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Online Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Disaster Resilience Leadership Dual Degree Program (MSW/MS-DRL)

Communities need capable and compassionate leaders to help them prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and manmade disasters. Within the Tulane University School of Social Work, the Online Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Science in Disaster Resilience Leadership (MS-DRL) dual degree program prepares students to launch extraordinary careers as social workers who possess interdisciplinary training in disaster resilience.

The unique curriculum develops leaders to create and implement effective resilience programs and empowerment-centered social services to address the needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

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The first academic program of its kind, the MSW/MS-DRL focuses on both social work and disaster resilience leadership.

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Students gain hands-on experience working in agencies to develop a range of clinical and community-based practice skills.

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An engaged faculty with real-world expertise in social work, economics, law, environmental science, and public health support students increase their interdisciplinary knowledge.

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Students complete 51 credit hours in social work and 24 credit hours in disaster resilience leadership studies.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Fall 2024

Fall 2024
Early Submit
May 1, 2024
Priority Submit
June 1, 2024
Final Submit
July 1, 2024
Start of Classes

Why Pursue the Online MSW/MS-DRL Dual Degree?

Graduates of this program are uniquely positioned to help their communities and organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and manmade disasters.

Although many graduate programs focus individually on social work or disaster and risk management, Tulane’s Online MSW/MS-DRL dual degree program is the first to blend the two areas with a focus on the role and development of interdisciplinary leadership. Students in this program acquire the competencies to pursue professional roles in the planning, management, and delivery of human services within communities.


The five-semester curriculum requires the completion of 75 credit hours:

  • 51 credit hours in social work
  • 24 credit hours in disaster resilience leadership studies

During the first academic year, courses focus primarily on social work, and students’ enrollment in disaster resilience leadership courses increases throughout the remaining four semesters.

Students also engage in a field internship program that joins real-world social work practice with disaster risk management.

Research and Partnerships

Research is a key part of our mission, as it allows us to continue to evaluate and evolve social work and disaster resilience leadership and share these innovations through professional and public media.

The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) has partnered with the following organizations to help facilitate research and educational opportunities for our students and graduates:

  • American Red Cross
  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities
  • Evacuteer
  • Global Resilience Partnership
  • Stantec
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Career Outlook

The employment outlook is bright for graduates of the Online MSW/MS-DRL dual degree program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of social workers to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

In addition, the BLS projects employment in emergency and relief-services occupations to exceed the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. Recent disasters — from pandemics and public health crises to wildfires and hurricanes — will only fuel that growth even more.

Our alumni work in a wide range of fields, including:

Emergency response leaders showcasing disaster resilience as they clear up a disaster site

Emergency preparedness

Female social worker taking notes on a clipboard at an emergency preparedness site

Nonprofit leadership

Male and female social workers looking at a clipboard noting city planning topics

City planning

Disaster response official and a dog providing recovery assistance at a disaster site

Disaster management, risk, and recovery

Female social worker leading a community grassroots demonstration

Grassroots development

Group of social workers analyzing a hazard mitigation project

Hazard mitigation

Female disaster resilience leader monitoring and evaluating data on a desktop computer

Monitoring and evaluation

Male and female social workers examining miniature windmills


Why Choose Tulane?

Tulane University is home to one of the oldest and most highly regarded schools of social work in the country. For more than 100 years, the Tulane University School of Social Work has prepared aspiring social workers to bring positive change to communities around the world.

The school’s dedication to teaching students about human diversity and the importance of promoting social and environmental justice is exemplified by the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy’s mission of strengthening leadership in communities to address the root causes of vulnerability, such as chronic poverty and social inequality.

Importantly, Tulane students have the unique opportunity to learn from the resilience of New Orleans, a city that has shown tremendous strength and recovery in the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

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Advanced Standing MSW

The Advanced Standing program is for full-time students who have earned a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program in the last five years. These students are able to complete the MSW coursework in just 12 months, either online or on-campus. The coursework develops students’ knowledge of social work history, policy, and practice, and it also covers data management, analysis, and interpretation. Graduates will have completed a field practicum, equipping them to work with individuals, families, and groups in their local communities.

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