Master of Social Work

100% Online Degrees

Master of Social Work Program

Master’s of Social Work

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at the University of New England (UNE) Online is designed for working individuals who are balancing their desire for education with work and family responsibilities. UNE Online’s MSW is rooted in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and focuses on the importance of social justice and inclusion while developing evidenced-based clinical practice skills that help graduates build culturally-humble and person-centered relationships with clients. Our curriculum provides a framework that allows students to develop and implement their passion for empowering individuals, families, groups, and communities.

UNE Online’s MSW program is 100% online, asynchronous, and accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Our MSW program is flexibly designed and our students are given 1:1 guidance in securing a field placement, for both full and part-time students. We provide competitive tuition, an engaged faculty, personalized student support, and are fully aligned to Maine’s social work licensing requirements. Graduates develop effective skills in social work modalities and are prepared for success in an array of social work opportunities. 

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Current Application Deadline

March 1, 2024

Spring B Session

Courses begin March 13, 2024

Time Left to Apply:

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Why Choose the University of New England Online?

Fully Online

Fully Online

Courses are delivered fully online in an asynchronous format, allowing the flexibility to complete coursework around your schedule.

Accredited

Accredited

CSWE & New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE ) accredited.

Supportive

Supportive

Students will have a student support specialist to help with course selection based on their individual needs and will benefit from engaged faculty and a student support team.

Flexible Practicum Options

Flexible Practicum Options

We offer a variety of practicums, including traditional, block, and Simulated and Onsite (SOS) placements – giving students choices to best fit their personal situations and goals.

Master of Social Work Pathways Option

UNE Online provides two pathways for students to earn their MSW – Traditional and Advanced Standing.

Traditional:

The MSW Traditional pathway is a 60-credit program offered to students who possess a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. This option is designed for career changers and students looking to grow into the social work discipline. The traditional pathway is designed with foundational courses focusing on a generalist social work perspective, followed by specialization courses later in the curriculum. The program has 6 start dates per year, and can be completed in 3 to 4 years. Traditional MSW students will complete two practicums, one 400-hour practicum in the generalist curriculum, and one 500-hour practicum during their specialization curriculum.

Advanced Standing:

The MSW Advanced Standing pathway is a 30-credit program offered to students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from a CSWE-accredited program* and are looking to advance their education and career in social work. Advanced Standing students are required to complete a 500-hour specialization practicum. This curriculum can be completed between 16 months and 2 years, and has 6 enrollment periods a year. 

*Preferably within the past seven years.

Focus Areas

Focus Area: School Social Work

This focus area will prepare students to engage in School Social Work. Students will take a generalist curriculum elective that gives a broad overview of working within school settings. In their specialization curriculum students will then take a course that develops and hones therapeutic clinical skills for with children, adolescents and their caregivers. Students will also be required to pick one of three Graduate Education courses that focus on work with children who have individualized education plans (IEPs), behavioral considerations, and/or other issues that require additional support for a school experience. The program recommends that students reach out to their licensing boards to better understand if their state requires additional coursework for school social workers to best pick which courses will meet their needs.

9 Credits

This course will provide the graduate student with a general understanding of the roles and responsibilities when working in primary educational settings. It will focus upon the roles the school social worker has when addressing the micro/mezzo and macro social problems and resources when assisting their pupil population. Areas such as safety, homelessness, diversity, and disabilities will also be explored. Additionally, the course will inform the student of the interdisciplinary structure of the school system as well as the external structures (statutes and regulations) that can influence educational policy and practice. Students will become knowledgeable of their state educational laws pertaining to school social work certification.

This elective focuses on the challenges and capacities of children, adolescents, parents and caregivers that come to our attention in clinical social work practice across diverse settings. Students explore and critically analyze a range of theories used to explain child and adolescent development and caregiving structures. Particular attention is given to theories of attachment, caregiving, relationship and neurobiology. Focus is also placed on the social and institutional policies and dominant cultural attitudes that determine the distribution and access to social resources that affect child and family well-being. Interdisciplinary models of practice, including the development of networks and partnerships between social workers and other child-centered professionals are covered. Methods of building relationships with children, adolescents and caregivers are explored as are specific child-centered techniques including art and play therapy.

Option to choose one of the following:

This course focuses on assessment approaches for identifying students with disabilities and assessing progress toward learning goals and standards. Participants examine formal assessment tools and procedures used in the diagnosis of disabilities and identification of the instructional and behavioral needs of students. Participants will explore a range of student strengths and exceptionalities as they determine best educational practices to meet the needs of all learners in the least restrictive setting.

This course will help participants identify and prioritize essential behavioral skills in their work with students. They will explore how to model, teach and nurture behavioral skills and analyze differentiation strategies as Tier 1 of a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support model and prepare for intervention and monitoring at Tier 2 and Tier 3. The course will engage participants in addressing factors that influence a school’s response to behavioral considerations such as available resources, parent collaboration, school, and community culture.

This course will deepen the participants’ understanding of the factors that affect a learner’s ability to access their education. Participants will explore the current research in neuroscience and its connection to social and emotional learning. Participants will review and understand practical strategies to address the social and emotional learning needs of all learners and develop a social and emotional learning plan including the development of self-regulation skills in all learners.

 

 

Focus Area: Medical Social Work

This focus area will prepare social work students to work in a variety of medical settings. Students will take a generalist curriculum elective that gives a broad overview of working within medical settings. In their specialization curriculum, students will take two electives, one that prepares them to understand psychopharmacology and the other to grief and loss.

9 credits

This course will provide the graduate MSW student with a general understanding of social work roles and responsibilities when working in Health Care settings. It will focus upon the roles of the social worker within health care settings such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and clinics. Students will learn and demonstrate gained knowledge and practice skills in applying this knowledge when assisting others of all ages in these settings. Areas to be addressed include medical terminology, biopsychosocial assessment for health care settings, treatment planning, professional interdisciplinary team collaboration, leadership and social work ethics.

This course examines concepts in psycho-pharmacology, neurophysiology, psychoactive drug classification. Physiological, and psycho-logical aspects of psychopharmacological agents used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders are presented. Psychopharmacology with the geriatric population are explored. The parts of the brain affected by alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, and other street drugs are discussed.

An interdisciplinary course on death and dying, we will explore the death system, funerals, economic considerations of death, care of the dying and the bereaved of all ages, psychological dynamics dealing with the death, and ultimate questions in relationship to death and bereavement. The course will examine the basic principles of palliative care, bereavement and grief in all age groups, suicide and grief, issues around refugee and immigrant experience with death, various philosophical and religious understandings of death, meaning of life, ethical issues related to the care of the dying and the bereaved. We will explore the nature of grief and loss, the personal characteristics of effective practitioners, communication skills used in practice, the goals and techniques of practice with people who are grieving, approaches to helping those who are dying, and specific interventions that are helpful to bereaved clients in cases of prolonged grief, mourning a child or those whose deaths were stigmatized or unanticipated. Students will explore their own personal, cultural, and spiritual experiences, beliefs and values around death and dying.

 

 

Focus Area: Advanced Clinical Skills

This focus area is a great opportunity for students to develop strong clinical skills as it allows students to dive deep into three therapeutic interventions. All three electives will be taken in their specialization curriculum. The courses can be taken in any order.

9 credits

This course is open to all MSW students, foundation and specialization year. It is considered a clinical elective for licensing requirements. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma and various psychological and behavioral health issues. Psychologists for psychology students develop most CBT training programs. This course is unique because its development is by clinical social workers, specifically for clinical social work students. Classic CBT theory and interventions are adapted and re-framed to provide a strengths-based perspective, considering “person-in-environment” and the effects of trauma on human health and wellness. Upon completing this course, MSW students will have the knowledge and skills to integrate a CBT approach in clinical practice that aligns with social work principles and values and trauma-informed care systems.

This advanced practice course provides students with the opportunity to learn the theory and practice of Narrative Therapy. The UNE School of Social Work Mission and Values state; “the School embraces a comprehensive definition of health as a state of complete physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being… teaching empowering theories for practice and developing collaborative relationships based on mutuality and respect”. Narrative Therapy is one such empowering theory. Students will have the opportunity to explore the historical development of this contemporary theory and to observe and practice Narrative Therapy through interactive role-plays and video-taped sessions with classmates and the instructor.

