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. Students 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—sustains students’ success as they progress through the program.

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

Tailor Your Degree

Print

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. 

Specialized Practice:
Clinical or Macro

Clinical Program

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.

Curriculum plans

 

Macro Program

Our Macro: Social Innovation + Leadership specialization was introduced in Fall 2011. 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.

Curriculum plans

Fields of Practice

Fields of Practice

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

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

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 programs consists of 12 required courses and 5 electives. You have the flexibility to choose from a range of available topics, in fact, each semester there are 50+ electives to choose from.

Browse Electives 

Certificates

Certificates

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

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

Certificate Options

 

Latinx Leadership Initiative

Latinx Leadership Initiative

The Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI) prepares students to work effectively with Latinx individuals, families, and communities in the U.S. and abroad. Through targeted coursework, research opportunities, and field placements, students develop a nuanced understanding of diverse Latinx populations from a strengths-based perspective.

About the LLI

Cross-Registration

Take courses at other schools or universities

Students in the 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, School of Theology and Ministry, Sociology Department, Psychology Department, etc.).

Students in our program may also take electives through a consortium with Boston University, Tufts University, and Brandeis University.

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 students five concentrated fields of practice pathways that include
specialized coursework and advanced field education placements. 

Children, Youth & Families

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

Children, Youth & Families graduates work in settings such as schools, adoption and foster agencies, children's mental health agencies, and organizations working on issues related to poverty, family homelessness, child abuse and neglect, immigrant reintegration, and a host of growing family issues confronting society. 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.

You will develop expertise through integrated coursework in the classroom and the field in both Clinical and Macro practices.

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

Curriculum Plans

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

Curriculum Plans

 

 

Health

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

You will develop strong foundational skills, for either macro or clinical practice, through the integration of the academic and fieldwork experience.

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

Curriculum Plans

 

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 care.

You will develop strong foundational skills, for either macro or clinical practice, through the integration of the academic and fieldwork experience.

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

Curriculum Plans

Older Adults & Families

The Older Adults & Families concentration 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

Curriculum Plans

 

 


Electives
 

Five Electives, 50+ Offerings


Explore a Field with a Certificate
 

BCSSW offers nine certificates within the MSW Program that give students the opportunity to build knowlege in subject-specific areas of social work practice and expertise. Certificates require the completion of three specified courses within a chosen area. 

Child Welfare

REQUIRED COURSES: Policy Issues in Children, Youth, and Families; SW Practice in Child Welfare; Impact of Traumatic Victimization

Details

Neuroscience & Social Work

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

Details

School Social Work

REQUIRED COURSES: Clinical Practice with Children and Families; School Social Work; Clinical Practice in Schools

Details

Latinx Leadership

REQUIRED COURSES: Diversity; Social Services with Latino Populations; The Social Impact of Santeria, Magic, and Religion on US Latino Populations (taught in Spanish)

Details

Policy & Community Organizing

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

Details

Trauma

REQUIRED COURSES: Clinical Practice with Children and Families, or Clinical Practice with Adults; Impact of Traumatic Victimization; Adult Psychological Trauma

Details

Management

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

Details

Refugees & Immigrants

REQUIRED COURSES: Diversity; Immigrants and Refugees; Immigrant Integration EU/US (or similar travel course)

Details

Veterans & Military Families

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

Details

Class of 2017 Outcomes

98%

Were employed within 1 year of graduation

40%

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