Master’s in Social Work (MSW)

Simmons University’s Master’s in Social Work (MSW) program offers exceptional preparation in clinical social work, scholarship, and social action. Our progressive, hands-on curriculum integrates education and practice with social justice values and multicultural perspectives, with a strong emphasis on field education. As clinician activists, our students, faculty, and alumni all work to develop solutions to social injustice through their teaching, research, clinical practice, and community work.

For undergraduate students seeking a social work degree, view our Social Work (BSW) Program or our accelerated Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Social Work (BSW)/Social Work (MSW) 3+1 Program.

Why study Social Work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026. Job prospects are very good, particularly for clinical social workers. 

When it comes to choosing a social work master’s program, what sets Simmons apart? We are committed to providing a personalized, coordinated, and integrated learning experience. Faculty advisors supervise each student's course load and work with students to help them select field education placements that meet their goals. The MSW program holds true to the Simmons mission: to provide transformative learning that links passion with lifelong purpose. 

We also offer the utmost flexibility. MSW students at Simmons can choose between traditional on-campus or online learning and can even dictate their pace of study. Program options include: 

  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time—Extended
  • Full-Time—Accelerated
  • Online—Full-time, part-time, or accelerated 

There is also an Advanced Standing Program for qualified applicants with a bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW). For more information on MSW program options, see below. 

What can you do with a Master’s degree in Social Work?

Graduates of our MSW have established themselves as strong agents of change. They are grounded in direct clinical practice and committed to working with underserved populations. 

Areas in which graduates are currently working include child welfare, community mental health, corrections, disaster response, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, housing, juvenile justice, medicine, public health, public policy, and school social work. MSWs in the state of Massachusetts are also eligible to become LCSWs and LICSWs.

Simmons also offers a PhD in Social Work designed for advanced clinical scholars.

Learn more about our MSW degree!

Are you ready to find out more about earning your Master’s in Social Work at Simmons? Feel free to reach out to our distinguished faculty—their contact information can be found below—or request more information about the program today!

    Melinda Gushwa
    • Melinda Gushwa
    • Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the MSW
    • Phone: 617-521-3921
    • Office: P404G
    Kim Kelly Harriman
    • Kim Kelly Harriman
    • Associate Professor of Practice, Director of Field Education & Student Affairs
    • Phone: 617-521-3959
    Jennifer Putney
    Johnnie Hamilton-Mason
    • Johnnie Hamilton-Mason
    • Professor of Social Work and Director of The Pharnal Longu
    • Phone: 617-521-3911
    • Office: P414H
Program Requirements

Required Social Work Courses

  • SW 401A Social Policy
  • SW 409  Dynamics of Racism & Oppression
  • SW 411A  Human Behavior
  • SW 414  Assessment & Diagnosis
  • SW 421 (A&B)  Social Work Practice
  • SW 424 (A&B)  Advanced Clinical Practice
  • SW 441  Research
  • SW 446 (A&B)  Field Education I
  • SW 447 (A&B)  Field Education II
  • SW 509  Evaluation
  • SW 577  Groups
  • SW 590 Social Action Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective
  • Elective

Must earn 65 credits.

If you choose a specialized course of study you may have additional requirements.

Full-Time Option

Students in the full-time MSW Program typically require two years to complete their degree. They are assigned a field placement for three days a week for both years of the Program and take classes two days per week.

See the full program plan.  

16 Month Accelerated Option

The Simmons Accelerated 16-Month MSW program allows students to complete their MSW degree in four consecutive semesters over 16 months. The plan of study starts in September with students taking courses in the fall, spring, summer, and following fall semesters. Students are in field placements each semester. 

The accelerated MSW is the only on-campus program in New England. This 65-credit degree program has the same course work and requirements as the two-year full-time and three-year extended programs, but students earn their degree one semester sooner. The 16-month MSW program enrolls 15-18 students each year. Due to the accelerated course schedule, previous strong undergraduate academic performance is a plus, and substantial prior work and/or volunteer experience in social work/human services is strongly recommended.

The Accelerated 16-Month MSW program does not apply to specialized MSW programs such as School Social Worker, Urban Leadership, and Healthcare, which need to be completed full time in two years or part time in three years.

See the full program plan.

