Online Master of Social Work/Master of Public Administration Dual Degree Program | University of Nebraska

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Administration Dual Degree Program

Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration

University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Course Delivery
    Fully Online
  • Total Credits
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit
  • Out of State Tuition Per Credit

Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Get the same diploma as on campus students

The online Master of Public Administration (MPA)/Master of Social Work (MSW) Dual Degree Program is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge in both fields of study.

Students choose the MSW/MPA Dual Degree Program to:

  • Diversify their academic and professional skillset.
  • Plan and implement innovative, efficient and effective strategies affecting constituencies ranging from the most vulnerable to the most affluent populations.
  • Expand their knowledge of cultural and ethnic diversity.

There are two options for students entering the dual degree program, a 57 credit program and an 81 credit program. The 57 credit program is for students who have completed an accredited BSW degree. The 81 credit program is for all other students; it includes foundation course work in social work.

Students who decide after admission to either the Master of Public Administration or Master of Social Work Program that they want to pursue the dual degree program will need to submit a new application, application fee, and additional application materials to the appropriate department/school for review.

Note: Students who have already graduated with an MPA or MSW degree are ineligible for a dual degree

Career Outlook: In today's working world, an advanced degree is essential. An MPA/MSW Dual Degree prepares individuals to work in a variety of positions in the public sector. Furthermore, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for social workers is growing at a rate of 11%, much faster than the national average.

This program is ideal for professionals looking to work in areas such as:

  • Public service
  • Health care management
  • Clinical social worker
  • Social policy analyst
  • Federal, state and local government


  • The Grace Abbott School of Social Work is accredited by CSWE (Council on Social Work Education  
  • The College of Public Administration is accredited by NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration)

Tara Bryan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chair

Tara Kolar Bryan's research focuses on nonprofit capacity and its relationship to organizational effectiveness, evaluation capacity and it's relationship to accountability in the NGO sector and the role of philanthropic foundations in building nonprofit capacity. Her teaching interests include organization theory and behavior in public and nonprofit organizations, planning and evaluation in public and nonprofit organizations, grant writing seminar, introduction to the nonprofit sector and advanced leadership in public and nonprofit organizations.

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A bachelor's degree

  2. 3.00 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. Taken the GRE

  4. A written personal statement

    2 Statements of Purpose – 1 for MSW and 1 for MPA

  5. 3 letters of recommendation

    The letters must be professional in nature. Each recommender should describe how they know you (how long and in what capacity), and why they believe you would be a good candidate for the MPA/MSW program.

  6. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  7. Current resume or work history

  8. Completion of the following undergraduate prerequisite courses is required before entering the MPA/MSW Program: A human biology course or equivalent such as anatomy, a research methods course (Note: There is a waiver exam available for this prerequisite) and a statistics course.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

· Complete and submit the online application for admissions 

· Pay the $50 non-refundable application fee

Apply Now

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
January 15

The MSW/MPA Foundation Program is 81 credit hour program available to applicants who do not hold a BSSW degree from an accredited school of social work within the last 10 years. 

The MPA/MSW Advanced Standing program is a 57 credit hour program available to applicants who have earned a BSSW degree from an accredited school of social work within the last 10 years. 

Required Foundation + Advanced Standing Courses (totals 24 credits):

  • SOWK 8070: Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
  • SOWK 8080: Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
  • SOWK 8090: Social Welfare Policy
  • SOWK 8110: Institutional Oppression
  • SOWK 8130: Generalist Practice I
  • SOWK 8150: Generalist Practice II
  • SOWK 8160: Generalist Social Work Practicum I
  • SOWK 8170 Generalist Social Work Practicum II

Required MPA/MSW Advanced Standing Courses (totals 57 credits): 

  • 21 Hours of Required Public Administration Courses
  • 3 Hours Public Administration Elective
  • 27 Hours Required Social Work Courses
  • 3 Hours Social Work Community Practice Elective
  • 3 Hours of Social Work Elective

Exit Requirements: 

  • Capstone - 3 credits, PA 8990
  • Comprehensive Examination: Students will complete a social work comprehensive exam focused on advanced generalist social work practice, administered by the Grace Abbott School of Social Work. The comprehensive exam is offered twice each academic year, during the Fall and Spring semesters. It is recommended that students take the comprehensive exam during the semester of graduation, but they may take it earlier, provided no more than 9 semester hours are remaining to complete after the semester in which the comprehensive exam is taken.

