Social Work: Accelerated 16-Month Program

Simmons University’s innovative, accelerated 16-month Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program provides a transformative learning experience that links passion with lifelong purpose.

Students sitting in class

The only on-campus accelerated MSW in New England, the 16-month MSW degree at Simmons features hands-on curriculum that integrates education and practice with social justice values and multicultural perspectives.

Benefits of an Accelerated MSW Program

The accelerated MSW program is an ideal fit for students with work and/or volunteer experience in social work or other related fields, and those who excelled academically in their undergraduate studies. This full-time program is completed in four consecutive semesters across 16 months, beginning in January during the spring term. MSW students complete field placements during each semester of the program.

Through this accelerated program, students are able to receive a top-ranked MSW degree in a more rapid and convenient format. The emphasis on practicum education allows students to develop solutions to social injustice through their teaching, research, clinical practice, and community work.

MSW Career Outlook

Social workers are vital members of our communities, serving in diverse roles across a vast number of industries. They are employed in publicly essential locations such as hospitals, centers for veterans, school districts, community health centers, adoption agencies, mental health clinics, nursing homes, private clinical practices, and addiction recovery clinics. Simmons graduates are leaders who have the knowledge, confidence, and experience to also affect public policy in order to help enact widespread improvements for their communities.

Social workers are a keystone link in our communities, providing essential services such as counseling, crisis intervention, and increased access to social resources.

As a testament to their importance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of social workers will grow 13% from 2019 to 2029, making it one of the most in-demand and crucially needed professions.


Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.). The MSW degrees of the School of Social Work are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education's Committee on Accreditation. The accelerated 3+1 program adheres to all accreditation standards, requiring completion of all undergraduate and graduate course and field requirements.

Hands-on Experience in Field Work

A renowned leader in Social Work education, Simmons University’s MSW program emphasizes the application of academic knowledge through direct-practice internships, interacting with individuals, groups, and agencies for deeper learning and expertise. Simmons practicum education faculty meet with students to ensure academic and career goals are met through best-fit placements. Students in the accelerated MSW program complete two field work experiences which are facilitated by a field placement specialist.

MSW Admission Requirements

The MSW degrees at Simmons offer exceptional preparation in clinical social work, scholarship, and social action. Students interested in applying to the 16-month accelerated program must complete and submit the following items to be considered for admission:

  • Online Application
  • $45 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Résumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Official College Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Professional or Academic Recommendation

Learn more about our application deadlines and how to apply to our graduate social work programs.

Jumpstart Your Social Work Career

Through the 16-month accelerated MSW at Simmons, you can jumpstart your career in social work, making a difference in your community in a much quicker time frame. Ready to get started? Request more information today!


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

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.

View the 16-month accelerated MSW program plan.

This program plan is only for students who start Spring 2023 and after.

The Accelerated 16-Month M.S.W. program does not apply to specialized M.S.W. programs such as the School Social Work Certificate Program, Trauma Certificate Program, Public Policy Certificate Program, Veterans Certificate Program or Health Care Certificate Program, which need to be completed either full-time or part-time in 24, 36 or 48 months. Year one students in the 16-Month program will take Social Work Practice online. Students will be contacted via email by the SSW online program regarding registration. Students will receive schedule options for SWO 421A by the end of November. Students will receive schedule options for SWO 421B by the end of March. 2 Students must stay in the same section (day, time, and professor) of Practice (SW 424) for both fall and spring semester.

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. 

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

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

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.

Social Work at Simmons University

Our progressive, hands-on curriculum integrates education and practice with social justice values, multicultural perspectives and a strong emphasis on practicum education.

Graduate Program Videos

Headshot of Shane MacDonald

Alumnae/i Feature

Simmons did an excellent job of transitioning me to the field. My placements required me to use different clinical skills and to work with many different people. The progression felt really natural.

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.