California Western -- J.D./M.S.W Dual Degree Program|
J.D./M.S.W Dual Degree Program
The J.D./M.S.W. Dual Degree Program was initiated in 1996. It offers students the opportunity to earn the two degrees in four, rather than the usual five years. The initial focus of the program was child welfare; the program is currently being expanded to allow concentrations in mental health and aging, and may be further expanded in the future.
The goal of the Program is to graduate students who are competent in the disciplines of social work and law for advanced practice in a field of service, such as child welfare or mental health, where law and social work converge. Complex issues requiring this expertise arise in the context of family counseling, administration and policy-making, as well as in practice in juvenile, family and criminal courts, and in mediation. The Program stresses an interdisciplinary approach that values collaboration and communication skills. View the curriculum .
The schedule of coursework for the Dual Degree Program immerses the student in the programs at each school. The first year of the four-year program is spent entirely at California Western School of Law. Students participate in the first year curriculum just as all first year law students do. There are opportunities to meet with other students who are in the Program and with Program faculty and administrators.
The second year of the program is spent entirely at SDSU, School of Social Work. Students participate in a 16-hour/week practicum as part of the first year of the M.S.W. program.
The first semester of the third year is spent at both institutions. Students take two courses at SDSU and the remainder of their courses are at California Western. Students begin work on their theses at this time. The Masters thesis is an interdisciplinary work jointly supervised by professors at both institutions. The second semester of the third year is spent entirely at California Western, where students receive on-going supervision on their thesis work.
The fourth year of the program is spent at both institutions. Students participate in another practicum through the School of Social Work, in a placement selected for its interdisciplinary practice, working with attorneys and the law as well as with social workers. Students complete work on their theses.
The interdisciplinary course in Child Abuse and Neglect is an integral part of the Dual Degree Program for students focusing on child welfare. This course provides students an opportunity to examine child welfare issues from several professional perspectives. Students who choose to focus on other topics will receive guidance from their faculty advisors regarding appropriate coursework.
Admission to the Program
Students must apply separately to California Western School of Law and San Diego State University. Once admitted to both schools, applicants will be selected for participation in the program by a special admissions committee consisting of representatives from both institutions. Admissions to the Dual Degree Program will be based on the applicant's undergraduate GPA, LSAT score, relevant practice, and other criteria.
California Western Professor Janet Weinstein oversees the dual degree program.
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