Master in Social Work program launch

By on September 4, 2013

This past week, 10 students became the first to attend classes in Quinnipiac’s new Master in Social Work program.

The program consists of 60 credits and is generally completed in two years. The foundation year, or the first 30 credits, exposes students to the basics of the social work field. In addition to their four core classes, full time students spend two days a week in a field placement with a social service agency.

The idea for the program came about in 2010, according to Deborah Rejent, associate professor of social work and the founding director of Masters in Social Work Program.

“Administrators from both the College of Arts and Sciences and Health Sciences noted that there is an increasing demand for social workers in the healthcare field,” Rejent said.

Rejent began the process of launching the program and hiring faculty members in 2010, and officially announced the program this past May.

“We looked at the fact that we now have a graduate campus at North Haven and what degrees might meet with the mission of the university, and social work fit right in,” Rejent said.

Foundation year classes include social welfare policy, research and two courses in human behavior and the social environment. The human behavior courses focus on social science theories, diversity and oppression.

 After completing the foundation curriculum, students can begin the advanced year. Courses include organizational social work, program management, ethics and evaluation research, as well as electives in international social welfare and multicultural practice. The field placement is also increased to three days a week.

 Students will then choose a specialization such as aging, child and family welfare and justice, school social work, health, mental health and substance abuse, Rejent said.

While Quinnipiac’s Master in Social Work is not yet accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, the program has been approved by both the state of Connecticut and the university.

Rejent hopes the process for accreditation will complete in early 2016.

Requirements for acceptance into the program are an undergraduate degree and 20 credits of liberal arts, which Quinnipiac students automatically fulfill. Students also need to have passed a statistics course with a C or higher, and a 3.0 GPA is preferable. The program does not require a specific undergraduate major.

 “There are some natural attractions to social work, like sociology and psychology undergrads, but I’ve also seen students come in with a degree in English or Chemistry,” Rejent said.  “There needs to be an interest in social service, but there’s not one way that it’s required.”

 The program is anticipating a foundation year class of 35 and an advanced class of about the same. Over the next three to five years, the goal is to build the program to between 70 and 90 students.

 The first week went well for the new students, Rejent said. Although like any graduate program, the workload can be initially overwhelming.  

 “They are training for a profession, so it is very demanding, rigorous and time-consuming,” Rejent said. “We’re hoping to help our students recognize the challenges, but also the great rewards. They will learn about the needs of individuals and families, as well as learn about themselves and the clear role they will have in the world to make things better. It’s challenging, but anything that’s worthwhile will be that way.”

A graduate program open house will be held on the North Haven campus on Saturday, Nov. 2.

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