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
Choose 1 Required Public Administration Elective3

Course Number:

PA 8320 Public Policy Evaluation, PA 8550 Introduction to the Non-Profit Sector, PA 8410 Public Human Resource Management, PA 8480 Seminar in Public Financial Administration, PA 8520 Seminar in Grant Writing, PA 8566 Intergovernmental Management, PA 8600 Administrative Law, PA 8740 Health Care Policy OR PA 8470 Administrative Ethics & Leadership

Choose 1 Required Social Work Community Practice Elective3

Course Number:

SOWK Social Justice & Social Advocacy, SOWK 8560 Advanced Community Practice, SOWK 8570 Administration of Social Welfare Agencies

PA 8050Foundations of Public Administration3

Course Number: PA 8050

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the art and science of public administration and to enable the student to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities requisite to the pursuit of graduate education in public administration.

PA 8090Organization Theory & Behavior3

Course Number: PA 8090

A study of the various approaches to understanding public organizations and people in them with special emphasis on the design, functioning and management of public agencies.

PA 8300Policy Design & Implementation3

Course Number: PA 8300

This course examines the formulation, adoption, implementation and evaluation of public policy. Important topics include the basic features of American government, the causes and determinants of public policies, the dynamics of decision-making in the public sector, the obstacles to "successful" public programs and the criteria for the assessment of a public program's impact. Special emphasis is given to the role public managers play within the policy process.

PA 8400Public & Nonprofit Budgeting3

Course Number: PA 8400

The purpose of the course is to familiarize public administration students with the basic characteristics and features of public budgets and enable them to deal competently with them.

PA 8530Planning & Evaluation3

Course Number: PA 8530

The basic question presented in this course is how we can use strategic planning and evaluation to build public and nonprofit organizations that function creatively and effectively, and that enhance the overall public value of their services.

PA 8990Capstone Project in Public Administration3

Course Number: PA 8990

The basic question presented in this course is how we can use strategic planning and evaluation to build public and nonprofit organizations that function creatively and effectively and that enhance the overall public value of their services.

PA/AVN 8100Advanced Management & Leadership for Public & Nonprofit Professionals3

Course Number: PA/AVN 8100

This course is designed to advance students' understanding and techniques about the role of leadership and ethics in the public and nonprofit sectors. Special attention will be paid on the application of theories of leadership and ethics to manage various boundary spanning activities including managing external relationships, collaborations/networks, performance and innovation and change.

SOWK 8190Research & Computer Applications3

Course Number: SOWK 8190

This course focuses on the use of research and computer programs in social work practice. Social and behavioral science research methods are reviewed. Students learn to analyze existing data using SPSS and to write an empirical research report. The use of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint in social work practice are explored.

SOWK 8220Clinical Social Work with Individuals3

Course Number: SOWK 8220

This advanced course provides an in-depth study of several theories of personality and behavior and of therapeutic approaches derived from the theories. Major focus is on therapy with individuals across the life span, but application to family systems is also considered, as well as the fit of each theory within the broader social systems framework.

SOWK 8230Clinical Social Work with Groups3

Course Number: SOWK 8230

This advanced course provides knowledge of and experience in working with groups as systems. It includes both assessment of dynamics as well as developing skills in intervention modalities appropriate for working with various types of groups.

SOWK 8290Social Work Practice in Health & Mental Health3

Course Number: SOWK 8290

This course emphasizes the development of advanced level clinical and social work practice skills for working with selected acute and chronic health and mental health conditions affecting individuals across the life cycle.

