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Social Work

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Westbrook College of Health Professions

School of Social Work

Application materials may be obtained from the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions at 1-207-221-4225. 

The School of Social Work in conjunction with the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions provides  Information Sessions for the Master of Social Work degree program throughout the year.  Some take place on campus and include presentations by students and faculty followed by question and answer sessions and the opportunity to meet one-on-one with faculty or staff others take place online in the form of chats.  Please contact the School of Social Work at 207-221-4513 for a schedule of events.


The University of New England School of Social Work embraces a vision of sustainable, equitable, diverse communities committed to universal human rights and social and economic justice. From this perspective, health is identified as physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.  The mission of the School of Social Work is to educate a diverse cadre of professional social workers who will translate this vision into practice, to produce applied and evidence-based knowledge to push this vision forward, and to  create and sustain interdisciplinary and collaborative partnerships with communities toward this vision. 

We are committed to human dignity, diversity, and self-determination and the struggle against domination, exploitation, and violence in all forms.  Our vision is firmly grounded in human resilience, capacity building, and the potential for individual and collective transformation at all systemic levels and within all organizations.  This includes a professional obligation to combat and dismantle barriers to human dignity and to advocate for resource equity and social justice.  We respect people’s memberships in groups and communities distinguished by class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and culture while honoring each person’s individuality. Our program advances growth and change, global and local equity, and relational connection among all people.

As a program within the Westbrook College of Health Professions, the School embraces a comprehensive definition of health as a state of complete physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. We believe that health, defined in this way, is a universal right. The majority of human suffering is embedded in inequity in the distribution of resources, with vulnerable populations at greatest risk. Thus, our focus is on changing those structures and relationships that foster the inequities that undermine the promotion of health. The School realizes this goal by teaching empowering theories for practice and developing collaborative relationships based on mutuality and respect, at all levels, from direct practice to societal movements.

Major Description

The School of Social Work prepares people for advanced professional practice and is accredited to offer the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree by the Council on Social Work Education. MSW graduates learn to understand the potential for individual and collective human development when people live with dignity and social justice; to identify people's strengths across diverse populations and how to build upon them; to understand the multiple social, cultural, political and economic factors influencing the design, development and evaluation of social policies and programs; to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out multiple social work interventions consistent with the School's mission and the profession's ethics; and to develop intervention strategies that empower individuals, families, groups, or communities.

The MSW degree offers graduates the opportunity to play active roles in health and mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, poverty and public welfare, women's and children's services, domestic violence, homelessness, and other emerging areas of service delivery. The program prepares graduates to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in an array of settings and with diverse populations. The values and commitments embedded in the School's Mission Statement permeate our work in every area.

Program Options

The School of Social Work offers several options for those interested in getting their MSW degree: a traditional face-to-face option, a flipped/hybrid option (called FISH_E classes) and an online option.  In the campus-based and flipped/hybrid option, students attend classes at the Portland campus.  Flipped/Hybrid classes meet every third week on campus and in the intervening weeks meet online. The online option is a fully online degree that does not require the student to come to campus.  All options use the same curriculum taught by the School faculty.  In addition to our regular 2 year full-time program and part-time options,we feature an accelerated option that enables students to obtain an MSW degree in as little as 16 months.  This innovative design incorporates a summer semester in the second year and two field placement experiences.

Program Goals

  1. Prepare competent Master-level professional social workers who at every system level:
    • Challenge the inequities of existing social, political, economic and cultural institutions and relationships.
    • Create collaborative, sustainable and health-promoting relationships and communities.
  2. Develop and apply value-based, theory-driven and evidence-guided empowering social work practice.
  3. Provide leadership to advance equitable social structures and practices for human health and well-being.

These goals are carefully specified as learning objectives and permeate our curriculum. Through their presence in courses, fieldwork internships, and internal School governance we bring our Mission Statement to life.


The School of Social Work at the University of New England is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education to offer the master's degree in social work.



To be considered for admission, you must have

  • Completed a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. (If degree is in progress at time of acceptance, degree must be completed prior to matriculation.)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is preferred.  (If your GPA is lower, please address this in your personal statement.)
  • Evidence of work or volunteer experience in the human service field with MSW supervision.

Note: Before matriculation, accepted applicants will be expected to meet all health immunization requirements; to obtain a physical examination with proof of up-to-date immunization status.  Please visit Student Health Care for details. 

As required by clinical training sites, students may be subject to criminal background checks and drug screens prior to matriculation, and periodically throughout the MSW program.


