Master’s Degrees in Social Work (MSW) and Business Administration (MBA)

The MBA/Master of Social Work joint degree program is designed to provide students with a unique combination of social work knowledge and skills, with exceptional strength in management decision-making and leadership. The degree is offered jointly through the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

Faced with an increasingly competitive market, nonprofit organizations are beginning to emulate management methods and paradigms being practiced by for-profit companies, such as financial operations, human resource and data management, market and economic analysis, and evidence-based strategic planning. As philanthropic organizations become more concerned about their accountability and utility of financial supports provided to various human service organizations, they are beginning to evaluate nonprofits beyond program outcomes or average cost per client to more advanced assessments, such as cost-efficiency and effectiveness and cost-benefit ratio. Unfortunately, such analytic methodologies are rarely offered to social work students by the traditional social work curriculum.

Initially, the proposed MSW/MBA dual-degree program will be open to the SSW’s Community Organization and Social Action (COSA) students. Upon successful execution of this initiative, the school plans to open the program to all MSW full-time students (COSA and Direct Practice students).  

Students who want to earn a dual-degree must gain acceptance into both graduate degree programs by applying separately to each school. The joint-degree program applicants will also be required to submit their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Records Exam (GRE) examination scores to both schools. Specific questions may be addressed to:

Dr. Hide Yamatani, Ph.D., MSW, MBA
School of Social Work
University of Pittsburgh
2117 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Email address: hzy@pitt.edu

Requests for further information concerning the Katz Graduate School of Business, see http://www.business.pitt.edu/katz/. Specific questions may be addressed to:

Dr. Rabikar Chatterjee, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
Katz Graduate School of Business
University of Pittsburgh
301 Mervis Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Email address: rabikar@katz.pitt.edu

MSW/MBA Joint Degree Admissions Criteria  

A. SSW Requirement

   1. A Baccalaureate degree that must be completed prior to the program start date.  Applications must include transcripts of coursework completed at the time of submission of the application.  Admission will be contingent upon submission of an official, final transcript of the completed Bachelors program before the start of the MSW program.

a)   Undergraduate students with social work and human service backgrounds are preferred.

b)   In general, we would expect an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better for admission. 

c)   International students must submit originals or certified copies of transcripts/mark sheets and degree/diploma certificate in the original language plus a certified English translation (if the original is not in English).

d)   Paid work experience is preferred but not required.

   2. GMAT/GRE scores are not required for regular MSW students applicants but for the joint degree applicants in MSW and MBA must have their official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score reports forwarded directly to the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business (KGSB), by the admission deadline. 

  3.  Applicants will submit a 3-5 page double spaced typed personal statement describing their post-graduate career goals, skills in which they excel, and key accomplishments.

  4.  Applicants will submit three recommendations from persons who have known the applicant in academic or professional capacities.  At least one from a faculty member is preferred.  (Recommendations from friends and family will not be accepted.)

  5.  Applicants will submit their current resume.

  6.  English Proficiency Exams (for international applicants who are citizens of countries where the official language is not English)-- the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with minimum acceptable score:  Internet-based test: 100; paper-based test: 600.

  7.  Non-refundable application fee is $40.

  8.  Prospective candidates, domestic or international, may be interviewed before admission, in person or by telephone.

  9.  Submission of online MSW application form by the admissions deadline data of May 31

B. Katz GSB Requirement

1.   A Baccalaureate degree that must be completed prior to the program start date.  Applications must include transcripts of coursework completed at the time of submission of the application.  Admission will be contingent upon submission of an official, final transcript of the completed Bachelors program before the start of the MBA program.

a)      Undergraduate students with strong analytical backgrounds are preferred.

b)      In general, we would expect an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better for admission. 

c)      International students must submit originals or certified copies of transcripts/mark sheets and degree/diploma certificate in the original language plus a certified English translation (if the original is not in English).

d)      Work experience is not necessary, though highly desirable.

2.   GMAT/GRE scores:  Applicants must have their official Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score reports forwarded directly to the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business, by the admission deadline. In general, we would expect a GMAT score of 600 or higher for admission.  (Corresponding GRE scores will be equivalent to these levels, after conversion.).

3.   Applicants will submit a 250 word essay describing their post-graduate career goals, skills in which they excel, and key accomplishments.

4.   Applicants will submit two recommendations from persons who have known the applicant in academic or professional capacities.  At least one from a faculty member is preferred.  (Recommendations from friends and family will not be accepted.)

5.   Applicants will submit their current resume.

6. English Proficiency Exams (for international applicants who are citizens of countries where the official language is not English):  Either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) is required.

a)   TOEFL Minimum acceptable score:  Internet-based test: 100; paper-based test: 600.

b)   IELTS Minimum acceptable score: 7.0

7. $50 non-refundable application fee.

