What is a MSW Degree?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A masters degree in social work, commonly abbreviated to “MSW,” is a graduate university degree that normally takes about two years to complete. Different schools have different requirements about how to get accepted, and the actual course of study can vary from place to place, too. All degree programs prepare students for careers helping defined population groups, though, and there are many consistencies when it comes to broad objectives and teaching methods. People usually enroll in this sort of program as a way to advance a career in social work or to break into the field in a meaningful way.

Some who earn master's degrees in social work (MSW) go on to become family therapists or crisis intervention workers.
Some who earn master's degrees in social work (MSW) go on to become family therapists or crisis intervention workers.

Basic Requirements for Entry into a Program

Getting into an MSW program typically requires an undergraduate degree, usually a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in a field that has at least some bearing on social work. While BAs in social work specifically are available at some institutions, they are not always necessary for an MSW. Students can typically fulfill the undergraduate requirement with a degree in any of the liberal arts. Degrees in psychology, sociology, and anthropology are among the most common.

Many marriage therapists have MSW degrees.
Many marriage therapists have MSW degrees.

In most cases, a specific academic background is not as important as a student’s passion for and interest in social work as a lifelong career. Schools typically want to see some evidence of scholastic interest in the field, but students with degrees in very unrelated fields — chemistry, for instance, or literature — often still gain admittance by convincing admissions committees that they are very committed to social work. This can be done with essays, letters of recommendation, and field experience. Volunteering with social agencies or crisis centers, for example, can often demonstrate interest that wouldn’t be seen when looking at an academic record on its own.

Some professionals who have a master's in social work (MSW) specialize in couples therapy.
Some professionals who have a master's in social work (MSW) specialize in couples therapy.

Types of Program

Like many master's degree programs, the MSW is usually very focused. Students have some choice between courses, but the parameters and requirements of study are often much more stringent than they are at the undergraduate level. It is often the case that certain schools have certain specific strengths, which can attract students with more defined interests. Someone who wants to work with aging populations might look for a school that has a strong elder care faculty, for instance, while someone interested in helping inner-city kids might seek out a program with an urban studies or poverty center.

Some people who earn a master's degree in social work (MSW) work with families who live in poverty.
Some people who earn a master's degree in social work (MSW) work with families who live in poverty.

How the Degree Is Earned

Most schools offer the master's degree in social work as a full-time course of study, though there may be part-time programs available in some places. Most of the coursework involves a combination of book learning, lecture, discussion, and hands-on experience. First-year students usually spend most of their time in classes and seminars while second-years tend to spend more of their time in the field. Schools will often place students in internships within the local community where they can observe and get a feel for what social work is really like as a profession.

Students will often turn their hands-on experience into a research paper or other publishable work at the end of their program. Most schools require MSW degree candidates to prepare a master's thesis as the capstone of their studies. Many of the facts and basic research for this piece of writing are collected from field work. Students usually have a lot of latitude in choosing their topics, but almost always have to demonstrate a grasp of both social welfare issues and statistical analysis in order to be successful.

How to Use the Degree

MSW degree holders have a lot of options when it comes to what sort of work they can do. Some graduates take jobs as social workers for government agencies, working in foster care or social welfare offices. Others take positions with nonprofit groups that help underserved populations, work with women and children, or help refugees, to name a few. Still others pursue careers in therapy. Many marriage and family therapists, school counselors, and crisis intervention workers have master's in social work degrees in their backgrounds.

As a Stepping Stone to Greater Achievements

The master's degree is often all that is needed to get started in a rewarding career, but it doesn’t have to be an endpoint. Many people go on from the master’s level to further hone their expertise, either through more specific counselor training programs or more in-depth schooling. Most doctoral programs in social work require an MSW as an intermediary step, for instance, and the degree can also be an asset for more advanced degree programs in related fields like psychology or social justice.

