Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree

Earn Your Master's in Social Work Quickly

Earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Keuka College will prepare you with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective, advanced psychotherapy and psychosocial services to individual, family, and group-level clients.

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And because your academic program includes 500 hours of clinical field residency, you'll have the hands-on, practical experience prospective employers are looking for.

Not only will you be ready for advanced clinical practice, but you’ll also be positioned to work in an administrative capacity and function as a leader across various organizations and communities.


Clinically Focused Degree

One of the region's only MSW programs focusing on assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances.

Two MSW Programs

Enter either the Foundations or Advanced Standing program, depending upon what your bachelor's degree is in.

In-Person and Online Hybrid

Get the best of both worlds. Attend some face-to-face classes close to home in Rochester, Syracuse, or the Finger Lakes. Complete homework, assignments, and other coursework online during the week.

Download Your MSW Degree Guide

Your guide to moving forward with a Master's in Social Work

Get more information to make the decision that's right for you:

  • Featured courses and program outcomes
  • Admission requirements
  • Tuition and financial aid information

Keuka College's MSW program is offered in two entry points, both of which are available in full- and part-time formats. No matter where you are in life, a clinical Master's in Social Work is within your reach!

Advanced Standing

  • Full-time students can complete the program in less than a year (11 months). Part-time students can earn their MSW degree in just 20 months.  
  • Designed for those who have a bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW).
  • Attend some classes online and some in Rochester, Syracuse, or the Finger Lakes.
  • No GRE or GMAT required.


  • Full-time students can complete the program in 20 months, while those studying part-time can complete it in 31 months.
  • Designed for those who have a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than Social Work.
  • Attend some classes online and some in Rochester, Syracuse, or the Finger Lakes.
  • No GRE or GMAT required.

Keuka College's MSW programs provide a clinical focus and the opportunity to fine-tune your degree by emphasizing a practice area.


You'll need to earn 35 credits and 500 hours of clinical field instruction in order to earn your MSW degree from Keuka College. If you've already started an MSW program elsewhere, some of your graduate-level credits may transfer in, saving you time and money. 

If you have a bachelor's degree in something other than Social Work, you'll need to earn an additional 30 Social Work Foundations credits.

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12 MSW Core Courses

35 Credits

The MSW Core Courses provide an in-depth exploration of clinical assessment and treatment, ethical Social Work practice, social welfare policy, psychopathology, and a clinical placement in an agency near you. 

As part of your core, you'll be able to fine-tune your MSW degree by choosing a focus on group therapy, narrative therapy, military Social Work, treating substance abuse, clinical practice in the LGBTQ community, or solution-focused interventions. 

10 Social Work Foundations Courses

30 Credits

For those who do not have a bachelor's degree in Social Work, the Foundations courses provide an in-depth introduction and overview to generalist Social Work practice. You'll explore psychology, sociology, ethics and diversity, social policy, research methods, and more. 

MSW Core

From the basics of clinical Social Work to advanced psychopathology, these are the courses that will teach you how to become an exceptional clinical Social Worker. 

You'll work closely with extraordinary faculty who are not only outstanding teachers, but actively practicing psychotherapists.

ENG-510: Writing for Professionals

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.

SWK-605: Clinical SWP with Individuals

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.

SWK-615: Psychopathology

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.

Foundations Courses

If you don't have a bachelor's degree in Social Work, these Foundations course will introduce you to generalist Social Work practice, blending theory with practical application. Areas you'll explore include:

  • Human Behavior
  • Ethics and Diversity
  • Social Policy
  • Research Methods and Practice
  • Clinical Field Placement

SWK-505: Social Work Practice with Individuals

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.

SWK-510: Group Process

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.

SWK-520: Soc Wk Ethics & Applications in Divers

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.

Your clinical placement will be one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of earning your master's in Social Work.

There are countless opportunities for clinical placements at hospitals, schools, community organizations, rehabilitation centers, and many more in and around the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Syracuse. The MSW Field Director will work with you to customize your field experience to reflect your educational goals, desired practice specialty, and scheduling requests to the fullest extent possible.

The clinical placement gives you at least 500 hours of real-world, hands-on clinical Social Work experience. Your professors, the MSW Field Director, and your field supervisor will be there to help you each step of the way.