This course focuses on one of today’s popular therapeutic approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, commonly referred to as ACT. The course uses a case-based learning approach to provide student-learners with hands-on experiential learning opportunities to practice the specific skills and therapeutic strategies being presented.

“ACT is based on a philosophy of science, functional contextualism, that focuses on the behavior of individuals within their historical and situational contexts. ACT draws on a comprehensive theory of language, relational frame theory (RFT), which accounts for the influence of culturally shaped language processes on learning and human behavior. ACT and RFT are supported by a growing body of research that supports ACT’s efficacy with a wide variety of problems and suggests that ACT works by its theorized mechanism of change. ACT can be delivered in an array of formats and is easily accessible for those seeking training, and ACT offers a non-stigmatizing, universalizing approach to alleviating suffering that positions social workers and clients as subject to the same, normally occurring processes of human behavior,” (Boone et al., 2015).

Enjoy the journey through this empowering approach to healing, recovery, and growth!

 

 

Focus Area: Trauma Informed Practice

This focus area addresses this priority by preparing you to become practitioners and leaders versed in trauma theory, the neurobiology of complex trauma, the effects of working with trauma, and evidence- and community-informed practice. Students learn the latest on the implementation science for trauma-informed organizational change and the effects of working with trauma on both the practitioner and the organization levels.

9 credits

This course explores working with survivors in a trauma-based practice which validates the experience, respects the survivor, and helps her/him to become empowered. An examination of personal beliefs and definitions of trauma will serve as a first step toward the study of advanced trauma based practice. Using Trauma Theory as a foundation, students will learn practice methods and approaches that may be helpful in working with survivors. Case presentations will allow students the opportunity to discuss alternative practice approaches, understand the trauma survivor’s experience, and support & critique peers.

Addendum: This course provides a general understanding of trauma and its effect on the brain caused by various types of trauma experiences and the differences of outcomes of trauma upon people especially those of diverse backgrounds. It will provide opportunity for the examination of personal beliefs with regard to trauma and consideration of practice in an anti racist, diverse, equitable, and inclusive manner. The use of a Trauma Informed approach and various treatment modalities are presented and will assist students to learn social work practice interventions that will be helpful for survivors of trauma experiences.

This course will prepare students to become practitioners and leaders versed in Adverse Childhood Experiences, resiliency, historical and intergenerational trauma, and trauma-informed theory. Students will explore these trauma-informed principles and apply them on micro and macro levels through a focus on implementation science for trauma-informed organizational and individual practice change. This course provides a strong foundation that complements clinical electives such as Advanced Trauma Practices.

The focus of this course is to examine the biopsychosocial-spiritual context of substance use/misuse through the intersection of multiple individual, family, organizational, societal and political systems that contribute to risk and healing. We will explore the impact of social dislocation, trauma, and neurobiology as it relates to those who are experiencing substance use disorders. Students will learn to identify through a person-centered, strength based, biopsychosocial lens, how substances became a way of coping with life’s challenges, and is a process of dis-ease through a sociocultural context. Students will be introduced to evidence based treatment modalities and explore resources to aid in prevention and intervention with individuals, families, organizations and policy makers.

 

 

Practicum

Practicum is a hands-on opportunity for students to integrate their coursework into practice settings with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students learn about local resources, hone clinical skills, and network with community members. 

Traditional MSW students complete 2 practicums – one practicum of 400 hours in their generalist curriculum and a second practicum of 500 hours in their specialization curriculum. Advanced Standing students complete one specialization practicum of 500 hours. In the generalist practicum students engage in case management, program review, assessments, crisis intervention skills, as well as other activities. The specialization practicum is aligned with the student’s interest and will include clinical assessment, diagnosis, individual, group and/or family therapy, as well as other activities. 

With support from a UNE Online practicum faculty, MSW students are responsible for researching, locating and initiating their practicum(s). Planning begins eight months prior to the practicum and is designed with structured deadlines and support for students with the search, paperwork and other components of practicum set-up.  

Many MSW students are employed while working in our program. There are options to explore using your job as placement or a place of employment practicum if the employment role meets the learning requirements.

Practicum Options

Traditional Practicum

Block Practicum

Simulation and Onsite Model (S.O.S.) Practicum

32 weeks

Seminar and In-Agency

16 weeks

Seminar and In-Agency

16 weeks*

Seminar with Simulation 

16 weeks*

Seminar and In-Agency

*32 weeks total

Our traditional option is for students who may have multiple responsibilities and need more time to complete their practicum.

Our block option is ideal for students with the flexibility and time to engage in a fast-paced and rigorous practicum.

Our mixed-learning methods practicum is a great option for students to get half of their practicum in an online simulated seminar platform and half in the community. Read More

The UNE Online Experience

“I learned about evidence-based practices in social work and I also learned how to become a better researcher. I feel that my classes have really provided me with the tools and the foundational information I need.”

-Melina Paiewonsky, MSW Program

Admissions

At UNE Online we take a holistic approach to reviewing applications. Our MSW Program draws applicants from diverse backgrounds and a rich variety of academic experiences. Successful students have natural perseverance, an inclination to take on new challenges and the ability to manage multiple competing priorities. We review applicants in a comprehensive manner, taking into consideration their previous academic coursework and application materials.  

Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.  
    • Students applying to the Advanced Standing pathway must have earned a BSW from a CSWE accredited program, preferably within the last 7 years and with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. They must have completed coursework equivalent to UNE Online’s generalist year courses.
  • *No GRE Required

How to Apply:

Create an Online Portal Account to begin your application. To complete your online application you will need:

  • Current Resume/CV
  • Goal Statement/Essay: 500-1000 words addressing what inspired you to pursue the field of social work. Describe your current strengths and areas of growth and your goals/aspirations as a future MSW. Additionally, please describe your personal or professional experiences with diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
    • Optionally, include how your GPA accurately reflects your current abilities, talents, and readiness to enter a graduate program. 
  • Two Recommendation Forms
    • Advanced Standing applicants must have recommendation letters filled out by a fieldwork supervisor or current or past work supervisor, and a faculty member from your BSW program. 
  • Advanced Standing applicants are required to submit copies of field evaluations and verification of field hours completed. 
  • Official transcript reflecting conferral of bachelor’s degree.  Additional transcripts may be required or requested. You can always submit additional transcripts if you feel they would strengthen your application.
  • Apply now for free!

MSW Curriculum

Degree requirements, course plans, and the curriculum framework vary for the Traditional and the Advanced Standing students. The courses are aligned with CSWE’s Education Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) and NASW Code of Ethics. The generalist curriculum focuses on the principles of social justice, anti-racism and oppression, diversity, equity, inclusion, through the application of policy, practice, research, and theory. The specialization curriculum strengthens students’ understanding of these principles by applying them to direct clinical practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 

Traditional students complete 60 credits. In their generalist curriculum, students take foundational courses and a practicum seminar of 400 hours. In their specialization curriculum, students take advanced course work, and a practicum seminar of 500 hours. Traditional students must complete their generalist curriculum before they enter into their generalist practicum, which is then followed by their specialization curriculum and practicum. Traditional students must complete 4 electives throughout their coursework.

Advanced Standing students complete 30 credits. In the specialization curriculum, students take advanced coursework, 3 electives, and a practicum seminar of 500 hours. Advanced Standing students must complete their specialization coursework before they can enter into their specialization practicum.

Any students seeking licensure after graduation should review the licensing requirements for the state where they intend to practice.  

 

HBSE is designed to develop and refine our consciousness of the continuous, dynamic and relationship that persists between human beings in any social context. HSBE II explores different theories about how human beings develop, understand, and participate in social relationships that include societal structures and distributions of power and resources necessary for healthy human development; how we formulate and act on basic assumptions about ourselves and others; and how the identity and experience of individuals is affected by class, gender, race or ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and other factors as these are reflected in different political-economic and cultural contexts. Students explore how these different contexts are embodied in people¿s physical, mental, and relational lives.