Many MSW courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends, allowing students to work full time while pursuing their degree.
Many MSW courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends, allowing students to work full time while pursuing their degree.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

prahallad

I have completed my BA in economics and now I want to to study the MSW courses. What are the benefits of this subject.

anon951637

I completed a master of business administration and I want to do a master of social work. How do I apply for a master of social work?

anon346570

I want to know about media social workers and the scope of the career.

anon342384

I am a student of engineering in the computer science branch. Am I eligible for an MSW degree course?

anon338272

I've finished my b.com in corporate secretaryship and I want to study MSW (HR). After I finish this course, what are the jobs available for this particular course and what is the basic salary? Is this course useful or not for my career?

anon334535

Is a distance MSW valid?

anon322196

I'm a civil engineering student. Can I get an MSW degree?

anon319909

I complete B.com this year and I want to do an MSW course. Is it beneficial for me or not? What are good universities for this?

What is the best option for me because I am confused about what I should do.

anon310693

Are there collages in kerala offering an MSW?

anon297751

I got my B.Sc. in chemistry in 2009. Now I am working and I would like to do the MSW / DSW course through distance learning and wishing to do this by IGNOU. Can someone give me more details?

anon287198

I am doing BCA final year. Can I apply for the MSW course? I am also working as a vice president in NGO certified society.

anon276322

Can I do the msw after graduation with b.com (honors)? And how can msw benefit me in the government job sector?

anon271527

I want to know the scope of a media social worker job. How is it related to mass communications and social work? Can you explain, please?

anon259326

I'm a final year MSW student in a college in chennai. If you're interested in doing the MSW eligibility in any UG degree, it is a very interesting course. It has three specializations: human resource and management, community development and medical and psychiatry. The first year you will study about the society and the second year you will study in your specialization area.

anon255663

I have completed the BA degree and I have to do MSW, so what are the formalities for admission and eligibility?

-- keerthi p.

anon254655

I am suresh and I am a history subject graduate. Can I do this course and what are the career opportunities in msw?

anon253814

Now I am doing my final year of b.e ece. Can I do msw? Is there an entrance exam for msw?

anon235989

I'm doing my BE (ECE) final year, so can I apply for the MSW course? What is the eligibility for doing the MSW program?

anon226747

I'm doing an mba, but it is not comfortable for me. Please tell me about msw courses, the fee structure and a good university in hindi medium. Please tell me as soon as possible. I'm under a lot of stress.

anon222434

Am a bsc botany student, I wish to know about msw and its further details.

anon206833

I'm a final year degree student of sociology. After my degree, I would like to do Msw. I don't know much about the course, so kindly tell me the course details.

anon198813

i want to know the eligibility, fee structure and how to apply for an M.S.W. degree. --Reena K., Jabalpur

anon194431

I am in B.COM, final year, and I want to do the MSW course. I am very much intrested about this matter and subjects. I would be happy to know the jobs available in this so that I don't waste my time if I get into the course. --mayuri

anon192361

i am in B.A. final year and i want to do msw. i have not much idea about its subjects and its scope. please let me know about distance learning and the top colleges in india.

anon189764

i am doing BBA, and i want to know if i can do msw after BBA?

anon188965

right now i am studying bsw. i want to do msw m and p. can anyone guide me relating to this course?

anon181573

I want to do an MSW course but i don't have any idea about it. please guide me. Tell me the top colleges for MSW in chennai and what is the selection process for it and fees structure? Will distance learning be available for this course? what is the eligibility criteria for it? Kavi N.

anon176781

I'm student of BSC Physics final year. I want to do an MSW course but i don't have any idea about it. please guide me. Tell me the top colleges for MSW in madurai and what is the selection process for it and fees structure? Will distance learning be available for this course? what is the eligibility criteria for it? Kavi N.

jainniketan

I complete B.com this year and I want to do an MSW course,so please tell me is it beneficial for me or not, and also tell me good universities for this.

Please tell me the best option for me because I am confused about what I should do.

anon170096

I am durgesh. I am a b.pharm final year student. After graduation i want to do msw, so please tell me is it beneficial for me or not, and also tell me good universities for this.

anon159989

I am doing my last year b.sc. i want to know if i can do MSW course. how could it be beneficial to me? what kind of job will i get if i have LLB and MSW?

anon158951

I'm student of BA final year. I want to do an MSW course but i don't have any idea about it. please guide me. Tell me the top colleges for MSW and what is the selection process for it and fees structure? Will distance learning be available for this course? what is the eligibility criteria for it? Gaurav S.

