The School of Social Work prepares social workers for professional practice through a single concentration in advanced generalist practice. Students graduate well-equipped to work at the individual, family, group, organization, and community levels with evidence- based and knowledge-guided practice.
Through the teaching of social work knowledge and practice the School of Social Work at Springfield College prepares individuals to meet universal human needs in order to engender mutually beneficial interaction between individuals and societal systems at all levels, based on principles of economic and social justice, dignity, and human rights.
The School of Social Work offers the master of social work (M.S.W.) degree through five options of study:
- Master of social work weekday program (full-time, two years)- In this option, classes meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition to classroom work, a field practicum is required in each of four semesters and participation in fall field seminars is required. The field practica take place during weekday business hours.
- Master of social work weekend program (part-time, three years)- In this option, classes meet seven times per semester in the fall and spring and in two summer semesters. In addition to classroom work, a field practicum is required in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth semesters, along with fall field seminars. The content and quality of the weekday and weekend programs are the same. The field practica take place during weekday business hours.
- Advanced standing program for highly qualified graduates of bachelor of social work (B.S.W.) programs (full-time, three semesters during weekdays or part-time, four semesters during weekends)- The B.S.W. program must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the B.S.W. must have been successfully completed within five years of enrollment at the Springfield College School of Social Work. The content and quality of the weekday and weekend programs are the same. This program also requires one field practicum and two field seminars. The field practicum takes place during weekday business hours.
- Master of social work/juris doctor (M.S.W./J.D.) dual degree program with Western New England University School of Law (full-time, four years)-This program allows the student to earn both degrees in less time than it would take to pursue each degree separately. (Credits for the juris doctor degree are beyond the 60 credits required for the Master of Social Work.) This program also requires two fall field practica and two field seminars. The field practica take place during weekday business hours.
- Bachelor of science/master of social work (B.S./M.S.W.) dual degree program with Springfield College Department of Social Science (full-time, five years)- This program enables a selected group of undergraduate students in the Department of Social Science at Springfield College who meet rigorous graduate admissions criteria to complete the bachelor of science degree in a related field and the master of social work degree in four undergraduate academic years, one summer semester, and one academic year of graduate study. This program also requires two field practica, one concentrated field experience during the summer semester after the final undergraduate year and one during the graduate academic year, and two field seminars. The field practica take place during weekday business hours.
Admission requirements for the M.S.W. programs:
For admission to the Springfield College School of Social Work weekday, weekend, advanced standing, M.S.W./J.D. and B.S./M.S.W. programs, a graduate candidate must have, and provide evidence of, as part of the application:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university that reflects a broad background in liberal arts, with at least twenty semester hours in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences including human biology. Social and behavioral sciences include anthropology, economics, education, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Biological sciences include botany, biology, physiology, and zoology. The School looks favorably on transcripts that include course work in writing and in research methods or statistics.
- A grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 for all undergraduate work and 3.0 in the last two years of academic work. Exceptions may be made by faculty on the basis of other evidence that demonstrates ability to succeed in graduate study in social work. Applicants who do not meet the GPA minimum will be considered for admission on probation if space is available.
- The personal capacity to work effectively with people to achieve professional standing as evidenced by strong academic and professional references. (see below)
- Social work experience as an employee, volunteer, or in an undergraduate field practicum.
- A professional statement describing: (1) professional goals and reasons for pursuing a M.S.W. degree in this program; and (2) the education, professional/work experience, and personal characteristics that make the applicant a good candidate for an advanced generalist M.S.W. program.
- Three professional, supervisory, or academic references that address the applicant’s ability, potential, and readiness for graduate education and professional social work practice.
- A copy of a current resume.
- Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions.
Applicants to the advanced standing program must complete a supplemental application available from the School of Social Work recruitment and admissions coordinator.
Admission requirements for the M.S.W./J.D. dual degree program:
Applicants interested in the M.S.W./J.D. dual degree program must successfully meet the separate admission requirements of each institution and be accepted into the dual degree program. Neither the Springfield College School of Social Work nor the Western New England University School of Law admits new students for the spring semester.
The dual degree program is open only to students in the full-time M.S.W. and J.D. programs. Although admission to the dual degree program is usually decided at initial enrollment in either institution, it is possible to begin studies at the School of Law and then apply to the School of Social Work and enroll in the combined degree program, or vice versa. Applications to the second institution must be made by mid-March and before completion of the first year of studies at the first institution.