This course provides an orientation to the history of science and the range of methods for informing evidence-guided social work practice. Knowledge generation and its application to social work research will be examined critically from a paradigmatic level. Students will explore the continuous relationship between research, theory development, and practice principles and will develop an understanding of the context of research, ethics and values, use of research resources, problem formulation, measurement, sampling, and research design.

Action Research for Social Work Practice builds upon the knowledge, methods, and skills provided in Research I. Students will continue to learn how to critically assess research from ethical, multicultural, and social justice perspectives, particularly in the context of agency-based research and program evaluation. Students will conduct a research evaluation project. This includes 1) formulating a question, 2) designing and implementing a study, and 3) interpreting and presenting the study findings. An expectation is for students to collaborate with their field placement instructors, employers, or a community group with the aim of improving individual or community health (using the WHO definition).

The Social Policy and Advocacy course examines social welfare policy and practice with a primary focus on the role professional Social Work plays in the development, implementation and evaluation of social welfare policy and the impact social welfare policy has on professional Social Work practice. This course provides an historical overview of social welfare policy and Social Work as a profession. Course content includes the values and ideologies that informed the evolution of Social Work and social welfare and the contradictions that have historically plagued them. The impact of social movements and political action on social welfare policy will be discussed, including policy advocacy and social protest. Social Work history will be explored from its 17th through 19th century origins to its 20th and 21st century controversies. This course focuses on how systemic oppression and social justice emerge in social welfare policy and community settings. Professional Social Work ethics, which require social workers to engage in advocacy practice that promotes social justice, equity, and equality will be examined, as will the potential for the profession to be used as an agent of social control. Must be enrolled in one of the following: Master of Social Work, Non-Matriculated Social Work, Conditional Social Work.

Developing an anti-oppression social work practice requires an understanding of diversity and difference, power and privilege, and oppression–as well as understanding one’s self within these systems. In this course, students will engage in courageous conversation as they unpack Social Works history, both past and present, moving into an inclusive and anti-oppressive future. The themes of deconstructing systems of oppression, cultural wellness, intersectionality and practice strategies are infused through the course. A wide range of diverse populations will be discussed, reflecting the varied populations impacted by oppression, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and physical differences. Additionally, students will examine the role, function, and effects of oppression in society as it relates to social and economic justice. Assumptions underlying theory and research methodologies from which basic constructs of human behavior are drawn will be examined to understand how power and other dynamics manage and sustain oppression at the individual and institutional levels. Also of interest here is how oppression affects service delivery at micro and macro levels, particularly social policies and strategic planning, which drive the shape of services.

Social Work Practice I introduces students to generalist social work practice defined as planned change, at every system level, implemented through collaborative relationships with clients, colleagues, and community partners. The theoretical framework of this course is based on empowering and relational theories for practice and concentrates on the integration and application of health promoting knowledge, values and skills that support and sustain client resiliency informed by the core social work values of self-determination, diversity, human dignity and social justice. Students are encouraged to critically examine knowledge and to develop skills for culturally attuned practice. Students are exposed to tenets of evidence-guided practice. Students learn and apply skills for health-promoting practice with individuals, families, and groups including assessment, engagement, interpersonal relationship building and intervention planning. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This course builds on students understanding of generalist social work practice, beginning with the planned change process within larger systems and moving into integrative multilevel practice. The theoretical framework of this course is based on empowering and organizational change theories for practice, informed by the core social work values of self-determination, diversity, human dignity and social justice. Students are encouraged to critically examine knowledge and to develop skills for culturally attuned practice. Students are exposed to tenets of evidence-guided practice utilized within larger systems. Students learn and apply skills for change with and within organizations and communities including assessment and planned change strategies. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

Foundation Practicum I provides students with a supervised practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in social work practice skills in a specialized setting. A weekly seminar provides students with an opportunity to discuss and reflect on professional social work issues from their practicum experience regarding assessment, specific interventions with client systems, and the application of practice theories. The seminar introduces the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the WHO Definition of Health into discussions of how resource equity, social justice, and universal health care across the life spans impacts work with client systems.

Foundation Practicum II provides students with a supervised practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in social work practice skills in a specialized setting. A weekly seminar provides students with an opportunity to discuss and reflect on professional social work issues from their practicum experience regarding assessment, specific interventions with client systems, and the application of practice theories. The seminar introduces the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the WHO Definition of Health into discussions of how resource equity, social justice, and universal health care across the life spans impacts work with client systems.

The focus of this course is to examine the biopsychosocial-spiritual context of substance use/misuse through the intersection of multiple individual, family, organizational, societal and political systems that contribute to risk and healing. We will explore the impact of social dislocation, trauma, and neurobiology as it relates to those who are experiencing substance use disorders. Students will learn to identify through a person-centered, strength based, biopsychosocial lens, how substances became a way of coping with life’s challenges, and is a process of dis-ease through a sociocultural context. Students will be introduced to evidence based treatment modalities and explore resources to aid in prevention and intervention with individuals, families, organizations and policy makers.

Building on the foundation year practice content, this course further prepares students for direct practice with individuals, families and groups. Students critically examine social work theory and methods for direct practice with attention to how clinical social work values inform theory to promote social justice, human dignity, capacity building, and individual empowerment. Life course and development theories are critically examined within the contexts of socioeconomics, multiculturalism and human diversity. Methods of practice to be explored include therapeutic, supportive, educational, advocacy and community-based strategies and also the dynamic relationship that occurs across and between these interventions. Teaching methods encourage students to develop intellectual curiosity, self-awareness and skillful use of personal values, theoretical orientations, and practice approaches in working with a range of client systems in varied social work settings. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This second semester course critically analyzes how contemporary clinical theories explain the inner dynamics and external experiences of family systems. Practical applications of family theory are explored through case examples, role play and self-reflective writing that includes both self-analysis and critique of how sociocultural factors influence how we assess and work with families. Students are exposed to a range of family structures and caregiving systems and also to the larger social contexts of race, social class, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identification, and culture, which influence the distribution of resources made available to these families. The role of the clinician as activist is explored as students reflect upon what their professional roles will be as community practitioners. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

Leadership, Administration & Supervision in Social Work (SSWO 565) will focus on nonprofit organizations and other systems to examine administrative roles within the context of competing organizational values. Various types of leadership will be explored and applied to practice at the organization and individual levels in order to support students’ development of administrative and supervisory skills that can be employed in professional social work practice. Students will be prepared to engage in social work practice as leaders of sustainable, equitable, and diverse programs, organizations, and systems that promote social inclusion and create change.

APA provides students advanced knowledge and skills in the assessment of client concerns. The course emphasizes the impact of the structural and personal effects of inequity and cultural oppression on assessment and on psychopathology. APA provides substantial content on understanding psychopathology while placing this understanding within the context of social work’s historical emphasis on the person in environment. Students taking this course will be prepared to understand the major concepts and presentations of psychopathology, and have skills in the diagnostic process. They will also be able to exhibit advanced skills in assessing the full psychosocial context and to bring a social work perspective to interventive planning.

Integrating Seminar/Practicum III & IV are a one-semester sequenced course designed to provide students with a supervised advanced practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in advanced social work skills in a specialized setting. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the World Health Organization Definition of Health and the International Federation of Social Works’ Policy Statement on Health will continue to be incorporated into discussions of how resource equity, social justice and universal health and healthcare across the lifespan impacts work with client systems. Students in block placement complete 560 hours (35-­40 hours per week) in the agency/organization setting in one semester. Each student receives 1 to 1½ hours of weekly, individual field instruction from a MSW level social worker.

Advanced Practicum IV provides students with a supervised advanced practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in advanced social work practice skills in a specialized setting. A weekly seminar provides students with an opportunity to discuss and reflect on professional social work issues from their practicum experience regarding assessment, specific interventions with client systems, and the application of practice theories. The seminar introduces the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the WHO Definition of Health into discussions of how resource equity, social justice, and universal health care across the life spans impacts work with client systems.

Advanced Standing students need 30 credits, and their coursework consists of these required advanced courses, the 500-hour Field Practicum/Seminar, and 3 electives.

