MSW in Social Work

Northeastern Illinois University

Program Description

MSW in Social Work

Northeastern Illinois University

The Master of Social Work (MSW) is designed to prepare students for professional social work practice with individuals, families, and communities. There are two levels in the master’s degree – foundation and advanced. The foundation curriculum provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills of a generalist social worker similar to that in the bachelor’s degree in social work and is designed for those who enter the program without the bachelor’s degree in social work. The advanced curriculum provides students with concentrations in specialized areas of practice or advanced generalists determined by the needs and demands in the community in which the program is located. These concentrations are generally on the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level and are taken only after the student has completed the foundation curriculum.

The student with a bachelor’s degree in social work can enter the program at the advanced level and the advanced standing degree program is designed for these students.

Master in Social Work Concentrations

The MSW program has two concentrations:

  • The micro concentration, Practice with Vulnerable Populations.
  • The macro concentration, Leadership and Change.

Within each concentration are specializations, and currently there is one specialization for each concentration. There is an expectation for more specializations as the master’s degree program grows in the future. The current specialization in the micro concentration, Practice with Vulnerable Populations, is Practice with Children and Families, and for the macro concentration, Leadership and Change, the specialization, is Advocacy and Change.

Program Objective

The objective of the specialization, Practice with Children and Families, is to promote well-being for vulnerable children and families by tending to their needs and aiding in their healthy functioning. Persons with a Master’s Degree in Social Work in this specialization can develop a career serving children and their families in public and private agencies that serve vulnerable children or dysfunctional families. This includes the state agency Illinois Department of Children and Families and the many private agencies in the surrounding area that address the needs of these children and their families. These professionals serve in a variety of capacities such as therapists, counselors, advocates, mediators and brokers.

The objective for the specialization Advocacy and Change is to spearhead actions around perceived needs in communities and organizations that serve special populations and communities. Persons with a specialization in Advocacy and Change are prepared to work in organizations and communities promoting actions that will bring about needed changes and enable their healthy functioning. These professionals can work on behalf of organizations in the public arena directing their efforts toward public policies that affect vulnerable populations. They learn how to lobby politicians and present policy proposals on behalf of the organizations serving special populations or constituencies. These professionals also can work on behalf of communities serving the needs of vulnerable populations in a variety of ways.




Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) offers a 60-hour Master of Social Work (MSW) degree designed to prepare students for professional practice with individuals, families, and communities. There are two (2) concentrations in the Masters of Social Work degree program – Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations and Leadership and Change. Each of these concentrations currently has one specialization. The specialization within the concentration Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations is Practice with Vulnerable Children and Families. This 60-hour degree program can be completed in 2 years full-time and 4 years part-time. These specializations prepare students for professional practice with children and families and organizations and communities respectively.

NEIU also offers the advanced standing degree for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree in social work within the past 10 years that was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This is a 34 credit hour Master of Social Work degree program that can be completed in one year full-time and 2 years part-time.

Field work- Practica

Practical experience is built into the MSW social work curriculum, which is called "Field Work." All fieldwork experiences are credit-bearing internship experiences. These experiences offer students an opportunity to integrate and apply their academic knowledge in a real-world setting and prepares them for the responsibility of beginning professional practice.

In order to receive credit for field work experiences, students must work with an Internship Coordinator to complete an internship placement and referral process. To start this process a student must submit a formal application to apply for field work with the School of Social Work Internship Placement and Student Services Office. All applications have deadlines and require collaboration and communication between the student and the respective internship coordinator to secure a placement. It is the policy of the NEIU Social Work Program that all referrals of students to field placement sites be made by internship coordinators in the field office. Students may provide a suggestion about a field site, but may not pursue a placement on their own. Field placements independently obtained will not be approved.

Field work courses are usually taken concurrently with academic classes. Students must complete a total of two separate field work experiences that each typically span over two semesters. First level students must complete 480 hours in a fieldwork placement and are typically at their site Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, while taking 400-level courses. Second level students must complete 720 hours at a fieldwork placement and are at their site Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s, while taking 400 level advanced courses. In some instances, students can elect to do a summer block placement which is an intensive summer immersion, in which students work full-time at a placement (30-40 hours a week) for three to four months.

