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 field 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 field 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 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 January with students taking courses in the spring, summer, fall and following spring 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 12-15 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 the School Social Work Certificate Program, Trauma Practice Certificate Program, or Health Care Certificate Program, which need to be completed either full-time or part-time in 24, 36 or 48 months.

Please note that the alternative accelerated schedule, which includes a summer semester of field education, will somewhat limit the first-year field placement choices (Field placement during the spring and summer semesters of the first year.)

Because the small and limited number of students in the accelerated MSW program, students must take online the Clinical Practice class during their first year (first 2 semesters spring and summer.)

See the full program plan.

The 16-month MSW program starts only in the 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 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. 

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. 

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.

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

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Offered As
  • Masters
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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 field 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.

Our Faculty

Gary Bailey photo

Gary Bailey

  • Assistant Dean for Community Engagement and Social Justice, Professor of Practice of Social Work and Director of Urban Leadership Program
Hugo Kamya photo

Hugo Kamya

  • Social Work Alumni Fund Endowed Chair and Professor
Diane Zipoli

Diane Zipoli

  • Assoc. Prof. of Practice & Asst. Director of Field Education