Make a Career Change and Start Becoming a Social Worker Today
If you're interested in becoming a Social Worker and already have a bachelor's degree in another discipline, our MSW Foundations program will prepare you with the knowledge and hands-on experience you'll need to become an outstanding practitioner.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an above-average demand for Social Workers in the next eight years. The MSW sets you up for success by building your background in appropriate communication and conduct, the National Association of Social Work (NASW) code of ethics, and an introduction to diverse populations and their needs.
You’ll be prepared to deliver effective, advanced psychotherapy and psychosocial services in a variety of settings dealing with mental, emotional, and social issues. You'll also have the education necessary to seek state licensure to enter private practice.
We’ll Help You Make a Difference
When Caswell Smith ’19 decided, “I want to be that one person in someone’s life who makes a difference,” he knew Keuka College would help him hone his social work skills.
Today, he’s improving lives in the Rochester City School District.
Learn More About MSW Foundations
We make it as convenient as possible for working adults like you to start on the path of becoming a Social Worker.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Have a C or better in writing, statistics, and human biology courses
If you have a bachelor's degree in Social Work from a CSWE-accredited institution, you're eligible for the Advanced Standing MSW program and do not need to complete the Foundations year.
How to Apply
- Complete your Application for Admission online
- Submit all official transcripts from each college or university you've attended
- Submit all supplemental items (2 letters of recommendation, current résumé, and essay)
- Pay your non-refundable $50 application fee
Worried About Something?
The Keuka College MSW Foundations program is designed for those with a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than Social Work to graduate prepared to practice.
The Foundations component is 11 months of full-time coursework on our home campus, focused on building your knowledge base and experience in the field.
After you complete the Foundations year, you can choose to finish the rest of your MSW as either a full-time student on our home campus (completed in an additional 9 months) or in a part-time format at one of many locations throughout New York State (completed in an additional 20 months).
Your MSW Foundations year includes a number of courses to introduce you to generalist social work practice, blending theory with practical application.
Our experienced faculty will guide you in developing skills within the framework of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. Areas you'll explore include:
- Human Behavior (Psychology and Sociology)
- Ethics and Diversity
- Social Policy
- Research Methods and Practices
- Clinical Field Placement
A foundational course that provides and examines the social work profession through the scope of historical development, related theories, and understanding of current practice. We will cover the foundational generalist practice skills for work with all three levels of practice: micro, mezzo, and macro levels. As a starting point to the social work profession and its values, ethics, theoretical base and generalist practice methods, this course provides fundamental knowledge and skills required as students foster their professional social work identity.
Through the utilization of conceptual and experiential learning activities, this course promotes the acquisition of knowledge and skills related to group processes. Specifically, the formation, definition and process encapsulated within a variety of diverse groups will be discussed, along with intervention strategies and techniques. The course draws heavily on the generalist theoretical framework in the social work and graduate curriculum, and moving the culmination of this to a practice setting. A variety of field and in-class activities will enhance the student's ability to work with groups.
The purpose of this course is for students to develop a critical understanding of the principles and structure of the NASW Code of Ethics. From this knowledge base, students will scrutinize ethical dilemmas and their application in relation to their personal and professional self - focusing on practice with diverse populations and individual difference. These areas include, but are not limited to: race, gender ethnicity, culture, class, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, age and national origin. Through this critical inquiry, students will become more aware of and sensitive to these issues as well as in developing skill to work with diverse populations.
This course commences with a review of the primary concepts and principles of social work research methodology, followed by more thoughtful exploration of these concepts and practices. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills necessary to successful MSW practice. Respect for the unique characteristics of diverse populations will be stressed as the course covers social work research in light of diversity, multicultural biases and social and economic justice.
This seminar course includes both a classroom and an experiential learning component which allows the student an opportunity to integrate knowledge learned from the foundation courses. Students are required to complete a field practicum placement that is 16-hours per week and conducted in a pre-approved social service agency. The focus of this first in a series of two courses will be on becoming familiar with the social service agency, the intern's role and function at the agency, as well as beginning to integrate classroom learning from the foundation courses to practice applications. Prerequisite: Acceptance into field agency for MSW field practicum.
This course focuses on the student's development and integration of professional use of self in their direct practice with family systems and couples. This course builds on the knowledge and skills gained in SWK-505 Social Work Practice I (work with individuals). This course will begin to expand the student's view of generalist Social Work practice by moving from micro to mezzo approaches. Special emphasis is placed on both diverse populations and awareness of use of self in the professional role. Students continue to develop and refine their skills in professional writing, advocacy, and interviewing.
Generalist Social Work Practice focuses on macro level social work practice which includes the study of community systems within the social environment. This course critically examines the reciprocal dynamics between community members, the social worker as a professional and entities including macro level government, funding agents, and human service agencies. Theories and practice of community organizations, needs assessments and the social worker's role in all of the above will be discussed.
This course focuses on social welfare policy analysis and its application. An examination of selected laws, programs, benefits and services that form the basis of social welfare policy in the United States. The structure of service delivery systems, organizations and social inequities in service delivery is considered in the context of policy analysis. Advocacy and other change strategies that promote social and economic justice are explored.
