The School of Social Work offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs of study. The undergraduate professional social work degree is a bachelor of science (B.S.) in social work. The curriculum incorporates instruction in five professional foundation areas: social welfare policy and services, human behavior in the social environment, research, social work practice, and field practicum. Instruction in these areas builds upon liberal arts preparation in the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences.

The School of Social Work offers a master of social work (M.S.W.) in two formats: the 2-year, 60-credit program for individuals who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in social work; and the Advanced Standing Program for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Both graduate programs prepare students for advanced social work practice and for creative, responsible roles in the social work field. The programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

The dual master’s degree program in Social Work (M.S.W.) and Marriage and Family Therapy (M.A.) allows students to complete a master’s degree in two distinct professions in a 3-year 96-credit program. The dual degree exposes students to philosophical and legal distinctions of both degrees and create a unique opportunity for social work students to deepen their clinical training with couples and families.

The School of Social work also partners with the College of Law to offer two Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work joint degrees; Law/Social Work (Licensed Clinical), JD/MSW and Social Work, JD/MS.

A Military Culture & Mental Health Practice focus area is available for students interested in working with military service members, veterans, or their families and a Social Work and the Human/Animal Bond specialization addresses the varied and important roles of animals as social subjects, rather than biological objects, in the lives of people.

Additionally the School of Social work offers a Social Justice Minor.

Social Work, BS

The undergraduate professional social work program offers a 120 credit bachelor of science degree. The goals of the program are to prepare undergraduate students for competent and effective generalist professional practice by developing the requisite social work knowledge, values, and skills, and to prepare undergraduate students for continuing professional education and/or graduate education. The curriculum incorporates instruction in five professional foundation areas: social welfare policy and services, human behavior in the social environment, research, social work practice, and field practicum. Instruction in these areas builds upon a carefully chosen and strong behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences taken within the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Social Work, Advanced Standing Program, MSW

The advanced standing program is available only to people who have graduated within the past 10 years from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and who earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all social work course work. Eligible students are granted advanced standing of 24 credits and complete 36 credits of graduate study as a full-time or part-time matriculated student in the School of Social Work. GREs are not required for admissions into this program.

Graduate merit scholarships for prospective students interested in matriculating into the Social Work Advanced Standing Program (M.S.W.) either full- or part-time, are available in Falk College effective Summer 2019. Incentives include no application fee and a 25 percent tuition discount incentive, which is applied after any other scholarships, scholarship credits, assistantships and remitted tuition credits are applied. Advanced Standing MSW-applicants who have graduated or will graduate from any accredited BSW/BSSW program throughout the nation are encouraged to apply. Interested students should contact Falk Admissions, submit their application by February 15, and must formally matriculate. Learn more about graduate merit scholarships.

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Social Work, MSW

The social work program is based on the concept of ecological systems, which holds that the fundamental focus of social work practice is on the transactions of people and their environments and the constant state of reciprocity in which each shapes the other. Social work intervention aims to promote the progressive forces and minimize the regressive forces in those transactions. Students in the School of Social Work are readied for the challenge of professional practice as they develop knowledge of people and their environments and strategies for changing each and helping each change the other; and through professionally directed practice experience in social work settings. More than 200 social welfare and health agencies from across 27 counties in upstate New York provide graduate field instruction opportunities. Graduate students in the 60-credit program complete 1000 hours of field placement experience concurrent with their academic work; students in the Advanced Standing Program complete 500 hours. In both cases, classroom and field learning are integrated. GREs are not required for admissions into this program.

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Social Work and Marriage and Family Therapy Dual Degree, MA/MSW

This interdisciplinary program allows students to complete the master’s degree in two distinct professions—the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Master of Arts (MA) in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)—in three years. The dual degree exposes students to the philosophical and legal distinctions of both degrees. It creates a unique opportunity for social work students to deepen their clinical training with couples and families, and introduces marriage and family therapy students to a broader range of social work and social welfare course offerings.

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Law/Social Work (Licensed Clinical), JD/MSW

The Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work is a joint degree which is conferred by both the College of Law and the School of Social Work. Students enrolled in this program may obtain their J.D. and M.S.W. in substantially less time than would be necessary if both programs were separately pursued.

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Social Work, JD/MS

The Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Social Work is a joint degree which may be conferred by the College of Law and the School of Social Work. Students enrolled in these programs may obtain their J.D. and M.S.W. in substantially less time than would be necessary if both programs were separately pursued. The MSW can be completed in conjunction with the J.D. in 3 years of full time study along with summer coursework and field experience. Because a joint degree program involves reciprocal application of electives, students are not awarded either degree until the requirements for both degrees are completed.

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Social Justice Minor

Students pursuing majors in other areas of study may choose a social justice minor. The minor program requires the completion of 18 credits. To declare a minor, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and submit a Declaration of Minor form to the social welfare minor program or the director of the baccalaureate social work program, their faculty advisors, and the dean’s office of their home colleges. A limit of 3 transfer credits may be applied with permission.

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Focus Specializations

Military Culture & Mental Health Practice

The Syracuse University School of Social Work offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in the Military Culture & Mental Health Practice focus area. Students will take SWK 427/627: Introduction to Military Culture and Mental Health Practice (3 credits), attend two speaking engagements, and have a culminating project with poster presentation. Students additionally interested in working with military service members, veterans, or their families during field placements are encouraged to contact Tracy Walker, Director of Field Instructor. The next course offering is Spring 2020. Students interested in the Military Culture & Mental Health Practice focus area, please contact Dr. Ken Marfilius.

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Social Work and the Human-Animal Bond

Students can choose to specialize in Social Work and the Human/Animal Bond. Elective courses in this specialization address the varied and important roles of animals as social subjects, rather than biological objects, in the lives of people. Elective courses in this specialization introduce theory and research on the complex relationships between humans and non-human animals in the contemporary U.S., focusing on the roles of animals in biopsychosocial problems and their treatment. Students learn best practices for service and emotional support animals and are introduced to a range of animal-assisted interventions, including hands-on opportunities to practice equine-assisted therapies.


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