Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Fordham University’s Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program will prepare you to engage effectively across all areas of social work throughout your career.

The world of social work is complex and changing. That’s why we’ve developed a dynamic, forward-thinking curriculum that starts with a comprehensive foundational phase focusing on skills that are grounded in theory and ethics.

After completing core courses, you’ll move to the advanced phase, where you’ll create your own plan of study in one or more advanced practice areas:

  • Individuals and Families: Learn how to provide direct services that address clients’ environment and overall well-being.
  • Organizations and Community: Be prepared to work effectively with entire communities and various types of organizations, including private and public companies and nonprofits.
  • Evaluation: Become a more versatile social worker as you study and apply new ideas in the field.
  • Policy Practice and Advocacy: Develop skills related to managing organizations and systems, creating policy, writing grant proposals, and obtaining funding.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, our M.S.W. curriculum is designed to turn you into a highly competent, integrated practitioner who has the tools to succeed in every setting.

By earning a Fordham M.S.W., you’ll join an academic community that’s as passionate about social justice as you are. If you’re ready to change the world, we’re ready to help.

For more information, please go to the Fordham GSS website.

Gain the knowledge and skills you need to achieve your professional goals. Apply to the Master of Social Work program at Fordham University. We encourage applications from people who can meet the academic requirements of a graduate-level program and who demonstrate that their personal qualities and values are compatible with the mission of social work: To improve the lives of others.

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

  • 18 undergraduate credits in liberal arts content.

The GRE is not required for admission into this program.

For more details about the application process for our on-campus M.S.W. program, please visit the GSS Admissions website.  

For more details about the application process for our online M.S.W. program, please go visit the online M.S.W. Admissions website.

 

Our Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree is a 66-credit program. It consists of:

  • 48 credits of classwork
  • 18 credits of fieldwork experience

The first 33 credits are part of the Generalist Phase; everyone takes the same courses at this level. The remaining 33 credits are part of the program's Specialist Phase.

Fordham coursework applying towards the M.S.W. degree may be no older than 5 years (counted from the semester the coursework was taken).
 

Required Courses

Generalist Curriculum

Course Title Credits
SWGS 6005Contemporary Social Welfare Policy3
SWGS 6040Integrating Human Rights and Justice in Practice3
SWGS 6323Social Work Practice With Individuals Across the Lifespan3
SWGS 6324Social Work Practice With Families and Groups Across the Lifespan3
SWGS 6305Social Work Skills Lab3
SWGS 6320Social Work Practice With Organizations and Communities3
SWGS 6440Advanced Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis3
SWGS 6803Applied Social Work Research and Evaluation3
SWGS 6901Fieldwork and Integrative Seminar 19
Total Credits33

Specialist Curriculum

Course Title Credits
Selective #1: Individuals and Families Domain- Choose one course3
Selective #2: Organizations and Communities Domain- Choose one course3
Selective #3: Evaluation and Research Domain- Choose one course3
Selective #4: Policy Practice Domain- Choose one course3
Selective #5: Course of your choice3
Selective #6: Course of your choice3
Selective #7: Course of your choice3
Selective #8: Course of your choice3
SWGS 6902Fieldwork and Integrative Seminar 29
Total Credits33

See the Course Listings page for courses fulfilling Selectives #1-4, along with courses that fulfill the LCSW clinical coursework requirement.

Selectives #5-8 may be fulfilled by any course with the subject code SWGS, numbered 6000-7999 or 8999, except for the Generalist Curriculum courses listed above.

Program Modalities

Full Time Plan of Study

In the full time plan of study, students generally can complete their M.S.W. program in two academic years. It consists of:

  • Two years of classroom coursework (24 credits each year).
  • Two years of fieldwork (9 credits per year).

Your fieldwork includes a generalist and specialist year practicum. The practicum schedule is 21 hours OR 14 hours per week.  All students are expected to complete 600 hours of fieldwork placement per year (1,200 hours total over the two-year period).

Part Time Plan of Study

The part-time plan of study is for students who would like a slower pace to completing their M.S.W. degree.  In this plan of study, you can complete your M.S.W. degree in three to four years.

You can begin this plan with two classes per semester in the first year. Fieldwork placement is added in the second year. You also have the option of completing some courses during summer sessions (usually mid-May to early July).

Advanced Standing Plan of Study

Graduates of a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited undergraduate social work program within the past five years may apply for admission into the specialized practice year (second year) of the two-year program OR one year of CSWE-accredited M.S.W. coursework may be eligible for the advanced standing program.  You can complete your M.S.W. in as little as one year or can go part time and complete your M.S.W. in two years.

