The University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) degree prepares students for a future career in social work through an accommodating, hands-on program.
The program was recently ranked by Social Work Degree Guide as the third most affordable online MSW program in the country. At $539 per credit hour, the program is less expensive than many other online MSW programs. Some programs cost up to $900 per credit hour.
The program was also recognized by HumanServicesEdu.org as one of the top 25 fully online MSW programs for 2019-2020. Chiasson attributed this recognition to the program’s flexibility.
Social work is a broadly defined profession that aims at restoring social well-being. Social workers work with individuals, families and communities to address a wide array of issues that impact their social functioning, such as addiction or mental health.
Associate Director and Director of Student Services Denise Chiasson said the program prepares students for the many possibilities they will face as social workers.
“In our program, students learn diagnosing and treating on the individual, group and community level for children, adolescents, adults and the elderly,” Chiasson said. “They get trained in every aspect to deal with all those individual entities.”
Students pursuing an MSW on campus can participate in the School of Social Work’s 60-hour full-time program, part-time program or advanced standing program. All three programs teach students the same skills but in different amounts of time.
Students complete the 60-hour full-time program in two years and the 60-hour part-time program in three to four years. Students must have an undergraduate degree in social work to enroll in the advanced standing program. This program can be completed in one year because 27 credit hours can be transferred toward the MSW degree if the students earned above a C in the required courses.
All students are required to complete internships to graduate with an MSW degree. Students complete 480 internship hours during their first year, or generalist year, and complete another 480 hours during their second year, or specialist year. Because the internships are half the learning students receive from the program, Chiasson said the School of Social Work tries to make the internships as enriching as possible.
“We have a field office that does nothing but internship placements,” Chiasson said. “Students give our internship office some preferences and our internship office works within those preferences to place them with agencies. Anywhere that there’s a need for social workers, we’re usually there.”
Amber Rhodes graduated from the advanced standing program in 2014 and now works as a social worker at Life Source Hospice. She completed an internship at Spectrum Rehab Services and ultimately worked there for a year after graduation. Not only did she have a positive internship experience, Rhodes said the School of Social Work was very accommodating when she needed to defer her internship.
“I was able to shadow a bunch of counselors, which was very helpful because there’s so many different approaches,” Rhodes said. “They actually let me defer my internship until the summer. I’m a single mom and they really worked with me. They were very accommodating.”
Students can also receive an MSW from the University online. The online MSW program is module based meaning students take two courses in each seven-week module. Students complete 60 hours and internship requirements in two years of full-time study.
The program is asynchronous, which allows students to complete coursework at their own pace while meeting certain deadlines. Chiasson said the online program is very accommodating for students who want an MSW degree but can’t make it to campus, especially those who already have jobs.
“We work with our students to make sure they know what’s going on and what they need to do in terms of coursework,” Chiasson said. “The seven-week module is a little different, so that’s attractive as well.”