MSW & MS-DRL Dual Degree On Campus

You’ve seen the mental health affects disasters have on individuals, families, and communities. To address these, you need interdisciplinary knowledge and skills that strengthen your leadership and capacity to affect personal and social change. A dual degree that combines a Master of Social Work with a Master of Science in Disaster Resilience Leadership enables you to develop and maintain effective and empowering programs that aid those impacted by natural and human-made disasters.

Although many graduate programs focus on disaster and risk management, none of them specifically target the role and development of interdisciplinary leadership. The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy is the first academic program with a dynamic and innovative focus on effective systems and programs that instill resilience within individuals and communities. Combining this with a fully accredited Master of Social Work will enable you to address the root causes of vulnerability, such as chronic poverty and social inequality, and promote social and environmental justice. 

Tulane University School of Social Work’s innovative learning environment values quality education, research, and leadership. Our program provides:

  • An interdisciplinary, evidence-based curriculum that integrates education, research, and practice-based application
  • Disaster mitigation, disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response, and recovery experience through applied experiences with community-based organizations 
  • A focus on research for evidence-based practice
  • Opportunities to learn and generate knowledge alongside top-tier faculty
  • Field education with one of hundreds of agencies nationwide
  • supportive and cooperative academic environment 

Tulane and its curriculum emphasize noting and building upon individual and community strengths. We teach culturally relevant social work practice (CRSWP) that prioritizes the field’s responsiveness to cultural contexts and enables us to engage in and train students to engage in competent, ethical, community-led assessments and interventions.



Mission & Vision

The Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Science in Disaster Resilience Leadership (MS-DRL) dual degree is a partnership of two programs within the Tulane University School of Social Work. Through this five semester academic program, a graduate student can prepare for a career in social work as well as receive interdisciplinary training in disaster resilience and global humanitarian leadership. The competencies achieved upon completion of the dual degree allow the student to fill a professional role in the planning, management, and delivery of human services within communities vulnerable to natural and human-made disasters.

Program Competencies

Upon completion of your MSW/MS-DRL dual degree, you will possess competencies in the following: 

  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Clinical Social Work Practice
  • Organization and Community Practice
  • Diversity and Social Justice
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Human and Social Factors of Disasters
  • Economics of Disasters
  • Environment and Infrastructure
  • Disaster Operations
  • Measurement and Evaluation

DRLA will prepare you for a professional position in: 

  • communities that are affected by and vulnerable to disaster destruction and disruption 
  • organizations that focus on all phases of disaster management (preparedness, response, recovery, and risk reduction)
  • leadership and upper level management positions within organizations and communities that require strong leadership

Tulane MSW/MS-DRL graduates can be involved in providing social services to individuals, families, and communities, developing and evaluating programs and policy, establishing and maintaining non-profit organizations, or providing services and resources in order to enhance the well-being and equitable treatment of individuals, families, and communities. This dual degree also provides a strong academic foundation in order to pass social work licensure exams or pursue a doctoral degree.

Degree Requirements

The dual degree MSW/MS-DRL program requires 51 credit hours of coursework in social work and 24 credit hours in disaster resilience leadership for a total of 75 hours. The full-time program is five semesters. You would take one MS-DRL class each of the first four semesters during your MSW coursework for a total of 15 hours per semester and then one semester of all MS-DRL coursework for 12 hours to complete the dual degree.

Each student completes 316 hours of field work over three semesters for a total of 948 hours. Individuals pursuing the dual degree will have a field internship program that joins real-world social work practice with disaster risk management.

You may complete the required 60-hour class and field curriculum via one of the following options:

  • Full-time 16-month on-campus program over 4 semesters, starting in the fall and continuing through the spring, summer, and following fall.

  • Full-time 16-month online program over 4 semesters with start dates each semester.

  • Advanced Standing 12-month on-campus program over 3 semesters, starting in the spring and continuing through the summer, and following fall.

  • Advanced Standing 12-month online program over 3 semesters with start dates each semester.

Individuals who have earned a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) degree within the past five years from a CSWE-accredited program may be granted Advanced Standing, enabling them to complete their MSW degree in three semesters of full-time study. This applies to full-time on-campus and full-time online programs.

Field Education

Our field education program exposes you to real-world social work practice as well as diverse populations and social issues. We place on-campus students with an agency in New Orleans or surrounding parishes. Online students perform their field education in their communities, and we can facilitate placements around the country.


Our online MSW/MS-DRL program employs innovative technology to ensure all students receive the full benefits of a Tulane education. If you elect this program, you will be part of monthly live sessions via synchronous classes. Our technology platform provides crisp and clear images and words, and students can always see each other and the instructor. You can expect personalized attention as you pursue your coursework. That includes tech support and virtual office hours with faculty.


With Tulane’s high-touch program, students focus and engage in a variety of ways. Required MSW coursework in human behavior, direct and community practice, social justice, data analysis, and program evaluation teach tangible skills to leverage strengths and apply interventions that empower individuals, families, and communities. The MSW program effectively prepares students in accordance with the standards set forth by various regulatory bodies. Our pass rates on Association of Social Work Boards licensure examinations are consistently above the national average.

The DRL curriculum in the core competencies develops your capacity to engage in disaster resilience leadership.

You will engage with the dual degree program via team projects and teaching, problem-based learning, creative simulation, field work, and electronic learning exchanges.

MSW course descriptions   DRL course descriptions

Refer to Tulane’s class schedule to determine availability of courses in any given semester. All Tulane School of Social Work courses are identified with SOWK before the course number, and all Disaster Resilience Leadership courses have DRLS before the course number.