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Program Information

Kate Turcotte Ph.D.
MSW Program Director,
Professor of Social Work
School of Business & Social Sciences


Master of Social Work (MSW)

The MSW degree is an important first step toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor. Colby-Sawyer's program develops a breadth and a depth of therapeutic practice that other programs cannot provide.

This professional, generalist degree program will guide you in learning the skills necessary to engage in practice through the building of theoretical, practical and ethical knowledge central to the profession and essential for work with diverse client populations.

Colby-Sawyer's MSW program is grounded in the NASW Code of Ethics and focuses on social work’s core values and ethical principles, including service, social justice and respecting the dignity and worth of all people. The MSW degree prepares graduates for careers in mental health counseling, child and youth treatment, school social work, public policy, and many other areas. All courses are developed and taught by Colby-Sawyer's MSW and Ph.D.-level research- and practice-focused faculty, who are themselves actively engaged in professional and clinical settings in social work.

The curriculum consists of asynchronous course work, delivered entirely online in 8-week sessions. The MSW curriculum also serves as a critical step toward clinical licensure. Courses are completed alongside 900 hours of fieldwork, and regular standing students complete their degree in 24 months. A 12-month, advanced-standing online program is also be available to candidates who have already received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program.

 Field education is fundamental to training as a social worker, and Colby-Sawyer's longstanding commitment to helping students enhance their learning through rich, well-matched field and internship experiences continues through the thoughtful placement of MSW students in settings best suited to their areas of interest and growth as professionals.

The 400-hour generalist and 500-hour advanced field placement experiences see students move from honing social work practice skills to working with specific populations that match well with the student’s intended area of focus. Placement settings are well-vetted, diverse and ever-expanding, and include private mental health clinics and substance use treatment settings, schools, corrections facilities and non-profit organizations, as well as in public policy arenas. Colby-Sawyer also enjoys a strong partnership with Dartmouth Health, and students may elect to complete their fieldwork in this premier hospital setting in areas of medical social work such as palliative care, family addiction treatment or care management.

 By the end of the program students are required to successfully finish all MSW coursework and complete a minimum of 900 documented clinical hours. Students must also achieve a minimum grade of B- in all program courses for program completion.

Statement Regarding CSWE Accreditation

Colby-Sawyer’s Master of Social Work is currently in Pre-Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation. Read more