The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program is designed to prepare students to provide services to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. By selecting one of four concentrations focused on specific populations, students learn to draw from social work theory and methods to engage, evaluate, and intervene in the problems experienced by individuals, families, and groups. Skills gained through this program can be applied in schools, hospitals, private practice, social service agencies, and mental health clinics. Students have an additional opportunity to increase their knowledge by choosing an optional elective cluster in one of six key areas, and customized case studies throughout the program add perspective to the curriculum. In-person residencies and field experience also help prepare graduates to provide culturally and contextually relevant social work services in their practice, using mentoring, supervision, advocacy, and collaboration activities with their varied client populations.
Graduates of Walden’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program will be prepared to:
- Develop a professional orientation and identity as a social worker.
- Apply legal and ethical standards in the administration of social work.
- Apply principles of advocacy that promote cultural understanding and positive social change in individuals, communities, and society.
- Utilize evidence-based research and critical-thinking skills to inform practice in meeting the needs of diverse clientele.
- Synthesize and apply theories of human growth and development to develop culturally responsive social work practices.
- Apply knowledge and skills in the areas of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
|Demonstrate the development of a professional orientation and identity as a social worker. (PG 1)
||EPAS 2.1.1 Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
|Apply legal and ethical standards in clinical social work practice. (PG 2)
||EPAS 2.1.2 Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
|Apply principles of advocacy that promote cultural understanding and positive social change. (PG 3)
||EPAS 2.1.4 Engage diversity and difference in practice.
|EPAS 2.1.5 Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
|EPAS 2.1.8 Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
|Utilize evidence-based research and critical-thinking skills to inform practice clinical social work practice in meeting the needs of diverse clientele. (PG 4)
||EPAS 2.1.3 Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
|EPAS 2.1.6 Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
|Synthesize and apply theories of human growth and development to develop culturally responsive social work practices. (PG 5)
||EPAS 2.1.7 Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
|Demonstrate knowledge and skills in the areas of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families, and groups. (PG 6)
||EPAS 2.1.9 Respond to contexts that shape practice.
|EPAS 2.1.10(a)–(d) Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- 92 total quarter credits
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (65 cr.)
- Electives (10 cr.)
- Field Experience (12 cr.)
- Two Social Work Skills Labs (2 cr.)
(6-week hybrid: includes 4-day face to face)
Note: The following (tracks) are available for the MSW program:
- Standard option (up to two courses/term)—This track is similar to most traditional master’s-level programs in which students either complete one or two courses per quarter.
- Accelerated option (2 yr—Intensive course load)—This track requires students to complete two courses in the first quarter, while completing three courses at the same time in many of the remaining quarters.
- Advanced Standing (requires BSW)—This track is for students who enter the program with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). They will begin the program with the introductory course that all MSW students take but then move to the advanced-level courses.
Foundation Course (3 cr.)
Elective Courses (15 cr.)
Take the courses from any one of the elective cluster options below.
Field Experience Courses (12 cr.)
The following optional elective clusters are designed to help students more deeply explore a particular area of interest within the field of clinical social work.
- Complete Social Work Skills Lab I after completing SOCW 6001 and SOCW 6102; required before entering SOCW 6500 - Social Work Field Education I. (Exception: Advanced Standing students can skip Social Work Skills Lab I.)
- Complete Social Work Skills Lab II after SOCW 6510 and prior to enrolling in SOCW 6520 - Social Work Field Education III. (Exception: Advanced Standing students must complete Social Work Skills Lab II after SOCW 6002.)
Students must complete Social Work Skills Lab I prior to taking SOCW 6502 (field education course).
Students must complete Social Work Skills Lab II prior to taking SOCW 6520 (field education course).
Students may complete the optional third elective cluster course in either the 6th, 7th, or 8th quarter, which would be a total of three courses in either term.
Walden University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is responsible for developing standards that define competent preparation for professional social workers and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.
Note on Licensure
The minimum academic credential required to obtain licensure to practice as a social worker in most states is a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Walden University’s MSW program is accredited by CSWE.
State licensing boards are responsible for regulating the practice of social work, and each state has its own academic, licensure, and certification requirements.
Walden recommends that students consult the appropriate social work licensing board in the state in which they plan to practice to determine the specific academic requirements for licensure. Walden enrollment advisors can provide information relating to the state-by-state requirements for licensure. However, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all licensing requirements for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of its coursework or programs will permit an individual to achieve state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential as a social worker.
Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the Master of Social Work (MSW) program relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.