Earn A Clinically Focused MSW Online from Simmons University

The Nation's First School of Clinical Social Work

Earn A Clinically Focused MSW Online from Simmons University

The Nation's First School of Clinical Social Work

Our clinically focused online Master of Social Work (MSW) curriculum incorporates social justice values and a multicultural perspective, preparing you for direct practice in a wide range of clinical settings.

graduate-level credits
field education experiences
hours of field education
As few as 16 months to complete


Online MSW Admissions

The online MSW program offers full-time, part-time, and accelerated tracks, as well as an advanced standing track for BSW graduates, so you can earn your degree at the pace that best fits your lifestyle. The program can be completed in as few as 16 months or as many as 32 months. Our supportive, hands-on program enables you to connect with your classmates and professors and build relationships that continue after graduation through one-on-one time with faculty during online office hours and study groups with fellow students.

There are five cohort start dates per year, and admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Learn how to apply for our next cohort.

The January 2020 Cohort Priority Deadline Is November 8, 2019

The January 2020 Cohort Priority Deadline Is November 8, 2019

Online Master of Social Work Curriculum

Online MSW Curriculum

Our faculty delivers thought-provoking lectures online for the SocialWork@Simmons curriculum. As a student, you will learn about different theoretical frameworks and practice methods, including:

  • ecological systems theory
  • human development
  • sociocultural theory
  • psychodynamic theory
  • cognitive behavioral theory
  • solution-focused therapy
  • motivational interviewing
  • ecological systems theory
  • human development
  • sociocultural theory
  • psychodynamic theory
  • cognitive behavioral theory
  • solution-focused therapy
  • motivational interviewing

Upon graduation, you will emerge with a repertoire of evidence-informed approaches and interventions to use in your own practice.

Pursue a Certificate With Your MSW

As an online MSW student, you may choose to pursue a certificate program in which you will gain advanced skills in a specific area of interest through a structured sequence of courses. SocialWork@Simmons certificate program options include:

Practice With Groups & Families

Develop the practice expertise to work with complex client systems, such as groups and families, and assist the individuals within them.

Mental Health Practice

Work with clients with severe and concurrent mental health conditions to manage symptoms and achieve wellness and recovery.

Trauma Practice

Gain the skills to work with populations affected by trauma in a variety of settings, including schools, prison systems, and health facilities.

By earning a certificate with your MSW, you will develop the advanced skills and understanding to pursue careers in your focus area. Certificate programs will be available beginning with the September 2019 cohort. To apply to a certificate program, you will need to apply with your MSW application.

Online MSW Courses of Study

After completing the online MSW program’s generalist courses, you may proceed to the specialized curriculum, where you will learn advanced social work skills. As an advanced-level student, if you are not already pursuing a certificate, you will have the option to choose one of four specialized courses of study that allow you to pursue elective courses in the areas of social work that interest you most. Specialization options include:

Child and Family

Trauma and Interpersonal Violence

Mental Health and Addictions

Health and Aging

You may also customize your specialized curriculum to suit your specific career interests and goals in an individualized course of study.

View the online Master of Social Work courses.

Field Education

Field education is the cornerstone of the MSW curriculum. Socialwork@Simmons provides students with more than 1,000 hours of practical experience in community settings, allowing them to develop confidence as professional social workers. These hands-on opportunities allow students to integrate what they learn in the classroom into practice.

All SocialWork@Simmons students participate in both generalist and specialized field experiences. Extended-track (8-term) students will fulfill the first term of their generalist field experience in the Field Education Lab. The Field Education Lab is an immersive online course that offers students a supportive environment in which they can practice their skills through simulated client encounters.

Full-time (6-term) and accelerated (4-term) students will complete their first generalist field semester at an agency. Full-time students will be eligible to complete this semester in the Field Education Lab beginning in the March 2020 cohort, and accelerated students will be able to do so beginning with the September 2020 cohort. Students from all tracks move on to complete the specialized field placement in a community-based setting.

Simmons’ dedicated placement team will help you secure a field education placement in or near your community, where you will receive supervision from professional social workers.

Learn more about field education.

