The School of Social Work at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, has announced a new online program for a master’s degree in social work (MSW). The program, which is set to begin in the fall semester of 2022, will focus on clinical counseling and trauma.
The aim of the program is for students to learn skills and gain the knowledge necessary for a career in social work. The curriculum will include interventions with individuals, families, and communities, as well as non-profit program design and evaluation techniques, people behind the initiative said. It will also discuss treatment for emotional trauma, social policy development, mental health assessment, and treatment and therapy techniques for treating adults, children, and families.
“Online learning has become increasingly popular along with the knowledge and capacity to teach online graduate programs,” Alina Baltazar, professor of social work and program director of the MSW program, said. “Busy professionals see a need to pursue a Master of Social Work to open up more career opportunities but are unable to carve out enough time to attend live classes taught during the day or move to the area.”
Designed for busy professionals, the program will consist of live but fully remote courses, scheduled to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. EST. The remaining 50 percent of class time will be completed offline. Each cohort will allow up to 25 students.
Compared to the current in-person MSW program, the new online program will be taught at a slower pace. “Live class time is cut in half, which gives more flexibility to meet program requirements,” Baltazar explained. "The curriculum is offered at a slower pace so professionals can maintain their current responsibilities. Live classroom instruction will be in the evenings so students can maintain a full-time job and their family responsibilities."
Current MSW students said they appreciate the new developments.
“I must say that I appreciate the distance-learning MSW program that the university is offering,” Ashella Fletcher, a distance student in the first semester of her graduate degree, said. Fletcher is already taking some online courses.
According to Fletcher, classes are very interactive. “I’ve learned so much from all of my professors, who are very knowledgeable, well organized, and very professional. I would recommend [the program to] anyone who is seeking to advance [and] enhance their studies or profession as a social worker,” she said.
The MSW online program will not require an undergraduate degree in social work, program coordinators said. However, having a Bachelor of Social Work does reduce the length of the program. For students with an undergraduate degree in another subject, the program will take three years and begin in fall 2022. For students who have completed undergraduate studies in social work, the MSW program will require two years to complete and begin in the fall of 2023.
“I love all of the professors, and I can tell that they all care about us a lot,” Kiley Johnson, a second-year MSW student, said. “I see the effort they put in, and they are trying to help us succeed. I appreciate that, and it has made the experience better.”
The application deadline for the MSW online program is July 30, 2022.