Master of Social Work


More Information

Andrea Lamontagne
Tel: 203-365-4748

Department Location

Roncalli Hall, 2nd Floor
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825

Program Director

Bronwyn Cross-Denny, Ph.D., LCSW 
Associate Professor

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Social Work Students in Classroom

The Master of Social Work at Sacred Heart University is a 60-credit degree program and is offered in the following delivery systems:

  • Full-time on ground – two year completion with courses meeting one full weekday
  • NEW Part-time on ground – three year completion with courses meeting on alternating Saturdays
  • Advanced Standing on ground – 30 credits, one year completion for those who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited institution
  • Part-time and advanced standing Online option

The first year of the MSW program is foundational and highlights courses in human behavior in the social environment, social work generalist practice, social welfare policy, social work research, human diversity and social justice. The curriculum prepares students to practice at the generalist level.

The second year of the program teaches students specialized skills in social work practice and includes assessment, treatment planning, interventions, and practice evaluation. Students also prepare to take on leadership roles.

Program Overview

The Master of Social Work (MSW) will prepare students for both generalist and specialized practice with client systems across varying contexts and problems. The program is guided by the social work ethical principles of service, respect for human dignity, social and economic justice, and to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations. Grounded in the liberal arts, the program is guided by the profession’s commitment to social justice and the university’s Catholic Intellectual Tradition of academic excellence through social responsibility, service to others, and scientific inquiry. 

The Sacred Heart University program boasts a unique integration of micro-, mezzo-, and macro-level practice. The program teaches students integrated specialized skills in social work practice in either direct clinical practice or direct community practice; components of both clinical and community practice are included for each specialization. Skill development includes coursework in assessment, treatment planning, interventions, practice evaluation. Students also prepare to take on leadership roles.

The supervised field practicum allows students to hone their practice skills and to work in a more specialized area. The curriculum includes courses in focused areas such as aging and gerontology, children and families, and spirituality.

Program Specializations

Direct Clinical Practice
Direct Clinical Practice focuses on practice with individuals, couples, families, and small groups utilizing a variety of principles for assessment and intervention including psychosocial and human development theories, psychopathology, and environmental factors. Jobs as a clinical social worker include counseling, psychotherapy, social work in health care and mental health settings.

Direct Community Practice
Direct Community Practice focuses on practice with larger client systems including large groups, organizations, and communities utilizing human behavior with specific focus on organizational and community theories and frameworks as well as leadership and management. Jobs in this practice area include administration, community assessment and organizing, as well as policy advocacy and development.

Learning Objectives/Program Goals

  • Develop competent and effective generalist and specialized social work practice with client systems.
  • Synthesize and apply a broad range of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary knowledge and skills to prepare students for practice in a multicultural and global society.
  • Develop skills and knowledge to promote and incorporate diversity in social/economic justice and human rights through policy and practice skills advocating for policy change and just service delivery.
  • Integrate and apply the knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes, and ethics of the social work profession.
  • Understand and engage in research-informed practice and proactively respond to the impact of context on professional practice and service delivery.
    Service Learning Trip

    Service Learning trip to Nicaragua
    Spring Break 2016

  • Develop leadership skills for service and social responsibility contributing to the community and to the profession.
  • Identify with the social work profession and apply ethical principles and critical thinking in practice.
  • Recognize, support, and build on the strengths and resiliency of all human beings.
  • Assess, intervene, and evaluate the promotion of human and social well-being within areas of advanced specialization.
  • Integrate theoretical and conceptual frameworks from the classroom with the practice setting through field education.
  • Apply the values underlying the Catholic Intellectual Tradition with the virtue of social justice in practice with, and on behalf of, individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.