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Master of Social Work (MSW) Program FAQs

Master of Social Work (MSW) Program FAQs

Below you’ll find a quick reference to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Sacred Heart’s online MSW program.

What are the admission requirements for the MSW degree program?

To be considered for admission, applicants must have a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Advanced Standing students who enter the program can graduate in as little as 20 months. To qualify as an Advanced Standing student, you’ll need a Bachelors’ in Social Work earned within the last 6 years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Who are the instructors in the online MSW program?

The faculty members who teach on-campus at Sacred Heart University are of the same caliber as the faculty that teach our online social work courses. Our distinguished faculty members have years of experience and in many cases, are published extensively in their subjects of concentration. Read about their backgrounds on the MSW Faculty page.

What types of students take the online Master’s in Social Work program?

Our students hail from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, but they share the same goal to assist individuals, families and groups in achieving progressive life changes and a positive state of mental health. They need the flexibility in their lives to take courses online at convenient times, and finish the program at their own pace.

Students are located throughout the entire US — it’s another reason they choose our program. In their commitment to diversity, they find the varied geographic locations of their peers provides a diverse learning experience through the shared perspectives and experiences offered during discussions.

Do I have to take classes at a certain time?

No. Online MSW coursework is completely asynchronous so you don’t have to worry about being online at a certain time of day. Our flexible format allows students to access courses at times convenient to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How much time does it take to complete courses in the online MSW program?

Online learning requires as much time and effort as a traditional campus course. In general, we suggest that you plan on spending between twelve and fifteen hours each week for each three-credit course.

How long is each class session?

Each class session is 16 weeks long.

How long will it take to earn my degree?

The 60 hours of credits can be completed full-time in four semesters over two years, or part-time between three and four years.

What are the technical requirements for online learning?

You must:

  • Have experience with using the Internet to communicate and find information.
  • Know how to use word processing software (Microsoft Word).
  • Know how to download files.
  • Be able to read and send e-mail, attach document files to e-mail messages, etc.

You will need a computer with an up-to-date operating system and a connection to the Internet.

How do I get started?

Review the MSW admissions’ checklist to ensure you have all the necessary documentation for your admissions’ file, then you can apply online.

Is the Master of Social Work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)?

The Sacred Heart University Masters in Social Work program is currently in the process of applying for CSWE Accreditation. Candidacy Status was achieved in February 2017 — students are considered to have graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program when they are admitted in the academic year candidacy is achieved.

SHU boasts a reputable BSW Program since 1981, and has fulfilled all accreditation and re-accreditation requirements successfully. It is expected that the MSW Program accreditation will proceed successfully, especially given the leadership, talent of faculty, and the support of the administration.

CSWE accreditation is a multi-step process utilizing a benchmark framework that includes program self-studies, site visits, and Committee on Accreditation (COA) reviews. The process takes a minimum of three years. The steps in the process are as follows:

Pre-candidacy status: preliminary planning

  1. Candidacy status: approval to begin program and accept students
  2. Full Accreditation: all accreditation requirements achieved
  3. Initial Accreditation covers those students who were admitted in the academic year in which the program was granted candidacy and they are considered to have graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program.

Our current program status towards accreditation is:

  1. Licensure by CT State Office of Higher Education: Achieved October 2015
  2. Pre-candidacy status: Achieved May 2016
  3. Candidacy status: Achieved February 2017
  4. Full Accreditation: Anticipated February 2019

Is it possible to take the MSW program on-campus at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield?

Yes, the MSW is offered in both an online and on-campus delivery. Coursework is held at our main Fairfield, CT campus. For more information regarding the on-campus option, please visit us here.

Sacred Heart University’s MSW Program’s expectation is that students come to field placement fully prepared to commit to the best interest of the placement organization and the client population that is being served.

What are the requirements for field placement?

To qualify to begin a field placement, students need to be in good program status, have a 3.0 average and score a 3.0 on the Rubric for Professional Behavior. Students who have been admitted provisionally or who are on program probation are not allowed to begin field until their conditions have been met. Additionally, students cannot begin field if they have any Incompletes in any course unless permitted by the Field Director.

The requirements are the same for the Specialized Year placement and include successful completion of the Generalist Year practicum.

International placements may require different standards. See Field Office for more info.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

When does field placement start?

All field placements begin in the fall semester. See your individual plan of study for the year when you begin.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the need of the placement organization and client population that is being served takes priority.

Do I have to take any courses at the same time as my field placement?

Yes. You will take SW579 and SW581 in the Fall and Spring of your Generalist Year which is a seminar course. These courses correspond with SW 578 and SW581, respectfully, which is the actual internship. In the Specialized Year, you will take the seminar courses SW679 and SW681, along with SW678 and SW680 in the fall and spring semesters.

Additional courses may be required by individual plan of studies. Speak to your advisor.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

How do I find a field placement?

In the fall before you begin field placement, you will be assigned a field liaison who will guide you through the field placement process.

If you live outside of CT, you will need to present to your faculty liaison three organizations that meet the program requirements, as possible placements. The faculty liaison will vet the organizations and determine a match for you.

If you live in CT, your faculty liaison will find an appropriate placement for you and inform you of it. In order to avoid confusion, please do not contact organizations on your own.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

Can I complete my field placement hours at my job?

Maybe. The Employment Based Placement requirements must be met. The agency must provide you with assignments and a MSW supervisor from an accredited university that differ from those associated with your employment to ensure new learning that meets the objectives of the field education component of the curriculum. A student may apply to have one of their two placements in their place of employment. To be eligible to apply, you must have been employed by the agency for at least six months and successfully completed the probationary period. The proposed field supervisor must have been employed by the agency for at least one year.

Discuss this with your field liaison.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

Can I complete my field hours during evenings and weekends?

Possibly. However, there are very few opportunities to do internships during evenings and weekend hours.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served takes priority.

Can I complete my internship over the summer?

No. All of the internships begin in the fall and correspond with the course seminar that runs concurrently.

The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

Can I speed up my placement by completing more hours in a semester?

No. We make a commitment to the organization and the client population that we are working with to be there for a predetermined amount of time. The expectation of SHU’s MSW Program is that students understand and agree that the needs of the placement organization and client population that is being served take priority.

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, request more information or call us toll free: (877)791-7181.