dean for Admissions provides information to applicants, does recruiting, and answers specific inquiries about the dual degree.
The 24-credit foundation social work curriculum is the same for all students. As part of the advanced curriculum, the School of Social Work accepts six hours of credits from the Law School. These courses must be selected in consultation with Dr. Shdaimah. Three elective credits are also accepted from the Law School (any course). The School of Law accepts nine transfer credits from the School of Social Work. These credits should be selected in consultation with the Academic Advisor at the School of Law.
Dual degree students have access to the full range of social work field placements. Most, but not all, dual degree students want to do at least some of their field work in legal or forensic settings where social workers and attorneys interact, where clients have both legal and social problems, or where legislation is advocated or drafted. Some potential field settings include: Circuit Court Medical Office (Baltimore), Public Defenders Office (Baltimore), Legal Aid (Towson), UMB Law Clinic (Baltimore), Family Court Services of Harford County (Bel Air), Children of Separation and Divorce (Columbia), House of Ruth (Baltimore), Domestic Relations Court (Baltimore), Child Welfare League of America (Washington), and several correctional facilities. While this is not a complete list, dual degree students have benefited from these placements, a few of which offer supervision by field instructors holding both the MSW and JD.
Students are encouraged to meet with the dual degree program advisors in order to schedule classes and ensure that all requirements will be met in a timely manner. The School of Social Work advisor is Dr. Corey Shdaimah (410-706-7544) and the Law School advisor is Associate Dean Susan Krinsky (410-706-5235).
Students first start the program at one school and take classes for at least one academic year. After spending a year in each school, students are free to mix social work and law courses together during their remaining semesters. Students who matriculate full-time can complete both degrees within four years.
Tuition for students in the MSW/JD program is calculated as follows:
Dual degree students are billed tuition and fees of the school in which they are taking the majority of credits in a particular semester.
Because students may be enrolled in two degree programs in the same year, students are encouraged to call the Office of Financial Assistance and Education to ensure that financial aid awards are calculated correctly.
For more information, contact:
Corey Shdaimah, PhD, LLB, LLM
University of Maryland School of Social Work
525 W. Redwood St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-1777
Associate Dean Susan Krinsky
University of Maryland School of Law
500 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786