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Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Be a force of positive change.

Deepen your level of practice with vulnerable populations and prepare to take on advanced practice roles in social work with the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Sacred Heart University (SHU). Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), this online MSW degree prepares you for practice with clients who present varying challenges—in less than three and a half years.

The program offers concentrations in direct clinical practice or direct community practice but integrates components of both in each specialization. This allows you to expand your work in social service with advanced, comprehensive knowledge.

Earn Your MSW Degree in 20 Months With Advanced Standing Program

Students in the Advanced Standing program can graduate in as little as 20 months. To qualify as an Advanced Standing student, you need a bachelor's degree in social work with a graduating GPA of 3.0 or higher. The BSW must have been earned within the last six years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Advanced Standing option is now available!

Master of Social Work Curriculum

While grounded in the liberal arts, the MSW curriculum at SHU aligns itself to the tenets of social work and the Catholic intellectual tradition of academic excellence. The principles of service to others, respect for human dignity, dedication to scientific inquiry and social and economic justice are reinforced in coursework throughout the program. Upon completion of this degree, you'll be well prepared to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations in a variety of careers.

The MSW program is also delivered in an on-campus format with regular meeting sessions at our main campus in Fairfield, Conn. On-campus coursework is available in a part-time or full-time format. Please visit us here to learn more.

The duration of the MSW degree is a little over three years, which consists of 60 credit hours and offers a concentration in Direct Community Practice or Direct Clinical Practice, integrating components of both in each specialization.

Students will be required to complete a minimum of 1,100 hours of field practice in order to graduate—after which they may sit for their Licensed Master of Social Work exam in Connecticut. Students are responsible for understanding the licensing requirements in the state in which they plan to practice.

Advanced Standing students will already have completed approximately half of the field practicum hours in the BSW program and will enter the master's program at the Specialized Year. The Advanced Standing student will be required to complete a minimum 550-hour field practicum.

Competitively Priced MSW

Sacred Heart's online MSW is one of the most competitively priced among private universities. View current tuition rates here.


Completion of your MSW Degree at SHU qualifies you to take the licensing exams that certify you for social work practice excellence. Immediately after graduation, you can sit for the Licensed Master of Social Work and start to earn hours toward your clinical practice license (LCSW) in Connecticut.* You'll be well prepared to step into leadership roles that extend beyond your current level of practice and help clients overcome their personal challenges, cope with situational circumstances, and achieve a healthy state of mind.


Earning your master's in social work can open doors to licensure, practice, and leadership roles and give you the foundation for a strong career path in fields such as health care. Though the social work industry is growing at an above-average rate of 12 percent, areas such as health care and substance abuse have seen rapid growth at a high rate of 19 percent.

Community Practice Social Worker Careers

  • Social Work Educator
  • Program Administrator
  • Social Work Researcher
  • Community Advocate
  • Community Organizer

Clinical Practice Social Worker Careers

  • Clinical Social Worker for At-Risk Families
  • Trauma Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • Play Therapist
  • Health Care Social Worker

Learn more about the career titles available to you when you earn your MSW degree, including average salaries, top-paying industries and the best sectors to find a position as a social worker.


The Sacred Heart University Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).**

Sacred Heart University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), one of six associations in the United States that accredit schools and colleges.


The faculty at Sacred Heart strive to provide an outstanding educational experience for every student.

They stress the importance of active, engaged learning, which is emphasized with tactics such as group problem-solving, role-playing, case studies, classroom presentations and interactive exercises, in addition to lectures and lively discussions.

You'll also find that faculty emphasize a close mentoring relationship as they discuss academics, professional development, career goals, internships, or any topic as it relates to your educational program. They are committed to helping you develop and utilize your own strengths, resources and capabilities in clinical and community practice with an integrated practice approach.

Meet the Faculty

Sacred Heart Online MSW Benefits

  • Top University in the North, U.S. News & World Report, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Institutions with the Best Online Programs, U.S. News & World Report,2015
  • Best Online Bachelor's Programs, U.S. News & World Report,2017
  • Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs, U.S. News & World Report,2017
  • The Best 380 Colleges in 2015, 2016, and 2017 The Princeton Review
  • Included in the 2013–2017 Colleges of Distinction guide, among approximately 200 colleges and universities in the country recognized for outstanding student engagement, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful student outcomes.
  • Best Online Colleges in Connecticut for 2015–2016, Affordable Colleges Online
  • Top 10 Best Colleges for Veterans (North region), U.S. News & World Report, 2014, 2016, and 2017
  • A Top Ten Fastest-Growing College in America, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Top Ten for Graduate Starting Salaries in CT, SmartAsset

To learn more about the unique Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Sacred Heart University and how it helps you to become a well-rounded leader in social work, learn more or call us toll free at 877-791-7181.

*Students are responsible for understanding the licensing requirements in the state in which they plan to practice.
**Sacred Heart University's Master of Social Work achieved Initial Accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in February 2019. This accreditation was announced to the community on March 22, 2019.

Citation Statement References:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Social Workers, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited September 21, 2016).

Health care http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm (visited September 21, 2016, page last updated March 2016).

Substance abuse http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211023.htm (visited September 21, 2016, page last updated March 2016).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, on the internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm (visited September 22, 2016).