Integrating Clinical / Community Practice Frameworks (SSW 526) is a required course for students enrolled in the MSW/MSWO program as Advanced Standing. It is designed to introduce social work scholarship, values, and skills embedded in the UNE School of Social Work vision and mission that envision a world where social workers are at the forefront of advocating with individuals and communities for human dignity, social inclusion, and efforts to end inequities, exploitation, and violence. Course content fully integrates clinical (micro) and community (macro) perspectives and practices with an emphasis on cultural, relational, and evidence-based competencies. This course serves as a bridge to the Concentration Year of the MSW program by preparing new students for the advanced curriculum.

Building on the foundation year practice content, this course further prepares students for direct practice with individuals, families and groups. Students critically examine social work theory and methods for direct practice with attention to how clinical social work values inform theory to promote social justice, human dignity, capacity building, and individual empowerment. Life course and development theories are critically examined within the contexts of socioeconomics, multiculturalism and human diversity. Methods of practice to be explored include therapeutic, supportive, educational, advocacy and community-based strategies and also the dynamic relationship that occurs across and between these interventions. Teaching methods encourage students to develop intellectual curiosity, self-awareness and skillful use of personal values, theoretical orientations, and practice approaches in working with a range of client systems in varied social work settings. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This second semester course critically analyzes how contemporary clinical theories explain the inner dynamics and external experiences of family systems. Practical applications of family theory are explored through case examples, role play and self-reflective writing that includes both self-analysis and critique of how sociocultural factors influence how we assess and work with families. Students are exposed to a range of family structures and caregiving systems and also to the larger social contexts of race, social class, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identification, and culture, which influence the distribution of resources made available to these families. The role of the clinician as activist is explored as students reflect upon what their professional roles will be as community practitioners. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

Leadership, Administration & Supervision in Social Work (SSWO 565) will focus on nonprofit organizations and other systems to examine administrative roles within the context of competing organizational values. Various types of leadership will be explored and applied to practice at the organization and individual levels in order to support students’ development of administrative and supervisory skills that can be employed in professional social work practice. Students will be prepared to engage in social work practice as leaders of sustainable, equitable, and diverse programs, organizations, and systems that promote social inclusion and create change.

APA provides students advanced knowledge and skills in the assessment of client concerns. The course emphasizes the impact of the structural and personal effects of inequity and cultural oppression on assessment and on psychopathology. APA provides substantial content on understanding psychopathology while placing this understanding within the context of social work’s historical emphasis on the person in environment. Students taking this course will be prepared to understand the major concepts and presentations of psychopathology, and have skills in the diagnostic process. They will also be able to exhibit advanced skills in assessing the full psychosocial context and to bring a social work perspective to interventive planning.

Integrating Seminar/Practicum III & IV are a one-semester sequenced course designed to provide students with a supervised advanced practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in advanced social work skills in a specialized setting. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the World Health Organization Definition of Health and the International Federation of Social Works’ Policy Statement on Health will continue to be incorporated into discussions of how resource equity, social justice and universal health and healthcare across the lifespan impacts work with client systems. Students in block placement complete 560 hours (35-­40 hours per week) in the agency/organization setting in one semester. Each student receives 1 to 1½ hours of weekly, individual field instruction from a MSW level social worker.

Advanced Practicum IV provides students with a supervised advanced practice experience in a social service agency/organization. The practicum includes experiential learning in advanced social work practice skills in a specialized setting. A weekly seminar provides students with an opportunity to discuss and reflect on professional social work issues from their practicum experience regarding assessment, specific interventions with client systems, and the application of practice theories. The seminar introduces the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the WHO Definition of Health into discussions of how resource equity, social justice, and universal health care across the life spans impacts work with client systems.

Students can choose from various social work electives – tailoring their education to align with their interests and goals.

This course builds upon the foundation year and introduces students to the changing context of community and inter- organizational linkages across human service systems. Major content focuses on community and organizational needs assessment, community building, understanding and working in multi-system service environments. Client empowerment, collaborative relationship building across various system levels, including coalition building, and across problem areas and settings are emphasized. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

Social Work Practice with Groups teaches the conceptual base, professional values, ethics, and practice skills of social group work. Emphasizing social work with groups as integrative practice, this course encompasses the continuum from therapy groups to task-oriented groups. Course content highlights the health promoting, empowerment, and relational aspects of social group work and its potential for mutual aid, community building, and social justice. The use of groups to achieve individual and social change goals is emphasized. Group dynamics and development will be assessed with attention to agency, community, cultural, and societal contexts. This course emphasizes ethical group work practice and evidence-based group approaches. Group work with diverse populations and the use of groups with client populations experiencing the structural and personal impacts of inequity and cultural oppression is a unifying course theme.

This course will provide the graduate student with a general understanding of the roles and responsibilities when working in primary educational settings. It will focus upon the roles the school social worker has when addressing the micro/mezzo and macro social problems and resources when assisting their pupil population. Areas such as safety, housing insecurity, diversity, special needs will also be explored. Additionally, the course will inform the student of the interdisciplinary structure of the school system as well as the external structures (statutes and regulations) that can influence educational policy and practice. Students will become knowledgeable of their state educational laws pertaining to school social work certification.

This course will provide the graduate MSW student with a general understanding of social work roles and responsibilities when working in Health Care settings. It will focus upon the roles of the social worker within health care settings such as hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and clinics. Students will learn and demonstrate gained knowledge and practice skills in applying this knowledge when assisting others of all ages in these settings. Areas to be addressed include medical terminology, biopsychosocial assessment for health care settings, treatment planning, professional interdisciplinary team collaboration, leadership and social work ethics.

The focus of this course is to examine issues associated with substance use and the intersection of multiple individual, family, organizational and societal systems that contribute to risk and resilience. We will explore the impact of social exclusion on the way in which substance use disorders are defined, who receives treatment, at what level, and at what cost. Students will learn to identify, through a person-centered, biopsychosocial lens, the strengths and challenges of those who are impacted by substance abuse. Students will develop competency and resources to aid in prevention and intervention with individuals, families, organizations and policy makers.

This course includes some intense content, and students should expect to engage in difficult conversations.

This course focuses on preparing social workers for practice with people from diverse backgrounds: refugees, immigrants, and historically oppressed groups such as Native and African Americans. Students will learn about the experiences of immigration, assimilation, forced enslavement, and historical trauma in partnership with members of these diverse communities who will provide instruction and first-hand knowledge.

Additionally, this course will examine the adaptive capabilities and resiliency of marginalized groups and how such capabilities and strengths can be used in effective social work practice. Students will explore personal values, beliefs, behaviors, micro-aggressions, and biases that limit their ability to practice effectively and investigate the influence of dominant culture on diverse and marginalized groups.

This course is open to all MSW students, foundation and specialization year, and is considered a clinical elective for licensing requirements. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has long been recognized as an evidenced-based treatment for trauma and a wide range of psychological and behavioral health issues. Most CBT training programs are developed by psychologists, specifically for psychology students. What makes this course unique is it has been developed by clinical social workers, specifically for clinical social work st u dents. Classic CBT theory and interventions have been adapted and re-framed to provide a strengths-based perspective, taking into consideration “person-in-environment” and the effects of trauma on human health and wellness. Upon completion of this course, MSW students will have the knowledge and skills to integrate a CBT approach in clinical practice, in a way that aligns with social work principles and values and trauma-informed systems of care.

This course explores the multiple relationships between human sexuality and social work practice. The focus is on critical examination of the dominant discourse about sex, gender and sexual orientation and its relation to social work practice. Students develop skills to sensitively and effectively address both client concerns about sexuality and social policies as they relate to sex, gender and sexual orientation.

Building on the SSWO 585 Substance Use: A Social Work Perspective course, this course further prepares students for direct clinical practice with individuals and their families experiencing substance use disorder through a co-occurring treatment lens. Students will be introduced to the ASAM Assessment criteria as it relates to the biopsychosocial – spiritual perspective of social work practice using a mental health and addictions focused lens to inform their assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning and interventions. Students will integrate the foundational content of prerequisite 585 while examining the 12 core competencies of addiction counseling as they relate to co-occurring clinical practice. Students will explore best practices for co-occurring treatment and engage in practical applications of evidence-based theories and treatment modalities that utilize a mind body approach to healing through role play, case studies, discussions and reflections.

