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Thesis Links

Important:The following information is provided for current MSW students (class of 2016 and 2017). Students admitted after 2015 should consult the SSW MSW Research Requirements page.


Thesis Coordinator: Jean LaTerz, Ed.D., L.I.C.S.W.

A unique aspect of Smith's social work program for many years has been the completion of a thesis or research project. This project provides an important vehicle for integration of learning from the program as a whole and for consolidation of an identity as a social work professional, often serving as a foundation of expertise after students graduate.

The research project, or thesis, is an independent research or scholarly project which aims to develop knowledge for clinical social work practice and to provide a guided experience in conducting research. The teaching method employed is individual advisement. Each student is free to develop a project in any area of interest relevant to clinical social work.

The thesis is a specialization level course in research. It is intended to build upon the more general research content taught during the two summer courses (380/381 or 382/383 or 384/385) which are taken during the second summer. The thesis is intended to elaborate, strengthen and challenge each student's research skills, as well as build content expertise in an area of social work knowledge selected by the student. Faculty does not expect a perfect project or one that is of publishable quality. Our goal is that students build upon their existing research knowledge and become both better consumers and producers of research to guide their future careers.

Key facts about the thesis:

  • Required project undertaken during the second placement year with separate advising.
  • Dissemination of project results after its completion and before graduation is required.
  • Sixteen quarter-hours.

Current students and research advisors should access Thesis Advising Resource SSW997 (2015-2016) for detailed thesis information and resources.

Students admitted after 2015 will not be required to complete a thesis. For more information, view the SSW MSW Research Requirements.