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Public Policy & Social Welfare


The Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) and the School of Social Welfare offer a three-year concurrent MPP/MSW degree that blends the substantive focus and professional social work training of the MSW with the rigorous methodological tools and policy breadth of the MPP. This concurrent degree is designed to meet the pressing need for creative and skilled leaders in the human services field to tackle large and seemingly intractable social problems in the United States and elsewhere. Adequate solutions to the challenges posed by immigration, widening income inequality, rising rates of chronic illness and the aging of the population all require a combination of sophisticated social work, policy analysis and political leadership.

The program stresses analytic, methodological, theoretical, and practical approaches to problems in social service provision and administration, and in public policy more broadly. The course requirements provide for a substantive introduction to the disciplinary approaches that are employed.

Leaders in human service agencies recognize the complementarities between policy skills and social welfare skills.The field now takes as given that practice and policy should be evidence-based, that is, supported by valid data and appropriate statistical analyses used within a strong theoretical framework. Students seeking a career in social service research, policy or administration must be knowledgeable about the complexities of service delivery, a perspective supplied by the MSW field work and service-oriented coursework; skilled in “big picture” policy analysis based in the rigorous methodological training in economics, statistics, and policy research of the MPP; and able to effectively advocate for their programs and their constituents in the legislature and the executive branches, skills addressed in both programs.

Candidates apply directly to the MPP/MSW Concurrent Degree Program through either school and must be admitted by each school separately. Each program applies the same admissions requirements for concurrent degree students as for all other applicants. Applicants not yet at Berkeley can enroll by being accepted for both the MPP and the MSW (selecting the MAP track). Currently-enrolled Berkeley MPP and MSW students who would like the concurrent degree must submit their application to the complementary school (meeting the regular application deadline) during their first semester in the MPP or MSW program.  Candidates admitted to the concurrent degree formalize their enrollment by submitting the “Petition to Change Degree Goal/Major” to Graduate Division with signatures from each school.  

Career Opportunities

The program is intended to prepare students for superior and versatile career opportunities in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, both nationally and internationally. Graduates will go on to become national and global leaders in domestic and international government agencies (at all levels-federal, state and local), private sector companies, non-profit groups, think tanks, research organizations, and community-based organizations.

Program Requirements

The objective of this program is to permit students to obtain both the MPP and the MSW degree in six semesters. Pursued separately, these degrees would normally require eight semesters. Interested students should refer to the MPP/MSW Guide for details of the course requirements and required numbers of credits. In brief, the requirements are as follows:

  • Complete GSPP core course requirements, including a Capstone Project requirement (the Advanced Policy Analysis Project), that reflects each student’s professional and intellectual interests.
  • Complete MSW core course requirements 
  • Complete at least 19 MSW fieldwork credits, at least
  • 55 academic coursework units, and a total of at least 77 credits
  • A Social Work Field placement that also meets the public policy internship requirement. This placement would normally occur during the second year of courses, after a student has completed significant core coursework in both schools. 

Upon successful completion of requirements for both degrees, concurrent degree students will be awarded the MPP and the MSW. This intensive course of study is completed in three academic years including completion of a 10 week full-time summer internship after the first year of study. Students will be required to meet with faculty advisors from both programs in order to ensure successful completion of degree requirements for both degrees. 

If you have questions about the program curriculum and admission requirements, please contact: Professor Jane Mauldon of the Goldman School of Public Policy at jmauldon@berkeley.edu, phone (510) 642-3475, Lezley Hightower at lhightower@berkeley.edu, phone (510) 642-7888, or Joshua Dullaghan of the School of Social Welfare at jdullaghan@ berkeley.edu.

PDST Tuition Costs for the MPP-MSW Program

For students accepted into the MPP/MSW concurrent degree, the Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition (PDST) fee is assessed as follows for every semester: Since both degree programs have a PDST, the student is assessed the higher of the two PDSTs. 

Apply to the MPP/MSW program.