Student Experience

Our Online Campus

The SocialWork@Simmons program includes weekly, interactive classes with an average of 20 or fewer students, which provide you the opportunity to discuss social work concepts and practice. Live classes allow you to speak directly with a diverse group of classmates and expert faculty, who are dedicated, distinguished clinicians. As a student, you will have 24/7 access to all tools, features, and course content.

Each week via HD streaming video, you will attend live online classes that bring students and faculty face-to-face in real time. The online classroom takes advantage of dynamic sharing and collaboration features that are designed to enhance students’ learning experiences. Tools and functionality include:

  • Small-group breakout rooms
  • Video and document sharing
  • Live chats, surveys, and polls
  • Collaborative content annotation
  • Screen-sharing capabilities
  • Full class recordings

Community is core to the SocialWork@Simmons experience. The program offers multiple opportunities outside of the classroom to establish meaningful, lasting connections with peers and faculty: 

  • Participate in student life, mentoring, and enrichment opportunities, such as the Student Leadership Council or the First Generation Mentoring Program.
  • Get to know fellow students during your weekly free block, when no classes are scheduled.
  • Take a trip to Boston to celebrate graduation and create lasting memories with your faculty and classmates.

Student Support

You will receive comprehensive support that begins the moment you request information about SocialWork@Simmons.

During the admissions process, you will work with a dedicated admissions counselor who is available to answer questions about the program and the application process. Upon admission to SocialWork@Simmons, you are assigned an adviser who can meet with you face-to-face via the online platform throughout the program.

As part of your field education, you will work with our field placement team to find an appropriate internship site in or near your community.

Access Hundreds of Workspaces Worldwide

WeWork is a coworking community that offers its members inspiring work environments around the world. SocialWork@Simmons students can use WeWork locations as additional study spaces through a Global Access membership. Students who live or travel near a WeWork location can conveniently reserve workstations, collaborate with classmates, and network with other professionals at WeWork events.

What Is Clinical Social Work?

Clinical social work draws on models of therapeutic practice, theories of human development, relational and group process, cultural learning, and social policy in the service of individuals, groups, families, and communities. It is also based on the assumption that people have the capacity for growth, change, and adaptation.

Clinical social workers use evidence-informed approaches to intervention and treatment, and they practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, mental health centers, family agencies, Veterans Affairs centers, and private practice.

Our online Master of Social Work degree program, SocialWork@Simmons, is grounded in the profession’s history and commitment to social justice and guided by a professional code of ethics, preparing aspiring social workers to understand client problems, issues, and needs.


Request Information About the Online MSW

Learn more about the SocialWork@Simmons academic experience by requesting information today.

Become a Licensed Social Worker

Many employment opportunities in the social work field require licensure. A Master of Social Work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited college or university is required to pursue social work licensure in most states, including Massachusetts.

Through SocialWork@Simmons, students graduate prepared to pursue licensure as a clinical social worker in Massachusetts1 and other states. Job responsibilities for licensed clinicians vary based on the professional setting, but they are likely to include the following tasks:

  • Diagnosing disorders
  • Creating treatment plans
  • Conducting individual, family, and group sessions
  • Campaigning for policy changes

Learn more about social work licensure.

Simmons School of Social Work

Simmons School of Social Work is the first school of clinical social work in the country. Since 1904 we have trained social workers for clinical practice, working to facilitate positive change for individuals, families, groups, and communities.

Our online Master of Social Work program, SocialWork@Simmons, allows our students and alumni to put theory into action around the country, addressing the social problems affecting contemporary society and driving real change for those most in need.


Simmons School of Social Work is accredited by the CSWE. Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, the United States’ regional accreditation association providing educational accreditation at all levels of postsecondary education.

A Warm, Inclusive Student Experience

“When I started the program, I was concerned that I would feel isolated and not forge friendships with my peers. I was pleasantly surprised that on a virtual platform I was not only able to get to know my classmates but also make a handful of close friends that have become an important part of my life.”

— Nichole Leary, ’17


Take the Next Step

SocialWork@Simmons prepares you to not only pursue licensure as a clinical social worker but also to advocate for social justice as an activist practitioner who provides psychosocial support in your community. Earn your MSW online from Simmons School of Social Work.

1 Because licensure requirements vary from state to state, please be sure to contact your state’s social work licensing board to learn more about specific requirements for becoming a licensed social worker. Return to footnote reference