Experienced Employed Social Service Practitioner (EESSP) Plan of Study

Employed and Experienced Social Worker Plan (EESSP) students are not required to fulfill a fieldwork assignment during the generalist phase of the M.S.W. program. You complete a single, 28-hour-per-week practicum (900 hours in total) at your place of employment during the Specialist Phase.

To qualify for this plan, you must already be employed in a social service agency doing related work under the supervision of an employee with an M.S.W. degree. Your employer must provide you with a fieldwork placement that is different from your daily work, with a different supervisor who has an M.S.W. degree and has taken (or will take) the Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) offered by all local graduate programs of social work.

Goals

The goals for the M.S.W. program are:

  1. To develop a strong knowledge and skill base in generalist practice with a focus on and commitment to human rights and social justice.
  2. Develop specialist skills in advanced areas of the social work profession such as clinical, leadership and macro practice, research, community and organizations, that build on the generalist practice foundation
  3. Practice with and on behalf of diverse populations, in order to promote individual, familial, organizational, and community well-being.
  4. Critical and systematic examination, evaluation, and utilization of research and other sources of empirical evidence in order to refine practice knowledge, skills, and interventions
  5. Competent social work practice guided by a sense of professional identity, values and ethical standards, as well as by recognition of the need for ongoing professional development

Objectives

The objectives for the M.S.W. program are:

  1. Practice the core values of the social work profession as outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics including:
    1. Commitment to service, human rights and social justice
    2. Assistance to access resources, benefits and service in order for individuals to achieve their potential
    3. The ideal in which every individual in society has equal rights opportunities, social benefits, and protection
    4. Dignity & worth of every person
    5. Placing the individual in high esteem and valuing individual differences
    6. Importance of human relationships
    7. Integrity, trustworthiness and adherence to moral principles
    8. Competence, having the skills and abilities to work with clients effectively
  2. Develop and practice a high level of self-awareness in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and other professionals
  3. Demonstrate knowledge about the effects of oppression and discrimination on individuals, families, groups, and communities and the importance of human rights and social justice advocacy
  4. Consistently work to assess the risk and resiliency factors of client systems of various sizes and types, especially with marginalized and culturally or socially diverse groups; and implement interventions that utilize a strengths perspective
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of social welfare as an institution and the history, mission and philosophy of the social work profession
  6. Demonstrate knowledge, and skills in relation to varied practice settings with a focus on social policy, programs and practice development, organization and community change, and advocacy for clients with the goal of working to alleviate human oppression and discrimination by advancing human rights and social justice and the well-beings of all people
  7. Critical thinking skills developed from a grounding in scientifically analyzed and applied theory and research that informs social work practice at all levels of intervention
  8. Apply an analytic, empirically based approach to knowledge building in practice that integrates the methods of social research, the critical appraisal of research findings, and the evaluation of social policies, programs, practice processes and outcomes
  9. Demonstrate the self-awareness skills necessary to evaluate practice outcomes through a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development

Life Experience

No credit is given to students at GSS for work or life experience.

Course Waiver

A course waiver is granted to a beginning student who can document having successfully completed the course content required in our Master of Social Work program. You should make waiver requests during the admission process. When a course waiver is granted by the GSS Admissions Department, you are expected to enroll in other courses in order to earn the required total number of M.S.W. course credits. The student is being waived from the course requirement but not the credit requirement. The Assistant Dean of Admissions will refer you to the appropriate faculty member if a course waiver is indicated.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are credits for courses taken at another institution. Students may transfer graduate course work from a regionally accredited institution to Fordham University’s Master of Social Work degree program.

Eligibility

  • Courses must have been completed at a graduate school.
  • Course content must have been in a social science discipline and in the scope of social work education.
  • A grade of B or higher must have been earned.

Restrictions

  • Transfer credits will not be granted for courses taken more than five years before applying to GSS.
  • Transfer coursework accepted for credit may apply towards the M.S.W. degree for up to 5 years from the term the student first begins the degree.
  • Transfer credits will not be awarded for courses under three credit hours.
  • Transfer credits will not be awarded for courses used toward the receipt or conferral of another degree.
  • A maximum of 12 transfer credits can be awarded.
  • Transfer credits are not granted for life or work experience.
  • You must request the credits when you apply to Fordham’s M.S.W. program.

Applying for Transfer Credits

M.S.W. applicants who are eligible to apply for transfer credits must submit a Transfer Credit Application Form once they have been granted admission to the program. Your transfer credit application package must include:

  • A Transfer Credit Application Form;
  • Transcripts from those courses; and
  • Course descriptions or syllabi of the courses for which you would like credit.