8.   Prospective candidates, domestic or international, may be interviewed before admission, in person or by Skype.

Learning outcome goals

The MSW/MBA dual-degree program is designed to provide students with a unique combination of social work knowledge and skills, with exceptional strength in management decision-making and leadership. In addition to the MSW learning outcomes that are already in place, supplementary MSW/MBA objectives include:

  1. Proficiency in the management functions of accounting, finance, computer information systems, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, human resource management, and social enterprise.
  2. Special emphasis on development of skills and abilities to lead strategically and to position an organization effectively for continued growth and development in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
  3. Knowledge and understanding of complex organizations, their development and transformation, administrative principles, the decision-making process, and competence in managerial functions.
  4. To provide applied learning experiences, the required field practicum will include professional supervision through appropriate concentration settings that will focus on community and human service organization management.

Program requirements

  1. A graduate-level course grade of B or higher must be maintained throughout the joint-degree program.
  2. The MBA program requires 51 credits for the part-time or one-year program, of which at least 34 credits must be from KGSB courses, while the balance maximum of 17 credits may be from other graduate programs.
  3. The following MBA “core” courses (total of 22. 5 credits) are required:

a.  BACC 2401 Financial Accounting (3 credits)

b.  BECN 2401 Economic Analysis for Managerial Decisions (3 credits)

c.  BQOM 2401 Statistical Analysis (3 credits)

d.  BFIN 2409 Financial Management 1 (1.5 credits)

e.  BMKT 2409 Marketing Management (1.5 credits)

f.   BOAH 2409 Organizational Behavior (1.5 credits)

g.  BQOM 2421 Decision Technologies (1.5 credits)

h.  BSPP 2409 Strategic Management (1.5 credits)

i.   BMIS 2409 Information Systems (1.5 credits)

j.   BSEO 2401 Business Ethics & Social Performance (1.5 credits)

k.  BIND 2444 Management Simulation Capstone (3 credits)


4. All MSW/MBA joint degree students will be required to take at least 34.5 credits of KGSB credits, consisting of the above 22.5 credits of core courses plus an additional 12 credits of KGSB electives.  Thus, up to 16.5 credits will be accepted from courses successfully completed in the MSW program to achieve the total of 51 credits required for the completion of the Katz MBA degree.

5. All MSW/MBA joint degree students will be required to take a course entitled Social Entrepreneurship (1.5 credits) from the KGSB.

6. The following KGSB courses will count as credits towards the MSW degree:

a)    BACC-2401 Financial Accounting (3 credits) will qualify as equivalent to SWCOSA-2085 Financial Management (3 credits), and will count as 3 credits for both the MSW and MBA programs,

b)    BOAH-2409 Organizational Behavior (1.5 credits) and Strategic Management (1.5 credits) will qualify as equivalent to SWRES Organizational Research, and will count as 3 credits for both the MSW and MBA programs (SA track only),

c)    SW General Elective 1—One 3-credit or two 1.5-credit required MBA courses (e.g., BECN-2401 Economic Analysis for Managerial Decisions, 3 credits), which will count as 3 credits for both the MSW and MBA programs, and

d)    SW General Elective 2— One 3-credit or two 1.5-credit required MBA courses (e.g., BIND-2444 Competitive Management Simulation, 3 credits), which will count as 3 credits for both the MSW and MBA programs.

Thus, the double-counted credits make it possible for students to earn both degrees without having to take the total sum of credits required for completing the two degree programs separately.

a.  It should be noted that a long-standing educational policy of the SSW is that students who, within the past seven academic calendar years, have received a social work degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program are eligible for advanced standing. Those granted advanced standing during the admission process can receive up to 12 academic credits and six field education credits that will count towards completion of the MSW program. 


b.  Thus, full-time COSA students with advanced standing must earn grand total of 64.5 credits for CO students, and 61.5 credits for SA students (adding all MSW and MBA courses).  This means total of 30 social work credits (including total of 12 field credits) to be taken by CO students and 27 credits (including total of 12 field credits) to be taken by SA students. Additionally, they must take minimum of 34.5 credits of MBA courses, which includes 22.5 and 12 credits of required and electives, respectively.  


c. Full-time COSA students without advanced standing must earn grand total of 85.5 credits for CO students, and 82.5 credits for SA students (adding all MSW and MBA courses).  This means total of 51 social work credits to be taken by CO students and 48 credits to be taken by SA students. Additionally, they must take minimum of 34.5 credits of MBA courses, which includes 22.5 and 12 credits of required and electives, respectively.