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JD/MSW (Social Work)

The JD/MSW program combines the two-year Master of Social Work (MSW) program offered by the School of Social Welfare and the three-year Juris Doctor (JD) program offered by the KU School of Law into a course of study designed to offer students a thorough academic grounding in both substantive areas. Students may be able to complete both degrees within a continuously enrolled four-year period, depending on the availability of required courses and the student’s academic performance in both programs. Diplomas are awarded concurrently by each school when all requirements for each degree are completed.

Current national debates involve complex social welfare issues, suggesting that an important relationship exists between social policy and social work advocacy activities, including areas involving the interface of clinical practice and law. Lawyers who advocate for those challenged by social conditions and social policies must appreciate the unique perspective that social work brings to these circumstances. Career opportunities for graduates of this combined degree are available in a variety of settings, including law firms, health services delivery organizations, managed care organizations, private and public regulatory agencies, and in various governmental capacities.

For more information, contact Melanie Wilson, law school, 785-864-0359, mdwilson@ku.edu; or Margaret Severson, social work, 785-864-8952, mseverson@ku.edu.

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the joint JD/MSW Program, an applicant must hold an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, meet the admission requirements and complete the admission processes required for both the School of Social Welfare’s MSW Program and the School of Law’s JD program, and be admitted by both the School of Social Welfare and the School of Law no later than the end of the first year of study in either program. Full-time study is required for the joint JD/MSW Program.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required for an applicant to the joint degree program. An applicant or student who is interested in entering the joint degree program should discuss his or her plans with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Law and the Director of Admissions for the MSW Program in the School of Social Welfare. No student may enter the joint degree program after completing more than the equivalent of two semesters of full-time enrollment in either the MSW or JD curriculum.

The catalogs for each school should be consulted for their separate admission requirements and procedures.

Degree Requirements

To complete the JD/MSW program, a student must successfully complete a minimum of 124 credit hours. Of these, at least 76 credit hours are required by the School of Law and at least 48 credit hours are required in the MSW Program.

Students in the joint degree program should note that while the School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average in JD course work to remain in good standing and for graduation, the MSW Program requires a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for the MSW course work.

In planning their enrollments, students should inform themselves of course prerequisites and plan their course schedules accordingly. Please refer to the School of Social Welfare website and the School of Law website for the most current information about admission and graduation requirements.

JD Requirements

All candidates for the JD must complete the following required courses:

 

First Year Upper Class
Law 804 Civil Procedure (4)
Law 806 Intro. to Constitutional Law (4)
Law 809 Contracts (4)
Law 814 Criminal Law (4)
Law 820 Lawyering Skills I (2)
Law 821 Lawyering Skills II (3)
Law 826 Property (4)
Law 831 Torts I (4)
Law 873 Commercial Law: Secured Transactions (3)
OR
Law 874 Commercial Law: Payment Systems (3)

AND
Law 908 Evidence (3)
Law 972 Professional Responsibility (2)

In addition to all JD/MSW program course requirements, students must satisfy the upper-class writing requirement and the Professional Skills Requirement in the School of Law. Please refer to the current School of Law Catalog for details.

In addition to the 37 credit hours of required legal course work (described above), students in the joint JD/MSW program must complete at least 12 additional hours of crossover or interdisciplinary course work, and also at least one semester of legal clinical work chosen from the following course offerings, in order to satisfy the educational rationale of both the law and social welfare programs. The offerings differ depending on whether the student is enrolled in the MSW program’s Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice concentration (SWAAP) or in its Clinical Practice Concentration.

Clinical Practice Concentration

Two of the following courses (4-6 credits)
Three of the following courses (6-8 credits)
At least one semester of a legal clinic (3-4)
LAW 898 Disability Law (2)
LAW 923 Immigration Law (2)
LAW 931 Introduction to Elder Law (2)
LAW 932 International Human Rights Law (3)
LAW 979 Race and American Law (3)
LAW 993 Public Health Law (2-3)
LAW 860 Alternative Dispute Resolution (2-3)
LAW 899 Elder Law Seminar (2)
LAW 909 Family Law (2-3)
LAW 919 Health Law and Policy (2-3)
LAW 935 Juvenile Law (2)
LAW 942 Law and Bioethics (2-3)
LAW 973 Public Benefit Law (3)
Criminal Prosecution Clinic (only open to a third year law student)
Elder Law Externship
Externship Clinic (must have approval of both Law and Social Welfare schools)
Tribal Judicial Support Clinic
Legal Aid Clinic (only open to a third year law student)
Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies )

