MSW Coursework

As a full-time student, you become completely embedded in the school community, allowing you to develop meaningful relationships with faculty who will support your success. Our graduates are prepared to shape practice, advocate and improve social policies, services, and communities, locally and globally.

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 to our professional foundational curriculum. Students can choose an area of concentration: Community Organizing; Individuals, Groups, and Families Practice; or Policy Practice. Within a chosen area of concentration, students will learn specific skills as they apply in a variety of professional settings. Explore our concentrations below!

Learn more about MSW Admissions.

Concentrations Offered

Community Organizing

Community Organizing (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 organizing 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 organizing 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.

MSW students can take advantage of 2, 3, or 4 year program plans and can count non-degree classes toward requirements.

Students who have earned a bachelor of social work degree from a CSWE-accredited institution can apply to the Advanced Standing accelerated program, beginning their coursework with a five-week, intensive summer session in July and going straight into the advanced, or second, year of our two-year MSW program in the fall.

Below, read more about other options offered for flexibility and program enhancement and enrichment to make the most of your experience.

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 (3.5 preferred), this may be an opportunity for you to earn your MSW degree in a summer and two semesters. Learn more about Advanced Standing.

BSW Exemption

Students who have received a BSW degree within the past six (6) years from an undergraduate school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) will be automatically exempt from the following foundation courses provided the student earned a grade of “B” or better 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, and 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; and 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 ESW2020 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.

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 their degree. View possible two-, three-, and four-year program plans.

Dual and Joint Degree Programs

Reflecting the School’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching, practice, and research, dual and joint degree programs have been developed to offer students an opportunity to seek degrees in two professions at the same time. To enter a dual or joint program, students must apply separately and be admitted to each school. Once accepted into both programs, students will meet with the designated persons from each program to develop a program plan that will account for the course requirements of each degree. Candidates are encouraged to apply and begin both programs at the same time, as this allows greater flexibility in the sequencing of courses and other requirements.

Advanced Standing students are not eligible for dual and joint degree programs.

Dual Degrees

Business Administration (MBA)/Social Work (MSW)
In conjunction the UConn School of Business, the MBA/MSW joint program is designed to prepare individuals for managerial careers in social work in both the private and the public sectors. MSW/MBA students are required to take a minimum of 42 credits in the MBA program. The MSW program will accept up to nine credits of electives and will waive the MSW program credits from 60 to 51 for IGFP students and from 60 to 54 for CORG and POPR students. Students will complete the core courses required of the MBA and MSW programs.

SSW Contact: Brenda Kurz, PhD, MSW Program Director, 959-200-3635
MBA Contact: TBA

Public Health (MPH)/Social Work (MSW)
In conjunction with the Program in Applied Public Health Sciences in the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care in the School of Medicine, the School of Social Work offers a program in which students may earn an MSW/MPH concurrently in three or four years. The MSW/MPH Joint Program offers students interdisciplinary preparation in the fields of both public health and social work.

The Program in Applied Public Health Sciences will accept up to 12 credits from the MSW program, reducing the credit requirements from 48 to 36 credits for the MPH. The MSW program will accept 9 or 12 credits from the MPH program reducing the credit requirements from 60 to 48 for IGFP students and from 60 to 51 for POPR or CORG students. Students in the MSW/MPH program take the first research course in Social Work. Their second and third research courses are the MPH program’s two-semester epidemiology/biostatistics courses. All requirements for the MSW/MPH may be completed in 3-4 years in general. Because the social work program requires four semesters of field placements, the MPH practicum is fulfilled for MSW/MPH students if at least one of the social work field placements (typically the advanced year placement) is relevant to public health and the corresponding assignments are completed.

Application to the MSW and MPH programs can be submitted at the same time. MPH program application must be made no later than the end of the first year of the MSW program.