This course focuses on expanding student knowledge related to human bio-psycho-social-spiritual development through the life stages, including knowledge about social systems in which individuals live (families, groups, organizations, instructions, and communities). The application of systems to a social work perspective of human development; emphasis on life situations encountered by generalist social workers and the impact of factors such as oppression, discrimination, poverty, and sexism.
This seminar course is the second of a two-part series in which students are provided an experiential learning opportunity to complement the knowledge gained in their foundation curses. Students are required to complete a field practicum placement that is 16 hours per week in a pre-approved social service agency. During this semester, the focus will be on practicing social work skills with clients in agencies.
Writing for Professionals prepares graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully meet the scholarly demands of Keuka College as well as the writing standards of practitioners. This course provides the student practical experience in the application of APA writing skills that are necessary for graduate school and employment success. This is achieved through the completion of a writing portfolio and subsequent analysis of their individual writing strengths and areas of need, which will be shared with program course instructors.
Utilizing an ecological/systemic conceptual framework this course is designed to help students expand and integrate theoretical knowledge and skills through which social work assessment and intervention may be carried out. Course content draws upon concepts and principals of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic and family/systemic theories that focus on intrapsychic and transactional dynamics of an individual within various systems. The course explores the interconnected nature of these theories with emphasis on integration of the use of theory with social work principles and values as a way to guide competent social work practice with individuals. Therapeutic challenges and opportunities embedded in the various phases of the helping process are examined. Particular attention is given to evidence based methods of assessment and intervention within agency-based and socio-cultural contexts.
Since mental health issues are ubiquitous in all social work settings and practice, it is essential that social workers be familiar with conceptualizations and current developments in the area of psychopathology. This course is designed to develop a students' understanding of the bio psycho social model of psychopathology, including theories of etiology and diagnostic assessment of behavioral or psychological syndrome or patterns that are associated with an individuals' present distress. Course content will primarily be focused on the accurate classification and diagnostic criteria for the major mental disorders and developing an adequate understanding of the limitations of diagnostic assessment. Students are familiarized with various assessment measures used for psychiatric symptomatology. Ethical and socio-cultural factors in diagnosis and culturally competent professional application of diagnostic knowledge will be emphasized throughout the course.
The purpose of this course is to facilitate student competency in identifying and effectively confronting increasingly complex ethical questions and issues faced in daily social work practice. In addition to a critical review of the Social Work Code of Ethics, this course will address relevant ethical models and theories, steps to ethical decision making and ethical dilemmas specific to practice with individuals, families and groups. Finally the course will cover a series of ethic's related topics most encountered in contemporary practice. These included bioethics and risk management. Through this course, students will become more self-aware of their own values and biases, allowing them to solidify their professional identities. They will develop ethical decision-making capacities necessary for sound practice that is consistent with social work values and competencies.
This course is designed to prepare the Master's level social worker practitioner with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in research practices that advance the knowledge base of the profession and meet the needs of agencies, funders, client systems and other various stakeholders. This course will cover research methodology and evaluation skills across the micro, mezzo and macro levels. This intensive advance standing course contains material generally obtained during the foundation year. Upon completion of this course, students will be proficient in their use of research to inform practice and ability to use practice to inform research.
This is the first course in a series of two in which students utilize several Clinical Social Work Practitioner skills through seminar and field education experiences in pre-approved social service agencies. The students expand their expertise in the area of practice of their field practicum while developing clinical skills with an emphasis on micro and mezzo. This course provides experiential learning along with discussion and assignments that support integration of theory as well as professional ethics and values. Through the completion of this two course sequence, students continue to master the competencies and practice behaviors required to become independent social work practitioners. Although each field placement is unique, students will be assessed on their level of competence in social work practice behaviors. Students will need to complete a minimum of 260 hours of field education to complete this course.
This clinical practice course teaches fundamentals in family therapy and counseling across the family life cycle. Students continue to develop knowledge and skill of various assessment and intervention strategies that are based within various family systems theoretical frameworks. This course provides the students practical application linking theories to techniques that are commonly applied in family therapy and counseling. This broad exposure provides the student with a wide array of perspectives and techniques to utilize in various settings. All families undergo changes and transitions that induce stress. This course explores these common family stressors so that students will have a better understanding as to why a family may be in need of counseling. Particular attention is given to diversity and how diverse families experience various family stressors.
This course concentrates on the basics of trauma theory, etiology, and treatment of traumatic symptomatology so that students can develop the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively treat survivors. Emphasis will be placed on the therapeutic, developmental, cultural, and social needs of the individual and their family system across the life span. Specifically, the course will review the assessment process, including frequently used standardized measures, and the various intervention approaches utilized with the population. Therapeutic considerations impacting the effectiveness of interventions, such as the therapeutic relationship, trust, and professional self-care, will also be reviewed.
