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Master of Social Work (MSW)

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Interested in Pursuing a Career in Social Work?

The M.S.W. program at Westfield State University has a single concentration in clinical practice. Beyond this concentration students are able to explore practice areas of interest through electives offered by the program.

These areas include:

  • Practice with children
  • Practice in health care settings
  • Gerontology, school social work
  • Substance abuse treatment

The program prepares all students licensure at the entry graduate level (LCSW in MA) and ultimately for advanced independent licensure (LICSW in MA).

Why Westfield?

The clinical M.S.W. program at Westfield State University begins with a general overview that evolves into an advance curriculum including clinical knowledge, values and skills.

All of our social work courses are hybrid models (2/3 in person, 1/3 online) and meet on Mondays and Thursdays only.

The program puts emphasis on leadership through evaluating and analyzing existing and emerging areas of knowledge to advance social service delivery in a practice community. This includes knowledge of social policies and direct exposure working with the vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized populations that are served by social workers.

How much will it cost?

We offer affordable programs. Our social work program was rated the most affordable MSW program in the Northeast in 2016 by the Social Work Degree Guide. Please visit our Tuition and Fees Page with up to date costs.

Coursework

The MSW program can be completed in two years full-time or three to four years part-time

All applicants should follow the following process and meet the described requirements (Specific additional requirements for Advanced Standing applicants are identified)

  1. Applicants should obtain an application packet from the MSW Program or the College of Graduate and Continuing Education.
  2. Applicants must have a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university. To apply for Advanced Standing the candidate must have a BSW from a CSWE accredited program.
  3. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree that included a clear liberal arts base and a firm foundation in the social sciences, government, and human biology. (Applicants should identify their social science, government and human biology courses on the application. Students who do not meet this requirement may be accepted into the program but will be required to take courses to meet these requirements prior to starting the program.)
  4. Applicants need a 2.8 overall undergraduate GPA. For Advanced Standing candidates, the applicant should also have a 3.0 social work GPA. In extraordinary circumstances both requirements can be waived by the Admission Committee.
  5. Applicants need to complete the Graduate Admission form, specifying Traditional MSW program or Advanced Standing MSW Program and whether they would like to be full-time or part-time.
  6. Applicants must submit three references forms with accompanying recommendation letters, including one academic reference. Advanced Standing applicants need to have one of their letters of reference from their BSW Program Director (or his/her designee). A letter from their Field Placement Supervisor is highly recommended.
  7. Applicants need to submit a current resume.
  8. Applicants need to complete a professional statement that describes:
    • reason(s) for interest in entering the field of social work
    • assessment of personal strengths and limitations related to the profession;
    • examination of life experiences and relationship of these experiences to career choice. Discuss here evidence of your commitment to aiding people who are oppressed and/or members of vulnerable populations (good examples are prior work, civic or volunteer experiences); and
    • assessment of personal values and congruence of these beliefs with the social work profession's value system. (We suggest that you review the NASW Code of Ethics prior to writing the professional statement.)

The professional statement will be evaluated regarding the above material and also will be considered a writing sample to evaluate your ability to express yourself in written form. Applicants who believe that they have extraordinary circumstances regarding the GPA requirements must include their rationale for their request to have the GPA requirement waived.

Though human services experience is not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to describe any prior volunteer or work experience in their professional statement. Professional experience is viewed positively and considered when making decisions regarding waiving GPA requirements.

The MSW Program does not require standardized testing (GRE or MAT) for admission to the program.

Deadlines and Notice of Decision:

Our Master of Social Work Program is available to begin in Fall semesters only. The application deadline is February 1st of each year.

Notice of acceptance will occur on or around April 15th for study beginning the following September.

Due to the competitive nature of this program, we require a nonrefundable “competitive program deposit” of $150.00 within 10 days of acceptance. This deposit is used to ensure your space in the program. The deposit is applied to your first registration as a matriculated student in the Fall semester immediately following your acceptance. If we do not hear from you within 10 days, we will assume you have selected an alternative direction, and we will close your matriculation.

The mission of the MSW program at Westfield State University is to prepare advanced level social work practitioners who have specialized knowledge for clinical practice that is based on a firm generalist foundation.

  • The program places emphasis and value on the development of students who will practice in their areas of competence, maintain ethical standards, and demonstrate leadership within their community as collaborative practitioners who are committed to addressing social, racial, and economic injustice.
  • The clinical training program is built on a strong generalist foundation and is grounded in biological, psychological, and social theoretical paradigms that will promote a spirit of inquiry and critical analysis for developing theories for social work practice. Students will gain competencies in developing and applying practice modalities that are rooted in various forms of evidence.
  • As graduates complete their advanced training, they will develop a commitment to life-long learning through self-reflection, meeting changing social needs, critically evaluating and integrating emerging practice proficiencies, increasing their levels of cultural competence, and engaging in ongoing skill development to meet the demands of advanced roles and responsibilities.

Our program is committed to providing leadership throughout the practice community in evaluating and analyzing existing and emerging areas of knowledge to advance social service delivery, social policies and direct practice with the vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized populations that are served by social workers.

GOALS OF THE PROGRAM

Goal # 1: The program prepares graduates who will have mastered the knowledge, values, and skills of the social work professional generalist practice core.

Goal #2: The program prepares graduates who will have advanced knowledge, values, and skills for clinical social work practice.

The accomplishment of these goals will be demonstrated through the following competencies:

Competency #1: Graduates will identify as professional social workers and as advanced social work practitioners and conduct themselves accordingly.

Competency #2: Graduates will conduct their professional practice according to the values and ethical principles of professional social work.

Competency #3: Graduates will apply critical thinking and communication skills to evaluate and inform professional judgments in practice.

Competency #4: Graduates will engage in informed, sensitive and competent practice with diverse and oppressed groups.

Competency #5: Graduates will promote human rights and social and economic justice.

Competency #6: Graduates will engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Competency #7: Graduates will apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to professional practice.

Competency #8: Graduates will engage in policy analysis and practice to promote social and economic well-being and to deliver effective services.

Competency #9: Graduates will recognize and respond to the dynamic contexts that shape practice.

Competency #10: Graduates will have the knowledge and skills required for engaging, assessing, intervening and evaluating with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Competency #10(a): Graduates will have the knowledge and skills required to engage client systems of all sizes and specialized skills for clinical practice.

Competency #10(b): Graduates will have the knowledge and skills required for assessment of client systems of all sizes and specialized skills for clinical practice.

Competency #10(c): Graduates will have the knowledge and skills required to intervene with client systems of all sizes and specialized skills for clinical practice.

Competency #10(d): Graduates will have the knowledge and skills required for evaluating client systems of all sizes and specialized skills for clinical practice.

We’re Here to Help.

We understand that it can be intimidating going back to school, and you may be balancing work, family and education, so we’ve put a few things in place to make your transition easier.

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