Eligibility, requirements, and admission for the B.S./M.S.W. dual degree program:
Eligibility for the B.S./M.S.W. dual degree program is limited to Springfield College undergraduate students in the Department of Social Science who have an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 by the end of the fall semester of their third or junior year and who have completed at least 81 semester hours of undergraduate credit. Students must also have completed two semester hours of undergraduate field experience with a grade of B or better. Students who wish to pursue the master of social work at Springfield College must submit a letter of interest and pre-application to the recruitment and admissions coordinator at the School of Social Work, accompanied by a letter of recommendation from their undergraduate faculty advisor and a working transcript not later than March 15 of spring semester of the junior or third undergraduate year. The School of Social Work admissions committee reviews requests for admission to graduate M.S.W. courses. A complete formal application to the master of social work program is required in the spring semester of the fourth or senior year and additional eligibility requirements apply. For more information on the B.S./M.S.W. program, students should consult with their undergraduate faculty advisor in the Department of Social Science.
Transfer Credit Policy
a. Transfer of Credit Hours
Normally, all work for the Master’s degree is completed at the Springfield College School of Social Work. Students may transfer a maximum of 9 semester graduate credits earned at an accredited college or university if the courses:
- are comparable graduate level courses taken in the professional discipline of social work
- fit appropriately into the student’s program
- were completed with a grade of “B” (3.0) or better
- are approved by the transitional faculty advisor and Dean
- were taken or will be taken within five years of the projected completion date of the MSW degree from the time of admission to the School of Social Work.
No credits are granted for life experience or previous work experience. The School of Social Work will not grant transfer credit for graduate courses that were already used for another awarded graduate degree.
b. Transfer of Credits for Matriculated Students from Other Accredited Schools of Social Work
Normally, all work for the Master’s degree is completed at the Springfield College School of Social Work. Students who were matriculating students in accredited graduate social work programs may petition for transfer of no more than 28 semester credits; up to 20 semester credits may be transferred for course work and up to 8 semester credits for practicum and field seminar. Only courses taken within 5 years of projected completion of the MSW program and in which the student earned a grade of “B” (3.0) or better for academic courses, or a “P” (Pass) in courses from social work programs whose grading system is Pass/Fail and where a “P” is equivalent to a “B” or better, and “P” in Field Practicum/Seminar, will be considered, if:
- such courses were part of an accredited master’s of social work degree in which the student was matriculating
- the courses meet degree requirements under the curriculum of the Springfield College MSW program
- such action is approved by the transitional faculty advisor and the Dean.
To meet the requirements of Springfield College and to receive the Master of Social Work degree, a student must earn and the official Springfield College transcript must show 32 credits of graduate work completed at the School of Social Work.
Additional information regarding the M.S.W./JD program:
The full-time M.S.W./J.D. dual degree program is offered in partnership with Western New England University School of Law and provides eligible students with the advantage of being able to complete the program in four years rather than the five years it would take if the degrees were pursued separately.
Having both a social and legal perspective effectively prepares graduates to meet the social work and legal challenges in many areas of practice, such as child welfare, education, mental health, individual and family practice, family mediation, services to the disabled, legal aid, criminal and juvenile justice, consumer protection, advocacy, employment, housing, community development, human rights, and evaluation of social service programs.
M.S.W./J.D. students must be full-time students and matriculated in both the Springfield College School of Social Work and the Western New England University School of Law. If accepted at the School of Social Work first, students have until mid-March of the first year at the School of Social Work to apply to the program at Western New England University School of Law. If accepted to the School of Law, students have until mid-March of the first year at the School of Law to apply to the program at Springfield College School of Social Work.
M.S.W./J.D. students take courses in the weekday program at the School of Social Work.
Students may be waived out of MSSW 621 Research 1 if they have previously taken a comparable course and received a grade of B or better. Students who need MSSW 621 will take this course and complete the M.S.W./J.D. dual degree program with three additional semester hours in the M.S.W. program.
Students will take either MSSW 623 Research 2 or MSSW 613 Social Policy 3. Students who take MSSW 623 Research 2 must take Law and Social Services or Poverty Law as an elective course in the School of Law. Students who take MSSW 613 Social Policy 3 must take Advanced Research in Law or Law 951 or 952 as an elective course in the School of Law.
Curriculum and cross-credits: To be awarded the social work and law degrees, the student must complete the academic requirements of each institution, totaling 122 credits or semester hours. For the School of Social Work, sixty credits are required, twelve of which are electives taken at the School of Law. An approved list of the elective courses that can be transferred from the School of Law is made available in the School of Social Work Student Handbook of Policies and Procedures. For the School of Law, eighty-eight credits must be earned, twelve of which are taken at the School of Social Work.
