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Concurrent JD/MSW

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the School of Social Work in the College of Public Programs offer a concurrent JD/MSW degree which permits completion of both degrees concurrently.  This integrated concurrent degree-program allows traditional social work students in the graduate program to complete both degrees in four years, rather than five, if they were pursued separately, and advanced standing students to complete the program in three years rather than four.  The JD/MSW program does not accept part time students.

Law students must complete a minimum of 88 credits, 57 credit hours of which must upper-level credits that are completed in the second, third, or fourth year. 

• The 76 JD credit hours plus the 12 MSW shared credit hours totals the minimum 88 overall credit hours for the JD program.

• The 12 MSW shared credit hours will count toward the upper-level JD credit hour requirement.

Social Work students in the Standard MSW program must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours.

• The 48 MSW (Standard) credit hours plus the 12 shared JD credit hours totals the minimum 60 overall credit hours for the MSW (standard) program.
Social Work students in the

MSWAdvanced Standing program complete  a minimum of 39 credit hours.

• The 27 MSW (Advanced Standing) credit hours plus the 12 shared JD credit hours totals the minimum 39 overall hours for the MSW (Advanced Standing) program.

The Concurrent JD/MSW program affords students who wish to practice in areas in which law and social work interact (e.g. child welfare, Indian child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, criminal justice, social policy, human rights, immigration, and public social service administration) an opportunity to participate in a coherent program leading to both the J.D. and M.S.W. degrees.  Students are enrolled in both the College of Public Programs and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and will take courses at both campuses which allows students to take advantage of the strengths of each.  The traditional feel of the Tempe campus combined with the urban environment of the Downtown campus allows students to experience both dynamic environments. 

Tuition is specific to the College teaching the courses that students are enrolled in.

Internship Opportunities:
Some of the internship opportunities include:  Arizona State Attorney’s Office; Arizona Supreme Court; Center for Law and Public Interest; Federal Public Defenders; Maricopa County Attorney’s Office; Maricopa County Office of the Legal Advocate; Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office, Maricopa County Office of the Legal Defender; and Maricopa County Juvenile Court. 

The Clinical Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law has been assisting Arizona indigent clients for more than 40 years.  The Clinic has been through many changes since its inception in 1969.  Compared to other Universities ASU has more clinics dealing with issues involving the interface of law and social work practice.  Some of the opportunities for clinical experience include:  Halle Center Family Violence Legal Clinic; Immigration Law & Policy; Indian Legal Clinic; Lodestar Mediation Clinic; Public Defender Clinic; Post Conviction Clinic and Criminal Practice Clinic.

Social Work Faculty:
The ASU School of Social Work has a distinct group of faculty with expertise in broad array of Social Work and Law interactions.  Areas of special law related expertise include:  José B. Ashford (Juvenile, Criminal, and Mental Health Law); Thalia Gonzalez (Juvenile, Law); Michael Shaffer (Mental Health Law) Nora Gustavsson (Child Welfare and Indian Child Welfare Law);  Jay Klein (Disability Law); Tamara Rounds (alternative dispute resolution), and Elizabeth Segal (Poverty Law). 
In addition, the faculty in the School of Social Work is extensively involved in research and writing on topics dealing with:
• abuse and neglect
• administrative rule making;
• adult and juvenile diversion from the justice system
• alternative dispute resolution
• assessment, treatment and classification of adult and juvenile offenders;
• assessing and treating domestic violence perpetrators and victims
• capital mitigation
• child welfare policy and law
• civil commitment
• conflict management;
• correctional mental health
• correctional interventions
• dependency mediation;
• death penalty jurisprudence
• family mediation
• immigration policy and law
• Indian Child Welfare Policy and Law
• Indian Policy and Law
• international Policy and Law
• mental health policy and law
• risk and needs assessments
• sentencing
*See faculty bios for further information about this impressive body of work.
Steven Anderson (Social Welfare Policy and Law); David Androff,(Human Rights and Truth and Reconciliation commissions); José B. Ashford; (Forensic social work, special need offenders, and capital mitigation); Robin Bonifas (Aging policy and law); JoAnne Cacciatore (Infant death policy and law); Bonnie Carlson (Domestic violence); Nora Gustavsson (Child welfare; child abuse and neglect); Karen Kerdes (Child abuse and neglect); Judy Krysik (child welfare, child abuse and neglect); Craig LeCroy (juvenile justice and correctional risk and needs assessment); Ann MacEachron (Child welfare and Indian Child Welfare;); Jill Messing (Domestic violence); Edwin Gonzalez-Santin (Child Welfare and Indian child welfare policy); Christina Risley-Curtiss (Animal abuse, diversion for animal abusers and child abuse and neglect); Dominique Roe-Sepowitz (Juvenile justice; prostitution diversion; juvenile homicide¬) Michale Shaffer (co-occurring disorders in offenders and mental health law); and Lela Williams (juvenile delinquency). 

Office of Forensic Social Work Research:

The Office of Forensic Social Work Research and Training was established to explore questions and issues related to the application of professional social work expertise to legal matters.  Forensic social work is one of the fastest growing sub-specialties in the profession of social work.  Broadly speaking, it refers to the various interactions between the fields of law and social work.
The primary mission of the office is to promote social work’s contributions to the understanding of law and the legal system with a special focus on investigating child welfare, mental health, and criminal justice/law interactions.  The goals of the office are to:
• Promote research and evaluation of forensic social work practice.
• Educate social workers in forensic matters and legal personnel in social work matters.
• Conduct research on the assessment, classification, and treatment of adult and juvenile offenders.
• Contribute to the development of best practices for treating victims of crime.
• Research mental health issues in the civil and the criminal justice systems.
• Promote the establishment of community partnerships with courts and justice agencies concerned with the continuous improvement of social work and law interactions.

The Office currently is involved in projects dealing with institutional reform litigation for the seriously mentally ill, mitigation of criminal punishment in capital murder cases, reducing violent recidivism in offenders diagnosed with serious mental disorders, group trauma and abuse interventions for treating at-rist women in community and in prison settings, exploring juvenile and adult criminal behavior and mental health interactions, and identifying offender profiles for serious juvenile offenders.

The Office research projects involved bachelors and graduate students, community partners and research partners from other universities.

Application Process:
Students will apply independently to each department through each program’s specified admission process.  The Sandra Day O’Connor Law School and the School of Social Work will make independent judgments about each candidate.  Students must apply to the Graduate College for Admission and must meet the admission requirements of the university as well as of both degree programs.
• While the Sandra Day O’Connor Law School and the School of Social Work will make independent admissions decisions, each application will invite the student to indicate that they have applied, or have been admitted, to the other program.

Applicants will have four options as to applying for the concurrent degree program:

• They may make contemporaneous applications to both programs prior to being accepted at either,

• They may apply to the MSW program in the first or second year of the JD program, or

• They may apply to the JD program in the first year of the standard MSW program.

• Advanced standing students must make a contemporaneous application.

Information regarding the admission process for the JD and MSW degree can be found at the following websites:

JD Degree:

MSW Degree:




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