An addendum to your acceptance letter from GSS will indicate how many transfer credits you will receive. If you do not receive this notification, please contact the Office of Admission at gssadmission@fordham.edu or 212-636-6600 before registration.

Advanced Standing Students

To ensure that applicants who hold a B.S.W./B.A.S.W. degree do not repeat content that has been mastered, GSS only accepts applicants who have a B.S.W./B.A.S.W. degree from a CSWE-accredited social work school or program to the Advanced Standing plan of study of the M.S.W. degree program.

B.S.W./B.A.S.W. graduates are ineligible for all other plans of study offered within the M.S.W. degree program.

Overview

Field instruction is a learning experience in a professional setting that enables you to integrate and apply theory and knowledge in order to develop and practice skills. Field education is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in order to develop appropriate knowledge, value, skills, and professional identification. It takes place in a social work agency that works closely with our school to plan individual learning opportunities for each student. We maintain relationships with many agencies and institutions. Cooperating agencies represent a cross-section of social work practice and include a wide range of programs. 

Foundation/Generalist Field Placement Planning

Students begin foundation/generalist field instruction during their first year of the program if enrolled in the two-year plan of study, or their second year if in the extended, three- to four-year plan of study. Students should always refer to their plan of study when registering.

If you are accepted as a full-time student, the Office of Admissions provides the link to the electronic field application planning forms in your acceptance information. If you begin the program part-time, you will attend a field planning meeting, and the link to the planning forms will be provided at that time. 

Field Placement Hours and Credits

Students are expected to be in field placement a minimum of 15 hours per week. If you are a student seeking evening/weekend hours, please note you are required to be in field placement a minimum of four consecutive daytime hours during the Monday–Friday work week. For example, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1-5 p.m. on one day Monday-Friday, after 5 p.m., or only on the weekends (or any combination of these). 

Integrative Seminar

All students in field instruction are required to participate in an Integrative Seminar. This seminar is considered part of field instruction, so there is not a separate registration. Students indicate their time preference for Integrative Seminar when they complete the electronic field application planning forms. Students enrolled in the online M.S.W. program and the Fordham/Molloy hybrid option are required to participate in an online Integrative Seminar. The Integrative Seminar meets 10 times over the course of the academic year for students enrolled in the Legacy Curriculum (enrolled prior to Fall 2018) and seven times for students in the New Curriculum (enrolled in Fall 2018 or later). The seminar offers you the opportunity to share your experiences in the field and to further integrate course work and fieldwork. The field adviser is the student’s link to the field internship. Students are responsible for notifying the field adviser immediately of any problems or issues at their field site.

Student/Field Placement Match

Field Education Department staff and coordinators use the information you provide on your field planning form, along with your resume, to assign your foundation/generalist field placement. Such considerations as current employment, past experience, hours of availability, and geography, along with agency requirements, are crucial in making foundation/generalist placement matches. The goal is to facilitate the learning of foundation-level skills that are transferable to all settings and all populations. The field placement coordinators work collaboratively with students to find a placement.

Placement planning begins in early winter and continues through the summer months. Some students will take longer than others to place for a variety of reasons. Typically, the student will be notified by email that a possible placement has been identified. At that time, the student is provided with the name of the agency, the website (if there is one), the educational coordinator of the agency, and their phone number, and they'll be directed to contact the agency. Most agencies require the student to visit the agency and meet the field instructor.

Increasingly, agencies are requiring that students submit evidence of a recent physical exam and/or certain tests or immunizations prior to placement. Students should be aware of this and be ready to provide such information directly to the agency. Many agencies further require students to submit to background checks, fingerprinting, or provide other information prior to the finalization of a placement. Cooperation with these requirements is expected. In many instances, the costs of meeting these requirements are the responsibility of the student.

Work/Study Field Instruction

Some students are able to meet their field instruction requirements through the social service agency where they are currently employed. If this is an option, the student is asked to indicate this on the field planning forms and submit a work/study proposal for the field placement. In order to qualify, the student must be employed by the agency for at least six months prior to the start of the placement. The field instructor may not be your regular supervisor, must have at least three years post-M.S.W. experience, must be licensed in accordance with the regulations of the state where you will complete your field placement, and meet other training requirements. The department will review your proposal for suitability and discuss it with the director prior to approval.

Advanced/Specialist Field Placement Planning

Students are informed of the names of the coordinators with whom you will meet individually to discuss your interests and educational needs. The coordinator with whom you meet will be responsible for placing you. Students entering Fordham as advanced-standing students receive the link to their field planning form in their acceptance information. Once the student submits their form, a placement coordinator will contact them for an interview. Depending on their geographic location, advanced-standing M.S.W. students will participate in a placement interview in person, by phone, or via Zoom.

