Public Policy, Social Work Programs Come Together in New Dual Degree

Sound social work practice relies on sound public policy. Beginning in fall 2016, students at the University of Houston will be able to pursue one program that prepares them for both. The UH Hobby Center for Public Policy (HCPP) and the Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) are offering a dual program that allows students to earn a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and public policy (MPP) concurrently. 


“This program enables students to pair the quantitative and ethics-oriented approach to policy analysis offered by the Master of Public Policy program with the substantive policy and practical training in health and human service related domains offered by the Master of Social Work program,” said Jim Granato, professor and director of the HCPP. “It meaningfully merges the best of both programs to prepare professionals who are well-rounded in areas of policy and practice.” 

The dual degree program will prepare social workers for professions in social welfare policy arenas as policy analysts, research associates, statisticians or in executive positions. To participate, students must apply and be accepted to both programs separately.

An informational session is planned for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Graduate College of Social Work, room 110J. To RSVP or for more information, call 713-743-8075 or email GCSW

“This is one of only a small number of dual degree programs in social work and public policy available nationally,” said Suzanne Pritzker, assistant professor at the GCSW and lead faculty for the GCSW’s Political Social Work specialization. “The skills, theories and practical experiences that students will gain through this unique program are essential for preparing professionals who are equipped to tackle the pressing social welfare challenges we face both today and in the future.”

The Hobby Center for Public Policy is an established leader in the area of nonpartisan research, internships and community outreach, working frequently with political, community and policy leaders. The GCSW is nationally acknowledged for its innovative curriculum that reflects current and future practice needs. Faculty from both programs will be dedicated to the dual degree program, which students can complete in six semesters.

Students will be required to participate in internships or field practicum offered through the GCSW. Dual degree students are eligible to participate in the GCSW’s Austin Legislative Internship Program offered during legislative years. There students will work full time as policy analysts to learn firsthand how policies are made. 

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