Mercy, compassion, and outreach are some of the foundational principles that Catholic schools aim to incorporate into their campus cultures. It is not a surprise, then, to find so many Catholic colleges and universities that have Master's of Social Work (MSW) programs available. Along with courses, expect to spend plenty of time putting skills into practice with internships.
These Catholic schools vary in size and have average graduate tuition costs ranging from roughly $10,000 to $44,000 a year. On-campus housing is available at all of these schools for the cost of room and board. The following institutions have social work programs and offer varied living environments in different parts of the country.
|School Name||Institution Type||Student Population||Location||Avg. Graduate Tuition (2017-2018)*|
|Boston College||4-year, private not-for-profit||14,466||Chestnut Hill, MA||$28,296|
|University of St. Thomas||4-year, private not-for-profit||9,920||Saint Paul, MN||$25,510|
|Barry University||4-year, private not-for-profit||7,404||Miami, FL||$17,820|
|Catholic University of America||4-year, private not-for-profit||6,076||Washington, D.C.||$44,400|
|Seattle University||4-year, private not-for-profit||7,487||Seattle, WA||$19,426|
|Clarke University||4-year, private not-for-profit||1,043||Dubuque, IA||$9,900|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
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Comparing MSW Programs
Since all of the following colleges are Christian affiliated, you can expect to find several on-campus opportunities for ministry, missions, and faith-based community outreach. The following descriptions look primarily at the MSW program offerings.
The Boston College MSW program offers two specializations -- clinical and macro -- and five concentrations: children, youth and families; global practice, health and mental health; older adults and families; and an individualized option. There are several options to choose from among the social work elective courses. Some of the class offerings cover families impacted by military service, global perspectives on gender inequalities, social determinants of health disparities, working with LGBTQ populations, and services for migrants. There are several other courses that focus on a variety of demographics. Boston College's School of Social Work also has a program called the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI), which encourages students to work within the Latino community. Courses in the LLI program are taught in Spanish.
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas works with St. Catherine (Kate) University to offer a MSW in Clinical Social Work Practice with a concentration in military, aging, or practice with immigrants and refugees. During this program, students will complete 600 or 1,000 hours of field work, depending on whether students already have a CSWE-accredited undergraduate degree. Some courses you can consider cover topics such as human behavior and the social environment, cultural diversity, methodology of clinical social work, spiritual dimensions of social work, grief counseling, and dialectical behavior therapy.
The MSW program at Barry University has class sizes of roughly 15-23 students. Because many people who attend graduate college are full-time workers, Barry offers a variety of program options to earn your MSW. Along with the traditional, full-time program, there is a part-time 8-semester program and a Saturday program. In this 63-credit program, 31 credits will focus on the foundational skills needed to work in social work and 29 credits will be devoted to your concentration. Students also must complete 580 to 1,000 hours of social work field time, with the smaller amount being reserved for those with CSWE-accredited social work undergraduate degrees.
The Catholic University of America
Located in the nation's capital, the Catholic University of America offers an MSW that focuses in Catholic traditions. Students must complete the 60 credits within five years, though many complete it in two years. Students can concentrate their social work graduate degree in either clinical social work or social change. Students can also combine these focuses for a dual concentration where theory and application can be used in the field. Courses at the Catholic University of America include Catholic social thought, military culture, homelessness, policy advocacy, social work research methods, and child welfare. Students must also complete at least 1,080 hours of field education.
At Seattle University, students who study social work at the master's degree level will enter a cohort program. This means that over the two years of the program, students will all be in the same classes, moving along together at the same pace. As of April 2018, there are 25 students in the current 2-year cohort program. As with other programs, a field practicum is expected. The Seattle University program requires students to spend at least 1,168 hours in the field. Of those hours, 448 must be completed in your first year. Areas of study include psychopathology, history of the profession, social justice and human behavior.
As do many of the universities, Clarke University offers both a traditional and an advanced program for MSW students. The advanced program allows students who already have a bachelor's in social work to take less credits and complete their master's program at an accelerated rate. The traditional master's program is 64 credits, and students are expected to complete 440 hours of field work in their first year and 500 hours in the second year. Courses include diversity and privilege, social policy, domestic violence, crisis intervention, rural social work, and medical issues in social work.