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 (and supporting seminars) in settings across the country.


To meet the requirements for an M.S.W. degree, all candidates will successfully complete:

  • 60 quarter hours of field internships
  • 4 quarter hours of field seminars
  • 6 quarter hours of a community based anti-racism experience
  • 37 quarter hours of specific core courses
  • 8 quarter hours of sequenced electives
  • 10 quarter hours of elective courses in any sequence

Core Courses

  • First Summer Core Courses (10 courses, 22 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 Biopsychosocial Functioning, 520 - Family Theory for Social Work Practice, 522 - Sociocultural Concepts, 525 - Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence, 530 - Introduction to Social Welfare Policy, & 540 - Principles of Social Work Research
  • 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, 631 - Social Welfare Policy II, & 648 - Research for Clinical Social Work Practice

Entering Field Course

  • Entering First Year Field Course (1 course, 1 quarter hour)
    • First Winter SOCW 510 - Entering the Field: When, Where, and How

Field Internship

  • Field Internship (2 courses, 60 quarter hours)

Field Seminar

  • Field Seminar (2 courses, 4 quarter hours)

Community Based Anti-Racism Experience (CBARE)

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

Sequenced Electives

Elective Courses

  • Additional credits required for degree may come from any sequence (5 courses, 10 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, which is required and graduate with 70 quarter hour credits.


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 based experience.