Choices in the Advanced/Specialist Placement Process

The Field Education Department works collaboratively with students to determine a field placement setting that provides the best possible learning experience. Students should not contact agencies directly to arrange interviews until advised to do so by your coordinator. In most instances, as an advanced/specialist practice student, you will interview with the agency to ensure that this is the right place for you. Once you have met with the agency, a joint agreement about placement is made. Additional and more detailed information about the advanced/specialist practice placement process is included in the Field Instruction Manual.

Field Instruction Grades

Field instruction is a year-long course and graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. At the end of the first semester, if the student is progressing well, a grade of In Progress (IP) is given. Grades of Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) are given upon completion of the course. The mid-year and final grades will only be entered when the field evaluation is received. It is important to note that the fall semester grade of “IP” does not change after a grade of “S” is received. The Field Education Department provides the student and field instructor with an evaluation tool for monitoring progress and learning needs. The field instructor submits written evaluations to the school at the end of each semester.

Absences from Field Placement

In field placement settings, students are permitted a maximum of three absences during the year for illness or other emergencies. If a situation occurs in which the student is ill for an extended period of time or another emergency requires their absence, the student must immediately consult with their field adviser and field placement instructor/supervisor.

If a student has any questions or encounters problems in field placement, they should contact the field adviser immediately. Field advisers consult directly with the Field Education Department should further intervention or guidance be needed.

Malpractice Insurance

As a student in field placement, you are covered by a malpractice policy. The cost for this policy is $30 per year. The fee is charged to your account when you register for field instruction. This policy is only in effect during your internship hours. When you graduate and are no longer an intern, you may want to obtain your own liability policy. If you are a member of NASW, you are able to apply for liability insurance through its group plan.

Available Forms

Important Information

If you are interested in using your place of employment as a fieldwork placement, your employer must be willing to allow you to function in the role of an M.S.W. intern for a minimum of 15 hours and a maximum of 21 hours per week in your current work position (the tasks must be connected to the CSWE Social Work Competencies).
 
Your immediate supervisor can function in the role of your field instructor to supervise your placement if they meet all criteria, although a different field instructor is preferred. The field instructor must possess an M.S.W. degree, and at least 2 years of post-master’s experience.

If you are interested in proposing a work/study field placement, your field instructor and employment supervisor must be different. Field placement tasks must be different from employment responsibilities.
 
Applications must be submitted to the Field Education Office at gssfieldinstruction@fordham.edu no later than June 1 for work/study proposals and March 1 for employment-based proposals.
 

For more information

Contact the Field Education Office at gssfieldinstruction@fordham.edu.

Academic advising is a collaborative process between advisers and students that helps students meet their academic goals. It involves planning, evaluation, and decision-making in partnership with the advisee (the student) and the academic adviser.

Lincoln Center Campus

Westchester Campus

Molloy Collaborative

Online Program (Legacy, before Fall 2018)

Online Student Success Advisers (New Curriculum, after Fall 2018)

  • Assigned after admission

Advanced Standing Program

This plan of study is open only to transfer students and Bachelor of Social Work graduates who have achieved a competent level of academic performance and a successful fieldwork experience within five years of applying to the M.S.W. program at Fordham. The undergraduate or graduate social work program that the applicant attended must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). If the applicant’s program does not have CSWE accreditation, you are not eligible for the Advanced Standing Plan of study. Students in this plan have generally completed the first year of an M.S.W. program. For Bachelor of Social Work graduates, your undergraduate coursework is the equivalent of the first year of the M.S.W. program at Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service. The 33 credits of the student’s B.S.W. program are transferred into the M.S.W. program at Fordham. Under this plan, you earn the remaining 33 credits for the degree in the advanced/specialist phase of your program, divided into 24 classroom credits and nine fieldwork credits. You can complete this plan of study in one academic year, or you may extend it over two years.

Employed Experienced Social Service Practitioner (EESSP) Program

This part-time plan of study is for applicants with a bachelor's degree (in any field) who have been employed in the social work profession for at least three years and have received supervision with a supervisor who has an M.S.W. degree. The applicant must demonstrate competence in the field of social service, and experience should reflect direct practice. The employer must agree to provide a 28-hour-per-week field placement experience during the Advanced/Specialist Phase of study. The fieldwork should include a change of both assignment and supervisor. In this plan of study, you take the Foundation/Generalist Phase coursework, but you are not required to complete the Foundation/Generalist Phase fieldwork placement. Instead, you attend a monthly Field Instruction Seminar Lab Practicum to discuss your experiences and the integration of practice with theory and classroom learning. As with all the plans of study, you must complete 66 credits before graduation.