Part-Time Extended Option

The Extended-Study Program offers students the option to expand a two-year program into two-and-a-half, three or four years. The first year of the Program could be called part-time, as students devote two days a week to classes and study. Simmons offers flexible evening scheduling to accommodate working professionals; however, not all program requirements can be met in the evening. In the subsequent years, students must plan four or five days per week for classes and field placements. Most students complete the program in three years. Note: A limited number of 16 hour per week/11 month placements are available to students in the Full-Time and Extended Programs.

See the full program plan

Online Option

The online MSW program is offered to students living across the country. Students can complete the program on a full-time, part-time, or accelerated track. There are five cohort start dates per year, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Learn more about the online option

Advanced-Standing Option

The Simmons School of Social Work offers a 12-month full-time or 2 year part-time Advanced Standing Program to qualified applicants with a bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW) who have graduated within the last five years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Program includes one three-days-per-week (24-hour) field placement from September to August, concurrent with a total of eight advanced-level courses.

Specialized Courses of Study

Specialized courses of study build on Foundation Year required courses and the first-year field placement to expand a student's assessment, intervention, and practice evaluation skills. Specialized courses of study aim to help students narrow their focus by directing them toward electives in the specific area of interest.

Specialized Courses of Study include:

  • Child and Family
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Health and Aging

Learn more

Field Education

Putting Theory to Work

Our students apply their academic knowledge through direct-practice internships with individuals, groups, agencies, and larger systems. Prior to entering the MSW Program, students meet with our field education faculty to assess interests, discuss learning goals, and arrange an internship plan. First-year internships provide a strong foundation of social work practice skills. Mid-way through their first placement, students meet with an adviser to plan for the advanced second-year placement. Second-year internships focus on advanced clinical skills and specialized areas.

Full-Time Students

Internships are three days (24 hours) per week from September to May for both years of the MSW Program. Students take a total of four courses concurrently the other two days. Summer class options and evening classes allow some flexibility.

16-Month Accelerated Program Students

Accelerated MSW students will have two field placements – one during the fall and spring of the first year and an advanced clinical year placement in the summer and fall of the second year. Students will meet with a field placement specialist in the fall to begin the placement selection process for their advanced clinical year.

Please note that the alternative accelerated schedule which includes a summer semester of field education will somewhat limit the advanced year field placement choices.

Extended Program Students

Internships, taken during the second and third years of the program, are three days (24 hours) per week from September to May. Students can choose to do placements 16 hours per week for 11 months.

Employment as Field Placement

On occasion, students who are currently employed by a human service agency may be permitted to do their internship as a supervised "job placement" at their current agency. Students interested in this option must apply to the field department. Only placements that meet the strict criteria — including the provision of a new LICSW supervisor and a new work assignment — are approved. Only one placement can be a job placement.

Advanced-Standing Program

Students accepted into the Advanced-Standing Program receive credits for all foundation year courses and one semester of field experience. Advanced-Standing students will have one extended advanced year field placement. Internships are three days (24 hours) per week, over three semesters, from September to early August. Most students complete the program within one year.

Alumni Careers

Alumni Career Examples:

  • Ombudsman for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
  • Oncology Social Worker, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Social Worker, Unaccompanied Minors Program, Lutheran Social Services
  • School Social Worker, Brookline Public Schools
  • METCO Coordinator, Cohasset Public Schools
  • Social Worker/Volunteer Coordinator, Health Leeds, Baltimore, MD
  • Program Associate, Children's Aid Society of New York, Family Rewards Program
  • Mental Health Consultant, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Director, LGBT Services, MIT Office of Student Life
  • Emergency Room Social Worker, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Founder/CEO, Osiris Group Mental Health Provider, Boston
  • Constituency services coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services
  • Management and policy analyst, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
  • Social Worker, Visiting Nurse Service of New York City, Mobile Community Support Team
  • Director of Volunteer Services, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, Newton, MA
  • CEO and President, LBD Counseling & Consulting Clinic, Randolph, MA
  • Social Worker, St. Francis House Homeless Shelter
  • Domestic Violence Advocate, Brigham and Women's Hospital Passageways Program, Boston, MA
How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in attending Simmons! We pledge to help you achieve a successful career, a meaningful life, and a powerful return on your educational investment. Our program is distinguished in many ways: an innovator in social work education; nationally acclaimed faculty; alumni who are leaders in their fields; and an ideal Boston location in the Fenway and Longwood Medical Area.