There are many social work degree programs in Massachusetts, as the state has had a long history of social service, starting with John Adams, the patriot, and continuing with the modern Kennedy family. In fact, Massachusetts has been the location for many historical events.
Massachusetts, officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, had a significant role in the United States liberation from British rule. Like three other states – Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia – the state’s constitution refers to it as a “commonwealth,” rather than a state. This term has no legal significance, but emphasizes that the Massachusetts government is based on the “common consent” of the state’s citizens rather than as a royal colony, making the use of the word symbolic in nature.
Massachusetts residents have always held strong social service beliefs. Prior to the Civil War, the state was the center of the temperance and abolitionist movements. For this reason, the state has many exceptional social work degree programs throughout the state that have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Salem State University
Salem State University is located just north of Boston and is one of the largest state universities in Massachusetts. The college is located in the historic town of Salem, best known for the Salem Witchcraft Trials of 1692. Salem State began as the Salem Normal School in 1854 with the mission to develop young women into teachers. Today, the university serves over 10,000 students on its waterfront campus, providing not only an exceptional education, but also a lively environment that offers shopping, dining and entertainment.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program
Following in the Massachusetts tradition of social service, Salem University offers an exceptional Bachelor of Social Work program through their School of Social Work. The program provides students with a learning environment specifically designed for the development of knowledge, skills and values. Students learn the skills necessary to help individuals, families and communities in setting beyond the classroom, including hospitals, clinics, treatment programs and group homes. In addition, students must perform 425 hours of field work in order to obtain their degree. During field experience, students are supervised by experienced professionals and are mentored by a School of Social Work faculty member. In order to apply, applicants must submit all official transcripts, SAT/ACT scores and an application accompanied by the appropriate application fee.
Master of Social Work (MSW) Program
Salem University was the first public institution in Massachusetts to offer a Master of Social Work program. Since it’s inception in 1987, the program has distinguished itself in quality and reputation. The program is offered as a two-year general study plan, three or four-year advanced study plan, as well as advanced standing study plans. The advanced standing study plans include summer and academic year attendance. This variety in study plans allows students the flexibility necessary to obtain the MSW while working full-time and managing family responsibilities.
Simmons College is located in the heart of Boston, offering pioneering liberal arts education since it was founded in 1899 by John Simmons, a Boston businessman. Simmons was a pioneer as he began offering education to women even before they were granted the right to vote in the United States. In addition, Simmons College graduated the first African-American in 1914, and was one of the only private colleges that did not impose Jewish student quotas during the early 1900s.
Because the college is located in downtown Boston, the campus is surrounded by history and provides a small college feel. That small college feel can be deceiving, however, as the college is state-of-the-art, with modern buildings and amenities that fit the historic feeling that surround them. The college also has a strong “green” focus, and was recognized by the “Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges” in a list of universities that demonstrate a significant commitment to sustainability.
Bachelor of Social Work
Simmons College was the first institute of higher learning to offer clinical social work training in 1904, and since that time they have pioneered social work education. With an acclaimed faculty and alumni who are recognized in the field of social work, Simmons has developed a reputation as a nationally regarded school of social work. The program combines over 500 hours of learning in the field at more than 300 internships that include governmental agencies, private organizations, hospitals, schools and private companies. Students may choose the traditional four-year program or the Accelerated 3+1 Program. The four-year program is completed in a typical fashion, completing all coursework and field work in four years. The Accelerated 3+1 Program complete undergraduate courses in three years by taking five courses rather than four during some semesters, and completing their field placement along with four courses in the summer between their second and third years.
Master of Social Work
Students enrolled in the Simmons College Master of Social Work program typically complete their degree in two years. Students are assigned field placement for three days per week for both years of the program and take classes the other two days of the week. The college also offers extended-study programs that allow students to attend school part-time, taking some of the available Saturday or evening classes. However, not all program requirements can be met with flexible classes, so students should plan for field placements and classes at least four or five days per week towards the end of the program.
Smith College, founded in 1871, is a college for women, offering the promise of an education with uncompromising quality. The college was founded when there were little to no choices for women to obtain education, and at the time, Smith College’s decision to create such a facility was a radical belief. Even though in today’s society, women have many more options than they did in the late 1800s, Smith believes that a college that serves only women is the best option, with the belief that at Smith, women come first and do best.
The college began as the dream of Sophia Smith, a New England woman, who inherited a large fortune at the age of 65. After much consideration, Sophia chose to make a $400,000 bequest in her will that an institute of higher learning be established for the higher education for young women that was equal to those that were available to young men at the time. Today, the campus consists of 147 acres with more than 100 buildings used for academics, residences, maintenance and administration. The campus sits on the shores of Paradise Pond, where students enjoy the colors of fall in New England, skate during the cold winter months and enjoy picnics in the spring.
The MSW Program
The Smith College Master of Social Work Program is built on a foundation of knowledge that are central to the industry. Students not only learn the skills necessary to advance in their social work career, but also about the history of social work and how current processes relate to that history. The curriculum emphasizes service to society and social justice, as well as discussions regarding gender, race and ethnicity. Electives offer the ability to delve further into specialty areas of social work, such as substance abuse treatment, traumatic events, veteran’s needs and the treatment of children or adolescents.
