Graduate Programs

Master of Social Work / Master of Public Health Program Overview

Colorado State University & Colorado School of Public Health's dual degree MSW & MPH program

Dual Social Work & Public Health Degree Program

The Colorado State University MSW/MPH program offers the Global Health and Health Disparities concentration. The MSW/MPH provides an integrated approach to preventing, addressing, and solving global health and behavioral health problems, which includes individuals’ physical health conditions and the behavioral and social ecological determinants of health. The program has a strong commitment to social justice, the elimination of health, behavioral health, and care disparities, as well as a holistic definition of community and population health and well-being. The discipline draws on both social work and public health research, practice, and theoretical frameworks. The two fields of social work and public health are:

  • Complementary: Public Health focuses on populations of people, and is highly analytical and Social Work focuses on individual, groups, and communities within the social environment. Both programs heavily emphasize cross-cultural, global content in classes and have an emphasis on social justice.
  • Evidence-based: The program focuses on contemporary behavioral health and health issues, and uses current research on empirically documented successful programs.
  • Health promotion and disease prevention: Aims to improve global health by promoting well-being and preventing the occurrence of problems, not solely addressing them after they have developed.
  • Multi-method: Applies all prevention and intervention tools, including research, policy analysis, clinical intervention, and macro and community-based approaches that comprise social work and public health.
  • Trans-disciplinary: Works with multiple systems, organizations, and professions to reach individuals, groups, communities, and populations globally.
  • Strengths-oriented: Utilizes multiple approaches to reduce risk, exposure to hazards, and to promote resilience thereby increasing overall well-being.

Both social work and public health share a commitment to involving consumers/community members in the development of policies and in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health promotion interventions, health behavior change, and health education.


Many students find this combined degree appealing, particularly if they are interested in community development and outreach. Students from other countries and students with international work experience, such as those who have served in the Peace Corps, find that this degree furthers their interest and careers in international service. Potential career examples are:

  • Prevention-oriented clinical practice
  • Health education and health promotion
  • Program planning, development, and evaluation
  • Health policy analysis
  • Health system and health care management at local, state, national, and international levels
  • Public health advocacy
  • Patient services management
  • Research science
  • Policy advocacy
  • Program management
  • Communication management
  • Adjunct and Part-time faculty in MSW and BSW degree programs
  • Bridging the gap between the social work and public health practice

For more information about practicing social work in the public health sector visit the American Public Health Association Social Work Section:

Admission requirements

The MSW/MPH Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.