Social Work & Law

Many of the problems of social injustice may be effectively addressed through interdisciplinary efforts, particularly cooperative activities between the professions of law and social work. Increasingly, social workers have been enrolling in law schools to add to their knowledge and competence, and lawyers have been expanding their interests and activities in the social service field.

The MSSA/JD program offered by Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and School of Law makes it possible for

Students outside the law school

full-time students to pursue an integrated program of studies and receive the MSSA and JD degrees. This program allows completion of both degrees within four years rather than five.

Dual degree students develop an understanding of the methods, language, knowledge base, research, and ethics of law and social work. Students prepare for careers in public interest or family law, administration, supervision or direct provision of services, public policy, and individual and family practice.

Program Structure and Requirements

Students have the option of beginning their studies at either the law school or the social work school. The first year course of study is completed at the school of the student’s choice. The second year is spent completing the first year of study at the cooperative school. During the third and fourth years, required courses in each discipline and the fieldwork component are completed.

The School of Law allows 12 hours of credit for selected Mandel School courses to be credited toward the JD degree. The Mandel School allows 12 hours of credit for selected law courses at the School of Law to be credited toward the MSSA degree.

Student at computer

Although not required, applicants are encouraged to apply to both schools simultaneously, since students who apply to the second school during the first year of study will not be assured acceptance into the dual degree program. To be considered a dual-degree student and receive the benefits of cross-credit allowance, a student must follow a curriculum that pursues both degrees simultaneously and receive a C grade or better to receive cross-credit for the courses.

Applicants must comply with the application procedures, requirements and deadlines for each school. In addition to the LSAT requirement for the School of Law, the Mandel School requires a Miller’s Analogies Test or GRE score only for applicants whose grade point averages are below 2.7 on a 4.0 scale.

Field Education

Each student is required to complete four semesters of field education. The first two semesters (601 and 602) are completed during the first year in the Mandel School program. The advanced (603 and 604) placement is completed during the third or fourth year of the program. For the advanced placement, efforts are made to place the student in a human service setting embracing problem-solving processes with legal implications.

For additional information, please contact Sarah Andrews.