The MSW program can be completed in two, three, or four years for the on-campus program or in just over three years through the fully online program. In the online option, most courses are offered in a condensed eight-week format, with students taking one course at a time. Content of courses, objectives, expectations, methods, and outcomes are identical to those for the on-campus program. Only the delivery format is different.
A prospective student with a bachelor's degree in social work (earned from a CSWE-accredited program) can apply to be admitted into the one-year, advanced standing program. In addition, we offer an MS/MSW dual degree program with the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
On-Campus Two-year Program
The two-year program is completed over the course of two academic years. No summer study is required. Courses meet on weekday mornings to evenings. During each of the two years (the first year, or Generalization year, and the second year, or Specialization year), students complete 15 credit hours of course work per semester, plus a 16 hour per week field practicum the first year and a 20 hour per week field practicum the second year.
On-Campus Three-year Program
The three-year program requires students to complete two or three courses per semester (15 credit hours per year) in the first two years, which are devoted to the Generalization year curriculum. The field practicum (16 hours per week) occurs during the second year. The third year is a year of full-time study, devoted to the Specialization year curriculum (15 credit hours per semester), plus a 20 hour per week field practicum.
*Please note that although students in the three-year program attend classes part-time in their first and second year, they are required to dedicate 16 hours per week to their field practicum in the second year of the program, and the third year of the program is full-time study.
On-Campus Four-year Program
The four-year program requires students to complete two or three courses per semester (15 credit hours per year) for four years, plus a 15 hour per week field practicum the second year and a 20 hour per week field practicum the fourth year.
Advanced Standing Program
Advanced standing students begin in the summer term with a course in Psychopathology (SOCW 674), and then move directly into the Specialization year, a year of full-time study (15 credit hours per semester), plus a 20 hour per week field practicum.
Dual Degree Program
The Department of Social Work partners with George Mason's nationally recognized Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution on a three-year dual degree program. Students can earn both an MSW and a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis & Resolution while taking advantage of the diversity of the D.C. metropolitan area and the university's proximity to the nation's capital.
The degree programs in social work and conflict analysis and resolution complement each other. The Master's in Conflict Analysis & Resolution's strong emphasis on theory is an excellent supplement to the grounding in theory provided through the social work curriculum. Social work's strong practice orientation supplements the skill-building provided through the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
The MSW degree is comprehensive, versatile, and well-recognized in the labor market. It encompasses direct service with many different population groups in a wide range of settings, as well as policy analysis and advocacy, community practice, research, and organizational leadership. The degree in conflict analysis and resolution is more focused, demonstrating a highly specialized set of knowledge and skills. The combination provides students with the best of both worlds.
More about the Dual Degree Program