Now I’m a Dual Degree Student

Carrie Rheingans

Carrie Rheingans

I’m now officially a dual degree student in the School of Public Health (SPH) and the School of Social Work (SSW). I’m studying Health Behavior and Health Education in SPH and Community Organizing and Community & Social Systems in SSW. I started in SPH and applied to join the SSW after my first year because I wanted to learn more about community-level work. There are a few really great classes in SPH about community-level work, but I wanted more. The dual degree programs are great, because you can get both master degrees in a shorter amount of time. Some classes cancel out requirements from the other program, so it saves money and time in the long run. Since U-M has so many great graduate programs, it’s a great addition to your professional training. There are a number of dual degree programs you can do with public health.

Social work is often divided into two major fields – micro practice and macro practice. At U-M, the SSW micro field is called Interpersonal Practice and the macro field is broken up into three separate tracks: Community Organizing, Management of Human Services, and Policy & Evaluation. To do the dual MPH/MSW, you have to be in the HBHE department in SPH. Some students do the dual MPH/MSW because they feel that public health is very broad and macro-level, so they want to learn more how to work one-on-one with individuals and families. Some feel that HBHE focuses on individual behavior change and not enough on community-level change. After talking to the other nearly twenty dual degree students, we realized it is really up to your interpretation. I’m very happy I added the MSW, but I’m still very excited about my future public health courses that I have left (especially my course HBHE 640: Community Organization for Health Education!).

Each school has their own webpage explaining the dual MPH/MSW, see them here: SSW page –  SPH page

5 thoughts on “Now I’m a Dual Degree Student

  1. Pingback: An AIDS Activist Reflects on Kenneth Cole’s Visit « SPH Life – Student Blog

  2. Hi Carrie,

    I’m applying to Michigan now with the hope of doing the dual MSW/MPH program. Now that you’re a semester into the dual program, how are you liking it? What would you say have been the best and most difficult parts of doing both degrees?


  3. Hello Francesca,
    I really like the dual degree program. It’s nice to be able to use some of my public health knowledge in my social work field placement and I often talk about one field in classes for the other field. One thing that’s been challenging is the structural difference in the degree programs – social work classes are once a week, 3-hour blocks, to allow for two full days at the field placement, but public health classes are a mix of once a week, 3-hour blocks and twice a week, 1.5 hour lectures. This semester, I have to leave my field placement for 1.5 hours one day a week for a public health class… it’s a little annoying and would probably be nearly impossible if my placement was not in Ann Arbor.

  4. Pingback: Field Placement Bringing my Dual Degrees Together « SPH Life – Student Blog

  5. Pingback: I love my field placement! « Carrie Amber Rheingans

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