Nurse working with an elderly woman

Master of Social Work

Social Work


Program of Study

In the MSW program you first complete a generalist curriculum that provides foundation knowledge and skills for social work practice with diverse populations across a range of settings. Then you choose a practice method concentration.

The clinical concentration focuses on social work practice interventions with individuals, families and groups. The macro concentration focuses on community organizing, policy advocacy and non-profit organization management. Along with your classes, you complete internships at agencies with missions to address social and economic problems.

Most students complete the 60-credit Master of Social Work through two full years of graduate coursework and field instruction.


Part-Time Program Option

A small portion of students enroll part-time and remain employed while they finish the program. As a part-time student, you take one class each summer and two classes each fall and spring over the course of four years. During your second and fourth years, you devote two full work days per week to fieldwork.


See the Graduate Bulletin for details.
For more information email or call 518-442-5320.

Career Paths in Social Work

Earning your Master of Social Work prepares you for a career with meaning, diversity, and an abundance of options.  Social workers are employed in human services agencies, community organizations, government agencies, research centers, faith-based agencies, and corporations. Settings include mental and behavioral health and health care, child welfare, the justice system, schools, homeless shelters and many more. Social workers can fill many roles, such as case manager, counselor, advocate, organizer, administrator, facilitator, mediator, educator, planner, program manager or evaluator.

With a master's concentration in clinical social work, you'll be ready to work directly with client populations. With a concentration in macro social work, you’ll be ready for administrative leadership roles.

The School of Social Work at UAlbany prepares MSW students to pass professional licensing exams after earning their degree and become licensed master social workers in New York and other states.

Once they gain the necessary amount of qualified casework experience, many alumni also go on to become licensed clinical social workers who provide direct services to individuals and families.

Required Courses and Fieldwork
Core Courses
  • Introductory Research Methodology
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services I
  • Human Behavior and Social Environment I and II
  • Micro Practice in Social Work I and II
  • Macro Practice in Social Work I and II
  • Field Instruction I and II


Social Work Field Placement

Field instruction through supervised internships is a vital part of the MSW program at UAlbany. Hundreds of social and human service agencies and community organizations in and around the Capital Region partner with us to provide these field placement internships.

At UAlbany, you complete two field placement experiences where learning, training and service occur simultaneously. You become familiar with the management of social service agencies and gain first-hand experience helping individuals, families, groups, and communities.  

During your first placement you participate in a broad range of social work activities allowing you to develop a foundation understanding of the context of social work practice and relational skills. Your second placement provides you with professional experience related to your area of concentration (macro or clinical practice).

In both placements, you engage in social work practice under the supervision of a trained field instructor who is an experienced and licensed social worker. 

Most students complete each 500-hour internship by working two days a week over the course of two semesters.

Macro Social Work Concentration

The concentration in macro social work focuses on methods of change through community organizing, policy advocacy, and non-profit organization management and leadership.

Courses and fieldwork in this area give you practical knowledge of fiscal planning, human resource management, information systems, program oversight, grant writing, legislative lobbying, and related topics.


Required Courses

  • Research Methods in Social Welfare Management
  • Field Instruction III and IV
  • Human Service Organizations in a Changing Environment
  • Managing Systems in Human Service Organizations
  • Community Building
  • Advanced Macro Practice Elective
  • Advanced Policy Elective
  • Open Elective

Careers in Macro Social Work

As a macro-focused social worker, you mobilize people and resources for change at the community level, and manage and direct human services organizations for effective delivery of programs consistent with social work values.


Sample Job Titles

Managing Director of Homeless Services, Community Engagement Facilitator, Patient Advocacy Program Administrator, Protective Services Supervisor, Behavioral Health Care Operations Director, Harm Reduction Policy Strategist, Government Relations Officer, Senior Researcher, Community Organizer

Clinical Social Work Concentration

Courses and field experience in the clinical social work concentration emphasize developing competencies in engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation directly with individuals, families and small groups. With attention to the interface between individuals and their environment, you will learn how and why interventions are helpful.

You can broaden your knowledge by taking diverse electives, or deepen your expertise in a focused area of practice such as family therapy, substance abuse treatment, or behavioral health care.

Required Courses

  • Evaluation of Clinical Practice
  • Field Instruction III and IV
  • Advanced Policy Elective
  • Advanced Clinical Practice Electives (choose three)
  • Open Electives (choose two)

Careers in Clinical Social Work

As a clinical social worker, you work directly with people across all stages of life to restore, maintain and promote social functioning.


Sample Job Titles

Youth Services Coordinator, School Social Worker, Addiction Recovery Specialist, Child Abuse Case Worker, Patient Advocate, Geriatric Case Manager, Child Therapist, Family Resource Coordinator, Adoption Social Worker, Crisis and Trauma Counselor, Hospice Social Worker, Mobile Crisis Team Member.

This program is approved for licensure or certification in New York State and the institution has not made a determination regarding the educational requirements for any other state.


Finish Sooner with Advanced Standing

If you received a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited school within the past six years, you can shorten your MSW completion time by receiving advanced standing.