This course is designed to enhance the Master's level social work student with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in practice behaviors across various levels. Specifically, this course is designed to further engage social work students in social welfare advocacy by increasing their knowledge of the social welfare state, its history and development over time, and the impact it has on a diverse range of policies, programs and individuals. Students will further understand the values and beliefs underlying the contemporary welfare state, how this system is funded, the impact of the system at various levels, as well as become familiar with many of the basic social welfare programs currently in place.
This course provides the student with advanced understanding of human behavior in the context of social environment. This course further examines the family, the community, and the organization as social systems and contexts for the development of individuals and groups. The course reflects social work's unique integration of theories drawn from sociology, psychology, biology, anthropology, and economics to understand the multiple influences on behavior. Human Behavior and the Social Environment has the students apply sociological theories for critical analyses of society, communities, social institutions, and social organizations.
The capstone course is the final course of the MSW program. This course is the culmination of a process of becoming an Advanced Clinical Social Worker. Building upon SWK-628, students further establish social work knowledge and skills in the classroom and through application in field practicum. Through self-reflection assignments, students develop self-assessments that describe their professional growth and development, articulate the integration of learning, highlight accomplishments, and develop a plan for further professional growth. As similar to the previous courses, students have the benefit of seminars to discuss these areas with members of their cohort for additional insight from their peers. In addition to demonstrating competence in field, students further demonstrate mastery of clinical social work skills through the development and completion of a master's research project/portfolio.
Focus Your Practice
Choose one of the following electives to help fine-tune your practice around your areas of interest.
This clinical practice course enhances group practice skill development for use as a primary treatment modality in clinical social work group practice. Students expand their knowledge of the various theories, models and perspectives that guide practice with groups including the historical frameworks that inform current clinical practice. The course is grounded in the identification, analysis and implementation of intervention strategies for group work with diverse and at risk populations including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. Emphasis will be given to the psychodynamics of group process, including group formation, group development and the role of social worker as leader/facilitator in the group helping process. Particular attention will be given to the issues of diversity and social justice in group work including continued examination of how differences of gender, race, ethnicity age, socio-economic class, disability and/or sexual orientation affect group dynamics and process.
This clinical practice course introduces the theory and practice of the post-structural approach of narrative therapy, including assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, and introduces the seminal work of narrative practice as pioneered by David Epston and Michael White. The course explores the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of narrative therapy. Use of the DSM-V with this practice approach is also covered. Students will develop knowledge and skill in the areas of assessment and intervention, including the treatment approaches of re-authoring conversations, remembering conversations, scaffolding conversations, definitional ceremonies, externalizing conversations, and rite of passage. Practice exercises will facilitate application and evaluation of the therapeutic techniques. Utilization of narrative therapy with special populations, such as trauma survivors, children and families is explored.
This course describes the (in)active military members and his/her family system within the social context of the military and general society. The course will review both normative and unique stressors that this system navigates and how social workers can intervene effectively to aid with those stressors. Specific issues of family violence, coping with deployments, adjustments through the family life cycle, and advocating with the military for change are covered. The course illustrates how the ethnic identity and diversity concerns of the military family are addressed within military culture. The course explores the micro, mezzo, and macro concerns that impact the military family. Strategies utilizing a strengths-based perspective are emphasized throughout the course as a means of empowering the military member and their family systems.
This graduate level course provides students with an overview of basic concepts, theories and understanding of the etiology, assessment and various treatment modalities related to substance abuse disorders. Utilizing client-centered and strengths based approaches, this elective course builds on foundation social work courses, providing knowledge and clinical skills to students who specialize in or otherwise may encounter issues of substance abuse and addiction in their practice.
This 3-credit elective concentrates on the issues relevant to clinical social work practice with the LGBTQ population and their family members. Content of the course includes contemporary and historical foundational knowledge critical to successful advocacy and clinical practice. Specifically, the course wille examine sexual orientation and gender identity, theoretical perspectives associated with this population, issues of diversity, the impact of social and political contexts, issue commonly facing LGBTQ people, and assessment and treatment strategies.
Health Management Organizations (HMO) are increasingly limiting the number of outpatient mental health therapy sessions that are reimbursable by insurance companies. This course offers a time sensitive, solution oriented approach to working with indiiduals, couples and families, that address this issue. The course begins by introducing students to the historical development and theoretical underpinnings of Solution Focused Therapy. It then explores the theories, skills, and techniques of solution building, including exploring exceptions, formulating feedback, and asking the "right questions" for time-sensitive therapy. Several Solution Focused techniques are introduced and students will practice applications in class so that they may leave this course ready to begin the implementation of these techniques in a variety of settings. Strategies for evaluating this practice are provided.
To review a full list of program requirements and course descriptions, please see the Keuka College Record's information on the Master of Social Work Two-Year Program.
Keuka College’s Master of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Keuka College's Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE requires all programs to measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of CSWE.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) requires all programs to measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of CSWE.
Each of your professors will be highly experienced clinicians and credentialed academics. Not only will you learn textbook theory, but you'll also gain valuable experience and knowledge of the trends and upcoming needs gleaned directly from daily clinical practice.