The NEIU Social Work Program maintains an affiliation with over 100 social service agencies, organizations and human services programs within Chicago and the larger metropolitan area. Students have the opportunity to work with clients representing a wide range of socioeconomic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Students in field courses and all other courses must adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics.

Degree Requirements

Admissions requirement: Completion of a Bachelor's degree required.

Required Courses

SWK-400 Overview Of The Social Work Profession 3
SWK-402 Human Behavior And The Social Environment I 3
SWK-403 Generalist Practice I 3
SWK-415 Foundation Field Practicum I 3
SWK-401 Cultural Competence In Social Work 3
SWK-404 Human Behavior And The Social Environment II 3
SWK-405 Generalist Practice II 3
SWK-416 Foundation Field Practicum II 3
SWK 406 Social Welfare Policy 3
SWK 407 Social Work Research 3
Advanced Curriuculum 30
Concentration: Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations

SWK-431 Social Work Practice With Families

SWK-432 Family-centered Policy

SWK-433 Social Work Practice With Children

SWK-434 Child Welfare Policy And Legislation

SWK-491 Advanced Research I

SWK-492 Advanced Research II

SWK-495 Advanced Field Practicum I

SWK-496 Advanced Field Practicum II

Social Work Electives (6 credit hours) - choose from the following:

SWK-470 Immigration Practices

SWK-471 Practice With Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender And Queer Population

SWK-472 Trauma Treatment With Children And Families

SWK-473 Topics In Advocacy

SWK-474 Social Work And The Law

Concentration: Leadership and Change

SWK-441 Empowerment And Change

SWK 442 Political Advocacy

SWK-443 Social Justice And Social Change

SWK 444 Community Advocacy

SWK-491 Advanced Research I

SWK-492 Advanced Research II

SWK-495 Advanced Field Practicum I

SWK-496 Advanced Field Practicum II

Social Work Electives (6 credit hours) - choose from the following:

SWK-470 Immigration Practices

SWK-471 Practice With Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender And Queer Population

SWK-472 Trauma Treatment With Children And Families

SWK-473 Topics In Advocacy

SWK-474 Social Work And The Law

Total Hours 60
For those who have already completed a bachelor's degree in Social Work within the past 10 years that was accredited by CSWE, there is a 34 credit hour program that can be completed in one year full-time and 2 years part-time.

Advanced Standing program

Concentration: Social Work Practice with Vulnerable Populations

SWK-430 Transition To The Advanced Curriculum 4
SWK-431 Social Work Practice With Families 3
SWK-432 Family-centered Policy 3
SWK-433 Social Work Practice With Children 3
SWK-434 Child Welfare Policy And Legislation 3
SWK-491 Advanced Research I 2
SWK-492 Advanced Research II 2
SWK-495 Advanced Field Practicum I 4
SWK-496 Advanced Field Practicum II 4
Social Work Electives (6 credit hours) 6
SWK-470 Immigration Practices

SWK-471 Practice With Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender And Queer Population

SWK-472 Trauma Treatment With Children And Families

SWK-473 Topics In Advocacy

SWK-474 Social Work And The Law

Total Hours 34
Advanced Standing Program

Concentration: Leadership and Change

SWK-430 Transition To The Advanced Curriculum 4
SWK-441 Empowerment And Change 3
SWK 442 Political Advocacy 3
SWK-443 Social Justice And Social Change 3
SWK 444 Community Advocacy 3
SWK-491 Advanced Research I 2
SWK-492 Advanced Research II 2
SWK-495 Advanced Field Practicum I 4
SWK-496 Advanced Field Practicum II 4
Social Work Electives (6 credit hours) 6
SWK-470 Immigration Practices

SWK-471 Practice With Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender And Queer Population

SWK-472 Trauma Treatment With Children And Families

SWK-473 Topics In Advocacy

SWK-474 Social Work And The Law

Total Hours 34
This school offers programs in:
  • English


Last updated September 29, 2017
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This course is Campus based
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USA - Chicago, Illinois
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USA - Grayslake, Illinois
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USA - Chicago, Illinois
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Price Per credit hour: $356.36 Graduate; $712.71 Non-Resident Graduate