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Social Work Schools in New York with Degree Program Descriptions

New York has more than 40 colleges that offer social work programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

All of the New York schools listed in this article have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Programs are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels; students can also pursue degree program minors. Master of Social Work programs may be offered in combination with one of the following: Juris Doctor, Master of Public Health or Master of Science in Education. Additionally, depending on the school, social work students at the graduate level may be able to pursue a concentration, such as children and family services, mental health, clinical social work, policy practices, leadership or research.

Read on to learn about the public and private colleges and universities in New York offering social work training.


Columbia University

Columbia University's School of Social Work in New York City has both a specialized master's and a doctoral program in social work. The Master of Science in Social Work program allows students to pursue one of four concentrations, including generalized practice and programming, clinical social work, policy practices or social enterprise administration. The curriculum features seven fields of practice in, among other related areas, children's and youth services, aging, contemporary social issues and international social welfare.

Students enrolled in the 2-year Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) learn about advanced social work and research methods, social sciences and statistics. They also complete a dissertation, and recent themes have included topics in abuse, health and justice.

Students who have already earned an undergraduate degree in social work may be eligible for the Advanced Standing Program, an opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Social Work in as little as ten months.

CUNY Hunter College

Hunter College is also located in New York City, and the school is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) network. Through the Silberman School of Social Work, graduate students can choose from among four program options, including a 1-year residency or a full-time course of study. An undergraduate degree in social work may qualify some students for advanced standing, and in conjunction with the Bank Street College School of Education, Hunter also offers a combined Master of Science in Education/Master of Social Work.

The Master of Social Work curriculum is comprised of nine different content areas, including human behavior, fieldwork, research and social policy. Students also complete a 3-course concentration in one of the following four areas: organizational management and leadership, clinical practice, community organization or group work.

The PhD in Social Welfare is designed to prepare students for employment in education, social service and research, and the requirements include first- and second-year exams and a dissertation.

Fordham University

Through the Graduate School of Social Service, Fordham University offers one of the most extensive social work programs around the world at its Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester County campuses. In 2013, Fordham ranked 11th on the U.S. News & World Report list of best master's degree programs in social work.

The requirements for the undergraduate degree include eight required courses in, among other areas, social policies and services, human behavior and rights, social justice and general practice. As seniors, they also attend an integrative seminar, participate in research and complete a 600-hour field experience.

Students in the 66-credit Master of Social Work complete 18 credits of fieldwork and a concentration in leadership and macro practice, clinical social work or research. Residents of the tri-state area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York) and who live more than 50 miles away from one of the university campuses may qualify for the online version of the program (advanced standing required).

In addition to a specialization in either social policy or work practice, the PhD program offers concentrations in children and family services, gerontology and mental health. Degree requirements include a dissertation and an exam.

New York University

Located in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, the Silver School of Social Work at New York University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in this field of study. The requirements for the Bachelor of Science include 600 hours of field experiences, and qualified graduates may be able to complete the master's program in as little as one year.

Students in the Master of Social Work program have access to a wide variety of field experiences, courtesy of the university's partnerships with more than 600 public and private organizations in the tri-state region. They can also pursue focused-learning experiences in one of seven areas, including those related to children and families, adolescents, palliative care and substance abuse.

While acquiring clinical skills, students have the opportunity conduct independent research. Doctoral students are paired with a research mentor, and faculty expertise includes the study of families, mental health and poverty.

Behavioral health specialists and social workers can find continuing education opportunities through the Office of Global and Lifelong Learning, and these may include agency-related training, conferences, post-master's certificates and seminars.

Stony Brook University (SUNY)

At the state university in Stony Brook (School of Social Welfare), undergraduates can pursue a major in social work that allows for field placements in youth and social welfare organizations, schools, hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities. Upper-division coursework includes topics in human behavior, policy studies, political economics and research. Future professionals also participate in a 12-credit, agency-based internship.

At the graduate level, second-year students in the master's program have the opportunity to specialize in health care. Individuals enrolled in the dual degree program can earn a Master of Social Work and a Juris Doctor in four years.

Areas of focus associated with the PhD program include aging, health, poverty and violence, and students also complete a dissertation. This program can help to prepare students for academic, policy and research work in the public or private sector.

SUNY at Albany

The Albany campus is one of 64 associated with the State University of New York (SUNY), and the School of Social Welfare faculty is ranked in the top 5% across the nation for research productivity. Notable school features include the Internships in Aging Project and a number of research-based centers and institutes.

