J.D./M.S.W. - Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements
Dual degree J.D./M.S.W. students are required to complete 125 credits between both schools. The majority of the credits (77) must be law credits; the remaining credits (48) must be taken in social work. Overall, dual degree students save themselves from having to complete 15 additional credits by doing the program. But this difference is even greater because students also get the benefit of credits transferring in to each degree requirement from the other school. For example, 9 social work credits count towards the J.D.; 12 law credits count towards the M.S.W. Law School Required Courses 

Program Structure
Since students can start in either school, there is no set structure to the dual degree program. The following chart can give you an idea of how a typical dual degree J.D./M.S.W. student’s program will be structured. Most of this sample structure can be modified, especially the layout of the summers.

It should be noted, however, that one of the most time-consuming requirements is completing your social work practica hours. The Brown School requires students to complete 8 credit hours of practica (960 hours). Thus, many students find the need to spend the bulk of two of their three graduate school summers doing practica (in addition to completing some practica hours during the year). Also, most students will take some summer courses during at least one summer.

Year of Program  Starting in Law  Starting in Social Work 
1st Year  1L year - all 1L law courses All social work (mostly core) courses
1st Summer  Legal Internship Social Work Practicum
2nd Year  Mostly (or all) social work courses 1L year - all 1L law courses
2nd Summer  Social work practicum; 1 or 2 summer courses Legal internship and/or social work practicum
3rd Year  Assorted courses (mostly law) Assorted courses (mostly law)
3rd Summer  Social work practicum Social work practicum; 1 or 2 summer courses
4th Year  Assorted courses (mostly law) Assorted courses (mostly law)
JD/MSW students from the class of 2013.
From left: Allison Jones and Emily

Every student does it slightly differently, and it really just depends on an individual’s preferences. Some students prefer to load up their courses during the year so they can do an additional summer legal internship. Others might participate in several time-intensive activities like trial or moot court teams, the DC clinic, a journal, or a legal clinic (which might prevent them from taking heavy course loads) and thereby rely more heavily on their summers as a time to earn credit.

Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree in social work will have slightly different program requirements, and should speak with Brown School admissions and the Law and Social Work Society for more information.