This provides you with up to 21 credits upon admission to the master’s in social work program, which allows you to finish in 12 consecutive months of full-time study.

See Graduate Bulletin for details.

Graduate Student Funding Opportunities


If you have an excellent academic record and financial need, you may be eligible for employment as a graduate assistant (GA). You can indicate your interest in being considered for a GA position on the application to the MSW program. GAs work 10 hours a week at the School during the academic year.

Competitive scholarships are awarded to a diverse range of graduate social work students each year. These scholarships help defray the cost of books and other supplies.


Prepare for Social Work Practice with a Focus in Aging

The School of Social Welfare at UAlbany has partnered with a consortium of local agencies to provide MSW students with the opportunity to specialize in macro or clinical practice with aging populations.

The competitive second-year opportunity includes a paid internship and courses in gerontology-focused policies, programs, and treatment methods.

Specialization in Aging for Advanced Standing and Part-Time Students

If you intend to enter the MSW program with advanced standing, you need to let us know that you want to be considered for this opportunity when you apply for admission to the MSW program.  

Part-time students should apply during their second year to avoid missing required classes.

Prepare for Social Work Practice with a Focus in Mental Health

The Albany Internships in Mental Health (AIMH) is a competitive internship for clinical concentration students seeking intensive integration of classroom and field placement experiences in advanced mental health practice.

As an AIMH student you learn to use evidenced-based mental health interventions in community-based field placements specially designated by the New York State Office of Mental Health.  You participate in a colloquium series and seminar in Evidence-Based Practice and Mental Health.  Stipends are available for AIMH students, who apply to the internship near the end of their generalist field placement.

For more information email or call 518-442-5320.

SSW Stock


Combined MSW/PhD Program

The joint MSW/PhD program allows qualified students to earn the MSW and PhD degrees with 86 credits instead of the 96 required to earn the degrees separately. Students who complete the program can potentially gain licensure as an LMSW or LCSW and provide direct service as well as pursue careers in academia or research.

The combined program is designed for students with excellent academic preparation, leadership potential, and a strong interest in conducting research on issues relevant for social work practice or social welfare policy.

Learn more in the Graduate Bulletin.

Becoming a Licensed Social Worker

Social work is a regulated profession, which means you need to obtain a state license to practice.

When you finish the master’s program at UAlbany, you receive a one-year limited permit to practice social work in New York State (NYS) under the supervision of a licensed master social worker (LMSW) or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

To become a NYS-licensed master social worker (LMSW), you must meet specific education and experience criteria and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Masters Social Work Licensing Exam.

As a CSWE-accredited program, the UAlbany Master of Social Work fulfills the education requirement for the master social worker license in New York. Review all LMSW requirements for New York State.

Obtaining Your Clinical Social Work License

To become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York, you must first obtain your LMSW, gain three years of experience in specific areas of practice, and take a clinical social work exam before applying for clinical licensure.

Review NYS clinical social work license requirements.

Acquiring a Social Work License in Other States

Social work licensing criteria vary by state and do not automatically transfer between states. While LMSW education and exam qualifications are similar across the country, supervised experience requirements vary.

Find social work license requirements in different states

Continuing Education Requirements

After you obtain your license to practice social work in New York, you need to renew your registration every three years. Before you can renew, you must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education units (CEUs).

The School of Social Welfare offers a variety of continuing education programs and workshops for your professional development and to help keep your knowledge and social work license registration up to date.

Browse all continuing education providers approved by the New York State Office of the Professions

Non-Degree Option


With our non-degree option you can explore the field of social work by taking some classes prior to committing to the MSW program.

If you are seeking to get a head start on coursework, demonstrate your capability to do graduate-level work, or obtain a better understanding of what will be required as a student in the program, non-degree study is an excellent option.

Two students walking in front of the UAlbany Downtown Campus

"I love the diversity of the program. From faculty to curriculum, I truly feel this school cares about providing a well-rounded educational experience that includes cultural competency and how to keep humility and sensitivity in mind as a social worker."

- Elisa Kim, MSW student

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Social Welfare
  • Demonstrate a strong sense of professional self.
  • Constructively use supervision and consultation appropriate to the area of practice.
  • Are committed to and able to identify knowledge and skills for continuing personal and professional development. Integrate professional attitudes, values, and ethics in practice.
  • Critically assessing and applying relevant practice theories and models for their differential application to varied clients and problems.
  • Differentially applying practice knowledge and skills in varied settings. Working with clients from diverse backgrounds and cultures in a nondiscriminatory manner that maximizes client strengths and counters the effects of oppression.
  • Using evidence-based practice and evaluating the effectiveness of the practice.
  • Demonstrating knowledge and proficiency in human behavior and clinical practice skills to work with a range of clients.
  • Integrating policy, organizational and community context in clinical practice that benefits the client.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills. This includes taking responsibility and proactive action appropriate to the situation and engaging others in solving problems.
  • Differentially applying practice knowledge and skills in varied settings. Continuing breadth and depth in basic interviewing, relationship building and intervention skills as applied to complex and advanced clinical practice situations.
  • Work collaboratively with other disciplines in order to benefit clients.


Admissions Requirements