SSW Contact: Brenda Kurz, PhD, MSW Program Director, 959-200-3635
MPH Contact: Jane Ungemack, DrPH, Associate Director and Coordinator of the Dual Degree Programs, Program in Applied Public Health Sciences, 860-679-5403

Juris Doctor (JD)/Social Work (MSW)
In conjunction the UConn School of Law, the School of Social Work offers a program in which students may earn an MSW/JD in four years instead of the five years it would take if these programs were completed separately. This program is designed for students who are interested in the social impact of the legal system upon individuals. Students pursue this joint  degree to prepare for careers in fields such as public interest law, mental health law, elder law, women's rights, penology, juvenile advocacy, human services administration, community organizing, and public policy and planning. This program is highly individualistic in nature in order to provide each student with the best possible combination of these two disciplines. The MSW program will accept up to nine credits of electives and will waive the MSW program credits from 60 to 51 for IGFP students and from 60 to 54 for CORG and POPR students. It is preferred that students pursue their first year in the UConn School of Law.

SSW Contact: Milagros Marrero-Johnson, MSW, Director of Strategic Programming, 959-200-3606
JD Contact: Paul Chill, Ph.D., Associate Dean, 860-570-5201

Joint Degrees

Public Administration (MPA) or Public Policy (MPP) and Social Work (MSW)
In conjunction with the UConn School of Public Policy, the School of Social Work offers a program in which students may earn an MSW/MPA or MSW/MPP concurrently in three years, rather than the normally required four. The opportunity prepares students with competencies and knowledge in public administration and public policy while engaged in interdisciplinary study and research related to social work. Students must be accepted into both programs prior to the completion of their first year in either program.

The MSW program will accept some elective credits and will waive BASC 5333. The overall MSW program credits will be waived from 60 to 51 for IGFP students and from 60 to 54 for CORG and POPR students.

SSW Contact: Milagros Marrero-Johnson, MSW, Director of Strategic Programming, 959-200-3606
DPH Contact:, Educational Program Coordinator, 959-200-3753

Divinity (M.Div.) and Social Work (MSW)
In conjunction with the Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, the School of Social Work offers a program in which students may earn the M.Div. and MSW degrees in four years instead of the five years required when these programs are taken separately. Yale University will accept up to nine elective credits earned in the MSW program. The MSW program will accept up to nine credits of electives and will waive the MSW program credits from 60 to 51 for IGFP students and from 60 to 54 for CORG and POPR students. However, there are numerous courses in both programs that may count toward the joint degree so students will find considerable flexibility in their choice of course and field work. The student must pay the appropriate fees at both schools. Student must be enrolled concurrently in both schools to benefit from this arrangement. When a student is not enrolled in courses at the School of Social Work, they must go on continuous registration and pay the required fee. The program of study is designed on an individual basis.

SSW Contact: Milagros Marrero-Johnson, MSW, Director of Strategic Programming, 959-200-3606

Non-Degree Program

If you are ready to move ahead with your career, but not ready to return to school full-time, the 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 about the Non-Degree Program here. Please note that non-degree status does not constitute, guarantee, or imply admission or readmission into any program at UConn.

Summer Block Placement

The School offers a summer block placement program for advanced year students with a concentration in Individuals, Groups, and Families Practice (IGFP). Block placements are available only during the summer, providing there is sufficient enrollment, 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, IGFP students must meet a number of requirements outlined in the Field Education manual.


Urban Service Track

The School of Social Work is a part of the Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Network based at UConn Health. The Urban Service Track (UST) is designed to produce a cohort of well-qualified health care professionals committed to serving Connecticut’s urban underserved populations. Currently, students from the UConn schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Social Work, as well as from the Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant program, participate in the program. Learn more about Urban Service Track here.

UConn MSW Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work’s MSW Program is to provide professional master’s social work education which promotes social and economic justice, and the improvement of human well-being. This mission derives from the school’s and University’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, service and outreach, an expanding international role, and commitment to public service. The School is committed to helping well-prepared new students become professional social workers by developing professional values and ethics, judgment, and skills that equip them for lifelong critical analysis of their practice, of social welfare services and of the context of society’s social, economic, and political structures. The School is also committed to teaching advanced, research-informed practice methods; focusing on strengths of individuals and families, groups, communities, and organizations; and the practice of social policy. Graduates are prepared to lead in contexts that shape practice by valuing human diversity; working for human rights and against oppression and discrimination; preventing and alleviating the effects of violence and poverty, particularly in urban centers; and advocating for improved social policies and services, locally and globally.

EPAS Evaluation Results

The UConn MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). As part of the accreditation process, the School of Social Work routinely collects and analyzes student learning outcomes at the MSW level. CSWE mandates that all programs must report their assessment results on a series of competencies. View the School of Social Work's most recent evaluation results.