Social Work and Law

Law students talking to each other outside of the School of Law
Master of Social Work, Juris Doctor

About the Program

If you’re looking to protect, represent, shape policy for and assist those in our communities who need help most, a dual Master of Social Work (MSW) and Juris Doctor (JD) from Case Western Reserve University may be an ideal way to get started. Gain the hands-on training and interdisciplinary education you need in just four years as you earn both degrees from one of the top-ranked universities in the United States.

Armed with these complementary degrees and invaluable insights into the methods, language and ethics of law and social work, graduates can go on to pursue careers in public interest or family law, administration, supervision or direct provision of services, public policy, and individual and family practice.

What to Expect

You’ll select which program you wish to begin first. You’ll start the first year at the school of your choice—either the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences or the School of Law—and take the second year in the other.

Then, in your third and fourth years, you’ll complete required courses in each discipline, as well as fieldwork that gives you exceptional experiential learning opportunities.

You can “double count” 12 credit hours toward each degree—which means you’ll spend less time and money earning these two impactful degrees, finishing in four years instead of five.

I had worked with marginalized people before and realized I really enjoyed the policy part of it—making sure there are more efficient ways of helping people. ... I thought it would be best to pursue a law degree to make me more of a knowledgeable advocate for them, and a MSW because, working with legal clients, you need to understand the social work side as well.”

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Beyond the Classroom

Outside your classes, you’ll gain hands-on experience through four semesters of field education—the first two when you’re studying in the social work school, and the second two during your third or fourth year of the program, often specializing in a human-service setting where you can focus on problem-solving processes with legal implications.

In our School of Law, you can get involved with clients early on in your education, through our Law Clinic’s efforts such as our Human Trafficking Law Project or Second Chance Reentry Clinic.

Looking to get involved in other ways? We offer a variety of service- and career-oriented student organizations that will help you find your fit—and make personal and professional connections that can last a lifetime.

By the Numbers


social work program out of 319 schools ranked, U.S. News & World Report


hours of pro bono work students in our law clinic provide annually


law clinic specialties to gain hands-on client experience


semesters of field experience


years to complete 2 degrees

Admission Details

You’ll need to apply—and be admitted to—each school separately. We encourage (though don’t require) you to apply to both schools simultaneously, as you’re not guaranteed admission to the dual-degree program if you apply to the second school during your first year of study. To be considered a dual-degree student and receive the benefits of cross-credit allowance, you’ll need to follow a curriculum that pursues both degrees simultaneously and receive a C grade or better to receive cross-credit for the courses.

Each degree program will review applications separately and will make admission decisions separately. Timelines and due dates are different for each program. Please review each program's website for the correct date.

Admissions are rolling, and you may apply early or regular decision.

Typical applications include:

Contact Us

Richard Sigg
Richard Sigg
Director for Recruitment and Enrollment
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

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