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JD/MSW Agreement with the School of Social Policy & Practice

  1. Overview
    1. The JD/Masters in Social Work is a joint program sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Students will have the opportunity to earn both degrees in four years (more on the sequencing of these years follows, below).
    3. Students in this program will be prepared to assume positions of leadership in law and social policy, ready to actively pursue a more just society, and to carry out viable systems change due to their grounding in both professions.

 

  1. Application Process
    1. Students will apply independently to each department through each program's specified admission process. The Law School and the School of Social Policy & Practice will make independent judgments about each candidate.
      1. While the Law School and the School of Social Policy & Practice will make independent admissions decisions, each application will invite the student to indicate that they have applied, or been admitted, to the other program.
    2. Applicants will have three options as to applying for the joint degree program:
      1. They may make contemporaneous applications to both programs prior to being accepted at either,
      2. They may apply to the Masters program in the first or second year of the Law program, or
      3. They may apply to the Law program in the first year of the Masters program.

 

  1. Degree Completion Requirements
    1. In order for a student to receive both degrees, he or she must complete the independent degree requirements of each program.
      1. For Law
        1. For the JD class of 2013 and beyond students must complete a minimum of 86 credits, 52 hours of which must be advanced credit completed in the second and third years of Law study. Students in the joint program may apply twelve credits (four courses)[1] from the MSW program toward that requirement, reducing their credit requirement to 40 credits. These four courses are the total number of non-Law courses that a Law student can take for Law credit in other departments of the University. Law students enrolled in the joint program are not eligible to participate in Study Abroad Programs.
        2. Students must also satisfy the pro bono requirement of the Public Service Program and fulfill their senior writing and professional responsibility requirements (more on these requirements can be found in the Law Student Guide to Policy and Procedures).
      2. For the Masters program
        1. MSW students are required to take eight foundation courses (SW 601, 602, 603, 604, 611, 612, 613, and 614). In their advanced year, students select a method of concentration (clinical or macro practice). Students are required to take: a research course and a research option; two required advanced practice courses and field placement Clinical: SW 704 & SW 714 or Macro: SW 708 & SW 718); at least one social work practice elective in their concentration ; and three other elective courses.(practice or non-practice). Students in the joint degree program may apply up to four courses from the law school for their practice and non-practice electives. These courses must be approved in advanced by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Social Policy & Practice.

 

  1. Program Sequencing
    1. The joint degree is best earned in the either of the following sequences:
      1. Year 1 spent at Social Policy & Practice, completing the foundation courses, Year 2 spent at the Law School, completing the standard and required 1L curriculum, and Years 3 and 4 spent in residence[2] at the Law School but taking courses in both Social Policy & Practice and Law.
      2. Year 1 spent at the Law School, completing the standard and required 1L curriculum, Year 2 spent at the School of Social Policy & Practice, completing the standard first year MSW curriculum, Years 3 and 4 spent in residence at the Law School but taking courses in both Law and in Social Policy & Practice.
    2. Other sequences may be arranged on a case-by-case basis for exceptional candidates.

 

  1. Tuition and Financial Aid
    1. Law School tuition is paid when the student is taking only Law courses and Social Policy & Practice tuition is paid in the year when the student is taking only MSW courses.
    2. In other years, while the student is in residence at the Law School, students pay Law School tuition. The Law School is then responsible for payment of tuition for up to four courses taken at Social Policy & Practice toward the completion of the joint degree.
      1. Penn Law students will be charged for any courses taken in SP2 over and above the four courses that are countable toward the JD degree.
      2. The Law School will not be responsible for any tuition or fees incurred for courses taken during the summer months.
    3. Financial aid decisions are made independently by each school. Financial aid decisions are typically made by the school in which the student is in residence for that year.

 

  1. Scheduling Courses
    1. Students register for courses in one program in that program's registration period and according to that program's registration rules and procedures.
    2. Students must be aware of the differences in these procedures:
      1. For the fall semester, the two programs pre-register at different times and using different systems: the School of Social Policy & Practice course schedule is published and students pre-register in the spring, while the Law course schedule is published and students pre-register in the summer.
      2. Accordingly, students taking courses in both departments in a fall semester will have to pre-register for School of Social Policy & Practice courses without knowledge of the Law courses being offered.
      3. Oftentimes, students are able to resolve any issues which arise due to the registration differences during the drop/add period.
    3. The timing and location of course scheduling must also be considered so that students are best able to attend all classes.

 

  1. Communication Issues
    1. Students with questions about the JD/MSW program can address them to the following persons:
      1. Prospective students with questions about the JD program: Renee Post, Director of Admissions, rpost@law.upenn.edu
      2. Currently enrolled JD/MSW students with questions about course selection, scheduling, tuition concerns, etc.:  Gary Clinton, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, gclinton@law.upenn.edu
      3. Currently enrolled JD/MSW students with questions about financial aid:  Anthony Henry, Director of Financial Aid, henry2@law.upenn.edu
      4. Questions about the MSW program:  Joretha Bourjolly, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, jerri@sp2.upenn.edu
    2. Each year, this document will be reviewed and re-approved by representatives of both departments. Currently, that review will be handled by:
      1. For the Law School:  Jo-Ann Verrier, Vice Dean for Administrative Services, jverrier@law.upenn.edu
      2. For the School of Social Policy & Practice: Joretha Bourjolly, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, jerri@sp2.upenn.edu

 

  1. Issues Particular to the Program
    1. Students in the joint degree program may have particular career interests and goals. They are encouraged to meet individually with a counselor in the Career Planning & Placement Office at the Law School and with their academic advisor in the School of Social Policy & Practice.

 

Last reviewed: September 2011


[1] A note on classes and credits: the Law School operates, in order to comply with accreditation standards, on a credit hour basis while courses in the MSW program are typically worth 1.0 credit units (some ½ semester courses may be worth 0.5 credit units). In converting between the two programs, a Law course will count as 1.0 credit units (or cu) in the MSW program, and a course in MSW will be worth three credit hours at the Law School.

[2] Law School accreditation requirements require that JD recipients are "in residence" at the Law School for six semesters.  

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