The J.D./M.S.W. joint degree program offers you the opportunity to further your knowledge in social work while also obtaining your Juris Doctor.

The dual degree program in social work and law is designed to provide you with both a social and legal perspective to meet the social work and legal challenges in many areas of professional practice, such as child welfare, education, mental health, individual and family practice, family mediation, services to elders and people with disabilities, legal aid, criminal and juvenile justice, consumer protection, advocacy, employment, housing, community development, human rights, immigration, and the evaluation of social service programs. Social work and law both share a commitment to vocation and calling.

A collaborative program with the School of Social Work, the dual degree option allows you to earn two graduate degrees – the Master of Social Work and the Juris Doctor – in less time than it would take to earn them separately.

To enroll, you must be independently accepted into both graduate programs. You should express your intent to complete the joint degree program when applying for admission. Once accepted, you will develop a plan for completing both degrees with the support of an adviser from each program. Upon completion, you will have two degrees. Below is a brief overview of the program.

For more information, contact the School of Law admissions office at lawschool@stthomas.edu or (651) 962-4892. The faculty adviser for this program is Virgil Wiebe. The contact person in the School of Social Work is George Baboila. For other questions about the M.S.W. program, contact msw@stthomas.edu.

Required M.S.W. Curriculum

If you enter the Master of Social Work degree without an accredited baccalaureate degree in social work, you will be a “regular standing” student and will be required to complete 56 semester credits, including 1,000 hours of field practicum. If you are admitted with an accredited baccalaureate degree in social work, you are an “advanced standing” student and are required to complete 38 semester hours, including 600 hours of field practicum. Three of the nine elective credits must be taken from the 600-level clinical elective offerings at the University of St. Thomas School of Social Work. The other two electives will be selected from relevant law electives. You may select additional social work electives, but doing so would put you beyond the number of credits necessary for the dual degree.

GRSW 501: Theory and Practice of Social Work I (3 credits)
GRSW 502: Theory and Practice of Social Work II (3 credits)
GRSW 505: Field Practicum and Seminar I (3 credits)
GRSW 506: Field Practicum and Seminar II (3 credits)
GRSW 540: Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3 credits)
GRSW 580: Methods of Social Work Research (3 credits)

GRSW 500: History and Philosophy of Social Work (3 credits)
GRSW 603: Methods of Clinical Social Work I (3 credits)
GRSW 604: Methods of Clinical Social Work II (3 credits)
GRSW 607: Field Practicum and Seminar III (4 credits)
GRSW 608: Field Practicum and Seminar IV (4 credits)
GRSW 625: Social Policy and Program Development (3 credits)
GRSW 650: Clinical Supervision and Program Management (3 credits)
GRSW 645: Psychopathology and Human Behavior (3 credits)
GRSW 681: Social Work Practice Research (3 credits)
Social work elective (3 credits)
Law electives that count toward social work (6 credits)

Required J.D. Curriculum

As a J.D. student, you must complete 31 credits in first-year courses and no fewer than 57 credits in the second and third years, completing a minimum of 88 credits. You will select elective upper-level courses from a variety of offerings to complete your upper-level requirements, with six credits counted toward the social work degree.

Civil Procedure (4 credits)
Constitutional Law (4 credits)
Contracts (4 credits)
Criminal Law (3 credits)
Lawyering Skills I (3 credits)
Lawyering Skills II (2 credits)
Property (4 credits)
Torts (4 credits)
Foundations I: Moral Reasoning for Lawyers (1 credit)
Foundations II: Serving Clients Well (1 credit)
Foundations III: Business Basics (1 credit)

Required upper-level courses
Business Associations (4 credits)
Evidence (3 credits)
Professional Responsibility (3 credits)
Lawyering Skills III (2 credits)
Mentor Externship I (1 credit)
Mentor Externship II (1 credit)

Courses that would be considered particularly relevant to the dual degree program are listed below.

Administrative Law (3 credits)
Adoption Law (2 credits)
Bankruptcy (3 credits)
Clinical Education (various clinics) (2-6 credits)
Criminal Procedure (3 credits)
Disability Law (3 credits)
Domestic Violence (2 credits)
Employment Law (3 credits)
Family Law (3 credits)
Health Law (3 credits)
Immigration Law (3 credits)
International Human Rights (2 credits)
Mediation (3 credits)
Negotiations (3 credits)
Poverty Law (3 credits)
Trial Advocacy (3 credits)
Wills, Estates and Trusts (3 credits)

Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services

The St. Thomas Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services is among the first of its kind in the country. Under the guidance of the center’s faculty, students from the disciplines of law, psychology and social work collaborate to provide a holistic approach to helping clients in need—individuals who could not otherwise afford legal services, including immigrants, the elderly, homeless adults and youth, victims of social injustice and persons with chemical dependency.

Our clinics provide students with opportunities to develop competent legal practice skills and to apply substantive course work to actual cases.

St. Thomas Law has 14 legal clinics:

  • Appellate
  • Immigration Appellate
  • Bankruptcy Litigation
  • Catholic Social Thought and the United Nations
  • Criminal and Juvenile Defense
  • Elder Law and Guardianship Alternatives
  • Immigration Law
  • Community Justice Project
  • Consumer Bankruptcy
  • Federal Commutations
  • Religious Liberty Appellate
  • Special Education
  • Trademark
  • Nonprofit Organizations