Par

I'm student of BA english honours final year. I want to do an MSW course but i don't have any idea about it. please guide me. Tell me the top colleges for MSW and what is the selection process for it and fees structure? Will distance learning be available for this course? what is the eligibility criteria for it? reply soon please. pari

anon154843

I am Bishnu Barman first year student of MSW from Jalpaiguri. I don't know what should be my further initiative in this profession. please help me!

anon154308

i have completed my bbm. i wanted to do msw. is it possible. Can you please guide me about this?

Aditya Pandit

I am doing msw first year at amity university. i want to start my ngo this may. Please give me advice. What is best or job is best and how? --Aditya p., Bhulandshar

anon149440

I am doing my b.sc computer science. Can I do this course?

anon146685

I am a hotel management student and I want to know about the course and about the future prospects of this course.

anon140602

I want to know everything about MSW. I completed my B.com(H)from Calcutta University and I want to join MSW. Please guide me. --Madhu

anon138909

I have completed my B.com degree. can I study MSW? I want to know the subjects for the course of MSW. -- Habi

anon137110

I'm student of BA final year. I want to do an MSW course but i don't have any idea about it. please guide me. Tell me the top colleges for MSW and what is the selection process for it and fees structure? Will distance learning be available for this course? what is the eligibility criteria for it? reply soon please. --Abhishek

anon136953

I've finished bcom and i am planning to take MSW.

what is the procedure for entrance in an msw program?

anon136005

i completed my graduation with economics,stat,math now i am working in eastern coalfield limited. i want to get admission to a msw program. can you tell me how I can benefit from it? kindly guide me.

anon135450

I graduated in social science and i have not any references. That is not the point but i want to know how do i get the opportunity of studying social work?

anon133275

i am studying bca 2nd year. i want to know information about msw. please give me details.

anon132226

I want to know about msw courses and colleges. please help. i completed My T.Y. Bcom from Mumbai University so please help me with MSW courses in Hyderabad. only i can't get it properly.

anon129892

I am doing MSW (HR)i need field work training in IT or Service sector so can anyone please refer me in any companies. thanks. Regards, vinay

anon128617

i did BE cs. in what way can MSW help me in finding jobs

anon123320

i am doing bsc (maths) and bca (part time). i am a second year student. i am also a student of nss in my college. i want to do something for my nation. so i feel that msw is a way for this. can you please tell me what is msw exactly?

anon122272

i completed my bbm. i want to know about msw.

anon119744

i have completed BBA and next i wish to do either MBA or MSW. please tell me which course has a wider scope and which is best to choose and also tell me which course has the higher salary.

anon119415

MSW - Mysore university - karnataka.

Specializations: Personnel Management and Industrial Relations (Human resource Management) or Community Development (rural and urban community development) or Criminology and correctional administration, medical and psychiatric social work or family and child welfare, and school social work.

anon117500

i have done B. Com. now i want to know should i go for MBA or MSW. and what is the scope of MSW?

anon110216

i just want to know how it can help me in the future.

anon109325

what is difference between master of social work and master of public administration.

anon106125

I have completed the MA in Marathi. please tell me how I can do an MSW course.

anon105702

i have completed BBA just now. Are MSW courses better or not? and what is the job opportunity in it.

anon104806

i have complete bca and i want to know subject for course of MSW and their scope.

anon104630

I am studying in S.Y.B.Comm. i heard about the M.S.W course, so please can you help me as to what is the scope, and how to take this course?-Rajesh

anon104183

i have done B. Com. now i want to know should i go for MBA or MSW. and what is the scope of MSW?

anon103640

What are all the subjects in msw? And is there any entrance exams for this course?

anon102273

i am doing my bbm (international business). after completing my degree i am planning to do msw. i want to know how will it be useful in my job opportunities? could you give me some information about it.

anon101996

i completed my undergraduate work in B.E mechanical engineering. i want to do MSW. Am i eligible for this course? if yes, tell me what should i do? Are there any entrance exams for it?

anon94731

Just now I'm doing my Bsc.IT. I don't have any interest in doing MCA. Please tell me the benefits of MSW.

