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UGA and Emory University offer new dual master’s degree in social work and divinity

Emory, UGA offer joint degree in divinity, social work


UGA Master of Social Work (MSW) - Emory Master of Divinity (M.Div) Dual Degree Program

Program Overview| Admissions Information | Program of Study (PDF) | Tuition & Financial Aid | Contact

Program Overview

The University of Georgia’s School of Social Work and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology have teamed together to provide students a professional dual degree program in which students will learn to integrate the secular perspective of social work with a faith-based orientation in theology in a synergistic manner. The MSW/MDiv dual degree program is the first in the state of Georgia. This dual degree program integrates the knowledge, values and skills offered by the existing M.S.W. and MDiv professional degree programs with a unique focus that addresses issues of grief, loss, and bereavement. The graduates of this program will address a critical societal need for social work-based social services that are responsive to faith-based needs of clients served. This unique combined training will prepare the graduates to assist people struggling to identify their ultimate concerns, sense of meaning and purpose, as well as providing them with strategies for coping during times of tragedy and adversity.


Why Pursue Dual MSW and M. Div Degrees?
With its unique focus in the field of bereavement services, graduates will be able to positively impact society by mitigating the rise in physical and mental health issues of unresolved grief and loss.  The student will be provided an educational framework to integrate the fields of social work and theology in order to better serve individuals, families, communities, and organizations. Divinity student’s skills and knowledge will be enhanced with counseling skills or community empowerment skills of a Social Worker. Innovations in bereavement interventions argue for forging relationships between social workers and clergy as a means for enhancing the role of spirituality and faith to mitigate unhealthy grieving practices. Graduates will be able to offset these threats by blending both disciplines together. In addition, pursuing the dual degrees will result in a reduction in both time and costs for the student.

Earnings and Job Outlook

Social work employment is estimated to grow by 25% from 2010-2020, faster than the average for all occupations. According to a University of Georgia Board of Regents study (2010), Georgia ranks almost last in the nation of psychologist and social workers per 100,000 populations. Additionally, it is a reality that the twenty-first century is fast becoming a trauma involved society. This is evidenced by the rise of public mass shootings, returning war veterans, the rise in rates of divorce among families with young children, and the rise in the number of deaths per year. These issues, among others, create a rising need for MSW/MDiv professionals with knowledge of grief and loss.  This dual degree program will also provide numerous opportunities in other areas to the student thus, broadening their opportunities.

Program Description

The program can be completed in four continuous years of full-time study (instead of five years). The Dual Degree option is not available for Gwinnett Extended Time MSW program. Students accepted to both programs before starting the Dual Degree or students who apply for the Dual Degree in their first year at Emory will complete the first year at Emory, while deferring the enrollment for one year at UGA. Students will complete the second and third years at UGA and then the fourth year at Emory. Students who apply for the Dual Degree in their first year at UGA will complete the first two years of the program at UGA and move on to Emory for the third and fourth years of the program. Advanced Standing students begin at Emory for two years and then move to UGA for the third year. Completion of the Dual Degree requires strict adherence to course sequence and curriculum design. Students enrolled in this dual degree program will complete a 128-hour curriculum (68 hours at MDiv program and 60 hours at MSW program).  For the program of study, see the MSW/MDiv Program of Study.


Admissions Information

We recommend that students apply separately to each school before beginning either. Acceptance into one of the programs does not guarantee acceptance into the other. However, students accepted into one program can apply to the other program in their 1st year of the accepted program. In this case, one of the three recommendation letters has to come from the advisor at the institution they started. Once accepted to both programs, students will be assigned an advisor from each school. Completing two rigorous graduate degree programs simultaneously requires that students have a strong academic record.  Although the admission requirements for the two programs differ, both reflect the demanding nature of graduate studies. Applicants must meet all the requirements for admission into both programs. Please see the contacts below for more information about applying to each program. 

UGA School of Social Work
Leon Banks, PhD, MSW
MSW Admissions Director
Telephone: 706-542-5454

Emory Candler School of Theology
Telephone: 404-727-6326
Financial Aid:
Admissions website:
Program website:

Tuition & Financial Aid

Students are able to complete both degrees at a reduced cost and one year less of study. Each semester, tuition and other expenses are paid to the school at which the student is taking classes.

Emory Candler School of Theology offers competitive merit-based scholarships for the MDiv degree covering between 50 and 100 percent of the cost of tuition. Scholarships are based on admission application materials. The typical financial aid package includes a combination of a Candler Scholarship; grants from outside sources, including churches, annual conferences and community organizations; and federal student loans. See the following link for detailed information.

UGA School of Social Work offers many types of financial aid, including scholarships (Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students & UGA School of Social Work Scholarships), assistantships (Graduate Assistantships that pay full tuition), Title IV-E Welfare Education Program. See the following link for detailed information.


Thomas Artelt, PhD, MDiv MSW
MSW/MDiv Dual Degree Coordinator
School of Social Work
University of Georgia
Telephone: 706-542-5454