Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
Return to the table of contents to see the summaries of other programs.

Smith College School for Social Work

Identity: Smith College School for Social Work is a clinical social work program. The School’s mission is to advance the aims of the profession through education toward excellence in clinical social work practice. As a collaborative process, clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession including recognition of client self-determination, client dignity and worth, the inherent potential for positive growth and change in the client system, and the pursuit of social justice. The program rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories about individuals, families, groups, communities and the larger social system in which they are embedded.

In its educational practices, the School promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to help students expand their knowledge in the substantive areas of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, research, social policy and field practice. The School encourages students in the application of professional ethics, as well as the evaluation and dissemination of evolving theories and practice models.

The MSW program at Smith College School for Social Work is an intensive summer program on campus with the opportunity for 8 month long placements locally and nationally. The school has a career development office, which includes the Smith College Career Advisory Service, a computerized network of 15,000 College and SSW alumni who have volunteered to advise other Smith students and alumni about their work and post-Smith studies.

Hours: Block Plan: 3 intensive summer academic sessions; 2 eight-month long fieldwork internships between summers.

Pre Reqs: Candidates for admission must be graduates of accredited colleges and universities. No specific undergraduate major is required; however, completion of approximately 20 semester hours in the social, biological, or psychological sciences is normally required. In addition, it is preferred that candidates have at least one year of paid or volunteer experience in human services.

Program Structures: Full time; Advanced Standing. The MSW Block Plan is a 27-month program consisting of five sessions: three 10-week successive summer sessions from June through August (Sessions I, III, and V), devoted exclusively to academic work; and two intervening eight-month sessions from September through April (Sessions II and IV), reserved for a full-time (35 hours/week) field work internship placement. For BSW Advanced Standing students, a 15 month program consisting of three sessions is offered: two 10-week successive summer sessions and one intervening eight-month field internship.

Foundation Requirements: Foundation courses are taken the first and part of the second summer. Foundation fieldwork is the first 8-month placement. Courses: Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families I & II (PRAC); Theories of Individual Development (HBSE); Family Theory (HBSE); History of American Social Welfare (SWPS); Group Theory and Practice (PRAC/HBSE); Problems in Biopsychosocial Functioning (HBSE); Sociocultural Concepts (HBSE); Introduction to Social Problem Analysis (SWPS); The Clinical Social Worker as Change Agent in the Agency and the Community: Theory and Practice (PRAC/HBSE).

Concentrations: One concentration: Clinical Social Work. Second Summer Courses: Clinical Social Work Practice I & II (PRAC); either Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence (HBSE) or Developmental Deviations in Childhood and Adolescence (HBSE); Racism in the United States: Implications for Social Work Practice (HBSE); Social Work Research Methods I & II (RESH); Comparative Psychodynamic Theories for Clinical Social Work Practice (HBSE); 3 electives, 2 of which are applied to meet required options. In these four areas, student may elect one course from a list of several options. Third Summer Courses: Third summer courses are largely electives. However, there are required options that students must complete in second and third summers. These include four content areas: 1) multi-person modality practice (such as couples, family or group); 2) policy about a specific field of practice (such as mental health policy, child welfare policy); 3) oppressed populations (Lesbians and Gays, low-income clients, the disabled); and 4) advanced social theory. Research Project (Thesis Advising to complete the Thesis); Advanced Social Theory Option (required elective from list); Social Policy Field of Practice Option (required elective from list); 5 electives (in part selected to meet required options).

The Research Project, or Thesis, required of all Master's students, is an independent or agency-affiliated research or scholarly project which aims to develop knowledge for clinical social work practice and to provide a guided experience in conducting research.

Practicum: 2 eight-month long internships, 35 hours per week.

Electives: A range of elective courses makes it possible for students to develop additional expertise in family or group treatment, short-term treatment, or treatment of children, adolescents, and adults.

Specialization Options: Post-MSW certificate program in End of Life Care.

Dual Degree Options


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You can email Melissa: socialwork@fullerbecker.com

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This page posted September 23, 2000