Master of Science in Social Administration/
Master of Arts in Bioethics Dual Degree Program (MSSA/MA)


Program Advisors

Sarah Andrews, The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Mark Aulisio, Department of Bioethics

Program Description

The new dual degree MSSA/MA program joins two well-known academic programs to offer students an interdisciplinary experience blending the similar values of social work and medicine. This is a “side-by-side” program composed of existing elements of ongoing programs provided by the faculty usually engaged in these efforts. These new elements will be supplemented by an integrative experience designed to make the interdisciplinary character of the program concrete.

The dual degree program offered by the Mandel School and the Department of Bioethics is unlike other programs in the United States. As the number and complexity of ethical dilemmas in health care, aging, and mental health and social work continue to increase, there is a growing need for advanced practice social workers who are knowledgeable about the principles and problem resolution techniques that are fundamental to Bioethics. In health care settings, ethical consultations are often requested on decisions having to do with end-of-life, organ donation, or initiation or withdrawal of medical treatments. In addition, graduates of this program will be able to help counsel health care providers, organizations, and clients, participate in setting policy, and teach others about these issues.

Why Would a Student Choose This Program?

For the student with interest in ethical issues related to health or aging, it is expected that this dual degree will give graduates a competitive advantage in obtaining employment in health care institutions. Graduates will be better able to sit on ethics committees, participate in ethics consultation, and contribute to all ethics services and requests more effectively than persons with only the MSSA (MSW) or equivalent. The dual degree will enrich the preparation for students pursuing careers in medical settings, hospices, child or adult protection services,
and a variety of settings involving older adults.

How to Apply

Students must apply separately to the Mandel School and the Department of Bioethics for admission into each program. Admission to one program is not a guarantee that the student will gain admission to the other, and application to both programs should be made simultaneously. A joint committee of the two programs will meet and review the dual degree applications.

Program Description

Students will participate in both programs simultaneously and will be able to complete the dual degree program in 24 months (this includes two full time fall and spring semesters, and one part-time summer semester of study). Most of the work in the first year will be social work and much of the work in the second year will be in bioethics. Students will pursue a directed course of study with few electives. Additional tuition cost will be incurred as the program includes 10 hours beyond the traditional master’s degree in social work. Each student will have a faculty and a field advisor in the MSSA program as well as a contact faculty person in the Department of Bioethics. A one-credit capstone course is required at the end of the program to
ensure the integration of the content of both social work and bioethics.

For more information, contact Sarah Andrews,, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at the Mandel School and Mark Aulisio,, in the Department of Bioethics at Case.