Social Work, M.S.W.

Prepare for your future career in community-based services in USJ’s flexible Master of Social Work program

Social Work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States and includes diverse and varied fields of practice. Study at USJ’s CSWE accredited MSW Program.

Graduate Social Work students enjoy small classes and caring faculty who offer personal attention, academic advising and guidance in career development. Students gain professional experience while they complete two separate year-long placements in an innovative student unit model.

MSW Admissions Curriculum Fact Sheet Course Descriptions

Why Enroll in USJ’s MSW Program?

  • The focus on community-based services means that students will have the opportunity to engage clients within their communities and utilize the strengths and resources of these systems to support clients.
  • Graduates will be well-prepared for clinical social work practice. The curriculum is focused on developing skills and knowledge including direct practice experience applying evidence-based practice models.
  • In a recent cost comparison (2019-2020), USJ’s tuition and fees for a 3 credit course was less expensive than the majority of state and private institutions in the state of Connecticut and the surrounding area.
  • We are a small, personal program that is committed to the values of academic excellence, integrity, diversity and hospitality. We have high expectations, and we provide strong support.
  • Our outstanding faculty are experts in their area, engaged in the community, and committed to the success of our students.
  • The USJ MSW curriculum offers three specializations in high demand areas (Health and Mental Health, Child and Family Services and Veteran’s Services).

Flexible Options for Full & Part-Time Study

  • Full-time two year option (61 credits)
  • Part-time three year option (61 credits)
  • Full time Advanced Standing option (for graduates of accredited BSW Programs only; 33-39 credits)
  • Part-time Advanced Standing option (for graduates of accredited BSW Programs only; 33-39 credits)

Innovative Features

  • Flexible class schedules (evening and weekend)
  • Hybrid course delivery: Online content combined with in-person instruction in small classes with our outstanding faculty , so you can work towards your master’s in social work online at your convenience
  • Several completion pathways (full-time and part-time) allowing all students, including those who are employed full-time, to complete their MSW degree.
  • Clinical Preceptor/Student Unit model of field education. Unlike traditional MSW programs that place students with volunteer social workers, USJ MSW program partners with select agencies and pays a licensed clinical social worker (Clinical Preceptors) to provide individual and group supervision to each student – guaranteeing the quality of case assignments and clinical supervision.

The Day’s recent article “Wanted in southeastern Connecticut and beyond: Spanish-speaking employees” highlights Connecticut’s need for a bilingual workforce and underscores how sought-after Spanish speakers are in a myriad of local industries. 

Consistent with our core values, USJ has prioritized the employment of our graduates, while simultaneously meeting the needs of the market, by having majors, minors, concentrations, and certificates in the Spanish language and culture. For instance, USJ is unique in offering a certificate in “Adelante Bilingual Career Development” and “Latino Community Practice” which focuses on cultural, leadership, and communication development, which are open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Program Mission

The MSW Program prepares community engaged clinical social workers who, guided by a person in environment framework, professional knowledge, ethics, standards and cultural humility, use evidence informed research and practices to improve individual functioning, strengthen families and create equitable communities and policies that advance human rights, social and economic justice, and local and global peace. The MSW program partners with community-based agencies and practitioners to facilitate access to higher education for employed adults and access to social work services for diverse populations.

Program Goals

The USJ Master of Social Work Program will:

  • Produce ethically-strong graduates prepared for community-based practice as licensed clinical social workers in areas where there is the greatest need.
  • Provide access to graduate social work education for employed health and human services personnel.
  • Improve client outcomes and access to high quality clinical social work services for underserved populations through student and faculty involvement in applied, community-engaged research.
  • Collaborate with other disciplines to develop evidence-informed practices and strategies for delivering integrative care to diverse populations.
  • Enhance the relationship between social work education and practice through mutually beneficial partnerships with community-based organizations.
  • Implement and evaluate the Student Unit Model of field education and disseminate outcomes to the Social Work education community.

Program Accreditation

The University of Saint Joseph Masters in Social Work program was fully reaccredited from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) at the February 2020 meeting of the Commission on Accreditation. The accreditation is for eight years until 2028.

State Social Work Licensure

The USJ MSW curriculum prepares students to take the licensing exam for master’s level social workers with its focus on community-based clinical social work practice.

In order to qualify for a master’s level social work license in most states, including Connecticut, applicants must have graduated from a CSWE-accredited program. We encourage students to consult the appropriate social work licensing agency. It is the applicant’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Program faculty provide students with guidance about the licensing process and the program offers a license exam review course to all graduating students.

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is the non-profit organization that develops and administers social work licensure examinations. Additional information about licensing exams and state requirements may be found on their website.

MSW Outcomes

USJ Master’s Social Work Program

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
Program Option (USJ-Main Campus)
Last Completed on 6/01/2018
(Complete for each campus location)

Table Key
  • GP: Generalist Practice
  • P1: Area of Specialized Practice #1 (Identify Specialization)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to earn my degree?

If you have a BSW degree from an accredited program, you may be able to complete your degree in as little as one year. For all other students, we offer a two year option and a three year option.

For more information about a Social Work BSW from USJ, click here.

What jobs are available to a graduate of the MSW program?

Graduates will be prepared to practice clinical social work in a variety of settings. Clinical social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives, and in some settings, diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Clinical social workers are found in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, community health settings, schools, veteran’s services, in-patient and out-patient mental and behavioral health care programs, and child welfare programs to name just a few. Many clinical social workers open or join a private practice after gaining experience in an agency setting. State licensure is required for the practice of clinical social work.

When I graduate from the program, am I eligible for licensure as a social worker?

Each state has separate requirements, but all states license clinical social workers and most have licensure for other categories of social workers such as a BSW. All states require applicants for a social work license to have graduated from a CSWE-accredited program. The University’s MSW curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for the examination required to become a licensed clinical social worker. Generally, states require a minimum number of post-MSW direct practice hours and clinical supervision hours to be completed before a social worker can take the clinical licensure examination.

For an explanation of program accreditation and licensure and an update of where we are in the process, please see the above Program Accreditation and State Social Work Licensure sections.

Can I continue to work and complete my MSW degree?

Yes, the program is designed to accommodate to the needs of working students. All classes are offered in flexible formats utilizing online and campus-based classroom experiences. Some of our internship sites allow students to complete hours during evening and weekend times. The MSW Program is rigorous, however, and you should discuss with family and employers about the support you will need to be successful.

Can I complete my internship requirement at my place of employment?

All internships in the MSW Program will be in specially designed student units located in partner agencies. It may be that a student unit will be housed at your place of employment, but in most cases, you will need to complete internship requirements in a location different from your work site. In all cases, the clinical supervisor cannot be the work supervisor and the practice activities must be substantively different from your regular work assignments. It is important to us that your internship is a place of new learning and challenge for all students. The student unit model (featuring a university employed clinical preceptor) ensures strong supervision and assignment of cases appropriate to your level of experience. Some student unit sites utilize alternative hours (evenings and weekends) to accommodate a full time work schedule.

What concentrations and specializations do you offer?

The USJ MSW Program is committed to developing community-based clinical social workers. This is the only concentration offered. Students may elect to take a specialization in Health/Behavioral Health, Veterans Services, or Children and Families. Additional specializations are planned as the program grows.

What type of undergraduate courses do you require for admission to the MSW Program?

Applicants to the regular MSW program may have varied educational backgrounds. We look at the applicant’s academic ability and potential for critical thinking since this is an essential tool to effective clinical practice. All applicants must complete a course in statistics, although those who have not done so at the time of applying may begin the program but must complete the course prior to starting the second year classes.

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