Master of Social Work (MSW)

The programs of the Boston University School of Social Work are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. We offer Charles River Campus programs (full-time, part-time, and advanced standing); Off-Campus part-time programs; and a part-time Online Program.

Full-Time Study

The full-time program includes two years of full-time study on the Charles River Campus in Boston. The usual program in the foundation year includes 27 semester credits in coursework and 6 semester credits in field education. The advanced-year program includes 24 semester credits in coursework and 8 semester credits in the field. To view sample full-time program plans, please visit Curriculum & Program Plans.

Part-Time Study

The school offers an extended part-time program on the Charles River Campus. Part-time students fulfill the degree requirements in either three years (plus summers) or four years (without summers). Students take two to three courses per semester.

The first year of part-time study consists of academic coursework only. (Most foundation courses offer a class section scheduled in the late afternoon and evening time blocks.) In subsequent years, two field placements are required in conjunction with the academic course curriculum. Students must have time available during the regular workweek for the field placement and coursework. Students must be available (during regular weekday hours) for 16 hours a week for their first field placement and 24 hours a week for their second placement. (For their second placement, students may choose the option in some field settings of a 16-hour/week placement for a full year.)

If there is sufficient interest (this fluctuates from year to year), part-time students who have had previous social work experience and for whom the plan is considered educationally sound may meet the requirements of the first field experience in a summer block placement after their first year.

To view sample part-time program plans, please visit Curriculum & Program Plans.

CRC Advanced Standing

The school offers an Advanced Standing program for graduates of an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. A minimum undergraduate academic average of 3.0 (B) is required for admission. The Bachelor of Social Work must have been received within six years before entry into the program.

Advanced Standing students are given credit for 24 academic credit hours upon admission to the program. The additional 41 credits required for graduation (or 38 credits if the student passes the Research I Waiver Exam) must be taken at the School of Social Work. No additional transfer credits will be accepted toward the MSW degree. All Advanced Standing students complete 1,000 hours of fieldwork. 

All full-time Advanced Standing students begin the program in September and are in the field 24 hours a week until the end of the following August.

Part-time Advanced Standing students develop an individual plan with the school’s Director of Student Services. Part-time students also begin taking classes in September, and start their advanced field placement for a minimum of 16 hours per week the following June.

Summer school tuition is not included in the academic year tuition (September to May). It is separate and additional.

For selected prospective students with extensive background and experience, a special request to pursue Advanced Standing and dual degree programs in public health, education, or theology will be considered. Special requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and require approval of the director of the dual degree program for which the student is applying, as well as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Applicants interested in learning more about the Advanced Standing and dual degree programs should contact the director of the appropriate dual degree program to discuss their application. Persons interested in the Advanced Standing program should contact the Admissions office for detailed information on the application procedure. Additional program information can be found at:

Persons interested in the Advanced Standing program should contact the Admissions office for detailed information about the application procedure from School of Social Work Admissions. To obtain more information about the Advanced Standing program and sample program plans, go to the Advanced Standing webpage.

The Boston University School of Social Work Off-Campus Program (OCP) offers a graduate part-time course of study in Clinical Social Work Practice. Courses are held on weekends at three locations: Bedford (Merrimack Valley), Fall River, and Cape Cod (Barnstable). 

The BU School of Social Work has more than 30 years of off-campus teaching experience using the cohort model of graduate education. Students enroll in courses in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Courses are taken sequentially, each lasting for four weeks. The first year of study consists of coursework. This program allows individuals to earn an MSW degree while continuing to live and work in their own communities. Students take the required and elective courses on weekends and complete one or two field internships (depending upon education and relevant work experience) in their geographic area (see Requirements section below).

Courses are taught by Boston University faculty who are committed to providing leadership and mentorship, and to sharing their expertise and current research initiatives in the Master of Social Work Program. This program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and provides the same quality education as the programs offered at our main campus.

Off-Campus Program Structure

The SSW Off-Campus Program offers three options to complete the MSW degree, depending on educational background:

  • Traditional MSW Track (TT): The Traditional Track can be completed in 8 consecutive semesters and consists of 65 credits and 2 field internships.
  • Human Service Experience (HSE) Track: Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services experience may apply to be considered for the Human Service Experience (HSE) Track. This option can be completed in 8 semesters and consists of 65 credits and a single field internship.
  • Advanced Standing Track: The Advanced Standing Track is for graduates of an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This option can be completed in 6 semesters and consists of 40–43 credits and a single field internship. (This option is available at the Bedford and Fall River campuses.)