The undergraduate curriculum requires core courses in American politics, psychology and sociology, as well as electives in human biology, statistics, social psychology and diversity. Students also complete one year of fieldwork.

Graduate students in the Master of Social Work program can specialize in clinical practice or organizational management and work in a community partner agency. In addition to dissertation work, requirements for the PhD include courses in data analysis and statistics, proseminars, internships and exams.

SUNY Albany also offers post-baccalaureate certificates in social welfare certificate, including those in health disparities, non-profit management and women's studies.

SUNY at Binghamton

SUNY at Binghamton is located in Vestal, and the social work programs are available through the Graduate School. The 64-credit Master of Social Work allows for both a traditional 2-year and a part-time course of study that can be completed in three-and-a-half years. The full-time curriculum is similar to that of the aforementioned programs and includes foundational coursework and general practice training, as well as four semesters of fieldwork. Instead of a thesis, graduate students complete a social work portfolio.

Syracuse University

The Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at this major Syracuse university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work. Unique to the school is the student-run Social Workers United.

The undergraduate social welfare curriculum includes the study of policies and services, human behavior, practice and research. Students also complete a social work practicum during their senior year.

At the graduate level, students who hold an undergraduate degree in social work may be eligible for advanced standing, and those with a bachelor's degree in another major can pursue the 2-year Master of Social Work with 1,000 hours of field experience.

Touro College

The Graduate School of Social Work at Touro College offers programs in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, and its Master of Social Work program is registered with the New York State Education Department. After completing a foundation program, students pursue concentrated clinical work and four semesters of fieldwork. Through clinical electives, they can also receive the training they need to work with, among other populations, military personnel and their families, couples and senior citizens. Touro College also offers non-credit courses for students who already hold a graduate degree, and current offerings include topics in cognitive behavioral therapy and play therapy.

University at Buffalo (SUNY)

The University at Buffalo is one of two senior institutions in Buffalo, and although both are affiliated with the SUNY system, should not to be confused with Buffalo State. The school enjoys high-rankings for its accredited social work program, and after completing core coursework, students pursuing a master's can design their own curriculum and participate in field education. Unique to the program is its emphasis on human rights and trauma.

The School of Social Work also offers 3-year, part-time course of study that combines online and on-site coursework. Other program offerings include a Graduate Certificate in Canadian Studies that allows students to explore social issues from a cross-border perspective, as well as a credentialing program for alcohol and substance abuse counselors. Requirements for the PhD program include advanced courses in research, a research internship and proseminars.

Career Requirements

In order to become a licensed clinical social worker in New York, individuals 21 years of age or older must demonstrate good moral character and have a master's degree in social work (or a qualifying equivalent). Other requirements include instruction or training in child abuse detection and reporting, as well as a passing score on the Association of Social Work Boards exam.

In addition to these requirements, licensed clinical social workers should complete at least 12 semester hours of clinical coursework and a minimum of three years of supervised, postgraduate experience in psychotherapy, assessment-based treatment planning and diagnosis.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Social Work Programs Offered Graduate Tuition & Fees (Graduate, 2018-19)
Columbia University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Science in Social Work,
PhD in Social Work
$59,430*
CUNY Hunter College 4-year, public; large city Master of Social Work,
Master of Science in Education/Master of Social Work,
PhD in Social Welfare
$11,078 in-state;
$20,228*
Fordham University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Arts in Social Work,
Master of Social Work,
Online Master of Social Work,
PhD in Social Work
$52,687 (undergraduate);
$34,363*
New York University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Minor in Social Work,
Bachelor of Science in Social Work,
Master of Social Work,
PhD in Social Work
$51,828 (undergraduate); $45,426*
Stony Brook University 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Social Work,
Master of Social Work,
Master of Social Work/Juris Doctor,
PhD in Social Welfare
$13,007 in-state;
$24,567 out-of-state*
SUNY at Albany 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare,
Master of Social Work,
Master of Social Work/PhD in Social Welfare,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificates in Social Welfare,
PhD in Social Welfare
$12,995 in-state; $24,558 out-of-state*
SUNY at Binghamton 4-year, public; midsize suburb Master of Social Work,
Master of Public Administration/Master of Social Work
$13,194 in-state;
$24,754 out-of-state*
Syracuse University 4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city Minor in Gerontology,
Bachelor of Science in Social Work,
Master of Social Work
$38,708*
Touro College 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Social Work $16,072*
University at Buffalo 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts/Master of Social Work,
Master of Social Work,
PhD in Social Welfare
$13,705 in-state;
$25,265 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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