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Explore our MSW Program

Concentration-based Curriculum

The UConn School of Social Work is unique. Here, students have the opportunity to pursue a concentration in social work practice in addition our professional foundation curriculum. Students can choose an area of concentration: Community Organization, Individuals, Groups & Families, or Policy Practice. Within a chosen area of concentration, students will learn specific skills and practices as they apply in a variety of professional settings. Explore our concentrations below!

Concentrations Offered:

Community Organization

Community Organization (CORG) is the advanced practice method that combines direct service with advocacy, education, and social action to empower communities to work for change. It is a process that brings people together to collectively:

  • Enhance self-determination
  • Achieve greater equality
  • Shift in power relationships to benefit members of oppressed communities

Community organization social workers address political, social, and economic factors relating to issues of power, inequality, culture, values, and problem-solving by using a broad repertoire of social change skills.

Community organizers build community, create solidarities, and deliver services at the grassroots level to empower people working together to make their own changes, meet their own needs, and participate more fully in public life and the democratic process.

Community organization alumni have diverse careers in:

  • Community and neighborhood centers
  • Nonprofit and advocacy organizations
  • Social change coalitions
  • Government agencies
  • Universities
  • Labor unions
  • Congressional offices
  • Human rights organizations
  • International organizations

Individuals, Groups & Families

Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families (IGFP) is the advanced practice method through which individual clients, family and group members are helped to:

  • Improve the level of fit between personal and environmental strengths and limitations
  • Empower themselves personally and politically
  • Ensure their rights and entitlements
  • Maintain, restore or enhance their social functioning
  • Resolve life stressors as these arise

Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families teaches students knowledge and skills in mobilizing, sustaining and creating personal, interpersonal, and environmental resources.

IGF social workers are involved in preventive activity at practice and program levels, in both urban and rural settings.  

IGF social workers find career opportunities in:

  • Child welfare agencies
  • Schools
  • Youth, children, & family service agencies
  • Mental health clinics and hospitals
  • Health care settings
  • Criminal justice settings
  • Senior citizen centers and facilities
  • Community and neighborhood centers
  • Neighborhood development and citizen action programs

Policy Practice

Policy Practice (POPR) is the advanced practice concentration that prepares social workers to intervene at the levels of service delivery in organizations and government to improve laws, regulations, and policies affecting populations in vulnerable situations. Policy practice involves policy development and policy analysis, program design and implementation, and policy and legislative advocacy. This method of social work practice leads to social change of macro structures to increase equity, and reduce oppression and discrimination in policies and programs. Policy practice activities include:

  • Define the root causes of social problems on local, national and global levels
  • Conduct needs and community assessments
  • Use research methodologies, data and information in the policy-making process
  • Learn proposal grant writing
  • Develop, lead and implement policies and programs
  • Write legislative policy briefs

Policy Practice social workers engage in strategies that ensure participation of diverse and marginalized populations in assessing, planning and implementing interventions for social change within a range of public and private institutions, organizations, and client systems. A critical element of policy practice is the ability to leverage resources, influence social change by using a professional network and having an advance understanding of the social, economic, political factors and contexts that promote social welfare and legislative policies.

Policy Practice social workers find career opportunities in:

  • Public and private not-for-profit agencies
  • Government or legislative offices
  • United Nations and international NGOs
  • Peace Corps
  • Veteran Administration
  • Behavioral health and mental health settings
  • Court or criminal justice settings
  • Public education system
  • Reproductive rights organizations
  • Higher education

Variety of Study Options

We understand that many of you have full-time jobs and families of your own, and we make every effort to make your busy life easier. By offering a variety of study options, we help you make your schedule work for you.

Study Options Offered:

Advanced Standing

Advanced Standing is designed for individuals who have graduated within the last six years from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, this may be an opportunity for you to earn your MSW degree in a summer and two semesters. Learn more here.

BSW Exemption

Students who have received a BSW degree within six (6) years from an undergraduate school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education will be automatically exempt from the following foundation courses if a grade of “B” or better was earned and the content of the social work material is comparable: Human Oppression, Research I, Analysis of Social Welfare Policy, Human Behavior: Macro & Micro Theories, Macro Foundation Practice, Micro Foundation Practice.

Focused Area of Study

In addition to areas of concentration, students can focus on a current social work issue through our Focused Areas of Study option. Using elective credits , students can focus their study on a particular population or social problem that complements your concentration, such as: Health and Wellness through the Lifespan; International Issues in Social Work; Intersectionality, Human Agency, and Social Justice; Urban Issues in Social Work; & Violence Prevention in Families and Communities. Students with a record of coherent academic accomplishment completing all requirements in an area of study will receive a letter of recognition.

Employed Social Work Program

Under certain circumstances, if you are already employed in a social work agency you may use your place of employment to meet one year of your field education requirement. In an Employed Social Work placement, the student is permitted to use 15 or 20 of their paid employment hours per week for their field education assignments. A special written agreement must be developed and agreed to by all parties. Approval is contingent upon the soundness of the educational plan. This option is not available to Advanced Standing students. ESW2018

Extended Degree Program

For economic, personal, and/or educational reasons, some students choose not to complete the program in the typical pattern of two years of full-time study. In these situations, students may opt for the Extended Degree Program, in which they may take up to four years to earn the degree.

Dual Degree Program

Dual degree programs encourage you to design an educational experience that specifically addresses your interests in the field of Social Work. We have developed programs in collaboration with the UConn Schools of Law, Public Administration, and Public Health. In addition, a joint degree program is offered in collaboration with the Yale University Divinity School. Learn more here.

Summer Block Placement

The School offers a summer block placement program providing there is sufficient enrollment within the student’s concentration. Summer block placements are available to advanced year students, except for those with a concentration of Policy Practice, during the summer following the completion of all program requirements except the advanced year of field education and the final concentration courses. In order to qualify for this program, students must meet a number of requirements outlined in the Field Education manual.

Non-Degree Program

If you are ready to move ahead with your career, but not ready to return to school full-time, Non-Degree program is for you. You can earn credits toward your degree prior to admission. The Non-Degree program allows you to earn a maximum of 15 credits toward your MSW degree. Learn more here. Please note that Non-degree status does not constitute, guarantee, or imply admission or readmission into any program at UConn.