Master of Social Work Curriculum

The Smith master's degree program alternates intensive curricular preparation with rich, closely supervised field internships to provide the optimum learning experience for tomorrow's social work professional.


Organized into what is called the block plan, the academic calendar is a full-time master's program that begins in June and continues for 27 months, ending in August. The block plan consists of five sessions. Three 10-week academic sessions are held at Smith from June through mid-August over three successive summers; these are devoted exclusively to course work (Sessions 1, 3, and 5). In addition, two intervening 8-month sessions, scheduled from September through April (Sessions 2 and 4), are reserved for full-time (30 hours/week) field internships in settings across the country.


The requirements below apply to the incoming MSW classes of 2019 and 2021. The MSW Incoming Class of 2021 requirements can be found here.

The Master of Social Work requires 130* quarter hour credits graduate.
To meet the requirements for an M.S.W. degree, all candidates will successfully complete:

  • 60 quarter hours of field internships
  • 4 quarter hours in field seminars
  • 6 quarter hours of a community practice anti-racism experience
  • 38 quarter hours of specific core courses
  • 16 quarter hours in sequenced electives
  • 6 quarter hours of elective courses in any sequence

Core Courses

  • First Summer Core Courses (10 courses, 12 quarter hours)
    • SOCW 500/501 - Social Work Practice with Individuals & Families, 505 - Group Theory & Practice, 514 - Theories for Clinical Social Work Practice, 516 - Problems in Biopsychosical Functioning, 520 - Family Theory for Social Work Practice, 522 - Sociocultural Concepts, 525 - Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence, & 530 - Introduction to Social Welfare Policy, & 531 - Social Welfare Policy II
  • Second Summer Core Courses (7 courses, 14 quarter hours)
    • SOCW 600/601 - Clinical Social Work Practice, 615 - Comparative Psychodynamic Theories, 618 - Racism in the United States, 627 - Agency and Community Practice, & 640/641 - Social Work Research Methods (or 642/643 - Intermediate or 644/645 - Advanced**
  • Third Summer Core Course (1 course, 2 quarter hours)
    • SOCW 785 - Evidence Based Practice in Social Work

Field Internship

  • Field Internship (2 courses, 60 quarter hours)

Field Seminar

  • Field Seminar (2 courses, 4 quarter hours)

Community Practice Anti-Racism Experience

  • Community Practice Anti-Racism Experience (1 course, 6 quarter hours)

Sequenced Electives

Elective Courses

  • Additional credits required for degree may come for any sequence (3 courses, 6 quarter hours)

*Students admitted as Advanced Standing do not take first year courses (first summer, first field internship, and field seminar) with the exception of SOCW 516 & 531, which is required, and graduate with 76 quarter hour credits.

**Students graduating in the class of 2022 will take the new research sequence during second year summer. Instead of SOCW 640 and 641, students will take SOCW 540 and SOCW 648. Third summer course, SOCW 785 will not be required for those students that have taken SOCW 648.


To ensure training in areas SSW feels are key to a solid clinical education, courses and training are divided into five academic sequences: social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research and field. Academic course sessions span 10 weeks each summer. Courses are offered as one- or two-term offerings of five weeks each. Between summers, the internship periods provide time for focused field education, research and the community practice experience.