Earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Simmons University

Simmons University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers exceptional preparation in clinical social work, scholarship, and social action.

Why pursue a Master of Social Work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029. Job prospects are very good, particularly for clinical social workers.

When it comes to choosing an MSW degree program, what sets Simmons apart? We are committed to providing a personalized, coordinated, and integrated learning experience. Faculty and advisors supervise each MSW student's course load and work with students to help them select practicum 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.

The Simmons MSW offers flexibility: MSW students at Simmons can choose between traditional on-campus courses or online courses and can even dictate their pace of study.

Our innovative, hands-on MSW curriculum integrates education and practice with social justice values and multicultural perspectives, with a strong emphasis on practicum education. As clinician activists, our MSW degree students, faculty, and alumnae/i all work to develop solutions to social and racial injustice through their teaching, research, clinical practice, and community engagement.

MSW program options include:

There is also an Advanced Standing MSW program for qualified applicants with a bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW). 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.

Admission requirements for a Simmons MSW degree

To apply to our MSW degree program, you must submit the following:

  • Completed online application form
  • $45 non-refundable application fee
  • Résumé
  • Personal statement
  • Official college transcripts, indicating graduation date
  • Three letters of professional or academic recommendation

Learn more about admission requirements for our MSW degree.

An MSW program deeply committed to innovative clinical training

Simmons' School of Social Work is the only Social Work School in Massachusetts that uses Social Work Simulation Education, a current best practice in the field, to facilitate MSW students’ higher level learning.

Simmons Social Work Clinical Simulation enables students to learn how to integrate social work theory, knowledge, skills and values into practice. Standardized patients who are trained actors and case studies are used to produce simulated clinical situations, allowing Simmons MSW students to practice treatments. With the use of simulation, Simmons MSW students engage in real-life clinical situations, preparing them for circumstances that arise in their field placements and for jobs as clinical social workers after they graduate.

Hear more from the Simmons MSW community about how simulation prepares students for real world practice.

What can you do with an MSW?

Graduates of our MSW program 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 MSW 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 an on-campus PhD in Social Work and an online Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) designed for advanced clinical scholars.

Learn more about our MSW degree!

Are you ready to find out more about earning your MSW at Simmons? Request more information about the Boston Campus MSW program, visit our campus (visit a class, talk to current MSW students, schedule an informational meeting and a campus tour), register for an MSW information session, or apply to our MSW today! You can also read more information about our fully online MSW degree option SocialWork@Simmons.

 

The MSW degree requires 65 credit hours, consisting of 48 credit hours of classroom courses and 17 credit hours of practicum courses. Listed below is the MSW course sequence as of September 2022. On Ground course numbers have the prefix SW; online courses, SWO.

Specialized Year

SW404 Social Welfare Policy 3
SW414 Assessment and Diagnosis 3
SW424A Advanced Clinical Practice 3
SW424B Advanced Clinical Practice 3
SW447A Practicum Education Year II 4
SW447B Practicum Education Year II 4
SW509 Program Evaluation in Social Work 3
Elective
Elective
Elective

Licensure and Certificate Programs

As an MSW student, you may choose to pursue a certificate program in which you will gain advanced skills in a specific area of interest through a structured sequence of courses.

MSW with MA Licensure in School Social Work (On-Campus)

Students in the MSW program interested in practicing as a school social worker can elect to work towards the Massachusetts state license to be a School Social Worker/School Adjustment Counselor (SSW/SAC). The certification is required to work as a clinical social worker in many school settings in Massachusetts.

Requirements for the MSW with Licensure as a School Social Worker/School Adjustment Counselor include:

  • Sixty-two credits in the MSW program including SW 539 Social Work in Schools and SW 595, Child and Adolescent Diagnosis, one specialized social work elective and three required courses (eight credits) taken in the Simmons University Department of Education (SPND 441, SPND 444, SPND 445)
  • Successful completion of the two SSW practicum; one placement must be in a school setting the other placement is encouraged to be in a setting serving children and families
  • Completion and submission of required documentation

Students planning to work toward the school social worker license should review the SSW/SAC student handbook, follow the program plan provided at registration, and attend the information sessions with the Certificate Coordinator. Practicum planning should be guided by licensure requirements. To be granted the license, candidates must complete all requirements mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) (e.g., passing the Communication and Literacy tests of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure [MTEL]). Students are strongly encouraged to take the MTEL before completing the MSW program. Waiting to take it until after graduation might delay the ability to secure employment. 

MSW with Certificate in Public Policy (On Campus)

This certificate program is designed to give MSW students with an interest in macro/policy issues the opportunity to supplement their clinical education experience with a deeper knowledge of public policy. This certificate will position graduates to have more options in terms of career directions in social work, particularly around policymaking or policy advocacy, with an emphasis on building policy analysis and advocacy skills that will allow students to analyze and affect policies at local, state, and national levels. These courses will enhance students’ understanding of policy systems and theory, methods of policy analysis, and subject matter knowledge in two major policy arenas.

MSW with Certificate in Trauma Practice (On Campus and Online)

The Certificate in Trauma Practice will prepare graduates for practice with a variety of populations in multiple settings including: schools and universities, community mental health centers, immigrant and refugee centers, the legal justice and prison systems, inpatient and outpatient hospitalization programs, and psychotherapeutic settings with children, adults, couples, families and groups. Students complete all regular MSW program requirements, as well as SW 528A Child and Adolescent Trauma, SW 528B Lifespan of Trauma Treatment: Adults and Families, and two Trauma Practice certificate electives.