This course will examine policy, varying service delivery systems, funding and the role of social workers in the areas of partner abuse, child abuse and elder abuse. This course will help students understand the context in which domestic violence practice occurs. The course will also focus on the role of the social worker in assessing for domestic violence with their clients. Culturally sensitive practice issues will be discussed and their impact on individuals seeking services. The course will also focus on developing student’s abilities in assessment and intervention techniques with both survivors and individuals that batter. The course focuses on developing students’ abilities to identify and explore ethical issues in domestic violence practice. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This course explores working with survivors in a trauma-based practice which validates the experience, respects the survivor, and helps her/him to become empowered. An examination of personal beliefs and definitions of trauma will serve as a first step toward the study of advanced trauma based practice. Using Trauma Theory as a foundation, students will learn practice methods and approaches that may be helpful in working with survivors. Case presentations will allow students the opportunity to discuss alternative practice approaches, understand the trauma survivor’s experience, and support & critique peers. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

Homelessness and Social Work: Voices from the Street. This course is aimed at increasing student awareness of contemporary social welfare policies, programs and practice issues relevant to providing social work services to homeless and other poor people. The homeless experience is examined in the context of societal oppression and political resistance. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This course examines concepts in psycho- pharmacology, neurophysiology, psychoactive drug classification. Physiological, and psychological aspects of psychopharmacological agents used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders are presented. Psychopharmacology with the geriatric population are explored. The parts of the brain affected by alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, and other street drugs are discussed. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This course relates the application of creative arts, including music, literature, theatre, art, poetry, movement, and dance, to increasing self-awareness, working directly with clients, enhancing social awareness of core social issues, and enhancing civic dialogue. Includes presentations by diverse community artists. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This concentration year elective focuses on the challenges and capacities of children, adolescents, parents and caregivers that come to our attention in clinical social work practice across diverse settings. Students explore and critically analyze a range of theories used to explain child and adolescent development and caregiving structures. Particular attention is given to theories of attachment, caregiving, relationship and neurobiology. Focus is also placed on the social and institutional policies and dominant cultural attitudes that determine the distribution and access to social resources that affect child and family well-being. Interdisciplinary models of practice, including the development of networks and partnerships between social workers and other child-centered professionals are covered. Methods of building relationships with children, adolescents and caregivers are explored as are specific child-centered techniques including art and play therapy. Must be enrolled in: Master of Social Work.

This course is a progressive overview of the field of aging beginning with the history and theories of gerontology and transitioning to the methods providers use with older consumers to maintain wellness and high functional levels in the later years. The latest research on exercise, nutrition and alternative and complementary health care for an aging population is emphasized.

This advanced practice course provides students with the opportunity to learn the theory and practice of Narrative Therapy. The UNE School of Social Work Mission and Values state; “the School embraces a comprehensive definition of health as a state of complete physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being… teaching empowering theories for practice and developing collaborative relationships based on mutuality and respect”. Narrative Therapy is one such empowering theory. Students will have the opportunity to explore the historical development of this contemporary theory and to observe and practice Narrative Therapy through interactive role-plays and videotaped sessions with classmates and the instructor.

This course focuses on a widely recognized and successful therapeutic approach, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, commonly referred to as ACT. ACT is a creative blend of several contemporary therapies; including CBT, Mindfulness, Narrative, and Solution Oriented Therapy. What makes it unique is an added emphasis on values and acceptance. This is a clinical skills-based course. Students explore the context and theory underlying ACT and then practice the skills involved in delivering this trauma-informed approach to individuals and families. A case-based learning approach provides students with experiential learning opportunities to practice the skills and therapeutic strategies of ACT; including participation in interactive discussions and recorded video-practice sessions. Students also have the opportunity to apply ACT to their own lives to enhance their understanding and empathy for what clients experience when engaging in this approach.

This course will prepare students to become practitioners and leaders versed in Adverse Childhood Experiences, resiliency, historical and intergenerational trauma, and trauma-informed theory. Students will explore these trauma-informed principles and apply them on micro and macro levels through a focus on implementation science for trauma-informed organizational and individual practice change. This course provides a strong foundation that complements clinical electives such as Advanced Trauma Practices.

This course examines how social, political, and contextual factors influence mental health, psychosocial, and behavioral outcomes and treatment-seeking behaviors among military personnel, veterans, and their families. Students will examine the military from a variety of perspectives, including its background and organization, social systems, core values, artifacts, language and socially acceptable practices as these practices impact soldiers. This course addresses the needs of active duty, deployed service members, Veterans, and their families at different developmental phases of the military life course. A range of physical, mental, and psychosocial issues including deployment stressors and post-deployment mental health (i.e., physical challenges, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety and depressive symptoms, substance use/abuse, suicidal ideation, and interpersonal conflicts) will be addressed in this course.

An interdisciplinary course on death and dying, we will explore the death system, funerals, economic considerations of death, care of the dying and the bereaved of all ages, psychological dynamics dealing with the death, and ultimate questions in relationship to death and bereavement. The course will examine the basic principles of palliative care, bereavement and grief in all age groups, suicide and grief, issues around refugee and immigrant experience with death, various philosophical and religious understandings of death, meaning of life, ethical issues related to the care of the dying and the bereaved. We will explore the nature of grief and loss, the personal characteristics of effective practitioners, communication skills used in practice, the goals and techniques of practice with people who are grieving, approaches to helping those who are dying, and specific interventions that are helpful to bereaved clients in cases of prolonged grief, mourning a child or those whose deaths were stigmatized or unanticipated. Students will explore their own personal, cultural, and spiritual experiences, beliefs and values around death and dying.

This course is designed to introduce students to the various components of law and how the exchanges between legal professionals and a social worker coincide when an individual, family, or group is faced with legal issues. It provides an introductory examination of historical frameworks of both law/social work and how the two systems interact with one another within all of the legal and social work domains. This course showcases the systems perspective as well as practice techniques in communicating and collaborating across professional fields. The goal of this course is to understand the context of law, social work, and their continuing relevance to understanding and meeting a client’s legal needs.

This course presents content about the theory and practice of community organizing. Community organizing is a means of bringing people together to address problematic social conditions such as health inequities. As a purposeful collective effort, organizing requires sound analytical, political, and interactional skills. Community organizing is rooted in the reform tradition of professional social work and in such values as self-determination, self-sufficiency, empowerment, and social justice. Therefore this course is particularly relevant to direct practice with and advocacy for marginalized groups. This methods course is aimed at students who seek to expand and refine their skills in organization-building and collective action.

Students also have the option to take electives from our other online graduate programs.  A full list of these course offerings can be found here: https://online.une.edu/shared-interprofessional-courses/

NEW! UNE Online offers MSW students embedded focus areas in Trauma-Informed Care, Medical Social Work, School Social Work, and Advanced Clinical Skills. The curricular requirements for these courses are taken within the MSW curriculum.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the University of New England Online Master of Social Work program is competitive among other schools at $1,050/credit,* and because all of our courses are delivered 100% online and asynchronously, you will not incur the cost of traveling or relocating to complete your degree. (*Note: Tuition is subject to change. Listed tuition does not include the cost of fees, books, or additional credits that may be required, etc. Contact Student Financial Services to learn more.)

Cost per
Credit: $1,050

# of credits for Traditional Curriculum: 60

Typical Cost for Program:
$63,300

Cost per
Credit: $1,050

# of credits for Advanced Standing Curriculum: 30

Typical Cost for Program:
$31,500

 

Application Fee (non-refundable)
Free
General Services Fee (per semester, non-refundable for matriculated students)
$70
Tuition (per credit hour)
$1,050
Malpractice Insurance Fee (annual, non-refundable)
$50
Technology Fee (per semester)
$150
Registration Fee (non-matriculated students per semester)
$30

CSWE Accredited

When choosing an institution of higher education, you want to be sure your investment will hold value upon completion. UNE Online’s Master of Social Work program proudly holds accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE), verifying our academic quality and standards in the profession of social work education. 

