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MSW Program Length

The master of social work (MSW) is a 60-credit-hour degree program that can be completed through one of the four curriculum schedules listed below.

The School of Social Work offers an advanced standing program for students who have completed a bachelor of social work degree and meet all of the requirements for the program. The School also offers a Masters International Volunteer Program, which allows students interested in incorporating 27 months of Peace Corps service into their MSW program.

Students with special needs or obligations can extend their course schedule to five terms rather than four or to four terms rather than three if awarded advanced standing status.

Upon admission, students will be required to confirm which schedule they plan to elect since it determines their field placement assignment. After enrollment, students wishing to change to a different schedule must submit an "Out of Sequence" petition describing an alternate plan. The petition should not be submitted before admission to the MSW program. Such petitions will be granted only if they are deemed educationally sound and all fieldwork and course requirements can be met.

Begins in September, excludes the spring/summer term, and concludes with graduation date in April/May at the end of the second academic year.

This schedule is designed for full-time students who will benefit from a spring/summer break in their program. Students enter in the fall term and graduate 20 months later at the end of their second winter term of enrollment. In this schedule, field instruction is scheduled for two days per week in each of the four terms. Neither coursework nor field instruction occur during the spring/summer term. The course planning worksheet indicates the typical course schedule by term.

20-Month Curriculum Schedule

  Fall Term Year 1 Winter Term Year 1 Fall Term Year 2 Winter Term Year 2
Course Credit Hours 12 12 12 9
Field Placement Credit Hours 3 (2 days/week) 4 (2 days/week) 4 (2 days/week) 4 (2 days/week)
Total Credit Hours 15 15 15 13

Advantages of the 20-Month Curriculum Schedule

  • Break between the first and second year of coursework
  • Fieldwork experience is more evenly distributed across semesters
  • One or two field instruction placements are available

Disadvantages of the 20-Month Curriculum Schedule

  • Extended time is needed to graduate

Twenty-month students have the option of choosing one or two placements. Students who elect one placement remain in that one for four terms. Those who elect two placements have one placement during their first and second terms and the second during their third and fourth terms.

The advantages of electing one placement for both years are that students obtain more in-depth experience at one agency and are much better positioned to achieve some mastery in practice skills. The main disadvantage is experiencing only one setting of practice.

The advantage of selecting two placements is that students obtain exposure to two settings of practice. One disadvantage is the decreased availability of certain field instruction options that require a continuous three-term practicum experience. This may include family agencies, hospitals, and psychiatric settings.

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