  • Applications for admission are submitted through UNE’s online application which includes:
    • A personal essay addressing:
      • Your views on social justice, cultural diversity and human dignity with reference to the School of Social Work’s mission statement,
      • Your thoughts about the most pressing issues facing our society; the ways we, as social workers, should respond to these issues; and your personal involvement working on these issues, if applicable.
      • Your assessment of your personal strengths and areas in need of development relative to
    • The names and emails of two (2) education/professional reference letter writers as part of the application. (These should not be friends or family members.)
    • Submission of a current resume.
    • Submission of official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions, 716 Stevens Avenue, Portland, ME, 04103.
    • Applications are reviewed as they are completed. Decisions are made on a rolling basis and continue throughout the year until the class is full or the program starts. 
    • Since field planning is an important part of our program, applicants are encouraged to apply early to give us time to help you find a suitable field placement. (Scholarship and grant funds are limited and are awarded on a rolling basis as well.)
    • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution. . See International Admissions
    • International applicants must submit the International Student Supplemental Application Form at time of acceptance to the university, do not submit at time of application.
    • All applicants to UNE must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university.  UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency, see International Admissions. English Proficiency requirement must be completed at the time of application.

Policy exceptions

The Master of Social Work program and the SSW Admissions Committee reserve the right to make exceptions to the admissions criteria and to make changes or exceptions to policies and procedures, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.

Transfer Credit

transfer credit

  • The University of New England does accept graduate transfer credit from other graduate social work institutions accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
    • Generally, we will accept credit transfers for one full year of graduate social work education.
    • Transfer students must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours at UNE’s School of Social Work to earn a degree from the university. 
    • You must have a minimum grade of “B” in all courses and acceptable field work evaluation.   
    • You must have completed graduate work within seven years of admission to UNE or have substantial practical social work experience.
  • Transfer students with less than one full year of graduate education must meet the following requirements:
    • Requests for transfer of credit must be initiated at the time of application, and no later than beginning of attendance as a degree-seeking student
    • Graduate coursework must be accepted by the SSW as having a direct relevance to the program of study at UNE
    • A maximum of nine credit hours for graduate credits earned in another discipline may be transferred toward elective credit, provided the credits were not taken as part of an earned graduate degree at another institution.
    • Graduate credit earned from a completed graduate program of study in another discipline will not be considered for transfer into the SSW.  Waivers of requirements, without award of credit will be reviewed by faculty for consideration
    • Applicants wishing to apply for transfer of credit must provide the SSW with written petition along with the following documents:
      • Official transcript indicating course was completed with a grade of “B” or better
      • Copy of the course description, syllabi, or bibliographies in which the course and course assignments are described.


  • Qualified graduates of BSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may be considered for Advanced Standing under the following conditions:
    • Graduation from a CSWE accredited BSW program within five to seven years of enrollment in the School of Social Work
    • Minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA for the last 60 credit hours of the BSW program.
    • Review by the Admissions Committee
    •  Evidence of work or volunteer experience in the human service field with MSW supervision preferred.
  • Students admitted into advanced standing for the campus-based option are required to enroll in one 3-credit course prior to starting the fall semester (Capstone Project I).

For additional information on the admissions process and requirements, please access the School of Social Work website.


Applicants may not receive academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience.

Curricular Requirements

Students in the campus-based and flipped/hybrid options may choose to complete their degree in as little as 16 months.  Students may also attend for the traditional 2 years, or attend part-time for up to 4 years.  Online students can apply to take the program in 3 or 4 years.   In addition, the School of Social Work offers advanced standing status to qualified graduates of accredited BSW programs (See Advanced Standing). Advanced Standing has both full-time and part-time options for campus-based students and a part-time option for online students.

At no extra cost students may also earn a Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice by utilizing their electives and Capstone classes to explore how creative processes can be powerful forces of social and individual change.

All students are required to complete 64 credit hours of graduate study divided between classroom and fieldwork education. Field placements, or internships, consist of four semesters of supervised practice in approved social work settings; each semester includes 280 hours of practice experience. The curriculum is designed to provide an integrated foundation or knowledge base and advanced skills for social work practice within a concentration (individual, family, and group practice or organizational and community social work practice).

Foundation year courses emphasize an integrated social work perspective involving the social context and its impact on social policy, programs, and the social work profession. Courses include Human Behavior and the Social Environment I and II; Social Work Policy and Programs I and II; Social Work Practice I and II; Foundations of Research I and Capstone I; and Field Integrating Seminars I and II. In addition, students spend 560 hours in a field setting, which permits students another learning mode through placements in social agencies and programs with structured on-site professional supervision.

Advanced-year concentrations are offered in clinical practice with individuals, families and groups practice (IFG), and organization and community social work practice (OCP).  The individual, family and group practice (IFG) concentration prepares students with knowledge and skills for advanced practice primarily focused on individuals, families and groups in multiple settings.   The OCP concentration provides students with knowledge and skills in an array of advanced practice roles in the areas of program and policy development, administration, supervision, political advocacy, community practice and evaluation.  Both concentrations prepare graduates for professional leadership positions within their communities.  Both are enriched by a selection of electives.

