Master of Social Work (MSW)
Learn about Wheelock's
If you work for or aspire to work for a social service agency, a community health or education setting, or an advocacy organization and are committed to effecting change in the social conditions and well-being of diverse groups of children and families, this human rights and justice-based social work graduate program can help you achieve your professional goals.
Our Master of Social Work program's approach is family-centered, community-based, and grounded in partnerships with community providers. You will be prepared to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities through direct practice, policy, and research.
Wheelock's Master of Social Work (MSW) program is a 60-credit course of study. Students study in five core areas: human behavior and the social environment; social work practice; social policy; social research; and field practicum experiences. We offer several full- and part-time programs to fit your learning needs. (See the full list of program options.)
Wheelock's MSW curriculum is based on human rights and social justice. This prepares graduates to practice strengths-based social work, taking into account the dynamics of oppression and discrimination, and the importance of cultural differences and how to leverage them to help individuals and communities grow creatively and safely.
Students in the MSW program first prepare for generalist practice with individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities. Later in the program, the curriculum is organized around a singular concentration in justice-based social work with children and families. Students work in partnership with a faculty advisor to select a focus of study within this concentration. Student work focuses on children and families within their own communities, especially those individuals who are most at risk for not being able to participate fully in society's resources, services, and supports.
Students who have completed an accredited BSW program within the last five years can apply to Wheelock's 36-credit MSW Advanced Standing Gateway, which waives them out of their Foundation Year MSW requirements and allows them to complete their MSW degree in an accelerated time frame.
All incoming Advanced Standing students must successfully complete the MSW Advanced Standing Gateway prior to beginning the 30-credit advanced curriculum. This 6-credit summer course is designed to immerse these graduates in Wheelock's justice-based philosophy and the curricular themes that are foundational to our courses and field work. It builds on the students' knowledge, skills, and values through a two-month intensive course and field-based experience. Students complete 100 hours in their field placement, as well as take part in courses two to three evenings a week during the summer.
Field Placement Guidelines/Requirements
During the foundation year practicum, students are expected to apply the generalist practice perspective they are learning through classroom-based courses and to have experiences with individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities. The Social Work Field Education office has partnerships with over 200 field placement agencies and programs throughout the New England area. Foundation year students are expected to be on site at least 16 hours weekly over the course of the academic year of the foundation practicum, completing a minimum total of 480 hours for the full academic year.
During the concentration year practicum, students will be placed in an agency/setting where they can demonstrate advanced skills and practices that focus on some aspect of work with children and families, particularly groups of children and families whose life chances and well being are challenged by issues of poverty, homelessness, violence, and the like. Students are in their placement 24 hours weekly throughout the concentration year and complete a minimum total of 720 hours for the full academic year.
Field placement days are not predetermined; the schedule is a collaborative effort between the student and the Field Instructor. Field placements are typically available during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Off-Campus and 3-Year and 4-Year MSW Programs
Wheelock's MSW program is extended for students who opt for a three- or four-year program plan and for students in the off-campus program in Central Massachusetts. The first year of the program is part-time; students are in class in the late afternoon and evening one to two evenings per week. During the second and third years of the program students are in field placements two or three days per week; field placements are typically available during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students continue to attend classes in the late afternoon and evening one to two evenings per week. In the second and third years of the program, many students who are working reduce or change their schedules to accommodate the required field placement hours.
Upon completion of the MSW degree, students are eligible to sit for the intermediate licensing exam in Massachusetts, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Accreditation of Social Work Program
Wheelock is accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). See the College's Accreditation Information web pages.