Recent CLinical Placement Sites

University of Rochester Medical Center
Mohawk Valley Health System
Planned Parenthood
Rochester CIty School District
Thompson Health
Salvation Army
Willow Domestic Violence Center
Catholic Charities Community Services
Syracuse City School District
Loretto Health and Rehabilitation
Catholic Charities of Onondaga County

Keuka College makes it convenient and affordable to earn your master's in Social Work. Estimate your costs, explore financial aid options, and talk with an admissions counselor today. 

Estimate Your Costs

Which of our MSW programs interests you?

20 months

Full-Time Program Length

20 months

Part-Time Program Length


Credits Needed


Estimated Total Cost Before Financial Aid

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Affording Your MSW Degree

A master's in Social Work is an investment in your future and your family that has everlasting benefits. We're here to help make pursuing your professional goals even more affordable.

Financial Aid
Scholarships, state and federal grants, employer tuition remission, and military benefits are financial aid options that may be available to you.

Find Financial Aid

Your Keuka College MSW degree will qualify you to sit for the state licensing exam to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).

As an LMSW, you can offer services spanning a host of mental, emotional, and social issues in a variety of clinical settings and, ultimately, sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam so you can engage in private practice. But the possibilities with an MSW degree are nearly endless.

You'll be prepared for any of these exciting, rewarding Social Work careers:

  • Psychotherapist
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Agency Executive Director/Administrator
  • School Social Worker
  • Youth Services Advocate
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Family Social Worker

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for Mental Health Counselors is projected to be much faster than average between 2019 and 2029 in the United States.

And according to the New York State Department of Labor, New York Social Workers with an MSW degree earn a mean salary of $71,000 and employment prospects in New York state are very favorable

Experienced Licensed Clinical Social Workers with the "R" privilege can earn more than $100,000 per year in New York state. 

What Our MSW Graduates Say

Chandra McGonigal, MSW '20

The MSW Foundations program provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to earn your MSW and become an effective Social Worker. It gave me the basic clinical knowledge and skill I needed to be successful in changing my career path. 

Chandra McGonigal, M.S.W. '20

A high-quality, accredited Master's in Social Work you'll be proud to have.

Keuka College’s Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Our students graduate prepared for the New York State licensing exam to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). Once graduates fulfill New York State's experience requirements, they may sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam. Download our Assessment of Student Learning to learn more

The MSW faculty are more than outstanding teachers and accomplished academics — they're actively practicing clinicians as well. Meet some of our faculty below, and don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

You're bound to have questions as you research MSW programs. Here are some of the most common questions asked by students like you. 

You can also get additional information by downloading a program guide, contacting your admissions counselor, or applying for admission today!

MSW stands for Master of Social Work, the terminal practice degree in the field of Social Work. Those who graduate from a clinically-focused program in New York may ultimately earn enough practice experience to become an LCSW-R, a privilege that entitles you to independently bill insurance providers for psychotherapy services.

The MSW is the second-most popular master's degree in the United States, second only to the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The MSW is equivalent to the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) and the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA). 

If you have a bachelor's degree in Social Work, you can earn your MSW degree in 11 months as a full-time student, or 20 months as a part-time student.

If you have a bachelor's degree in something else, you can earn your Master's in Social Work in 20 months as a full-time student, or 31 months as a part-time student. 

Yes. If your MSW degree is clinically focused, you can sit for the licensing exam to become a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). After passing the exam, you can begin to count your contact and supervision hours toward the State's requirements for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license and sit for the exam. 

LCSWs may earn the "R" privilege, which requires insurance companies to reimburse an in-network practitioner for services provided, by meeting additional New York State client contact and supervision hours.

New York State recognizes two different Master of Social Work (MSW) practice degrees. The clinical degree, which is offered at Keuka College, and the generalist degree. There is not a separate Master's in Clinical Social Work degree. 

No, you do not need to already be a social worker to earn an MSW degree.

Those who have a bachelor's degree in Social Work qualify for advanced standing entry to pursue their master's in social work. Those who have earned a bachelor's degree in another discipline may still earn an MSW degree, but must first study the fundamentals.

At Keuka College, the MSW Foundations program is designed for those who have a bachelor's degree in something other than social work and wish to become a clinical social worker. 

Through competency-based experiential education with a strengths-based, person-in-environment framework, the Keuka College MSW program cultivates and mentors a select group of graduate students into ethical Social Work practitioners and leaders with evidence-based clinical practice intervention and prevention skills required to serve individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations while valuing diversity, the dignity and worth of all persons, and the importance of human relationships, to advance social justice by advocating equal human rights and eliminating poverty, both locally and globally, to enhance the quality of life for all.