Feb 17, 2019  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2017-2018 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

Social Work, MSW

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Department: School of Social Work  

In order to prepare graduates to work successfully with a variety of client systems often presenting multiple, complex problems, the MSW program prepares culturally competent advanced practice professionals who are grounded in strengths-based, biopsychosocial practice models. As an advanced clinically informed practice program, the full course of study incorporates content on the social work profession’s history, purpose and philosophy and provides the knowledge, values and skills for advanced level social work practice. The curriculum emphasizes critical and creative thinking that enables graduates to initiate, adapt and evaluate interactions to the unique requirements of the diverse communities in our region.

To best meet the needs of MSW students, several options for completing the degree are offered: a full-time option (two years), two part-time options (three years and four years) and a part-time advanced standing option (two years). Each schedule is outlined below.

Students enrolled in the MSW program will be held to the Behavioral Standards for Master of Social Work Students.  

Admission Requirements

The admissions process involves the following components:

  • A completed application to the MSW program, available through the College of Graduate Studies. Applications are due on January 10.
  • An updated resumé
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • A personal statement that follows the guidelines provided on the application
  • Three letters of reference, ideally from supervisors, faculty members and others able to attest to the applicant’s readiness to undertake graduate education in social work (see additional requirements for Advanced Standing references)
  • Standardized test scores such as the GREs and the GMAT are not required
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credits

The admission committee’s decision will be based on the applicant’s demonstrated academic ability and evidence of interpersonal skills and self-awareness – indicators of the likelihood that the applicant can successfully complete the program. In addition, evidence of a commitment to the social work profession and to the mission of the Bridgewater State University MSW program, and of the likely contribution the applicant might make to the citizens of Southeastern Massachusetts will be assessed. Social work requires the ability to withstand difficult emotional challenges, to work with people whose cultural backgrounds and/or personal values differ from one’s own, and to practice in a demanding and changing political and fiscal environment. Special attributes such as linguistic ability compatible with those in the region, a demonstrated commitment working with underserved populations, and particular skills such as those in research and policy implementation will be considered.

Program of Study

Students in both the full-time and part-time options complete 62 credits which include the following courses:

Electives (9 credits)

Required completion of nine additional credits in elective courses, including SCWK 580 - Special Topics  or an equivalent course in another department which must be preapproved by the student’s faculty advisor and the MSW program coordinator.

Advanced Standing Option

Candidates seeking to enter the program with full advanced standing must have earned a BSW or BA/BS in social work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program within six years of the term for which the applicant has been accepted. Students who completed their BSW degrees more than six years ago will be evaluated individually to determine their preparedness for the second year of course work. Applicants who wish to transfer into the MSW program after completing a first year elsewhere may also be considered for advanced standing.

Once admitted into the program with advanced standing, students complete 35 credits which include the following courses:

MSW Degree Completion Options

Full-time Option (two years)

Generalist year (30 credits)

In the full-time option, students complete the courses listed below in their first year. This generalist year includes courses with content on social work values and ethics, diversity and social and economic justice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy practice and services, clinical social work practice, research and field practicum.


Specialization year (32 credits)

Full-time students complete the courses listed below in their second year. The specialization year broadens and deepens the foundation content. Students may take graduate courses outside the School of Social Work, such as those in the following BSU programs: Master of Public Administration, Master of Science in Management, Master of Education in Health Promotion or other approved master’s degree programs with preapproval of the faculty advisor and the MSW program coordinator. Graduate courses taken at other institutions of higher education may also be submitted for transfer credit. Up to six credits may be transferred into BSU from other institutions.

Part-time Options

The MSW program offers two part-time options. Under these options, the MSW program can be completed in either three or four years, according to the schedule outlined below.

Part-time Three Year Option

Part-time Four Year Option

Advanced Standing Program Two Year Option (35 credits)

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