Those courses completed with a grade of B or better in the School of Social Work are eligible for transfer to the School of Law. Similarly, the School of Social Work accepts transfer credit from the School of Law for those courses completed with the average necessary to maintain good academic standing at Springfield College.
To transfer the twelve credits from the School of Law to the School of Social Work, the student must formally petition the Springfield College School of Social Work. At the Western New England University School of Law, the student must obtain permission from the associate dean to have the twelve credits transferred from the School of Social Work. A student who commences but fails to complete the M.S.W./J.D. dual program cannot apply credit for courses completed at one school toward the degree granted at the other school.
The application for admission and all supporting credentials for all programs are due in the Office of Graduate Admissions by March 15. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if space is available.
Springfield College is recognized as an institution of higher learning of collegiate rank by the Board of Collegiate Authority of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits schools and colleges in the six New England states. Membership in these associations indicates that the College has been carefully evaluated and found to meet standards agreed upon by qualified educators.
The School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the official accrediting body for social work programs in the USA. This enables graduates to sit for professional social work licensure examinations in all fifty states.
The Western New England University School of Law, Springfield College’s partner in the M.S.W./J.D. dual degree program, is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
Contacts and telephone numbers:
Office of Graduate Admissions
263 Alden Street
Springfield, MA 01109-3797
Web Site: http://www.springfield.edu
Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator
Springfield College School of Social Work
263 Alden Street
Springfield, MA 01109-3797
Web Site: www.springfield.edu/ssw
Springfield College is committed to equal opportunity in employment and education. No student, employee, or applicant will be denied admission, employment, or access to programs and activities because of race, gender, religion, age, color, national origin, disability status, or sexual orientation. This College policy is in concert with appropriate state and federal laws. Inquiries concerning the College’s compliance with antidiscrimination laws should be addressed to: Equal Opportunity Officer, Office of Human Resources, Springfield College, 263 Alden Street, Springfield, MA 01109-3797. Reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities (per provisions of the ADA) is available following official indication of need for reasonable accommodation.
The sixty credits are distributed across four sequences, two field practicums and seminars, and three electives, as follows:
- Human Behavior in the Social Environment sequence (three courses, nine credits).
- Social Work Practice sequence (four courses, twelve credits).
- Social Work Research sequence (two courses, six credits).
- Social Welfare Policy sequence (three courses, nine credits).
- Foundation Field Practicum and Seminar (7.5 credits, 450 practicum hours per academic year).
- Specialization Field Practicum and Seminar (7.5 credits, 600 practicum hours per academic year).
- Advanced standing students take an additional field seminar in the spring semester for .5 credits.
- Electives (nine credit hours).
Guided by the School’s mission, the master of social work curriculum is designed within a generalist foundation year and an advanced generalist specialization year. The first year provides students with theoretical perspectives across the four sequences, as well as grounding in fundamental skills in individual, family, group, and community intervention.
The advanced generalist specialization year is designed to provide “skill sets” that build on the foundation year. The curriculum provides students with opportunities to develop advanced clinical assessment, intervention, supervisory, and administrative skills in practice; mastery of diagnostic skills; a set of complex social action skills in policy; and finally, a set of research skills.
The focus on “skill sets” occurs within the context of three programmatic themes: social change, human rights, and social justice. In comparison to generalists, advanced generalists are able to assess more complex situations with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities and to intervene with more advanced, sophisticated practice skills.
Electives enrich the concentration year curriculum by providing students the opportunity to explore areas of advanced generalist practice in greater depth, depending upon individual interests, strengths, and/or needs. Typical elective courses include:
- Therapeutic Applications of Adventure
- Seminar in Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations
- International Social Work and Human Rights
- Contemporary Challenges in Child Welfare
- Family Treatment
- Loss and Grief
- Substance Abuse in Social Work Practice
- Social Work Practice with Children
- Legal Aspects of Social Work Practice
- Working with Older Adults for Clinicians, Administrators, and Activists
- Mediation and Conflict Resolution for Clinicians, Managers, and Activists
- Proposal Writing and Grant Acquisition
- School Social Work and the Education of Exceptional Children
- Special Topics in Social Work
- Severe and Persistent Mental Illness
- Consultation to Community Based Organizations
- Continuous Quality Improvement