Fairfield Launches New Social Work Programs to Meet the Growing Need for Social Work Professionals

Fairfield Launches New Social Work Programs to Meet the Growing Need for Social Work Professionals

Image of students in a classroom.

The Egan School and the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions are now accepting applications for the newly launched bachelor of social work (BSW) and master of social work (MSW) programs.

As a result of the growing need for social work professionals, Fairfield University has launched a bachelor of social work (BSW) major in the Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies and a master of social work (MSW) program in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP).

The mission of the social work profession, to enhance human well-being and to help meet the basic needs of all people, supports the core principles of a Jesuit education. As such, it was a natural fit for the Egan School to introduce a bachelor’s degree in social work last fall.

“The commitment to service and caring for others dovetails beautifully with behavioral health programs already in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions,” said Dean Bob Hannafin, PhD, “and is a natural complement to the BSW. We’re delighted to announce the launch of the MSW degree this fall.”

By offering both the BSW and MSW programs, Fairfield students can attain their undergraduate and master’s degrees in just five years. Coursework in the 122-credit BSW major begins with two introductory courses sophomore year, followed by a structured program including 12 required courses in social work. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to learn in collaboration with one another across the disciplines of nursing, health studies, and public health. Students also take part in 450 hours of supervised field education in a variety of social service agencies and community outreach settings.

“We are delighted to add the bachelor of social work degree to the extraordinary offerings of the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies,” said Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN, FAAN. “This addition to our School provides the opportunity for social work students to study alongside nursing and public health students, ensuring that all our students receive an interprofessional education. The result will be team-ready graduates who will positively impact others, across social and health environments." 

Fairfield’s MSW is a clinical specialist program. Clinical social workers have specialized knowledge and skills in the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of emotional, mental, and behavioral health problems. They provide services in a variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, community mental health clinics, primary care offices, and agencies. 

The MSW offers two tracks of study: a two-year, full-time program, and advanced standing three-semester full-time program for graduates who have completed a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) program. Graduates of Fairfield’s BSW program who qualify can apply for advanced standing in the MSW program. The MSW is designed to prepare professionals for careers in school social work, mental health, homelessness and hunger advocacy, and policy.

“Having an MSW program makes coming to Fairfield for a BSW much more attractive, since students can complete both their undergraduate and their master’s degrees in just five years,” said Rona Preli, PhD, MSW, program director of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy and department chair of the MSW program. “And earning that master’s means students will be prepared to enter the marketplace with a wider variety of employment opportunities.” Upon graduation, students take a licensing exam that allows them to work under supervision until they complete a number of clinical hours, at which point they will be fully licensed for independent practice.

Classes for the BSW program are underway and classes for the MSW program will start next fall. The MSW is in initial phases of accreditation, and the process will be completed by the time the first cohort of students graduates.

Tags:  Top Stories,  Egan School


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