Additionally, UNE holds a New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE) accreditation at both the bachelor’s and graduate levels. NECHE accreditation further ensures a high level of academic quality and public accountability for the education being provided.

Faculty

UNE MSW faculty bring a wealth of academic and real-world experience to the online classroom. The faculty are student-centered and committed to providing a rigorous and engaging student experience. Click the link to meet our Master of Social Work team!

Student Support & Resources

At UNE Online, we are committed to providing our students with the highest level of academic and personal support. We understand the unique challenge of adult students who are often juggling school, career, and family, which is why we offer a high-touch, 1:1 student support to help students navigate their academic journey. We also offer a robust Student Academic Success Center (SASC) which offers services from time management, test-taking skills, and helps students develop their writing. Learn more about Student Support and Resources.  

Academic and Technical Standards

Essential Academic and Technical Standards of the University of New England School Social Work (SSW)

Social work education requires the simultaneous acquisition of theory and social work practice skills and is a competency-based education that rests upon a shared and accepted view of the nature of competence in professional practice. Social work competence is the ability to integrate and apply social work knowledge, values, and skills to practice situations in a purposeful, intentional, and professional manner to promote human and community well-being. (Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 2015).

The essential technical standards presented are required for subsequent promotion from year-to-year, and ultimately graduating from the University of New England (UNE) with either a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. These standards pertain to all students enrolled in either the online or on-campus MSW program at UNE.

UNE’s social work faculty is committed to fostering relationships with its students that encourage personal and professional growth. Its policies and procedures attempt to reflect this commitment to proactive and supportive communication. At the same time, it is imperative that all students recognize that the primary responsibility for a successful SSW education, both in and out of the classroom, rests with the student.

All students, including students with disabilities, must have the capacity to manage their lives and anticipate their own needs. Situations can arise in which a student’s behavior and attitudes resulting from a disability or other personal circumstances present a problem which impairs the student’s ability to meet the standards set forth, even after reasonable accommodations have been considered and, if appropriate, made by the program, all students must still meet the requirements set forth by the program.

All applicants, regardless of disability, will be held to the same admission standards, and all enrolled students, regardless of disability, will be held to the same academic standards, understanding that all properly submitted requests for reasonable accommodation will be considered.

Students are expected to maintain these academic and technical standards in all online, on-campus and UNE-sponsored off-campus activities, including clinical and fieldwork experiences and relevant community service.

All students must complete all Social Work program requirements and receive a passing grade in all courses and practicums to be eligible for graduation. The graduating MSW student must have a cumulative grade point average of a 3.0 or better.

Throughout the program, students are expected to maintain the technical standards set forth and demonstrate them online and in face-to-face interactions; this includes in their classroom comportment, written and oral products, and interactions with peers and faculty; in service learning settings, and in their field practicum and other professional experiences. Student behaviors that fail to demonstrate these standards while in the program will be reviewed and appropriate action (e.g., remediation, counseling, or dismissal) will be taken. Because this expectation is separate from academic achievement, simply maintaining a GPA is not sufficient.

  1. Ethics

    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics outlines explicit standards for professional conduct. All students are required to acquire their own copy of the “Code of Ethics”, and are subsequently responsible for reading, understanding, and following all Ethical Principals and Ethical Standards as outlined.

    Indicators of Concern:

    • Violation of NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws or policies

  1. Respect for Diversity and Social Justice

    UNE SSW students are expected to:  

  1. Exhibit a willingness to relate and work nonjudgmentally across difference with others.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of, and sensitivity to: diversity, oppression, and privilege, including a willingness to examine personal beliefs, values and assumptions that perpetuate oppression.
  3. Understanding that members of the social work profession must serve all persons in need of assistance, regardless of the person’s age, class, race, gender, religious affiliation, physical or cognitive ability level, sexual orientation, background, or value system.
  4. Demonstrate an interest in different cultural perspectives and circumstances and acknowledge diversity.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to solicit and identify quality sources of feedback, reflect on and integrate the feedback, learn from mistakes and failures. And provide meaningful feedback to others (e.g. appropriately discussing and supporting diversity, be responsive to feedback and constructive criticism regarding professional behavior and attitude and understand the seriousness of academic and disciplinary warnings).

    Indicators of Concern

    • Violation of NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws or policies.
    • Use of discriminatory language or stereotypes.
    • Inability to recognize the impact of their own personal values and behaviors on their relationship with others.
    • Discriminatory behavior or harassment towards others on the basis of race, gender, age sexual orientation, disability, religion, etc.

  1. Communication

    Communication includes speech, language, reading, writing, computer literacy, body language, and other, non-verbal cues.

    UNE SSW students are expected to:

  1. Ensure that all their communication is timely, respectful*, with speech free from bias, discriminatory language or stereotyping and responsive to the requests of faculty, field instructors, peers, clients, collaterals, potential and current practicum sites, and associated personnel, and to the School, College, and University as a whole.
  2. To read all communications posted by the School of Social Work (SSW) and are responsible for staying abreast of current and ongoing information pertinent to their roles as graduate and professional students.  
  3. Advocate for their self in an ethical, direct, respectful and responsible manner using SSW and agency-specific channels for conflict management.
  4. Demonstrate respect for the privacy of their clients; refrain from gathering information about clients from online sources without the client’s consent (i.e. googling client history, accessing client social media); photographing clients; or publishing client information on social media.
  5. Follow relevant laws, field education agency policy, NASW Code of Ethics (1.07) pertaining to social media and in use of technology in all aspects of service delivery.
  6. Maintain awareness of how personal communications using social media could affect professional relationships with clients, colleagues, and agencies.
  7. That their written assignments demonstrate: good spelling, appropriate use of punctuation, clear structure, paragraphing, good organization, follows logical sequence. Consistent use of APA style.

    Indicators of Concern:

    • Violation of NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws, or policies.
    • Use of discriminatory language or stereotypes.
    • Written work is frequently vague, and shows difficulty in expressing ideas clearly and concisely.
    • Student has many errors in the areas of spelling, punctuation, structure, etc., and does not make effort to show improvement.
    • Appears to have plagiarized the work of others.
    • Demonstrating disrespectful behavior to self or others.
    • Communication is not reciprocated in a timely manner.

    Public use of social media which depicts self or others in ways that may be viewed as unprofessional or disrespectful

    *Respectful communication is partially explained in the NASW’s “Code of Ethics”:  

    • Social Workers treat each person, in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity…(pg. 5)
    • 2.0.2 Respect a) Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues.  b) Social Workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in verbal, written and electronic communications with clients or with other professionals. Unwarranted negative criticism may include demeaning comments that refer to colleagues’ level of competence, or to individuals’’ attributes such as race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical ability. C) Social workers should cooperate with social work colleagues and with colleagues of other professions when such cooperation serves the well-being of clients.  (pg. 18)

  1. Intellectual

    UNE SSW students are expected to:

  1. To effectively solve problems students must be able to: measure, calculate, reason, analyze, comprehend, integrate and synthesize information from the clinical, natural and social sciences in a timely fashion.
  2. Have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.
  3. Specialization year students must have the ability to use critical analysis to understand theory, research, literature, and principles that apply to social work practice and to apply inductive and deductive clinical reasoning to solve complex patient or client problems as necessary. 
  4. MSW students must be able to provide a reasoned explanation for likely intervention.
  5. Students must be able to recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner.
  6. Students must have the ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and literature in formulating treatment plans is essential.

    Indicators of Concern:

    • Limited or no access to a computer and/or the internet
    • Inability to reasonably explain interventions used for treatment
    • Limited ability to incorporate feedback and information from peers, teachers, and literature from the field.
    • Inability to problem solve without intervention from a faculty or supervisor.

  1. Openness and Willingness to Learn

    UNE SSW students are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate an openness to learning new ideas and perspectives.
  2. As required by the demands of professional practice, be flexible and adaptable in new situations and as circumstances change.
  3. Assume the stance of learning with humility (e.g. avoid relying solely on current or past professional or personal experiences to inform your decision-making in the field and in the classroom).
  4. Demonstrate a willingness to effectively communicate your learning needs.