Year One - Foundation   
SSW 501 Human Behavior & the Social Environment I 3
SSW 502 Human Behavior & the Social Environment II 3
SSW 505 Social Welfare Policy and Programs I 3
SSW 506 Social Welfare Policy and Programs II 3
SSW 503 Social Work Research I 3
SSW 504 Social Work Research II (online)
SSW 595 Capstone Project I (Campus-based)

SSW 510 Social Work Practice I 3
SSW 511 Social Work Practice II 3
SSW 520 Field Practicum I/Seminar 4
SSW 522 Field Practicum II/Seminar 4
Year One Total 32
Year Two - Concentration 3
SSW 552 Contemporary Theory of Social Work Practice for Individuals and Families (IFG)
or SSW 564 Program Dev & Community Practice (OCP)
SSW 553 Advanced Social Work Practice with Families (IFG)
or SSW 565 Administration and Supervision (OCP)
SSW 597 Advanced Psychosocial Assessment (Required for IFG; elective for OCP) 3
SSW 695 SSW Capstone II (Campus-based)
Elective (Online)

SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar 4
SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar 4
SSW 697 Capstone III (Campus-based)
Elective (Online)
Elective 3
Elective 3
Elective 3
Year Two Total 32
Total Program 64
Advanced Standing Program On-Campus  
Foundation year waived with BSW from CSWE accredited program  
SSW 552 Contemporary Theory of Social Work Practice for Individuals and Families
or SSW 564 Program Dev & Community Practice
SSW 553 Advanced Social Work Practice with Families
or SSW 565 Administration and Supervision
SSW 597 Advanced Psychosocial Assessment (Required for IFG; elective for OCP) 3
SSW 595 Capstone I 3
SSW 695 Capstone II 3
SSW 697 Capstone III 3
SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar 4
SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar 4
SSW Elective 3
SSW Elective 3
SSW Elective 3
Total Advanced Standing On-campus Program (with BSW) 35
Advanced Standing Program Online  
Foundation year waived with BSW from CSWE accredited program  
SSW 515 Integrating Micro/Macro Framework 2.5
SSW 525 Introduction to Advanced Practice 2.5
SSW 552 Contemporary Theory of SW Practice Indv & Family
Or SSW 564 Program Development & Community Practice
SSW 553 Advanced Social Work Practice w/ Families
Or SSw 565 Administration and Supervision
SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar 4
SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar 4
SSW 597 Advanced Psychosocial Assessment (Required for IFG; elective for OCP) 3
SSW 514 Program Evaluation 3
SSW Elective 3
SSW Elective 3
SSW Elective 3
SSW Elective 3
Total Advanced Standing Online Program (with BSW) 37
Academic Policy

Westbrook College of Health Professions Graduate Program Progression Policies and Procedures

Grading System

The School of Social Work has a letter grading system (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C- and F).  Students in the program are expected to maintain a "B" (3.0) average over the course of their study.  Any student who fails two or more classes is dismissed from the program.

Incomplete Policy

A student who believes she/he is unable to complete the work for a given course by the end of the term or semester may apply for an extension by discussing this with the instructor and completing a Request for Incomplete Form (available in the SSW office). At the time of this meeting, a plan must be agreed upon for completion of the course work, including a date of completion, not to exceed four weeks following the end date of the course for on-campus incompletes and seven (7) days for online incompletes. This form must be completed by the last day of class for the given course. Any student who does not follow the above guidelines will receive an F for the course. In exceptional circumstances (death in family, significant illness, accident), an additional extension may be requested. Any such request must be reviewed and signed by the School director.

Course Add/Drop or Withdrawal

Course changes (add/drops) are allowed during the first five days of classes for on-campus students and first three days of classes for online students; tuition may be adjusted dependent upon number of hours enrolled. After the first week of classes no refunds are made for course changes.

A matriculated student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty (a grade of W is assigned) at any time during the first two-thirds of the course. If withdrawal occurs after that date, the grade of WP (withdrew passing) or WF (withdrew failing) will be entered, subject to determination by the instructor. The grade of WF is computed in the grade point average.

Repeat Course Policy

MSW students may repeat a course in the event of a failing grade if that is the recommendation of the Student Development Committee. However, only the second or last course will receive credit on the student's transcript.

Upon completion of a repeated course, a new listing and assigned grade are placed on the student's transcript. The original course listing and grade remain on the student's transcript and will be counted as one of the two failed classes a student is allowed prior to dismissal from the program. 

All courses are listed chronologically on the transcript by semester or academic period in which the student is enrolled.


A student who has officially withdrawn can reapply through the Office of Admissions. Special consideration for students who leave the School in good standing will be given if their application for readmission is received within two years of their departure from the MSW program. Applications for readmission received more than two years from withdrawal will be considered as new applications.

Returning Students

Students who leave the School in good standing prior to completion of the requirements for the MSW degree are given special consideration for readmission. Credit is not given, however, for graduate work completed more than five years prior to the student's readmission.

Financial Information

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Graduation Requirements

Students must successfully complete all courses prior to graduation and fulfill all curriculum requirements.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2014-2015 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication May 30, 2014.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.