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The Smith College Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is nationally recognized for its dedication to and specialization in clinical social work, a focus on working with individuals, families and groups in a clinical setting. This specialization includes a mastery of clinical theory and practice as well as an understanding of the sociocultural, social service and policy contexts of practice. The program encourages critical thinking and self-reflection as students consider the areas of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, research and social policy.

Built on a foundation of knowledge and skills that are central to the social work profession, the program includes content on the history and current status of social work and social welfare, an introduction to the major practice methods, an introduction to research and a presentation of the major psychological and social theories that form the knowledge base of the profession.

The clinical specialization is supported by advanced courses in personality theory, practice, trauma and an opportunity to examine policy and service delivery in the field, which provides a context for clinical practice. Issues of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and oppression are intricately woven throughout the curriculum. The curriculum emphasizes the promotion of social justice, service to society, and a greater appreciation of individual and cultural diversity in today's multicultural community. It recognizes the consequences of racism and works to identify and overcome the overt and covert aspects of racism. This is reflected in the school's commitment to become an anti-racism institution; an ongoing goal to which the entire school community aspires.

A wide range of elective courses makes it possible for students to develop additional expertise in areas such as family or group treatment; short-term treatment; treatment of children, adolescents and adults; responding to trauma; working with veterans and their families; and policy or research.

Degree Requirements

Those receiving advanced standing status in the MSW program must:

  1. Two full-time academic summer sessions
  2. One 8-month field placement period


The Smith College School for Social Work Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Additional Information

More information about the M.S.W. program—including the curriculum, course offerings, and academic calendar—can be found by following the links on the right side of the page.

Last updated 5/26/15