MSW Program

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program: Learning to Empower

If you’re serious about taking your social work education to the next level and making a difference in the lives of others, there’s simply no better place than Boston University to start building that future. The School of Social Work offers a dynamic, hands-on MSW program, nestled in the heart of a culturally and educationally rich city. The urban backdrop dovetails with our primary aim: to educate outstanding social workers in an intellectually rigorous environment so they can integrate and apply clinical and macro practice methods in diverse communities. Our multimethod curriculum not only prepares students for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, but reflects our urban mission, embodying the School’s emphasis on the empowerment of oppressed groups, and social and economic justice in city settings.

The Master of Social Work offers a variety of program options, including several dual degree and specialization programs. Our students are immersed in both classroom and field education in full- and part-time programs on the Charles River Campus in Boston and three off-campus part-time, weekend programs, in northeast Massachusetts in Chelmsford, and in southeastern Massachusetts in Fall River and on Cape Cod. We also offer a part-time national Online MSW Program with a focus in clinical social work practice. The Online MSW Program allows individuals to earn an MSW degree while continuing to live and work in their own communities.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, all of our programs include foundation and advanced-level courses and field education. Students begin with clinical and macro practice methods, human behavior in social environment, social welfare policy, and research, and a foundation field practicum and field education integrative seminar. In the advanced curriculum, students choose to specialize in either clinical practice or macro practice. They acquire in-depth knowledge and practice skills by taking advanced methods courses in clinical or macro practice, racial justice and cultural oppression, social work ethics, electives, and an advanced field practicum.

Opportunities Abound

No matter which program you pursue, you will have an opportunity to develop excellent practice skills at all system levels in a range of social justice settings in Boston and throughout the United States. After the basic foundation courses, students choose electives to acquire special knowledge and skills related to working with vulnerable populations, including: children and adults who have experienced serious trauma, those in the child welfare system, adolescents transitioning to adulthood, family caregivers, older adults and their families, and immigrants and refugees.

Students also learn practice skills for those experiencing substance abuse and serious physical and mental health problems. Specialized practice skills include family systems and cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic methods, as well as macro practice skills relevant to communities and organizations, including human service management.

Those skills, along with a master’s degree from Boston University’s School of Social Work, has translated to many productive and meaningful careers. Recent employment surveys tell us that our graduates are primarily employed in the fields of health, child welfare, and family services, and a number of our clinical MSW graduates maintain private practices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 617-353-3750 or by email at busswad@bu.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

Full-Time Study

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


Part-Time Study

The School offers several extended, part-time programs, one on-campus and three off-campus, as well as an online program that accepts students three times a year. Part-time students take two to three courses per semester and fulfill degree requirements in three years (plus summers) or four years (without summers). Options are:

  • The Charles River Boston Campus part-time MSW programs, offering dual degrees, specializations, and advanced standing options in clinical and macro practice.
  • Three off-campus sites offering part-time weekend MSW programs in clinical social work practice. These programs are located in Chelmsford, Fall River, and on Cape Cod (Barnstable), Massachusetts.
  • A national online part-time MSW program with a Clinical Social Work Practice focus.

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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 degree must have been received within six years before entry into the program.

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