Springfield College is a private, coeducational college located in scenic western Massachusetts. Springfield’s philosophy is to educate a student’s mind body and soul. In 1891-1892, when the school was known as the YMCA Training School, a group of students looking for something to keep them active after the end of football season were in a gymnasium class led by James Naismith. In an effort to create an activity that was easy to learn, yet complex enough to keep the young men interested, Naismith created a game similar to one he had played as a child called “Duck on a Rock.” Naismith nailed two peach baskets to the lower rail of the gym balcony, which happened to be ten feet high, one at each end. The game combined the passing and jump ball in the English and American games of rugby, a goal similar to lacrosse and the shape of the ball from soccer. Despite the connection to one of America’s favorite sports events, Springfield has also retained their foundation of academic excellence, ranked in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North Region by US News and World Report.
Masters of Social Work Programs
Students who participate in the Masters of Social Work full-time program can obtain their degree in two years, with classes that meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Students are not only required to attend traditional classroom instruction, but also complete two field practicums. They must also participate in field seminars. Students are given hands-on experience and faculty members who are well-known for their social service provide real-life information to students, creating a well-rounded environment for those seeking to further their social work career. For those who are unable to attend the college full-time, there is a part-time option with classes that meet two weekends per month for three years. Students must complete a field practicum in the second and third year, as well as the field seminars. Many students who choose the part-time option are currently employed in social work positions.
Western New England University
Western New England University was founded in 1919 as the Springfield Division of Northeastern College, originally offering part-time educational opportunities for students studying law, business and accounting. In 1951, the college was renamed Western New England College and the college purchased land on Wibraham Road in 1956. The first building, Emerson Hall, opened in 1959, and the college became Western New England University in 2011. The founders of the university focused on providing outstanding academic programs that focused on professional growth, and that standard remains today. There are now 26 major buildings on the well-maintained campus that provide students with high quality education.
Social Work Major
The Social Work Major at Western New England offers a broad liberal arts education combined with the fundamentals of social work. During their freshman year, students complete a field service work experience during their first semester and shadow a social worker for the entire year. The curriculum includes courses in human behavior, oppression and empowerment, social policy and more specialties related to the field of social work. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Western New England University
1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
Westfield State University
Horace Mann founded Westfield State University in 1838. The school was originally called the Normal School and the focus was on teacher training. In 1844, the college relocated to Westfield, and the Court Street Building, which is now City Hall, was dedicated to the college in 1892. In 1932, the name was changed to the State Teacher’s College and a four-year degree was offered. In 1956, the current campus was dedicated and the name was changed to State College at Westfield in 1960. Seven years later, the school was renamed Westfield State College before becoming Westfield State University in 2010. Today, WSU sits on a beautiful campus with a wide variety of clubs and organizations. There are first class athletic facilities and state-of-the-art living facilities nestled in a student-centered environment.
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work
The Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Westfield has a generalist focus and prepares students to work in the field of social work in a variety of settings. Students who attend full-time will complete their degree in four years, but students can take classes part-time and earn their degree over a longer period. The program consists of 16 credits in general requirements and 42 credits in social work courses. Successful graduates are eligible to sit for the state social work licensure examination and may be eligible for advanced standing for graduate schools throughout the United States.
Graduate Degree Social Work
Westfield began offering a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2010 and has a single concentration in Clinical Practice with a primary focus, preparing graduates to work as clinical case managers, advanced positions in child protective services or other child and family related positions. Classes are available in an online format or in a hybrid version with some online and some in-class lectures. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in any major, but must have some social science and biology credits included. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
In 1888, Lucy Wheelock entered the Chauncy-Hall School to begin her first kindergarten teacher training class, with no idea that she would leave a legacy of inspired action decades later. Acting as director of Miss Wheelock’s Kindergarten Training School, Lucy worked to fulfill the possibilities she saw in early education. In 1914, the Wheelock School had moved to faciltiies on Boston’s Riverway, and Lucy spent the next 25 years expanding the scope of early education programs, growing to the forefront of the kindergarten movement nationally. In 1939, after Lucy’s retirement, the Wheelock School became a nonprofit institution and the name changed to Wheelock College. The program expanded to four-years and was granted the right to issue Bachelor of Science degrees.
Undergraduate Social Work Program
At Wheelock, students in the undergraduate Social Work program study theories and methods used in the profession with a focus on how to apply those practices. Students learn to work collaboratively with clients, while identifying and securing necessary resources and communication in order to provide assistance to those in need. Students undergo an intensive, year-long supervised practicum with an emphasis on strengths, resiliency and empowerment for clients.
Master of Social Work
Wheelock’s approach is family-centered and community based, preparing students to practice with individuals, families, groups or anyone who is in need. The Master of Social Work is 60-credits with study in five core areas that include:
• Human behavior and the social environment
• Social work practice
• Social policy
• Social research
• Field practicum experience
Programs are offered on a full- and part-time basis to provide flexibility for students who may be working full-time or have family obligations. The program moves to justice-based social work that focuses on children and families later in the curriculum. Students must also participate in field placement, which can be arranged through the Social Work Field Education Office that has partnerships with over 200 field placement agencies throughout New England.
Boston, MA 02215
Social work degree programs in Massachusetts represent the strong social service thread that runs through citizens in the state. These programs offer exceptional, thorough degrees in the area of social work at colleges that offer benefits for all students. The schools above represent the second half of our alphabetical list of accredited social work degree programs in Massachusetts. The first half of the list can be seen here.