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WORCESTER—Westfield State University will begin offering its master’s program in social work at the YWCA Central Massachusetts located in Worcester in the fall. This represents the only public, accredited MSW program offered in downtown Worcester. Westfield State will provide YWCA staff, members, and other professionals living and working in the city with a highly affordable, accessible and flexible option to obtain their master’s degree in social work.

Applications for the hybrid program—including evening on-ground courses at the YWCA and online courses—are now being accepted for Fall 2017 enrollment.

“Its natural overlap with the university’s mission makes the YWCA an optimal partner to help its staff, members, and others in the Worcester area more easily advance their education and careers while juggling other professional and personal commitments,” said Westfield State University Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Marsha Marotta, who explained that Westfield State has been offering its MSW since September 2010.

“We at the YWCA are pleased to have our location at One Salem Square serve as the venue for Westfield State to deliver its reputable MSW degree program,” said YWCA Central Massachusetts Executive Director Linda Cavaioli. “This partnership provides an important resource for our members, our community and its workforce.”

According to Westfield State’s Dean of the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education Dr. Shelley Tinkham, the MSW program is one of the university’s most highly enrolled graduate programs and its expansion to Worcester helps meet a demand for the graduate degree in that geographic area.  

“MSW competition is slim in the Worcester area, but the demand remains high,” said Tinkham. “We are delighted to deliver on that need in a highly affordable and convenient way and spare Worcester-based students the need to travel to Boston or Springfield to obtain this graduate degree.”

According to Tinkham, based on 2016-17 tuition and fees, the total cost to complete Westfield State’s traditional, three-year MSW program is $27,984 and the part-time, two-year advanced standing program costs $15,688.

“The educational investment for bachelors-prepared students to achieve their master’s degree in social work is worthwhile. With the social services industry projected to see significant growth in the next several years, especially in health care social work, MSW-prepared professionals can distinguish themselves from other candidates to obtain those jobs,” said Westfield State Department of Social Work Chair Dr. Robert Kersting.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development projects occupations within the health care and social assistance industry to grow by more than 23 percent, with the health care social work positions specifically estimated to grow by nearly 30 percent.   

Tinkham said that another advantage to the partnership with the YWCA is its established connections with area social services and heath care organizations and agencies, which will be helpful to enhance students’ learning.

For more information on Westfield State University’s master’s degree in social work, click here.