MSW with Certificate in Clinical Practice with Active Service Members, Veterans, and Families (On Campus and Online) (Launching Fall 2023)

This certificate provides MSW students with a unique opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in effective and culturally-sensitive clinical practice with servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Students will learn about the systems and culture of the U.S. military; the sociocultural identity development of military personnel; the experiences, needs, and strengths of military individuals and families, with specific attention to minoritized groups; avenues of support for military personnel and their families; and specific assessment and intervention practices, with particular emphasis on PTSD and suicidality. This certificate prepares students to work with individuals and families at any stage of military involvement and in a variety of settings.

Certificate in Mental Health Practice (Online)

The Certificate in Mental Health Practice prepares graduates to:

Work with people who have experience with serious mental health conditions, including those with concurrent health conditions. Students will learn to recognize and address the significant impacts of stigma, marginalization, and discrimination that impede the health, safety, access to resources, and quality of life for people with serious mental health conditions. In addition, they will become skilled in delivering evidence-based and best practice approaches for managing symptoms and achieving wellness and recovery. Students will exit the program with an understanding of the role of social worker as both a provider and advocate working in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, families, and other supports and services.
 
 

 

Elective Courses

MSW students who opt not to enroll in a certificate can still develop a focused skill set through their elective courses. Students interested in an area of focus can work with their Academic Advisors on elective selection. Examples of focus areas are:

  • Health and Aging
  • Child and Family Wellbeing
  • Substance Use and Misuse
  • Adult Mental Health
  • Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
  • Group Practice
  • Clinical Practice and Therapy Models

Course Sequencing / Prerequisites

  • Research, SW 441/SWO 441 must be completed prior to enrollment in Evaluation, SW 509/SWO 509.
  • Program Evaluation, SW 509/SWO 509 must be taken concurrently with SW 447A or SW 447B/SWO 447A or SWO 447B.
  • Dynamics of Racism and Oppression, SW 409/SWO 409 must be completed before commencing specialized year courses.
  • SW 403/SWO 403 must be completed before SW 404/SWO 404.
  • Practicum Education Year I, SW 446A or SWO 446L is concurrent with SW 421A or SWO 421A; SW 446B or SWO 446B is concurrent with SW 421B or SWO 421B
  • Practicum Education Year II, SW 447A or SWO 447A is concurrent with SW 424A or SWO 424; SW 447B or SWO 447B is concurrent with SW 424B or SWO 425
  • Students must stay in the same sections (day, time, and professor) for practice classes: SW 421A/SWO 421A and SW 421B/SWO 421B and SW 424A and SW 424B.

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.

This program plan is only for students who started in Fall 2019 and later.

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

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 practicum 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.

Part-Time Extended 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.

Learn more about Practicum Education.

Innovations in Clinical Training with our MSW Program

Hear more from the Simmons Master of Social Work community about how simulation prepares students for real world practice.

More Videos

Spotlight on MSW Students and Alums

Nathan Brewer ’10MSW ’18PhD

Nathan Brewer ’10MSW ’18PhD on Protecting College Students

Nathan Brewer ’10MSW ’18PhD is Director of the Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) at Boston University (BU). After receiving his Master’s in Social Work from Simmons, he returned to the University to pursue his PhD in Social Work alongside his clinical practice. We spoke to Brewer about his experience in the program, and his current work at Boston University.


Eli Lorenzo

Serving Those Who Served: Eli Lorenzo's Dedication to Veteran Care

Eliezer “Eli” Lorenzo ’23MSW is a case manager for a new practice framework at VA Boston Health Care called Care Coordination and Integrated Case Management (CCICM). Through phone calls and home visits, Lorenzo reaches out to veterans who have a...


Anna Rodriguez

Anna Rodriguez ’23MSW: Bridging Hearts and Minds as a Mental Health Therapist

Anna Rodriguez is a mental health therapist at Cartwheel Care, a behavioral healthcare company that partners with K-12 schools to provide mental health services to children and adolescents.


Living a Triggered Life podcast poster

Roxann Mascoll ’15MSW Integrates Art and Social Work to Address Trauma Experienced by Black and Brown Men

For 18 years, Roxann Mascoll ’15MSW worked as a domestic violence specialist. She is now Lead Clinician for The Triggered Project, a non-profit that includes a play and film that addresses how Black and Brown men experience and process childhood trauma.


Bishop Jeffrey Mello ’00 MSW

Simmons School of Social Work Alum Helps Bring Christianity out of the Closet

A recent CBS news segment chronicles the journeys of openly-gay bishops within the Episcopal Church. The story centers around trailblazer Bishop Gene Robinson, and also spotlights Jeffrey Mello ’00MSW, who became Bishop Diocesan in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut in 2022.


Lieutenant Dahiana Mesa

Meet Dahiana Mesa, Operations Lieutenant of Simmons’ Public Safety Department

Operations Lieutenant Dahiana Mesa, a member of Simmons’ Public Safety Department, is a warm and trusted presence on campus. In her current role, she oversees diverse operations within the Department, supports Public Safety personnel, and provides guidance and resources to the Simmons community. We spoke with Lieutenant Mesa about her career in law enforcement and why she loves Simmons.


Gwen Child ’23MSW

Gwen Child ’23MSW: Empowering Holistic Healing at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Social Detoxification Center, South Dakota

Gwen Child is a substance use and mental health counselor at the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Social Detoxification Center, a new 15-bed facility located on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Rosebud, South Dakota.


Karen-Pierre-Louis, MSW '23

Karen Pierre-Louis ’23MSW works with Boston Public School children as a School Social Worker

Karen Pierre-Louis is a school social worker at the East Boston Early Education Center, a Boston Public School serving children in Pre-K through first grade. As the school’s first full-time social worker, Karen collaborates closely with the school psychologist, teachers, and administrators to support students’ social-emotional needs.