Qualification in Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is defined broadly to include both alcohol and other mood-altering substances. The qualification will incorporate content regarding multiple client populations and multiple service settings as they relate to alcohol and substance abuse.

Requirements

  • Field Practicum: Advanced/Specialist year in an approved substance abuse setting, with specific learning goals and assignments related to services and practice in substance abuse
  • Integrative Seminar: A special section for Advanced/Specialist year students placed in substance abuse settings
  • Substance Abuse Elective Requirement: SWGS 6417 - Practice with Abusers of Alcohol and Other Substances

After completing these requirements, students will have met the New York State educational hours required (350 hours) for the CASAC-T (Credentialed Alcoholism Counselor in Training certificate). However, the qualification is not equivalent to the New York State CASAC credential. For further information, contact Dr. Linda White-Ryan, Assistant Dean of Student Services, at 212-636-6605 or whiteryan@fordham.edu.

Joint Degree Programs

Joint Degree Program in Social Work and Law

This program is designed for graduate students who wish to earn both a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Fordham University School of Law and a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from the Graduate School of Social Service. Applicants interested in the combined law and social work degree must apply and be admitted to both programs simultaneously. Due to the requirements of the American Bar Association, the first year of study must be completed at the School of Law. Contact Assistant Dean of Admissions Melba Remice at 212-636-6601 or remice@fordham.edu for further information.

Joint Program with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health Program

Fordham's Graduate School of Social Service has a joint Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree program with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health Program. Mt. Sinai is located in Manhattan at East 99th Street. Contact Dean Elaine Congress at congress@fordham.edu or 212-636-6667 for further information.

Study Abroad

GSS London Summer Study

GSS is very pleased to offer our M.S.W. students the opportunity to take courses taught by GSS faculty at Fordham University’s London Centre. The London Summer Program highlights the rich history of the settlement house movement in London and New York City, and its role in the formation of the social work profession and social welfare. Faculty will facilitate structured opportunities for students to integrate their community-based and classroom experiences and learning, and enhance the international comparative nature of their study abroad. For more information, contact Dr. Gregory Acevedo at gracevedo@fordham.edu

Career Planning

GSS has an online job posting system called Career Link. As a current student, your account has already been set up using your Fordham email address. Just click "Forgot Password" to get started to apply for jobs and post your resume for employers. Please go to this web page

Continuing Education

Continuing education is now required for licensing in New York State. GSS will be offering CEU opportunities for our graduates and the community. You can find upcoming opportunities on the school’s website.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

Keep your membership up as a graduate and enjoy the opportunity to have a continuing impact on your profession. It is also a good way to stay current on the issues that affect us as professionals, as well as the issues that affect our clients. There are a variety of committees at the local chapters, and being involved is an excellent form of professional networking.

Licensing

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut all have different requirements for certification or licensing after you have your M.S.W. In New York and Connecticut, you may take the LMSW – Master’s Level exam after you have graduated. New Jersey students may take the exam (the same test but called LSW) in their final semester. Exam Highlight Sessions on test-taking strategies and content review are held often during the end of the spring semester and early summer at both Westchester and Lincoln Center campuses. Announcements will be emailed in advance so that you can make whatever arrangements are necessary to attend. In addition, practice tests are available.

There is an Online Licensing Preparation course (five hours) available to all M.S.W. students and alumni. The course includes five modules: The first module is on test-taking strategies, and the other four modules align with the four areas of the licensing exam. The course also outlines resources for studying. All graduating students receive an email in April providing access to the course. There is no fee for the course.

Alumni Events

You will receive information about Fordham University alumni events, and those specific to the Graduate School of Social Service, through the University’s Alumni Office. Make sure you update your information on the Forever Fordham page. You can use the online directory to search for fellow classmates or network with other alumni. Most information is sent electronically, so it is important that you keep your email address current. An Alumni tab will be accessible from your my.fordham.edu account.

All graduates are eligible for an alumni card Ram Pass that allows you building access and browsing privileges in the libraries. To receive one, go to the University’s homepage and click "Alumni." You can apply for a Ram Pass online.

Professional Development Sessions

Students, faculty, and administrators have spearheaded professional development sessions with invited speakers addressing topics of interest at the Lincoln Center and Westchester campuses. Times and topics are posted online, and you will receive an email with information on how to register for the sessions. Some of these sessions are recorded so that students unable to attend can view them.