Innovative JD/MSW degree program established by UMass Law and Bridgewater State University

Students will be able to earn both degrees in a total of 4 years rather than 5, saving tuition and living expenses.

Administrators posing after signing contract
From left to right: Mohammad Karim (Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UMassD), Frederick W. Clark Jr. (President, Bridgewater State), Karim Ismaili (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bridgewater State), and Eric Mitnick (Dean, UMass Law School). Photo by BSU student photographer Drew Cambra, '19.

The UMass School of Law at UMass Dartmouth and Bridgewater State University have entered an agreement to offer a joint Law/Master of Social Work program that will provide an opportunity for students to earn both degrees in four years rather than five.

By collaborating on the program, the schools are enabling students to enter public service with a uniquely defined skill set and less student debt.

UMass Law is the only public law school in Massachusetts and the only law school south of Boston. Bridgewater State University offers the only Master of Social Work south of Boston. Officials from the two schools believe the programs complement each other, given that lawyers and social workers deal with many of the same issues, though in different professional contexts.

“People in need of legal assistance, and particularly people involved in the criminal justice system or who struggle to afford legal representation in civil and administrative matters, such as family, housing, disability, domestic violence, healthcare or immigration law, also need the help of trained social workers,” said UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick. “Students trained through this concurrent degree program will be equipped to serve the public, and in so doing fulfill the primary mission of our two public institutions.”

“We can offer exciting opportunities for students in terms of practicum and field placements and we can serve our region as both social workers and lawyers,” said Lisa Krissoff Boehm, Dean, College of Graduate Studies at Bridgewater State University.

UMass Law and Bridgewater State faculty will teach the core curriculum of each degree program while enabling students to focus on areas of knowledge and practice that correspond to their professional goals. The program will integrate the two disciplines through field experience, and students will collaborate to offer legal and social services across Southeastern Massachusetts.

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