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Master in Social Work

Overview of Field
The goal of the social work field is to improve the quality of life in the society through teaching, counseling, public policy making, research and organizing community. The field is an amalgamation of concepts from various other subjects such as education, sociology, economics, philosophy, medicine, psychology and politics. A master in social work (MSW) degree is an ideal way to learn the theories and practices of social work and, hence, become more skilled social workers.

Scope of a Master in Social Work
A master in social work is usually a two years program in which the first year is spent in developing the theoretical concepts of the students and the second year is focused on a particular subfield of social work such as mental health, community organization, military social work, planning and administration, families and children. Some universities distinguish their master of social work programs on the basis of the type of practice. Direct clinical practice programs train the students to interact directly with the people in the society and the indirect macro programs focus on teaching students the concepts of community organizing, political advocacy and policy making. Some universities also offer dual degree programs by offering a master in social work in combination with a degree in child development, public administration, public health or law. A growing trend by various first-rate universities is to offer online MSW degree programs. These programs are ideal for existing social workers aiming to specialize in a particular area of interest without leaving their jobs.

Course Work
Social work master programs usually cover the following topics:

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Research in Social Work
  • Social Welfare Policy and Programs
  • Integrating Micro and Macro Frameworks
  • Social Work Practice with Groups and Complex Cases
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • Administration and Supervision in Social Work

Field experience with social work organizations is an integral requirement for degree completion.

Admission Requirements
Prerequisites for admission in a master in social work program are that applicants should be baccalaureates in a liberal arts subject. Some universities require biology courses to be also covered in the undergraduate curriculum. Educational/professional references, statement of purpose and GRE scores may also be requested. People applying for a master in social work program should be empathic with caring personalities. They should be experts in dealing with challenging situations and should be able to work independently.

Career Prospects
A person with a master in social work can find jobs as an administrator or supervisor in social service agencies. He/she can also go into research, teaching, consulting and even policy making. Private practice is another career path available for master in social work degree holders. The average salary for social workers with a master’s degree is $65,000.

What degree do you need to be a Social Worker

Interested students must have a four-year bachelor degree in social work. Depending on the employer, sometimes a degree in psychology is also preferred. Some of the typical courses students must study are Principles and Practice in Social Work, Human Behavior Theory, Issues in Social Welfare and Statistics for Social Work Research. Students could also improve their prospects by completing a Master’s in Social Work. And if the student is interested in working with think tanks and teach, a doctoral program could also help. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is the pre requisite for both master’s and doctoral programs.  


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:Give some details about the master degree in social work program?

A:A masters program in social work is an advanced degree in the area of social work. Student's enrolled din this degree program develop concepts about social work professionalism, historical development, and required skills. The course entails theoretical study and also required field work hours. Students also develop how social community organizations work and what are their main objectives.

Q:My search for Master in Social Work mentioned a course on Introduction to Social Work Research. What is the premise of this course?

A:Course on Introduction to Social Work Research would be mentioned when searching for Master in Social Work. This course primarily deals with research tools and their use to improve the efficiency of social work practice. Students with the help of this course also learn about methodological considerations, operationalization, research design, data collection and analysis and reporting of preparation and dissemination.

Q:What degree do you need to be a social worker?

A:In order to gain employment at some entry level positions as a social worker, a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement. However, you may also have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology. For mode advanced positions in health care or schools, candidates must generally have a master's degree in social work (MSW). The program typically takes two years to complete however some schools may also holders of a BSW to earn a MSW in one year. All programs require candidates to complete a supervised internship as well.

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