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Social Work Education


About Degrees in Social Work

The BSW Degree

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is widely recognized as the entry level professional degree for practice in public and private social agencies.  Such settings include health care settings; older adult care facilities; family service programs; mental health centers; departments of social service; schools; a wide variety of programs and services for children; shelters; and other agencies and programs.

The BSW is completed in a four-year baccalaureate program.  Every accredited social work program requires substantial field work, that is, supervised work with clients in an agency.

BSW programs, like all accredited social work programs, include courses in human behavior and development, the use and development of community resources, family dynamics, social welfare policy and services, social work research, social work values, ethics, skills, knowledge base, and human and cultural diversity.

The MSW Degree

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is the primary graduate level degree for professional social work practice, and is often pursued after some work experience.Specialized social work positions, such as those in clinical social work and supervisory and administrative positions, often require the MSW.  MSW programs provide both fundamental social work knowledge and the opportunity to focus on a special area.  Concentrations may be in methods of practice, including clinical, community practice, administration, research, and social policy; or may be in fields of practice, including health and mental health social work, work with families and children, gerontological social work, medical social work, and broadbased practice.

Some MSW programs also offer dual degree options, which can be completed simultaneously with the degree in social work.  Some of these dual degrees include Master in Public Health, Public Administration, Divinity, Law, and City and Regional Planning.

The Doctoral Degree

The purpose of social work education at the Doctoral level is to strengthen the field of social work by preparing practitioners who are able to improve and extend the theoretical and practice knowledge base through intensive study, advanced research, in-depth understanding of practice, and the teaching of others.  Graduates of doctoral programs assume leadership roles in social work education, research, administration, and practice.  Doctoral degrees are either PhD's or DSW's.

Accreditation Bodies

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

CSWE accredits only MSW and BSW programs and does not provide for accreditation of doctoral programs. For a complete up-to-date listing of all accredited social work programs and to visit the Council on Social Work Education website,Click Here.

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
1725 Duke Street, Suite 500
Alexandria, Va. 22314-3457
Phone: 703-683-8080
Fax: 703-683-8099

Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE)

For information about PhD programs in social work, contact the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE).  To visit GADE's website, Click Here.

Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education
Norfolk State University
700 Park Avenue
Norfolk, VA  23504

Accredited Social Work Programs in Minnesota

Minnesota boasts a strong and vibrant social work academic/education community.  There are currently 14 BSW programs and 4 MSW programs (all are CSWE-accredited), and one PhD program.  In addition, St. Cloud State University and Minnesota State University - Mankato admitted their first MSW students in the fall of 2007 (accreditation pending), and the College of St. Scholastica opened a BSW program on their St. Paul Campus.

For a listing of all CSWE-accredited programs in Minnesota,Click Here. Please contact these schools directly for more information.


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