SOWK 8400Advanced Social Work Practicum I3

Course Number: SOWK 8400

This course is designed to provide supervised, individual professional learning experiences offered within the setting of a selected social service agency in the student's chosen concentration. The student will be introduced to a variety of advanced direct and indirect social work practices. The Dual Degree Program is a part of Integrated Practice.

SOWK 8410Advanced Social Work Practicum II3

Course Number: SOWK 8410

This course is designed to provide supervised, individual professional learning experiences offered within the setting of a social service agency in the student's chosen concentration, typically the same agency as in SOWK 8400. This course builds upon opportunities provided and competence achieved in Advanced Social Work Practicum I.

SOWK 8540Social Welfare Planning3

Course Number: SOWK 8540

This course is a macro practice course in social planning in the context of strategic planning and its application to social policy and program change, administrative planning for social services and planning at the program, agency, and community level.

SOWK 8650Health/Mental Policies for Social Work3

Course Number: SOWK 8650

This course emphasizes the development of health and mental health policy analysis skills and knowledge for social work students. Major topics include government response to health care, cultural and historical perspectives, service provision and epidemiological trends across the life span. It provides a framework for clinical interventions in a variety of health and mental health settings.

SOWK 8940Evaluation of Social Programs3

Course Number: SOWK 8940

This is an advanced research course in the evaluation of social programs and social agencies which focuses on agency organizational structure, program design and effectiveness and social impact.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 8016Social Work with American Indians3

Course Number: SOWK 8016

Description pending.

SOWK 8026Social Work with the African American Family3

Course Number: SOWK 8026

This course seeks to develop in students an awareness and understanding of some of the social and psychological/cognitive realities influencing the behavior of African American youth and families across the lifespan. The content draws upon theories, research and social work practice skills relevant to African American youth and families, as well as the cognitive process and social systems which impact African youth and families.

SOWK 8046Working with Minority Elderly3

Course Number: SOWK 8046

This course is designed to provide the student with knowledge of the differing status, attitudes and experiences of the elderly within minority groups. This course examines various service systems and practice models in terms of their relevance and effectiveness in meeting needs of the minority elderly.

SOWK 8056Ethnic Diversity & Social Work Practice3

Course Number: SOWK 8056

This course focuses on effective generalist social work practice with clients of ethnic diversity.

SOWK 8240Social Work Practice with Children3

Course Number: SOWK 8240

This advanced practice course provides an overview of several social work interventions used with children and adolescents. A brief review of normal child development and the family life cycle is the context for presenting a range of children's problems and special needs. The course will cover several intervention models and address their application in various service settings and in individual, family, group and social action formats. Children in diverse family settings, institutions and in minority families and cultures are considered to understand unique therapeutic issues present for them.

SOWK 8250Social Work Practice with Families3

Course Number: SOWK 8250

This course considers the family context as a system for therapeutic intervention. The family unit and its diverse forms are defined; theories for assessment and understanding family's interactions across the lifespan are considered and the alternative modalities useful for treating family dysfunction are presented. As a practice-oriented course, it emphasizes the development of professional skills in working with the family across the lifespan.

SOWK 8260Social Work Practice with Older Adults3

Course Number: SOWK 8260

This course in the advanced social work practice curriculum focuses on micro- and macro-level practice skills essential to effective social work practice with older adults. This course emphasizes clinical interventions that focus on individuals and small groups as well as community practice skills that involve social marketing and community organizing, networking and collaborating with community professionals.

SOWK 8270Social Work Practice with Sexual Concerns3

Course Number: SOWK 8270

This course provides a survey of the current knowledge base, theory and research in human sexuality with a focus on advanced practice intervention and prevention approaches for a variety of sexuality issues faced by individuals, couples and families throughout the lifespan.

SOWK 8280Social Work Practice with Couples & Changing Family Structures3

Course Number: SOWK 8280

This is an advanced practice course designed to prepare students to provide therapy for couples and families at all life stages who are experiencing problems in intimacy, marital, divorce or remarriage adjustment.

