Boston College Graduate School of Social Work provides an option whereby those without a master's degree in social work can begin a program of study that leads to both the MSW and the PhD degrees. The combined MSW/PhD program provides an integrated educational program for exceptionally talented students to embark on their doctoral course work before completing the MSW program.
Most applicants to the combined MSW/PhD program are expected to have a master's degree in a behavioral or social science discipline, although exceptional applicants without any graduate degree are also considered. The combined MSW/PhD program is especially well suited for international students, enabling them to acquire an understanding of fundamental American social welfare policy and social work practice prior to launching their advanced doctoral studies.
The major advantage of the combined program is that it eliminates redundancy between the MSW and PhD programs, saving the student approximately one year compared to the time normally required to complete the two degrees separately. The specific approach of completing the combined MSW/PhD program is tailored to the individual student's experiences and objectives. The structure of the second and third years of the combined program depends largely upon how students opt to complete the second year of the MSW field practicum.
Students with limited prior experience need to select a more traditional social work practice-oriented second year field placement. However, students with significant prior experience may apply to have their second field placement include a research and evaluation emphasis, which would also fulfill the Research Internship requirement of the Doctoral Program.
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