Social Work, M.S.W. and Law, J.D. Dual Degree

Lawyers and social workers both work to serve individuals and communities through different disciplines. The Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work dual degree offered through the Saint Louis University School of Law and the School of Social Work allows you to combine those disciplines, equipping you not only with the training to practice law but with the in-depth knowledge of social conditions and the needs of individuals, groups and communities needed to promote well-being. 

Program Highlights

  • SLU's M.S.W. program is a highly ranked social work program nationally and gives students the chance to hone skills in therapy, crisis intervention, veterans' services, nonprofit administration and global social work.
  • An M.S.W. gives a lawyer specialized insight into mental health, aging, homelessness, poverty, child welfare and many more issues. This insight is advantageous in practicing law of any kind, especially public interest law, family law and indigent defense. A lawyer can provide much-needed legal tools to those most in need that a social worker alone cannot, such as representation in court and mediation in housing and unemployment disputes.
  • Students complete their first-year core curriculum courses in the School of Law and then begin an integrated curriculum at both the School of Law and School of Social Work. Full-time students can complete the J.D./M.S.W. program in four years.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

SLU LAW's Legal Clinics give students first-hand experience representing clients who otherwise would not be able to afford a lawyer, under the direction of skilled and compassionate professors. Clinic students can work on civil and human rights issues, landlord-tenant disputes, vacancy issues, consumer protection issues, municipal ordinance violations and criminal defense, among others. On-site field placements offer the opportunity to intern with organizations focused on immigration law, health care accessibility and capital defense. 


A J.D. and an M.S.W. allow graduates diverse career opportunities, including public defense, nonprofit management, public welfare administration, victim advocacy, service as a guardian ad litem, judiciary service and more. Other career paths include practice in family law, immigration law, health policy/health law, employment law, disability law, elder law, environmental law or even corporate law while taking on pro bono cases as part of one's practice.


For additional information, see the catalog entries for the following SLU programs:

Law, J.D.

Social Work, M.S.W. 


Saint Louis University School of Law has been continuously accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since December 1924. The accrediting body is the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654, 312-988-6738.

The baccalaureate social work program at Saint Louis University has been continuously accredited since 1972. The Master of Social Work program at Saint Louis University has been continuously accredited since 1952.

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
1701 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314-3457
Phone: 703-683-8080 

Admission Requirements

Students must meet the admission requirements and be admitted into both degree programs according to the processes of each of the participating academic units in order to pursue a dual-degree program.

Individuals may apply to the M.S.W. degree program concurrently with application to law school or following admission to the School of Law; however, admission to the dual-degree program is contingent upon admission to both the M.S.W. and the J.D. degree programs.

Program Requirements

In place of nine credits of social work electives, dual degree J.D./M.S.W. students take nine credits of School of Law J.D. courses.

Students will have faculty mentors in both schools to assist them in course planning to meet each school’s degree requirements. In the School of Social Work, in addition to a faculty mentor, students have a field education practicum liaison to assist them in field education planning.

B.S.S.W. students granted full advanced standing for the M.S.W. complete 33 credits of the 48 required with M.S.W. courses. The remaining nine credits of M.S.W. electives are fulfilled with law courses. Students enrolled in an M.S.W. & J.D. dual degree will have nine credits of M.S.W. electives fulfilled with law courses.

The School of Law allows nine credits of M.S.W. courses to fulfill elective requirements for the J.D. Students will need to speak directly with the School of Law regarding curriculum requirements for the J.D. and which M.S.W. courses fulfill their J.D. requirements.

The M.S.W. degree requirements for J.D./M.S.W. begin in the second year of law school and are taken throughout the rest of the matriculation over the next three years.

Apply for Admission

For admission questions, contact:

School of Social Work Graduate Admissions Office

For program questions contact:

Kristi Richter, M.S.W., LCSW, CDFT
Director of Master of Social Work Program
Assistant clinical professor of Social Work