    Indicators of Concern:

    • Monopolizes class discussion(s).
    • Constantly complains about class workload to the point that it impedes the class process.
    • Uses classroom tools, such as the discussion board, to make personal complaints or to lobby for personal issues.
    • Creates conflict which impedes leaning and/or building effective relationships.
    • Uncooperative or unwilling to participate in class or practicum activities.
    • Consistently late on assignments.
    • Consistently late to practicum site.
    • Does not sign into the Learning Management System as frequently as expected or is late or leaves class early.
    • Disruptive to the learning environment.
    • Uses derogatory language or makes demeaning remarks.
    • Unable or unwilling to accept feedback.
    • Responds in a defensive manner.
    • Consistently argumentative.
    • Academic misconduct.
    • Takes little initiative in exploring areas of learning growth.

  1. Professional and Behavioral Conduct: 

    Each SSW student enrolled at UNE is expected to:  

  1. Behave in responsible, reliable and dependable manner (e.g. manage time well; be on time for class; be on time for assignments, meetings and appointments; plan aheadand follow through with commitments; cooperate with person(s) in charge of programs; and take responsibility for absences or missed assignment(s). 
  2. Provide notice to faculty and/or person(s) in charge of programs when not able to follow through with commitments including assignments, class attendance and participation, and other responsibilities required by the program.
  3. Demonstrate personal integrity, honesty, and self-discipline (e.g. be consistent and truthful, to show appropriate personal control; take on tasks that they can manage; be honest in reports and self-evaluations). 
  4. Project a professional image, both online and in-person, in manner, dress, grooming, speech, and interpersonal relationships.
  5. Recognize their personal limitations and biases, whether they are intellectual, physical, or emotional and to strive to overcome them. 
  6. Demonstrate the professional and emotional maturity to manage tensions and conflicts which occur among professional, personal, and family responsibilities, seeking professional help if necessary (e.g. acknowledge the conflict with all parties and work to resolve misunderstandings; get needed help from student support, tutors, counselors, learning assistance professionals and other qualified persons; show the ability to prioritize appropriately one’s personal, professional, and academic expectations and activities). 
  7. Demonstrate the ability to exercise sound judgment and to function under pressure (e.g. request help when needed and to avoid endangering others; respect the difference between a licensed social worker and a social worker in training; remain focused on the task at hand; remember that as an SSW student they are representing UNE SSW and the social work profession to the greater community at large.)
  8. Demonstrate compassion and respect towards others (e.g. work cooperatively with differences and diversity in personalities and in cultural backgrounds as well as with differences in social and economic status, and respect the privacy and individual choice of others). 
  9. Demonstrate consistent respect for administrators, faculty, staff, students of the University, as well as all personnel associated with current or potential practicum sties, clients, patients, families and collaterals. 
  10. Familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures of field sites for their clinical or field work placements and to act in accordance with those guidelines. Students should refer to the relevant policies of the specific institution and/or consult with clinical field instructors or supervisors. 
  11. Be informed of, and follow all Federal and State laws and agency policies regarding confidentiality and mandatory reporting.
  12. Demonstrate the ability to solicit and identify quality sources of feedback, reflect on and integrate the feedback, learn from mistakes and failures.

    Indicators of Concern:

    • Violation of NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws or policies
    • Creates conflict which impedes leaning and/or building effective relationships.
    • Uses classroom tools, such as the discussion board, to make personal complaints or to lobby for personal issues.
    • Uncooperative or unwilling to participate in class or practicum activities.
    • Consistently late on assignments.
    • Consistently late to practicum site.
    • Does not sign into Brightspace as frequently as expected or is late or leaves class early.
    • Disruptive to the learning environment.
    • Uses derogatory language or makes demeaning remarks.
    • Difficulty in listening (e.g. overly sensitive, externalizes blame, distorts communication).
    • Unable or unwilling to accept feedback.
    • Responds in a defensive manner.
    • Consistently argumentative.
    • Monopolizes class discussion(s).
    • Constantly complains about class workload to the point that it impedes the class process.
    • Unwilling or unable to develop an understanding of people different from oneself.
    • Inability to separate their personal values from professional values and responsibilities.
    • Inability to recognize the impact of their own personal values and behaviors on their relationship with others.
    • Discriminatory behavior or harassment towards others on the basis of race, gender, age sexual orientation, disability, religion, etc.
    • Physical action directed at clients, faculty, staff, colleagues, or fellow students.
    • Academic misconduct.
    • Takes little initiative in exploring areas of learning growth.

  1. Self-Understanding

    UNE SSW students are expected to:  

  1. Uses self-disclosure appropriately (e.g. students seem to have an insight and self-awareness, and have resolved the issue they are sharing).
  2. Appears to be able to handle discussion of uncomfortable topics.
  3. Deals appropriately with issues which arouse emotions.
  4. Demonstrates awareness of one’s own personal limits and biases.
  5. Understands the effect of one’s own behavior on others.
  6. Seeks supervision and feedback from others.
  7. Willing to examine, assess and reconcile (if need be) the relationship between their own personal values and their alignment with the profession’s ethics as outlined in NASW’s Code of Ethics.

    Indicators of Concern

    • When engaged in self-disclosure, the student appears to be working through unresolved issues and/or avoiding client issues.
    • The student appears to overreact to or resent feedback (e.g. takes it personally).
    • Appears unwilling or unable to control emotional reactions.
    • Verbal or physical threats directed towards clients, faculty, staff, coworkers, or students.
    • Demonstrates impaired judgement, decision-making, or problem-solving skills.
    • Consistent failure to demonstrate the ability to form effective client/social worker relationships.

  • Are intended to provide students with disabilities equal access to the University’s programs and services while upholding the academic, clinical, and technical standards of the MSW program.
  • Are provided only to the extent that such accommodation does not fundamentally alter the academic and/or technical standards of the BSW or MSW program or interfere with the rights of other students.
  • Do not exempt BSW or MSW students from completing certain tasks deemed essential.
  • Are considered on a case-by-case basis and determined by the UNE Student Access Center in consultation with SSW faculty through the University’s accommodations application process.

  1. HIPPA: Students must be in compliance with UNE HIPAA requirements to attend practicum. 
  2. Background checks: Practicum sites may request background checks. Information obtained in background checks may inhibit students from completing generalist or advanced field practicums and thus may delay or hinder graduation. The university does not pay for these checks. 
  3. Drug Screening: Practicum sites may request drug screens. Information obtained in drug screens may inhibit students from completing generalist or advanced field practicums and thus may delay or hinder graduation. The university does not pay for these tests.
  4. Transportation: All students must provide their own transportation to practicum sites and interviews. Students must be willing to travel a reasonable distance for their practicum.
  5. Technology: Students enrolled in the online MSW program are required to comply with the Technology Requirements for Online Programs, as outlined here:  https://online.une.edu/online-learning/technical-requirements/

FAQ

Admissions

The online Master of Social Work offers six start terms per year: two each in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Each term consists of two 8-week sessions. Students take one course per 8-week session.

To speak with an Enrollment Counselor, contact us at 877-863-6791 or socialworkonline@une.edu. Ready to begin an application? Visit the application portal today!

The admission requirements vary for both program tracks (Traditional and Advanced Standing). Please visit our Admissions page for a full list of admissions requirements.

No! Applications are reviewed holistically as a determination of academic readiness. The admissions committee values previous academic performance as indicated on transcripts and considers it as part of the review process.

The GRE is not required as part of the admissions process. If you have taken the GRE, you are welcome to provide your score as part of your application package, but the GRE is not a requirement.

This program is aligned with State of Maine social work licensing requirements, but can fulfill the requirements for licensure in other states. Because licensing requirements vary by state, we encourage you to research the requirements for the state in which you intend to practice. For more information, see our interactive map of state licensing requirements. You may also want to review our ‘Accreditation’ section below.

This program uses the Brightspace D2L learning management system.

For a full list of technical requirements, please visit our Technical Requirements page.

Non-matriculated courses are available on a case-by-case basis. Please contact an enrollment counselor for more information.