SOWK 8516Treatment Issues in Chemical Dependency3

Course Number: SOWK 8516

This course addresses chemical dependency treatment issues including denial, minimization, relapse and its prevention, resistance, family dynamics, poly-substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, spirituality and the influence of self-help groups. The education will include the clinical treatment needs of individuals suffering from chemical dependency, taking into consideration diversity, gender, culture and lifestyle.

SOWK 8536School Social Work3

Course Number: SOWK 8536

Description Pending

SOWK 8600Permanence for Children3

Course Number: SOWK 8600

This course is about the child welfare system and focuses on policies, laws and agency structures designed to help abused and neglected children and their families.

SOWK 8610Family & Community Violence3

Course Number: SOWK 8610

This course covers family and community violence across the life span with an emphasis on gaining knowledge of the issue, skills in policy analysis and a broad framework for developing effective services in various service settings.

SOWK 8626Trauma & Resilience 3

Course Number: SOWK 8626

This course provides an overview of issues related to trauma including: the factors related to development of trauma, definitions of trauma, the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities and the programs and practices that are most effective and appropriate regarding the social work role in responding to trauma.

SOWK 8686Medical & Psychosocial Aspects of Alcohol/Drug Use and Addiction3

Course Number: SOWK 8686

This course introduces students to substance abuse disorders and their impact on the individual, family and society. It covers psychopharmacology, alcohol and drug interactions, drug classifications, theories of chemical dependency, various models of treatment, vulnerable populations and ethical and legal issues

SOWK 8696Assessment & Case Assessment in Substance Abuse3

Course Number: SOWK 8696

This course focuses on assessment of clients and their environment, and diagnosis and referral for substance abuse treatment. Emphasis is given to assessment instruments, treatment levels, treatment planning, case management and social justice.

SOWK 8806Social Work & The Law3

Course Number: SOWK 8806

This course presents the fundamental principles of criminal and civil law that have relevance to the practice of social work. Topics include the legal system; legal research methods; professional ethical/legal responsibilities and liabilities; family law; elder law; criminal law; juvenile law; personal injury law; employment discrimination law; capacity to make contracts and wills; rights of institutionalized patients and rights of handicapped children to an education.

SOWK 8816Spirituality & Social Work Practice3

Course Number: SOWK 8816

Social work literature defines spirituality as the human striving for a sense of meaning, purpose, values and fulfillment. Spirituality is expressed through diverse forms throughout a client's lifespan; it is central to clients' understanding of suffering and their attempts to resolve it. This course examines major issues pertaining to spiritually-sensitive social work practice with clients of diverse religious and non-religious

SOWK 8826Global Engagement: A Social Work Perspective3

Course Number: SOWK 8826

Description Pending.

SOWK 8836Crisis Intervention3

Course Number: SOWK 8836

The prevalence of crisis experiences within our society and lifespan development necessitates that social workers acquire a knowledge and skill-base for effective and professional crisis intervention practice. Students will study the ABC Model of Crisis Intervention and how to ethically practice with diverse and vulnerable populations. Students will apply crisis intervention theory and models of intervention to various concern areas including but not limited to: suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, substance abuse, grief and loss and violence. A systems, strengths and cultural emphasis will be applied to the various crisis situations covered.

SOWK 8856Hospice & Other Services For the Dying Patient/Family3

Course Number: SOWK 8856

This course examines the hospice concept and other related services available in the community. The student will learn that hospice is an alternative to the traditional medical model.

SOWK 8886Topical Seminar in Social Work3

Course Number: SOWK 8886

Specific seminar topics will focus on advanced content in social work theory and practice. The course description will be announced when a specific topical seminar is proposed. The topics selected will be consistent with School of Social Work program objectives, faculty expertise and student needs. This course may be repeated for up to nine hours credit.

Cost for Nebraska Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $365.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $417.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1095.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1251.75

Cost for Out of State Residents

  • Per Credit Hour

  • Tuition: $600.00
  • Fees: $52.25
  • Total: $652.25
  • 3 Credit Hours

  • Tuition: $1800.00
  • Fees: $156.75
  • Total: $1956.75

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