Academics FAQs

General Questions

How long does it take to complete the online Master of Social Work (MSW) program?

The full online MSW program can be completed in as few as 30 months, but students who require a part-time commitment can extend their coursework to a maximum of four years.

How long do individual courses within the program last?

Each individual course lasts eight weeks. Fieldwork assignments cover a total of 30 weeks and are arranged at the beginning of each academic year.

How much time will I have to dedicate to classes each week?

As a full-time program, students should expect to commit 35-45 hours per week.

How will I receive grades?

Grades will be posted in the online student portal.

Are faculty accessible outside of planned class hours?

Absolutely. Wurzweiler faculty work to maintain close interaction with all students, providing one-on-one consultation and advisement as needed, and will remain highly accessible to you throughout the program. After registering for the program, you will receive direct contact information for all faculty associated with your coursework and will also be able to engage them through discussion boards in the online learning management system.

How are fieldwork placements conducted for online students?

They must find field placements on their own, but they must be approved by our Director of Fieldwork and must meet CSWE guidelines for supervision. Students pursuing an additional certification or credential must complete their second-year advanced fieldwork in agencies or organizations related to their specialization.

Download our Fieldwork Planning FAQ document for more information.

How many credit hours are required to complete the program?

The full MSW program requires 60 credit hours to complete. Students accepted to Advanced Standing will require 30 credit hours to complete the program.

If I am an Advanced Standing student, can I still choose to earn a specialization?

Advanced Standing students are only required to complete two electives to earn their MSW. They must opt to take an additional 3-credit elective to earn the Gerontology and Palliative Care Embedded Certification or the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) Credentialing.

Can I decide to earn a specialization after starting my MSW coursework?

While students can start in the general-track MSW program and later decide to earn the Geri/Pall certification or the CASAC credential, they must do so before taking their first elective course. Please connect with your Student Success Coordinator to determine if this option is available to you.

I currently work at a social service agency. Can I receive credit for fieldwork in this role?

Students do not receive credit for current work, but can have their placement at their current job, providing they can be supervised by someone accredited and approved and are performing duties outside of their current job for their field hours. Students are not paid for fieldwork hours.

What are the requirements for my field placement in order to meet the CASAC criteria?

For students participating in the Joint MSW/CASAC Credentialing program, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work will make every effort to place you in a field site where your hours will count towards the 2000 post-MSW training hours required to become a full CASAC-II. In the right circumstances, up to 1200 hours may count (all of your field hours), leaving you only 800 more supervised hours post-MSW to earn the CASAC-II.

The Office of Substance Abuse Services and Supports (OASAS) is the final determiner of what will be accepted. There are very specific written and published guidelines concerning what “counts,” and to what degree.

An approved work setting, according to the CASAC Field Placement Guidelines, is one of the following:

  1. It is operated by OASAS (i.e., Addiction Treatment Centers) and/or it holds a valid OASAS operating certificate to provide treatment (your best option).
  2. It is a program that includes alcoholism and/or substance abuse treatment consistent with OASAS’ standards and is licensed and/or operated by another recognized State or Federal authority, for example Office of Mental Health, Veterans Administration or Indian Health Services.
  3. It is a non-certified setting which involves the legal provision of chemical dependency services and which affords the opportunity to establish proficiency in one or more of the professional competencies associated with a credential administered by OASAS and on-site supervision by a Qualified Health Professional (QHP) meeting the supervisory standards established by OASAS. Only 50 percent of the required work experience may be obtained in this work setting.If you choose work setting #3, you may not be authorized to provide individual/group counseling (chemical dependence) and/or treatment planning. Provision of such services may require OASAS certification.As part of field experience, CASAC students must have a minimum of 300 hours of specific supervised practical training. Each of the following 12 Core Functions must have been performed for a minimum of 10 hours, under the supervision of a QHP and licensed or credentialed professional. See the CASAC application for further detail.The safest work setting (placement) for ensuring that your hours count is #1 above.Work diligently to see that you practice the right amount of time in each function, track it on a draft of the application sheet and have it signed off on by your Qualified Health Professional supervisor.When in doubt about your placement hours counting, work directly with OASAS Credentialing.

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