Boston College School of Social Work

In keeping with the four-century-old Jesuit tradition of educating students in the service of humanity, Boston College established a School of Social Work (SSW) in March 1936. The SSW offers the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (Ph.D.) degrees. In addition to providing foundation courses for all students, the Master of Social Work program of study affords each student the opportunity to specialize in a social work practice intervention method. The two areas of specialized practice are Clinical Social Work and Macro Social Work on the master’s level. Seven advanced Fields-of-Practice are offered: Afrocentric Social Work; Children, Youth, and Families; Global Practice; Health; Latinx Communities; Mental Health; and Older Adults and Families. The School also offers a research-oriented Doctoral program that prepares scholars to pursue knowledge that will advance the field of social welfare and social work practice.

Professional Program: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program


Dual Degree Program—M.S.W./Ph.D.

BCSSW provides an option for those who don’t already have a master’s of social work to earn both the M.S.W. and the Ph.D. degrees. Applicants will be considered for acceptance into the M.S.W./Ph.D. program in exceptional cases and must possess a master’s degree in a behavioral or social science discipline in addition to considerable work experience. This program is especially well-suited for international graduate students, enabling them to acquire an understanding of fundamental American social welfare policy and social work practice prior to launching their advanced doctoral studies.

A minimum of 98 credit hours are required to complete the degree: 92 credits for academic courses and field work and 6 credits for the dissertation. Among the 12 elective credits, 3 elective credits are specified to be an advanced social or behavioral science theory course, and 9 credits are specified to be a methods course. Students must pass the qualifying exam at the end of year three. For the qualifying exam, students need to produce and defend an area statement. Before beginning research on the dissertation, the student must complete all required courses and the publishable paper. Required courses include the following:

  • SCWK7701 Social Welfare System
  • SCWK7721 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SCWK7722 Psychosocial Pathology (Clinical) or SCWK8899 Social Innovation (Macro)
  • SCWK7723 Re-thinking Diversity: Systems of Oppression and Privilege
  • SCWK7762 Basic Skills in Clinical Social Work
  • SCWK8800 Basic Skills in Macro Social Work
  • SCWK8802, SCWK8805, SCWK8806, or SCWK8817 Advanced Policy course
  • SCWK8846, SCWK8872, SCWK8885, SCWK7797, SCWK8873, SCWK8897, SCWK8837, SCWK8874, or SCWK8823 Advanced Practice in Field-of-Practice
  • SCWK8855 Clinical Practice with Children and Families: Assessment, Intervention and Evidence Based Practice (Clinical) or SCWK8833 Leadership and Social Transformation (Macro)
  • SCWK8856 Clinical Practice with Adults: Assessment, Intervention, and Evidence Based Practice (Clinical) or SCWK8888 Community Engagement for Social Change  (Macro)
  • SCWK9921 Field Education I
  • SCWK9932 Field Education II—Clinical or SCWK9942 Field Education II—Macro
  • SCWK9933 Field Education III—Clinical or SCWK9943 Field Education III—Macro
  • SCWK9934 Field Education IV—Clinical or SCWK9944 Field Education IV—Macro
  • SCWK9950 Professional Development Seminar
  • SCWK9951 Survey of Research Methods in Social and Behavioral Science
  • SCWK9956 The Dialectics of Social and Behavioral Theory
  • SCWK9960 Regression Analysis for Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • SCWK9964 Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis
  • SCWK9991 Doctoral Teaching Practicum
  • SCWK9992 Theories and Methods of Teaching in Professional Education
  • SCWK9993 Research Internship
  • SCWK9994 Integrative Dissertation Seminar

Total Credits

The 98 credits are a minimal requirement. The actual number of courses taken by an individual student varies according to prior educational background and coursework.

Doctoral Funding

There are five major sources of funding available for students in the Doctoral Program in Social Work at Boston College:

  • The Boston College Doctoral Fellowship in Social Work is awarded each year on a competitive basis to full-time doctoral students in social work. Full tuition and a stipend are provided for four years as long as the student maintains good academic standing and demonstrates progress toward the Ph.D.
  • Two Fellowships are awarded each year on a competitive basis to full-time doctoral students to provide additional financial support to help encourage them to successfully complete their studies.
  • Research Assistant positions are provided through faculty research and training grants.
  • Teaching Assistant positions are available for some doctoral and M.S.W. courses.
  • Additional grants and scholarship opportunities are available on an individual basis.

In addition to the financial assistance directly available from Boston College, SSW doctoral students are encouraged to apply for nationally competitive fellowships from private foundations and federal agencies.

For More Information

For a more detailed description of course offerings, the applicant should consult the Boston College School of Social Work Bulletin, which may be obtained by e-mailing or by writing to the Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management, Boston College School of Social Work, McGuinn Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.