MSW Program

Educating Tomorrow’s Social Work Practitioners

Our top-ranked MSW program prepares professionals to address complex social challenges by carefully integrating classroom learning with field education placements. You will acquire a foundation in theory, practice, policy, and research, collaborating with renowned faculty who possess expertise in a variety of areas.

A robust support structure—accessible hands-on faculty, advising systems for curricular and career planning, a dedicated library, research librarians, and informal guidance—sustain your success as you progress through the program.

And with a range of electives and certificate programs to choose from, you can customize your degree based on career goals.

The Boston College School of Social Work MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Tailor Your Degree

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Our innovative MSW curriculum offers a balance of structure and flexibility that lets you shape your degree and your career. Start by selecting a specialized practice and customize from there. Select a tile to learn more.

Specialized Practice:
Clinical or Macro

Specialized Practice

Clinical

We challenge and prepare our clinical program students to integrate evidence-based interventions and culturally sensitive practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Students become proficient in assessment and diagnostic classification and learn to develop professional therapeutic alliance and relationship skills.

Through coursework and field practica, students are exposed to a broad overview of therapeutic interventions and have an opportunity to develop advanced practice skills and therapeutic techniques.

Two-Year Program Curriculum    Three-Year Program Curriculum

 

Macro

Our Macro: Social Innovation + Leadership specialization prepares students to affect change within communities, organizations, and legislation. The program focuses on providing current and future leaders of the public and social service sectors with access to the latest thinking on social innovation. Social innovation represents a compelling paradigm that supports the development, implementation, and sustainability of transformational responses to social need.

Through coursework and field practica, students learn practice skills which focus on leadership and administration, financial management and resource development, and social innovation strategies and procedures.

Two-Year Program Curriculum    Three-Year Program Curriculum

Fields of Practice

Fields of Practice

Within either specialized practice (clinical or macro), you will develop expertise by selecting a field of practice. The six fields of practice offered at BCSSW are:

  • Children, Youth & Families
  • Global Practice
  • Health
  • Latinx Communities
  • Mental Health
  • Older Adults & Families
     
 

Field Education

Field Education

Fifty percent of your MSW education is spent in the field. We have relationships with 1,000 field agency partners and our advisors will help match you with a placement to build upon the skills you'll learn in the classroom.

Field Education

Electives

Electives

Our MSW program consists of 12 required courses and 5 electives. You have the flexibility to choose from a wide-range of topics both within or outside of your specialization, in fact, each semester there are 50+ electives to choose from.

Browse Electives

Certificates

Certificates

We offer 10 certificates within the MSW Program that will give you the opportunity to build additional knowledge in subject-specific areas of social work practice.

Certificates require the completion of three specified courses within the chosen area.  

Certificate Options

 

Cross-Registration & Interdisciplinary Certificate

Take Courses at Other Schools or Universities

Students in our MSW program can further individualize their education by cross-registering for one social work-related elective per semester in another graduate school or department at Boston College (e.g., Lynch School of Education and Human Development, School of Theology and Ministry, Sociology Department, Psychology Department, etc.). You may also take electives through a consortium with Boston University, Tufts University, and Brandeis University.

BCSSW has partnered with the School of Theology and Ministry and the Connell School of Nursing to offer the Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Certificate.

 

Dual Degrees

Dual Degrees

For those interested in applying their MSW expertise outside the realm of social work or tailoring skills to a specific career goal, the School of Social Work offers three dual degree programs: MSW/MBA, MSW/JD, and MSW/MA in Theology and Ministry.

Dual Degrees


Fields of Practice
 

The MSW program offers six concentrated fields of practice pathways that include
specialized coursework and advanced field education placements. 

Children, Youth, and Families

Our innovative Children, Youth, and Families curriculum will prepare you to assess individuals and families and to develop and implement evidence-based intervention strategies that improve the health and resilience of families and their communities.

Children, Youth, and Families students intern in settings such as schools, private non-profits, community health centers, and organizations working on issues related to trauma, poverty, family homelessness, health and behavioral health, immigrant integration, and a host of growing family issues confronting society. In the advanced practice course, students delve deeply into learning how to create engaging, activity-based therapy groups for youth, as well as learning several parenting and family therapy models. Additionally, specialized courses in school-based social work will prepare you for meeting the academic requirements for the Department of Education School Social Work license in Massachusetts and some other states.

CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8872 Advanced Clinical Interventions with Children, Youth & Families
SCWK 8805 Policy Issues in Family and Children's Services

MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8885 Management of Organizations Serving Children, Youth, & Families
SCWK 8805 Policy Issues in Family and Children's Services

 

Global Practice

Global Practice will prepare you to work effectively in the fields of global social work, humanitarian aid, and international development. You will learn different approaches to addressing complex social issues that often transcend national boundaries and affect much of the world’s population. Your work will be guided by the principles of human rights, human security, human development, and the promotion of sustainable solutions to social problems.

As a Global Practice student, you will have the opportunity to work domestically or internationally with one of our many intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizational partners. Examples of this work include providing training and support for case managers serving refugees and asylum seekers; drafting immigration policies; developing programs to promote peace or prevent gender-based violence; writing grant proposals; monitoring and evaluating child protection programs; or helping develop organizational policies for effective and sustainable practice.

Our Global Practice graduates work in the U.S. and overseas in a range of positions that involve direct practice, program development, management, evaluation, research, training, capacity building, and policy. From direct care in Cambridge, MA, to program development in Cambodia, our graduates contribute to policy, practice, and research that improve the lives and well-being of individuals, families, and communities around the world.

CLINICAL AND MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 7797 Frameworks and Tools for Global Practice
SCWK 8806 Global Policy Issues and Implications

 

 

 

Health

Our primary goal is to prepare you for advanced practice in clinical services, advocacy, or management roles in the field of health care.

You receive specialized knowledge, skills, and training in the areas of assessment, evidence-based interventions, policy, planning, and management techniques. Clinical students focus on developing strong assessment skills and learning evidence-based treatment interventions to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups in healthcare settings. Macro students specialize in developing the policy, planning, and management skills to become effective advocates and leaders at the local, state, or national level.

Our graduates work in a panoply of health and behavioral health settings ranging from hospital based to community based, acute care to rehabilitation facilities, forensic services and homeless services, outpatient clinics and substance abuse programs, state agencies, and grass roots organizations. With Massachusetts leading the way in national health care reform, you will be exposed to the rapidly changing organization and delivery of health care.

CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8873 Psychosocial Dimensions of Health and Medical Care Practice
SCWK 8817 Health and Mental Health Policy

MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8897 Planning for Health and Mental Health Services
SCWK 8817 Health and Mental Health Policy

 

 

Latinx Communities

The Latinx Communities field of practice trains MSW students to work with Latinx communities in the U.S. and around the world. Our innovative program includes culturally-centered coursework and field placements, tailored mentoring, self-advocacy training, and career development guidance.

From an asset-based approach, you will develop a nuanced understanding of the barriers Latinx populations encounter in accessing equitable education, social services, and health care, as well as a deep understanding of how to implement evidence-based interventions that address systemic inequities.

Following a cohort model, you will take core classes taught in Spanish and intern at a field placement with one of our many partners in the Greater Boston area that serve the legal, medical, behavioral health, immigration, and educational needs of the Latinx community.

Please note, unlike the other fields of practice, you must apply to the Latinx Communities Field of Practice prior to starting your first year in the MSW program. Learn more about this field of practice and how to apply by reviewing our frequently asked questions.

CLINICAL AND MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:

  • SCWK 7723 Diversidad y Cuestiones Interculturales
  • SCWK 7721 El Estudio del Comportamiento Humano en su Contexto Social
  • SCWK 8800 Habilidades Básicas Para La Práctica Macro
  • SCWK 7762 Habilidades Básicas Para La Práctica Clínica
  • SCWK 7701 El Sistema de Bienestar Social
  • SCWK 8837 Social Services with Latinx Populations in the U.S. (taught in English)
  • SCWK 7722 Patología Psicosocial (required for clinical students only)
     

Optional advanced clinical elective offered in Spanish:

  • SCWK 8862 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy en Español

Mental Health

Our primary goal is to prepare you for advanced practice in clinical services, advocacy, or management roles in the dynamic field of behavioral health.

