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Location(s) Offered
     •   Grand Rapids
     •   Southwest
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Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The Western Michigan University School of Social Work educates social workers to advocate for social and economic justice and personal well-being for all people. Social work seeks to identify and correct both the individual and social causes of problems and toward this end has developed a person-in-environment perspective. The master's degree program in social work (M.S.W.) prepares students for direct-service and leadership positions in a wide range of settings, including counseling agencies, mental health clinics, corrections facilities, neighborhood community centers, schools, family and child welfare agencies, legislative offices, and industry.

Program Benefits

  • Faculty provides leadership on local, national, and international levels through research, scholarship, community service and partnerships, and other creative activities relevant to the profession
  • Students strengthen critical thinking skills
  • Students will become ethical, competent and reflective practitioners
  • Program fosters sensitivity to diversity, cultural competence, and practice effectiveness

There are two curriculum paths for the M.S.W.: a 39-hour advanced-standing program for students with a baccalaureate degree in social work and a 60-hour extended-study program. The extended-study graduate curriculum is highly structured and sequential. In the advanced-standing program, students attend two classes in each of the spring and summer sessions before commencing the specialization courses and field education in the fall and spring semesters.

Full-time and extended-study students have two field placements, in different agencies in fall and spring semesters. Advanced-standing students have one field placement in the summer II, fall, and spring semesters of the second year in the program. Students from the two programs--extended study and advanced standing--choose from the two concentrations of study: interpersonal practice or policy, planning, and administration.

Certificate or Specialization Programs
In addition to the concentration choices, students may choose to specialize further by enrolling in one or more of the certificate or specialization programs offered by the College of Health and Human Services. Students can pursue options in alcohol and drug abuse, holistic health care, or school social work. Each of these certificate programs requires a specific field placement that can also satisfy the M.S.W. field education requirements. The classes can also satisfy the elective requirement in the M.S.W. program.