Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and The University of Georgia School of Social Work have partnered to offer a dual master’s degree in divinity and social work. It is the first dual degree to be offered between the two universities.

The Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work program will prepare professionals who are equipped to deal with both spiritual and practical issues related to aging, addiction, grief and loss, and other stressors.

“We are excited to partner with UGA to offer this innovative, cross-disciplinary degree,” says Candler Dean Jan Love. “It promises to yield great benefits for individuals and for society. Degrees in social work and theology are great for people who want to change the world for the better.”

Maurice Daniels, dean and professor in the UGA School of Social Work, agrees. “Students will learn to balance pastoral skills such as spiritual counseling with social work practices such as family therapy and community assessment, strengthening their endeavors with individual clients as well as in the public policy arena,” he says.

According to Harold Briggs, associate dean of the UGA School of Social Work, the number of people experiencing stress related to loss has escalated in recent years, but clergy and licensed clinical social workers—the professionals most often sought for help—often lack professional training to assist with emotional and practical strategies for coping.

“The cross-training at UGA and Emory will create a new, more effective brand of caregiver, one trained to help people draw on both community- and congregationally-based resources as they address problems,” says Ian A. McFarland, Stokes Professor of Theology and associate dean at Candler.

The Candler-UGA program is the first of its kind, according to McFarland. Currently there are four other dual master’s degree programs in social work and divinity in the Southeast that are recognized by the Council for Social Work Education, which accredits social work programs, but none that requires coursework in grief and loss.

The dual degree program takes four years to complete, one year less than if students pursued each degree separately. Students must be accepted into both programs and pay the tuition required at each institution. The course of study begins and ends at Candler. Students must complete requirements for the social work master’s degree in four consecutive semesters at UGA. The application deadline for the first year of the study is July 15.

Learn more about the MDiv/MSW dual degree.