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Winthrop University
Online Master of Social Work (MSW)

Empowerment Practice Promotes Societal Change Within All Systems.

The online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) at Winthrop University incorporates a powerful approach known as empowerment practice. This approach involves promoting social justice through affirming the strengths and capabilities of people, valuing human diversity and implementing system changes at the micro, mezzo and macro levels.

You will emerge from the program as a specialized social worker who can affect how interlocking personal, structural and societal systems of power influence vulnerable and oppressed populations.

M.S.W. Programs Suited to Fit Your Background

Your prior academic and professional background determine which social work program is right for you.

  • Advanced Standing – Applicants who possess an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program are eligible to enroll in our Advanced Standing program. You can complete your degree in as little as two years by completing a total of 39-credit hours to earn your M.S.W. and advance your career opportunities.
  • Traditional Program – For those who do not possess an undergraduate degree in social work, we offer the Traditional M.S.W. program option. You will complete a total of 60-credit hours to earn your M.S.W. and be able to practice as a specialized social worker.

Learn in a Setting as Diverse as Your Future Practice

Winthrop takes pride in the enriched experience offered by its diverse student body and faculty. You will benefit from a number of shared experiences that expand your perspectives and capabilities as a social worker. When you graduate, you are prepared to work in diverse job settings with clients of vastly different backgrounds.

Download a Program Guide

Study a Curriculum on Empowerment Practice

You will develop a deep understanding of poverty, oppression and dehumanization. You will be able to apply this knowledge to work with individuals, families, small groups, communities and organizations to implement powerful, positive changes.

This specific curriculum focuses on:

  • Empowerment-based social work practice skills across all systems
  • Clinical, community, research, multicultural and global perspectives on empowerment
  • Models of leadership and supervision consistent with principles of empowerment practice
  • Empowerment-based assessment and intervention skills for working with people with mental illness — practices that affirm client strengths and coping within a context of professional values and ethics, social justice  and human rights

Coursework is rooted in the core values of the profession:

  • Service
  • Social justice
  • Importance of human relationships
  • Dignity and worth of each person
  • Integrity
  • Competence
  • Human rights
  • Scientific inquiry

As a graduate student in the online program, you will learn:

  • In a program tailored to your interests. Classroom content ties directly to real practice. You will choose your field education based on your interests. Field education hours are approximately 14-16 hours/week to allow for more flexibility for post-traditional students.
  • From uniquely experienced faculty members. Faculty widen your breadth of experience as they share their expertise from a variety of fields of practice: child welfare, public policy, health/mental health, gerontology, community development, administration, international social work and the Peace Corps.

Why Choose Winthrop’s Online M.S.W. Program?

  • Nationally recognized with high ratings in the areas of quality of instruction, career advising, student diversity and networking opportunities.
  • Graduates can pursue social work licensure. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) are reserved for graduate-level social workers. View Licensing requirements by state here.
  • The program aligns with the NASW Code of Ethics:
  • A dedicated faculty advisor to assist you in a developing a formal career plan that is supported by academic and field work.
  • Advanced Standing program and Traditional program options that cater to your prior academic and professional work experience.

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program is accredited by the CSWE and its mission is to educate students to become competent specialized social workers.

Download a Program Guide