MSW Degree Requirements

Boston University confers the degree of Master of Social Work on candidates recommended by the faculty of the School of Social Work and approved by the President and Trustees of the University. The faculty’s recommendation is based on the candidate’s development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for social work practice and on the student’s commitment to the values and the ethical base of the social work profession.

A degree candidate must complete 65 semester credits (or 40–43 credits if Advanced Standing) as indicated below. For students not continuously enrolled, all degree requirements must be completed within six years of initial enrollment.

Field Education

Although classes are held on weekends, the field internships occur during normal business hours, generally on weekdays. Field internships are available throughout New England.

Traditional Track students enroll in a foundation field placement (16 hours/week for a total of 480 hours) during the second year in the program, and in an advanced field placement (16 or 24 hours/week for a total of 720 hours) during the third year in the program (a total of 14 credits).

Human Service Experience Track students complete a single 1,000-hour field internship (a minimum of 16 hours/week for 3–5 semesters) during the second and third years in the program and complete a 2-credit Field Education capstone course (a total of 14 credits).

Advanced Standing students enroll in a single 1,000-hour (a total of 10 credits) field internship during their first and second year in the program (a minimum of 16 hours for 35 semesters).

The Online MSW Program at Boston University School of Social Work offers an MSW degree through enrollment in our innovative online program. This part-time course of study in Clinical Social Work Practice or Macro Social Work Practice has three options to complete the MSW (see Requirements section below).

Utilizing a convenient online learning format, the program allows individuals to earn an MSW degree while continuing to live and work in their own communities. Students take the required and elective courses online and complete one or two field internships (depending upon education and relevant work experience) in their geographic area.

Courses are taught by Boston University’s faculty who provide leadership and mentorship, and who share their expertise and current research initiatives through the online Master of Social Work Program.

Online Program Structure

The SSW Online Program offers three options to complete the MSW degree:

  • Traditional MSW Track (TT): The Traditional Track can be completed in 9 consecutive semesters and consists of 65 credits and 2 field internships.
  • Human Service Experience (HSE) Track: Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services experience may apply to be considered for this track. This option can be completed in 9 semesters and consists of 65 credits and a single field internship.
  • Advanced Standing Track: The Advanced Standing Track is for graduates of an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This option can be completed in 6 semesters and consists of 40–43 credits and a single field internship.

Students fulfill all the requirements for the MSW degree by taking courses online, which are delivered asynchronously and via weekly required Live Classroom sessions, and by enrolling in field internship(s). Students enroll in courses in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Courses are taken sequentially, each lasting for seven weeks. The first year of study consists of coursework.

MSW Degree Requirements

Boston University confers the degree of Master of Social Work on candidates recommended by the faculty of the School of Social Work and approved by the President and Trustees of the University. The faculty’s recommendation is based on the candidate’s development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for social work practice and on the student’s commitment to the values and the ethical base of the social work profession.

A degree candidate must complete 65 semester credits (or 40–43 credits if Advanced Standing). For students not continuously enrolled, all degree requirements must be completed within six years of initial enrollment.

Field Education

Field internships are available within the students’ communities during normal business hours, generally on weekdays.

Traditional track students enroll in a foundation field placement (16 hours/week for a total of 480 hours) during the second year in the program, and in an advanced field placement (16 or 24 hours/week for a total of 720 hours) during the third year in the program (a total of 14 credits).

Human Service Experience Track students complete a single, 1,000-hour field internship (a minimum of 16 hours/week for 35 semesters) during the second and third years in the program and complete a 2-credit Field Education capstone project (a total of 14 credits).

Advanced Standing students enroll in a single, 1,000-hour (a total of 10 credits) field internship during their first and second year in the program (a minimum of 16 hours for 35 semesters).

NOTE:

The online program is available for individuals living in the USA except those in US territories. At this time, the Online MSW Program is not open to international applicants.

State Board of Education requirements and state licensing requirements for social workers differ from state to state. Please be sure to research your state’s Board of Education and social work licensing requirements.