Suganya

anon94253

please tell me the benefits and types of specialization in the MSW program. --hitesh

anon93371

I have just passed B.com. i have to do MSW. If i take admission in this, will this be beneficial to me?

from manoj

anon93339

I completed my graduation. Give details about MSW and is it job oriented program.

anon92601

I want to do MSW in the US. I have done my M.SC. in chemistry and after that I have been working in an NGO. I do have experience in this field of nine years. I want to create a big change in the society. Kindly suggest which will be the best subjects in this regard. Nisha

anon91146

i'm senthoor. now I'm doing engineering. can I study msw through a correspondence course?

anon89211

I'm ganesh. i am doing TY BA. sociology is my special subject. Please tell me how can i do MSW and how to create my carer in this field.

anon88959

At the Patrician College of Arts and Science,

the Department of Social Work was established in the year 2010. The college offers a two-year Master of Social Work (MSW) degree course. It is affiliated with the University of Madras.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program provides a rigorous Social Work education for women and men.

anon86915

I am studying in S.Y.B.Comm. i heard about the M.S.W course, so please can you help me as to what is the scope, how to take this course? --Ketan.

anon84617

I have completed my ba (economics) degree. Is MBA best or MSW? --athira

anon82891

This is Anand. I've done b.com and i want to know whether can i do this course or what. and what is the fee structure?

anon81553

I am doing BE in computer science. This is my second year. I would like to go for MSW because I feel i have some interest for this course, but i don't know anything about what is the eligibility like, but i have a great interest to take up this course.

So, i would like to know about the eligibility to take up this course. I'm staying in ernakulam so i would like to know whether there are any centres in ernakulam, and also i would like to know about the subjects related to MSW. --Elva

anon81132

Is MBA best or MSW?

anon79713

This is subodh from jharkhand. i want to know about msw.

anon78497

I have done my graduation in botany and i would like to know about the course details, fee structure and offering colleges in kerala and my friend had completed a B.A. in communicative english. She also wants to know about it.

anon77332

I want to know the subjects in MSW, top five colleges in india, Fee and duration of the same. Please help.

anon76742

My name is Ankita. I have done my graduation in commerce stream and I want to work in this (MSW) field. Please give some information about this course. Can I have this degree from Moradabad and how many subjects are there? What about the future in this area? What is the fee structure? Also, provide me the list of the regions from where this degree can be achieved.

anon76630

i have completed my b.com in year 2002. what is the procedure for entrance in an msw program? I want to know about subjects of msw. can I study MSW?

rachna a.

anon76620

I have done my mba in hr and finance and pursuing cs. along with this I want to start msw. Please send details of colleges with their session and fees.

anon76586

i'm a b.sc comp.sci student. i want to do M.B.A. but i'm now fixed to doing msw just because of a money problem. is msw is better than an m.b.a? Please help me understand.

anon75269

I am a BSc student. Can you please tell me about the job opportunities in social work?

anon75253

i am having a bachelors degree in alternative medicines and i will be settling in the U.S. i am 51 years old and would like to do MSW. Please help.

anon74081

I am working in BPO industry and also studying in final year in BCA. I want to know about MSW and what are the subjects in it. what are you eligible to study in msw degree. are there any entrance exams? please mention offering colleges.

anon72200

I have completed my B.com degree. can I study MSW?

anon69782

i have done bsc comp science. i want to know about MSW course what's scope and future in this field?

anon68783

i am doing BA in sociology and rural development. may i get to study msw?

anon67842

i am C. regar, and i am a bsc graduate. can i do this course and what are the career opportunities in msw?

anon65651

I am a BTECH student in computer science and engineering. How much is the salary offered?

