Social Work Programs

October 27, 2011

Boston Schools Of Social Work

boston schools of socia lwork There are several options in Boston, Massachusetts, for potential graduate students of social work to pursue an education. Boston College offers both Master and Doctoral degrees of social work as well as dual degrees and several different concentrations. For those pursuing a Master of Social Work degree (MSW), students can choose one of four concentrations, including Children, Youth, and Families; Global Practice; Health and Mental Health; and Older Adults and Families. Students must also complete several days each week in a field placement setting, where they learn practical social work skills in a realistic setting.

The typical MSW student completes his or her course of study in two years; there are also options for a one year, three year, and four year course of study depending on the student’s educational background in social work and work schedule. Dual degree opportunities include integrating the MSW degree with an MBA, JD, or MA in Pastoral Ministry degree. Students may also participate in the combined MSW/PhD program in which they can earn both degrees in less time than it would take to finish each degree separately. The Boston College PhD in Social Work program focuses on assisting students in developing expertise in a specific area and prepares those students for a career in scholarly research. PhD students must write and defend a dissertation at the end of their academic studies.

Simmons College is a small school in Boston, though offers both MSW and PhD opportunities to potential students. The MSW program allows students to pursue a degree full-time, in two years, or part-time for two and a half, three, or four years. A 12-month advanced standing program is offered to students who have a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Full-time MSW students engage in field placements three days each week for both years and attend courses the other two days of the week. In some cases, the student’s place of employment can also serve as a field placement if it is located in a human service agency and the program officials approve the student’s placement.

Students begin by taking foundation courses and end their social work education by completing more specialized courses in their respective areas of interest, including Child and Family; Trauma and Interpersonal Violence; Mental Health and Addictions; and Health and Aging. Simmons College School of Social Work also offers an MSW/Urban Leadership Certificate Program in which participants earn an MSW as well as a certificate giving them a strong background in leadership.

Dual degree options include collaboration with the MBA program from the Simmons School of Management. Simmons School of Social Work PhD program is designed for students who are currently working as social workers and is therefore a part-time program. Students must take certain courses and complete a ‘comprehensive paper’ after two years of coursework. PhD candidates must also write and defend a dissertation prior to graduating. Simmons School of Social Work does not yet offer a BSW program, but plans to begin offering one in 2012.

Boston University (BU) School of Social Work is yet another program in Boston offering both MSW and PhD programs. MSW students can choose to enter the Clinical Social Work program, which focuses on direct practice with families, individuals, and groups; or the Macro Social Work program, which provides coursework in community organization, management, and program development. There is also an online option for the BU MSW program, which allows students to take courses online while pursuing careers. Students are also required to complete field education placements for two to three days each week, which allows them to be exposed to the practical side of social work careers. The advanced standing option allows students with a Bachelor of Social Work degree to complete the MSW program in one calendar year.

Dual degrees are offered in combination with Public Health, Education, and Theology at BU, allowing students to earn two degrees in a minimal amount of time. The BU PhD Program in Sociology and Social Work focuses on preparing students for leadership careers in combination with research methods. Social work PhD candidates at BU must successfully take coursework in research theory, write a critical essay, and write and defend a dissertation in order to graduate. I spent two summers living in Boston and love it. One summer I attended the Berklee School of Music and had a great experience learning jazz piano.

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