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Information about the program

The Salem State University MSW Program offers students a comprehensive MSW experience focused on integrated practice for health and behavioral health.

Flexible Options 

Students have the opportunity to create a unique MSW experiences through their choices of electives and can complete the program in 2 or more years. Options available include our Saturday Cohort option, the School Adjustment Counselor option, and an Advanced Standing option. Learn more about our program requirements.

An Award-Winning Program

The master of social work (MSW) program at Salem State University is the first public social work program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. With a faculty committed to maintaining a curriculum that is relevant to professional social work today, the mission of educating social workers for practice as clinical practitioners, leaders and change agents in our ever-changing world is the primary goal of the program. Summer or yearlong field education provides students with practical experience in their area of interest.

Salem State University's School of Social Work was named one of the top 100 social work programs in the country by US News & World Report and is the highest ranked public program in Massachusetts.

In the summer of 2015, the School of Social Work relocated to 287 Lafayette Street in Salem. Our new building has state-of-the-art classrooms, student study areas, attractive common spaces, and a location that is convenient to the university’s newly renovated Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons and the  Harold E. and Marilyn J. Gassett Fitness and Recreation Center.

A Growing Field

Jobs in mental health counseling, healthcare social work, substance abuse and behavioral disorders, and other social work fields are expected to grow 20 percent or more over the next decade.

Social work jobs in health care, marriage and family therapy, and other fields tend to require master’s degrees. Average salaries for jobs commonly requiring master’s degrees range from $44,000 to $71,000.

Master of Social Work

  • Specialization

    The MSW program’s practice specialization focuses on integrating health and behavioral health practice. The curriculum is designed to meet the contemporary workforce needs with regard to healthcare reform and to underscore the major contributions MSW graduates are qualified to make in the future of healthcare systems that address both physical and behavioral health.

    The Salem State University MSW Program defines integrated health and behavioral health practice as:

    • Integrated practice perspective for micro, mezzo and macro systems across settings
    • The integration of human behavior knowledge, practice, policy, research and field education
    • An integrated understanding of physical, mental and behavioral health across the lifespan

    The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers an example of someone experiencing integrated health. Watch the video which outlines the role of social work.

    During your MSW course work, you can further expand knowledge by populations when choosing your practice and theory sequence classes. Then continue building competencies with electives that in areas of personal interest. Students can choose from electives such as Trauma Informed Practice; Substance Abuse; Death, Dying Grief and Bereavement Across the Life Span; Disability Policy and Practice: Working with Military and their Families; International Travel Seminars and Social Work Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Families.

  • Field Education

    Our field department works closely with each student to find the best fit for the field education experience. Salem State’s MSW program has developed strong relationships with agencies and programs throughout Greater Boston, the North Shore, Merrimack Valley, and potential sites throughout Massachusetts.

    Some service settings include:

    • Health and Behavioral Health Clinics,
    • Boston and Community Based Hospitals,
    • Mainstream and Therapeutic Schools
    • Child and Family Services
    • Community Practice and Macro Policy Settings
    • Older Adult Service Providers
    • Hospice Agencies

    Students can choose an academic year or summer block internship. Academic year internships are 16 to 20 hours per week from September through early May. Summer Blocks internships run from mid-May through August and are 32 hours- 40 hours per week.

    Students who continue employment while in the program should make certain their employers allow for scheduling changes or flexibility of hours because field education practice internships must take place during the business week.

    A student’s current place of employment may fulfill at least one of the requirements for your field education. Field Instruction must be provided by an MSW who is not the student’s work supervisor.  Under the supervision of experienced practitioners committed to best practices, students apply what they learn in the classroom and in field. 

  • Choosing A Study Plan

    Students can select either a full-time or extended-time plan to best meet their needs based on competing work-life commitments. Enrollment in the extended program options work well for students who are juggling responsibilities such as work and/or family. Students who continue employment while in the program should make certain their employers allow for scheduling changes or flexibility of hours during field education internship. Options available include:


Admissions Information

Have Questions?

Whether you want to learn more about courses, faculty members or general program information, get in touch with the graduate program coordinator to see what this program has to offer you!

Ready to Apply?

Your future is waiting. Take the next step by learning about program-specific admissions requirements and applying today!

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