SWAAP Concentration

Two of the following courses (4-6 credits)
Skill: One or more of the following courses (2.5-3)
Substantive: One or more of the following courses (2.5-3)
At least one semester of Legal Clinic (3-4)
Alternative Legal Clinic (if approved by MSW advisor)
LAW 875 Current Issues in Poverty Law (1)
LAW 973 Public Benefit Law (2-3)
LAW 925 Employment Law (3)
LAW 903 Employment Discrimination Law (3)
LAW 965 Nonprofit and Tax-exempt Organizations (2)
LAW 950 Administrative Law (2.5-3)
LAW 860 Alternative Dispute Resolution (2-3)
LAW 866 Civil Rights Actions (2.5-3)
LAW 932 International Human Rights Law (3) (only on petition that this is relevant to specialization)
LAW 939 Labor Law (3-4)
LAW 954 Legislation (2-3) )
LAW 850 Capital Punishment (3)
LAW 898 Disability Law (3)
LAW 909 Family Law (2-3)
LAW 914 Federal Indian Law (3)
LAW 919 Health Care Financing & Regulation (3)
LAW 920 Health Law and Policy (2-3)
LAW 923 Immigration Law (2-3)
LAW 931 Introduction to Elder Law (2-2.5)
LAW 935 Juvenile Law (2)
LAW 967 Native American Natural Resources (2-3)
LAW 978 Refugee and Asylum Law (2-3)
LAW 987 Sovereignty, Self-determination, and the Indigenous Nations (2-3)
Legislative Clinic
Public Policy Clinic
Tribal Judicial Support Clinic
Criminal Prosecution Clinic (only open to a third year law student)
Elder Law Externship
Externship Clinic (must have approval of both Law and Social Welfare schools)
Legal Aid Clinic (only open to a third year law student)
Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies

MSW Requirements

Students admitted into the JD/MSW program will enter the full-time, two year MSW program. Students admitted into the advanced standing MSW program are not eligible for the joint degree program.

Students who start their JD/MSW program by enrolling for their first year in the MSW program must earn a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in their first year in order to proceed in the joint degree program.

The following 32 credit hours of course work and field practicum hours are required of all students for completion of the first year of the MSW program:

Fall Semester
Spring Semester
SW 701 Foundation Practicum (7)
SW 710 Social Work Practice I (3)
SW 713 Community and Organizational Practice (3)
SW 720 Social Policy and Program Analysis (3)
SW 701 Foundation Practicum (7)
SW 711 Social Work Practice II (3)
SW 730 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3)
SW 740 Social Work Research (3)

Upon completion of the first year of both the MSW and JD programs, students are required to select an advanced level concentration in the School of Social Welfare. These two concentrations and the requirements for the joint degree are:

Clinical Concentration

Students choosing the Clinical Social Work Practice Concentration must successfully complete three required courses in the concentration totaling 9 credit hours. In addition, Clinical Concentration students must enroll in a Law School clinical experience for at least one semester and are required to take one semester of an advanced level practicum in the Clinical Practice Concentration, totaling 7 credit hours. Thus, students in the Clinical Concentration are required to complete 16 advanced level credit hours bringing the total number of social welfare credit hours to 48.

Fall Semester
Spring Semester
SW 801 Fall Field Practicum (7 hours)
SW 810 Clinical Social Work Practice (3 hours)
SW 830-833 Integrative Seminar or SW 855-865: Clinical Elective (3 hours)
SW 811 Advanced Clinical Practice Selective (second semester) (3 hours)
SW 855-865 Clinical Elective (3 hours) if not taken in the fall

Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice Concentration

Students choosing the Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice Concentration (SWAAP) are required to take three of the five required courses in the concentration (listed below), for a total of 9 credit hours. In addition, SWAAP students must enroll in a Law School clinical experience for at least one semester and are required to take one semester of an advanced level practicum in the SWAAP for 7 credit hours. Thus, SWAAP students are required to complete 16 advanced level credit hours, bringing the total number of social welfare credit hours to 48.

Fall Semester
Spring Semester
SW 804 SWAAP Field Practicum (7) – Taken concurrently with SWAAP classes and may be completed over two semesters
SW 840 Designing Social Work Programs (3)
SW 844 Advanced Policy and Programs (3)
SW 849 Financial Management (3)
SW 842 Assessing and Managing Outcomes (3)
SW 843 Personnel Management, Team Building, and Workplace Diversity (3)

Students will work with a faculty advisor to select the required three courses. The extent of prior experience in a social service agency, Law School classes proposed and completed, the Law School clinical experience, and their career plans will all be considered in making this decision.

The policies of the two schools (Social Work and Law) and the University of Kansas Graduate School govern waivers, substitutions and all other degree requirements. Students should consult the respective associate deans if they have questions about degree requirements.

 

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