You receive specialized knowledge, skills, and training in the areas of assessment, evidence-based interventions, policy, planning, and management techniques. Clinical students focus on developing strong assessment skills and learning evidence-based treatment interventions to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups in behavioral health settings. Macro students specialize in developing the policy, planning, and management skills to become effective advocates and leaders at the local, state, or national level.

Our graduates work in a variety of behavioral health settings ranging from hospital based to community based, acute care to rehabilitation facilities, forensic services and homeless services, outpatient clinics and substance abuse programs, state agencies, and grass roots organizations. With Massachusetts leading the way in national health care reform, you will be exposed to the rapidly changing organization and delivery of behavioral health.

CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8865 Family Therapy
SCWK 8817 Health and Mental Health Policy

MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8897 Planning for Health and Mental Health Services
SCWK 8817 Health and Mental Health Policy

 

Older Adults & Families

The Older Adults & Families field of practice will prepare you to serve the fastest-growing segment of the population—adults over age 65—and their families. You will learn to integrate Clinical and Macro practices as you work with your clients and the social policies and programs that affect their lives.

Our courses encompass the broad range of health, mental health, and community services for older adults, specifically those services that help those who "age in place." You will learn the policy and advocacy functions of local, state, and national aging networks and examine ways social policy will need to respond to the growing political influence of this population.

Our graduates provide services along the continuum of care from independent living in the community to the specialized needs of older adults in rehabilitation and health care settings. Area agencies on aging, agencies serving older adults with Alzheimer's Disease and their families, and community health centers are examples of careers our graduates pursue.

CLINICAL AND MACRO SOCIAL WORK

Required courses include:
SCWK 8823 Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings with Older Adults
SCWK 8802 Policy for an Aging Society: Issues and Options

 

 

 


Electives
 

Five Electives, 50+ Offerings


Explore a Field with a Certificate
 

BCSSW offers ten certificates within the MSW Program that give students the opportunity to build knowledge in subject-specific areas of social work practice and expertise. Certificates require the completion of three specified courses within a chosen area. Explore the tiles below or view our PDF.

Advanced Research

REQUIRED COURSES: Research Methods in Social Work Practice; Intro to Statistics & Data Analysis; Regression Analysis for Social & Behavioral Sciences

Management

REQUIRED COURSES: Financial Management and Resource Development; Creating and Sustaining Social Enterprises; Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations

Refugees & Immigrants

REQUIRED COURSES: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues; Immigrants and Refugees; Services to Migrants (or other approved travel course)

Child Welfare

REQUIRED COURSES: Policy Issues in Family & Children's Services; SW Practice in Child Welfare; Impact of Traumatic Victimization on Child & Adolescent Development

Neuroscience & Social Work

REQUIRED COURSES: Human Behavior and the Social Environment; Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience in the Life Course; Neuroscience of Human Relationships and Development

School Social Work

REQUIRED COURSES: Clinical Practice with Children and Families; School Social Work: Program Development and Educational Policies; Clinical Practice in Schools

Veterans & Military Families

REQUIRED COURSES: Clinical Practice with Adults; Families Impacted by Military Service; Veterans' Health and Mental Health

Latinx Leadership

REQUIRED COURSES: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues; Social Services with Latino Populations in the US; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (taught in Spanish)

Policy & Community Organizing

REQUIRED COURSES: Social Welfare System; Community Organizing and Political Strategies; Policy Analysis for Social Reform

Trauma

REQUIRED COURSES: Clinical Practice with Children, Youth, and Families OR Clinical Practice with Adults; Impact of Traumatic Victimization on Child and Adolescent Development; Adult Psychological Trauma

Class of 2018 Outcomes

97%

Were employed within 1 year of graduation

49%

Received starting salaries of $50,000+

96%

Passed licensure exam on first attempt

From the Field: Social Work in Action

“Dispatches from the Field” showcases the relationships BCSSW students foster and the impact they have through fieldwork—in Greater Boston and around the world.
 

Dispatches from the Field