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Master of Social Work: Direct Clinical Practice Specialization

social worker meets with family of girl with special needs

Treat Patients in Clinical Practice With a Gold Standard Degree

CSWE Accredited

Clinical Practicum

Advanced Standing Option

Learn More Today

Complete the form to learn more about this program.

  • Duration 3.5 years
  • Cost per Credit $825
  • Credit Hours 60

Program Benefits

  • Focus on direct clinical practice with hands-on learning
  • No campus visits required
  • Prep for licensure, following your state’s requirements
  • Practice your clinical assessment and diagnosis skills

Help Others Heal With a Sacred Heart MSW

Our nation is seeing enormous growth in mental, emotional and behavioral issues across diverse populations. Plus, there are significant barriers to mental health care in rural areas. You can prepare for a rewarding, important career as a licensed clinical social worker with SHU’s MSW Direct Clinical Practice degree.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, an industry standard, SHU’s MSW online delivers coursework in social welfare, human behavior, generalist practice, and social justice. Choose electives of interest to tailor your learning. An advanced standing option for expedited program completion is available for students who have a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited institution among other requirements. Please see our admissions requirements for more information.

Admissions Estimator

Career Outlook: Growing Interest in Advanced Care

There are many factors contributing to high job growth in social work, including the advancement of progressive attitudes on issues like mental health and chemical dependency and an aging baby boomer population.

Advanced practice jobs requiring licensed social workers are seeing enormous growth, with substance abuse counselors growing in demand by 23.2 percent over the next decade and opportunities for mental health counselors expanding by 23.1 percent.1

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW):


As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker you could serve in a variety of roles, including counseling, treatment and rehabilitation. You could also assume a research role, making your impact through influencing policy.2

Mental Health Program Manager:


As a program manager, you could direct the service offering of your organization in addressing mental, emotional and behavioral problems, incorporating your skills in personal care with your knowledge of practice and policy.3

Careers and Salaries

Curriculum: Advanced Knowledge and Hands-On Learning

Receive a comprehensive education in social welfare, human behavior, social justice, research methods and social work policy. Additionally, complete a course on clinical assessment and diagnosis along with a 1,100-hour clinical practicum.

You’ll graduate prepared to pursue licensure. Be sure to review licensure requirements ahead of time, as students are responsible for understanding the requirements of the state in which they intend to practice.

Course Spotlight: SW 586 – Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis

Focus on the assessment and diagnosis of individuals and utilize frameworks that place individuals within the context of their environment and influences to understand mental health conditions.

Preview Courses

Course Spotlight: SW 570 – Inter-Professional Education

Develop inter-professional collaboration, effective communication and problem solving among multiple disciplines in a variety of settings, including health care.

Focus Your MSW With a Specialization

MSW: Direct Community Practice

Explore social welfare, human behavior, social justice and research methods, and gain an understanding of how policy impacts social work.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 877-791-7181.

There are 500-1,000 field hours required for four courses, and hours can be completed in your community. All clinical hours start the last semester of the first year of the program.

The MSW does prepare you for licensure. License requirements vary by state. Though students are responsible for verifying license requirements in the state in which they plan to practice, our friendly admissions team is ready to answer questions and guide you through this process. Reach out to them at 877-791-7181 or

Yes, the curriculum for the online MSW includes a specialization. Choose from:

If you have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work with a 3.0 GPA within the past six years, you’re eligible for our Advanced Standing program and can graduate within 20 months. If your undergraduate degree is focused in a field other than social work, you can complete the online MSW at Sacred Heart within 3.5 years.

You may take up to six years to complete the program.

Visit our FAQ page


  1. Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insightâ„¢. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  2. Payscale (n.d.). Average Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Salary. Retrieved October 1, 2019, from
  3. Payscale (n.d.). Average Mental Health Program Manager Salary. Retrieved October 1, 2019, from