Part-Time Programs

The Boston University School of Social Work offers the option of a graduate social work education in a non-traditional structure. The part-time program allows students to continue working in their communities while attending graduate school. The program goals are to further social and economic justice in the urban environment; to offer opportunities rooted in each community for people with work and family responsibilities; to provide internships in students’ geographic areas; and to enhance support that is tailored to adult learners.

The School offers an extended part-time program on the Charles River Campus to incoming students each year. 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 study consists of academic coursework only. (Most foundation courses offer a class section scheduled in the 4 to 6 p.m. and/or 6 to 8 p.m. time blocks). In subsequent years, two field placements are required in conjunction with the academic course curriculum. During Fall and Spring Semesters, students must have time available during the regular workweek for both 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.

Clinical Practice Major (offered at Bedford, Fall River and Cape Cod)

  • Traditional Track (available at Bedford, Fall River and Cape Cod)
    • 8 semesters, 65 credits, 2 field internships within student’s own community
  • Advanced Standing Option (available at Bedford and fall River)
    • 6 semesters, 40-43 credits, single field internship

Our Off-Campus Program (OCP) are designed for individuals with work or family responsibilities. Students major in clinical social work practice and develop the skills and competencies needed to advance professionally. The curriculum at our off-campus sites is identical to that of the BUSSW on-campus program and courses are taught by BUSSW faculty. In addition, our off-campus program offer a rich network of field placement sites, giving students practical experience in locations close to home where they acquire the hands-on training needed to succeed in the marketplace.

With locations in Bedford, Fall River, and on Cape Cod, these part-time MSW programs offer classes on weekends and field internships during the week in students’ own communities. The program is 65 credits and spans eight semesters, including two summer sessions. Courses are taken sequentially, one at a time. Classes are completed in four weeks and are held on Friday nights (6–9 p.m.) and Saturday mornings (9 a.m.–1 p.m.). Students take all classes as a cohort throughout their time in the program and complete the entire program at the off-campus sites.

The first year in the program focuses on foundation theory courses. During the second year, students take foundation methods courses and complete the foundation internship. In the third year, students take advanced curriculum and do the advanced field internship. Although classes are held on weekends, field placements occur during the week.

Access Off-Campus Program Information Central

An innovative and convenient option for remote applicants, this part-time online program in clinical social work practice allows individuals to earn an MSW degree while continuing to live and work in their own communities. There are three tracks, with eligibility dependent on undergraduate education and previous human services experience. Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services work may be considered for the Human Service Experience Track (HSE). The Advanced Standing Track is for graduates of an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Others are eligible to apply for the Traditional MSW Track (TT) track.

Students take the required and elective courses online, attend live classroom sessions held Sunday or Monday nights, and complete one or two field internships (depending upon relevant work experience) within or near their geographic area. Courses are taught by Boston University faculty members who remain committed to providing leadership and mentorship, allowing students throughout the United States access to their vast research experience and expertise in current and emerging social work practice.


Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services experience may be considered for the Human Service Experience (HSE) track. Other candidates are eligible to apply for the Traditional MSW Track (TT). Applications for the Online MSW Program are accepted each semester, and prospective students can apply to enter the online program in September, January, or May.

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (B) is required for all undergraduate study (applicants whose GPA is below 3.0 will be considered for admission but must submit standardized test scores to supplement their application).
  • A liberal arts undergraduate background that includes coursework in the behavioral, social, and biological sciences is preferred.
  • A telephone or online (Skype) interview with the applicant may be required.
  • Applicants with at least two years of social work or human services experience must complete a verification of their employment and have positive performance evaluations.
  • The Advanced Standing Track is 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 of entry into the program. Advanced standing applicants must submit their final field evaluation from their senior year in order to be considered for admission.


The online program is available for individuals living in the United States,  except those from New Hampshire, Maryland, and US Territories. Applications for the Online Program are accepted each semester and applicants can apply to enter the online program in September, January, or May.

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.

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Sample Part-Time Program Plans

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