With a master of social work (MSW) degree, you can go further in the social work profession and amplify your impact on society. Open doors to leadership roles in human service programming and policy making, or gain the credentials to practice in clinical mental health.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Syracuse’s MSW Advanced Standing Program allows students to complete their degree in 10 months as opposed to two years. Students 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, are eligible to apply. More information on eligibility.

The master of social work (MSW) degree is the terminal professional degree for the social work profession. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Syracuse’s MSW program allows students to choose from advanced concentrations in Advanced Clinical Practice, for those who wish to become mental health clinicians, or Integrated Social Work Practice, for those who wish to pursue direct practice and leadership in a wide range of increasingly complex human service organizations.

Field placements are a central focus of the degree and are woven throughout the course of graduate study. Placements are available in child welfare, health, mental health, gerontology, schools, substance use disorders, and many other practice settings.

Did you earn your bachelor’s degree in something other than social work? Apply to the MSW program, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…

The School of Social Work embraces the profession’s commitment to the values of human diversity and the dignity and worth of all people, with particular attention to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, or living in poverty. We view social and personal problems as resulting from complex interactions between people and the structures of society itself, and we work to address those problems at the level of public policy, community organizations, families, groups, and individuals.

Sample Courses

The advanced standing program includes two courses in the summer and one full academic year as a full-time graduate student or two full academic years as a part-time student. Advanced standing students complete the 36-credit concentration-level curriculum. Sample courses include:

  • Advanced Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
  • Social Work Practice in Mental Health
  • Clinical Practice Evaluation
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs in Social Work Practice
  • Advanced Integrated Social Work Practice
  • Applied Neuroscience in Human Services
  • Social Work Human-Animal Bond
  • Introduction to Military Culture Practice and Mental Health Practice
  • Principles and Methods of Social Work Practice with Black Families
  • Treatment of Complex Trauma with Individuals
  • Death, Dying, and Terminal Illness
  • Administration in Human Services
  • Community Organization and Development
View all course requirements and electives

Experiential Learning

The School of Social Work’s dedicated Office of Field Instruction has long-standing relationships with nearly 200 human service agencies across 14 New York counties, offering a wide range of opportunities for students to train alongside experienced practitioners in real-world settings. Many of the school’s current field placement sites represent long-lasting relationships with community organizations, where social work students have been placed for internships and field placements since the 1950s and 60s.

Advanced standing MSW students are required to complete one internship at the concentration level, either Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) or Advanced Integrated Practice (AIP). This field placement is a minimum of 500 hours and typically occurs across two semesters in one academic year. Students are placed in social work settings for a minimum of sixteen hours a week.

The concentration level internship focuses on a deeper understanding of specific knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes consistent with each concentration area. ACP students learn to practice as clinical social workers, while AIP students learn to effectively navigate multiple levels of social work practice by engaging in varied professional roles and/or functions.

Learn more about the concentration level internship

Signature Programs

The James L. Stone Legislative Policy Symposium is an annual, day-long event held at the Onondaga County Legislative Chambers that connects students with faculty, community leaders, government officials, and subject matter experts to interact, problem-solve, and explore policies surrounding a particular theme. Recent themes have included gun violence, mental health systems, foster care, the opioid crisis, and homelessness. The event is made possible by School of Social Work alumnus James Stone G’64.


Study Abroad

MSW students have the opportunity to study comparative social work services in a specific area of human need by visiting human service agencies in France, Germany, and Switzerland in the company of social work students from these three countries in the abroad program, “Topics in Advanced Social Work Practice & Policy: Four-Country Observation and Comparison of Services.”

For more information about study abroad opportunities at Syracuse, visit suabroad.syr.edu.


What's next after this degree

Syracuse’s MSW program offers two social work license-eligible tracks of graduate study: Advanced Clinical Practice, Advanced Integrated Practice.

More information about licensing


Careers

Alumni of the MSW program go on to work in several settings, including roles as clinical social workers providing psychotherapy, school social workers, substance abuse counselors, medical social workers, military social workers, case managers, family services social workers and agency director/managers. A master’s degree in social work with state licensure or certification opens doors to advanced positions in leadership and administration.

Job opportunities for social workers are expected to increase much faster than the national average, making a social work education more valuable than ever. Social work education prepares graduates to work in a wide range of professional settings, including mental health care, hospitals, schools, child welfare, substance abuse treatment, services for older adults, supportive housing, and federal, state and local government. Social workers lead not-for-profit organizations, guide service users through complex health care systems, lead labor, and other community organizations, assess the strengths and needs of communities and individuals, engage in social research, serve in public office, facilitate adoption, and provide psychotherapy to individuals, families, and groups.

Social Work Alumni Stories:


Focus Specializations

Military Culture & Mental Health Practice

The Syracuse University School of Social Work offers graduate and undergraduate 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 interested in working with military service members, veterans, or their families during field placements are encouraged to contact Tracy Walker, Director of Field Instructor. Students interested in the Military Culture & Mental Health Practice focus area, please contact Dr. Ken Marfilius.


Mission & Goals

Our Mission

The School of Social Work has a core mission that drives the MSW Program. “We embrace the social work profession’s commitment to the dignity and worth of humankind. Acknowledging that all individuals, families and communities face challenges, the mission of the Syracuse University School of Social Work is to address human need and promote social and economic justice in a diverse and rapidly changing world through the strengthening of services, interventions and policies.”

Our educational programs, research/scholarship and service reflect our mission and are grounded in:

  • Social work values
  • Persons in environment, systems and strength perspectives
  • Practice in and with community need and building on the strength of individuals, groups and communities at greatest social, economic and political risk
  • Support for and promotion of individual and social change using social work methods including therapeutic interventions, case management, administrative, community and policy practice

Program Goals

  • Prepare graduate students for competent, effective and evidence-based advanced practice that builds on and recognizes strengths and vulnerabilities of individuals, families, groups and communities;
  • Prepare graduate students to be life-long learners, including those who go on to further graduate education;
  • Serve the needs of individuals, families, communities and social work agencies, especially those in Central New York, by providing opportunities for advanced social work education; expanding the pool of well-educated MSW practitioners; and offering high-quality professional continuing education programs that maintain currency of knowledge and societal needs;
  • Advance social work knowledge through research, scholarship and evaluation of interventions and policies that strengthen social work practice, address human need and promote social and economic justice;
  • Enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through a vibrant field education program;
  • Strengthen agencies and advance social and economic justice through membership on the boards of directors, engagement in policy advocacy, involvement and leadership in a professional organization, and other forms of faculty service.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

All 50 US states and the District of Columbia require that a social worker sitting for a licensing exam be a graduate of a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited program. Both the BSSW and MSW programs are fully accredited by the CSWE. Please view our Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement regarding the program’s ability to meet specific state licensure or certification requirements.


Getting Admitted

The advanced standing program is available only to people who have graduated within the past 10 years from an undergraduate social work program that is accredited by a recognized regional accredited association, and who earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all social work courses. 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.

Advanced standing applicants who have received a grade below a B in required undergraduate courses in human behavior in the social environment, policy, or research will be required to take the comparable course in the graduate program. Graduate elective credits may not be used to achieve this requirement. Applicants with a grade below a B in foundation practice courses are not eligible for the advanced standing program and may apply to the 60-credit M.S.W. program. Both the regular and the advanced standing program can be completed on a part-time basis.

GREs are not required for admissions into this program.

For additional admissions information, visit the course catalog or contact the Office of Admissions at falk@syr.edu or 315.443.5555.

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