Students may apply to transfer up to three 3-credit courses (maximum of nine credits) into the Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing program or up to three 3-credit courses (maximum of nine credits) into the Master of Social Work – Traditional program.

Transfer courses must:

  • Be classified as graduate level
  • Be from a CSWE accredited institution
  • Be equivalent to a required program course, not an elective
  • Have been taken within seven years of application
  • Have been completed with a grade of “B” or better (P/F courses will not be accepted for transfer credit)

To request consideration for transfer credit, a student must provide an official transcript and a course syllabus for each course. Your enrollment counselor or student support specialist can assist you with this request. Transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of the School of Social Work based on specific program details listed above. Requests for approval of transfer credit should be submitted to, and will be granted at the discretion of the Program Director.

Policy Exceptions

The School of Social Work reserves the right to make exceptions to the transfer credit policy and to make changes or exceptions, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.

 

Registration

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis six times per year. The online Master of Social Work program runs year-round with three terms per year: Spring (January-April), Summer (April or May-August), and Fall (September-December). Each term consists of two 8-week sessions.

Students taking one course per 8-week session are considered full time students, and are eligible to receive financial aid.

 

Master of Social Work Courses

No, this program is completed 100% online with no campus visits required.

First, the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree is required to apply for the program. Based on the type of bachelor’s degree you hold, you have two pathways. Our Advanced Standing pathway is for students who possess a Bachelor of Social Work earned from a CSWE accredited institution preferably  within the last seven years. It consists of 30 credits (nine courses and one practicum). If you do not have a BSW, our Traditional pathway consists of 60 credits (sixteen courses and two practicum). Degree requirements, course plans, and curriculum framework differ for each pathway. For more information, please see our pathway options section.

There are two 8-week courses per term, and three terms per year (Summer, Fall, and Spring). This allows students to complete six to twelve courses per year.

Our 100% online classes are held in an asynchronous format, which means that you do not have to log in at any specific time. You can engage in coursework on your own schedule, so long as you are active in the weekly discussions multiple days throughout the week and submit everything in by the due dates. We have three 16-week semesters a year (Spring, Summer, and Fall), and there are two 8-week course sessions per semester.

Courses include a variety of learning activities such as readings, presentations, discussion threads, case studies, group work, quizzes, and video-based interactive roleplaying scenarios. The diversity in materials and assignments is intended to illustrate important course concepts and build a tight-knit community of learners.

For the best outcomes, it is recommended that students reserve approximately 15-20 hours per week for coursework and studying; this will increase when you enter field placement. For additional information, see the Field Placement section of this FAQ.

Yes, the MSW program is specifically designed with the working professional in mind. In fact, in a 2022-23 poll of UNE Online students and alumni, 87.3% reported that they were working (64.7% full-time, 22.7% part-time) while completing their degree.

However, students working 40 hours a week will likely not be able to complete the practicum requirement of the program unless some adjustment is made in their work schedule.

UNE’s MSW program offers four Focus Areas for students to choose from:

  • School Social Work
  • Medical Social Work
  • Advanced Clinical Skills
  • Trauma Informed Practice

Students can complete a Focus Area through the normal course of their MSW program by taking three specific elective courses related to their chosen field (students do not need to enroll in any additional coursework). You can learn more about each Focus Area here.

It is important to note that choosing a Focus Area is completely optional; students can work with their Student Support Specialist to choose their own elective courses, if they would like. Typically, our MSW students don’t take their elective courses until near the end of their program; so there is also no pressure to declare a Focus Area right away!

 

Practicum Placement

For Traditional students, two practicums (the generalist 400-hour practicum and the specialization 500-hour practicum) are required. For Advanced Standing students, one 500-hour practicum is required. For additional information regarding practicum, please download our practicum planning FAQ.

Months before you are scheduled to start your practicum, you will be assigned a Practicum Faculty who will help guide you through the process of securing a practicum.

The Practicum Faculty will:

  • Be available to offer suggestions and helpful tips when interviewing or establishing sites.
  • Help ensure your practicum aligns with your generalist/ specialization year requirements, as well as UNE policies and regulations.
  • Support your search and answer any questions you have during the entire process.

Though they are a unique and immense source of support, Practicum Faculty do not find practicum sites for you. You will be asked to make your own personal contacts with potential sites in your area. To guide your search, upon enrollment, you can access a database of practicum sites that our MSW students have previously had success with. More information can be found on our Practicum FAQ sheet.

Many MSW students are employed while working in our program. There are options to explore using your job as placement or a place of employment practicum if the employment role meets the learning requirements. Place of employment practicum sites require special approval through the MSWO Practicum Team. For more information, please contact an Enrollment Counselor at (877) 863-6791 or socialworkonline@une.edu.

We’ve compiled a document with 22 more common practicum planning questions and answers concerning definitions, steps, stipends, and the the #1 reason students typically can not find an agency, among other topics.

 

Student Support

We believe that a successful student is a supported student. After entering the program you will be assigned a dedicated Student Support Specialist to provide you with individual support and answer any questions you may have.

Your Support Specialist is your on-the-ground advocate at the University – from questions on textbooks to registration to financial aid and more, they are there to help you make your academic journey successful. This dedicated support is provided in addition to the tremendous support you will receive from faculty and fellow classmates.

For additional information on student resources, please visit our Student Support and Resources page.

UNE Online recognizes students who are seeking higher education come from a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities, and responsibilities. To that end, we offer a range of support services including:

 

Accreditation

Yes, University of New England is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE). To learn more, please see http://www.une.edu/provost/accreditation/.

Yes, UNE’s online Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. This partnership of educational and professional institutions, human service agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.

CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet them. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE’s recognition body, the CHEA, the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.

UNE’s School of Social Work uses CSWE’s AS 4(M) Accreditation approved form to report its most recent assessment outcomes for each program option (campus and online). Assessment is completed annually and the results are promptly published on the website.

The purpose of the report is

  • To evaluate previous actions that were taken in response to the assessment of student learning and determine their level of success
  • To identify and examine assessment results for the most strategic or compelling learning outcomes for this year
  • To document the findings of this year’s assessments and propose to take actions that will improve student learning

Assessment Process

The School of Social Work’s assessment procedure is conducted every academic year and begins with the collection of course assignment information from the online and campus faculty who develop and teach the generalist practice curriculum and the specialized practice curriculum (Integrated Clinical Practice)

The required generalist practice courses in both the online and campus program options are:

  1. SSW 501 Human Behavior & the Social Environment I 
  2. SSW 502 Human Behavior & the Social Environment II
  3. SSW 503 Social Work Research 
  4. SSW 504 Action Research for Social Work Practice
  5. SSW 505 Social Welfare Policy and Advocacy 
  6. SSW 510 Social Work Practice I
  7. SSW 511 Social Work Practice II
  8. SSW 571 Social Work Practice with Groups
  9. SSW 520 Field Practicum I/Seminar
  10. SSW 522 Field Practicum II/Seminar

The required Integrated Clinical Practice courses in both the online and campus program options are:

  1. SSW 552 Contemporary Theories of Social Work Practice: Individuals and Families
  2. SSW 553 Advanced Social Work Practice with Families
  3. SSW 597 Advanced Psychosocial Assessment
  4. SSW 565 Leadership, Administration and Supervision in Social Work
  5. SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar
  6. SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar

Two measures, course assignments/activities, and a field competency are chosen to assess each of the nine social work competencies for the curriculum in both program options (campus and online). The measures chosen for each competency are linked to one or more of the competency dimensions by the School’s faculty. When choosing the two measures for each competency, the School ensured that all four dimensions of the competency were being addressed by the measures (when considered together). In this way, the School’s assessment plan measures all four dimensions of each competency. Assessment was completed on June 15, 2022.

Results reveal that UNE M.S.W. students are meeting or exceeding the benchmark for all required EPAS competencies.

For the detailed report, download UNE’s Annual Program Assessment of Student Learning Report (2021–2022) (PDF)

Work/Life Experience

No, CSWE does not allow for accredited MSW programs to take work or life experience for credits towards their MSW degree.