Can i do an MBA in MSW? Which are then colleges offered MBA in MSW inside or outside Kerala?

anon61558

i want to know about the universities in UP for course of MSW (master of social work), full details of fees and date of applying the form and all more deep knowledge about the university.

thanks, rajneesh.

anon56623

I've finished bcom and i am planning to take MSW. Please tell me its importance.

anon54583

i am doing my last year in LLB. i want to know if can i do the MSW course. how could it be beneficial to me? what kind of job will i get if i have an LLB and MSW?

anon50364

I have completed my degree in sociology. what is next?

anon49351

i want to know about the question pattern of the entrance examination of msw.

anon48361

I am graduate with sociology and education. Please tell me something about msw program

anon46522

what is the procedure for entrance in an msw program?

anon45408

do i have to take an entrance exam for admission to the msw program and what are the qualifications needed to work with an international ngo and what is the pay structure?

anon43808

I have done my b.sc (I.T.) and now have been admitted to MSW. I want to know its scope, and about jobs. Will it be helpful in going to other countries?

anon43182

i want to know what are the jobs related to msw.

anon43006

What type of jobs will be available in this course?

sdd

i have completed my BCA dgree and would like to do the MSW course so please give me in-depth information about this subject.

anon41747

I'm completing my BCA and I want to do this MSW. I want to know about the MSW. Please tell me about this subject.

anon41318

I am dll and w student. can i do msw?

anon40984

Hi. I am studying bsc (It). can i do msw?

tell me if i'n eligible for msw.

anon39401

hi, i am doing my last year LLB. i want to know that can i do MSW course. how could it be beneficial to me? what kind of job will i get if i have LLB and MSW.

artshihab

hi. i have completed graduation (in arabic with english subject). Am i eligible for this MSW course?

anon37652

I am studying in BA Final year and my degree combinations are sociology, Education,and History.

can i apply for Msw with these combinations of degree? And please tell me which combinations i have to choose for Msw? --Abhiman

anon37436

Can someone who just graduated from MaryWood with an MSW qualified to "Hang out their shingle" as a Mental Health Therapist in New York State?

Does further education and training need to be completed first, if so what is this??

Dear New Grad, Please consider getting at least a couple of years' supervised experience at an agency before hanging out your shingle. And when you do, continue in private supervision. Private practice can be great, but it's like being out in the ocean in a very small boat.

Re New York State-you need to look into their licensing requirements.

Good luck, 14 years in private practice, LCSW

anon37394

I am studying in final year Bsc Nursing.I want to know about MSW course..As am i eligble for the course and what subjects in it.does it have any entrance exam..

anon37358

I'm a BA ECJ student, I would like go into the field of social work, can I do MSW after my BA? what do I need to know to go for MSW ?what are the subjects in it?

jyothi

anon37268

I am working in BPO industry and also studying in final year in BCA. I want to know about MSW and what are subjects in it. what are you eligible to study in msw degree. are there any entrance exams? please mention offering colleges.

jeyan.v

anon36164

i am studying in final year in computer applications. i want to know about MSW and what are subjects in it. what are you eligible to study in msw degree. are there any entrance exams?

anon35857

Can you please mention clearly the types[categories] of specializations coming under msw?

anon35164

i want to know about msw courses and colleges

anon35073

What are all the subjects in msw? And is there any entrance exams for this course?

anon33394

I want to know about subjects of msw.

concmom

Can someone who just graduated from MaryWood with an MSW qualified to "Hang out their Shingle" as a Mental Health Therapist in New York State?

Does further education and training need to be completed first, if so what is this??

shrush

I'm currently studying in T.Y B.Sc.[computer science].'M I eligible for MSW course? If so, which subject can I prefer?

anon28971

Can you please mention clearly the types[categories] of specializations coming under msw?

anon27143

@Posted by: anon11909 / Nidhi

Dear coming from BSc Hsc background you are very much eligible for doing MSW. In fact, you are the ideal candidate as you must have studied most of the subjects during your BSC. I have also done the same from DU. Don't worry.

anon25818

I want to know about subjects of msw.

anon14266

how many text in the msw course?

anon11909

is it necessary to be graduated in psychology or sociology or etc?

actually i am a student from B.Sc home science and want to do MSW for further studies. am i eligible to join this course?

or what is the eligibility?

nidhi

anon8792

There is a college in India that offers MSW specialisation in HR. I have tried in business school but failed to get in. So should i apply for this course instead as my main area of focus is HR and i worked as a HR after completing my Bachelors in Psychology?

Sagar

I want to know

subjects for the cource of MSW

Sagar

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: