The Master of Social Work with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching in Secondary Education (MSW/CAST) combined program is designed to cultivate school-based practitioners that will have a wide range of skills for supporting vulnerable adolescents and families in urban school contexts. The MSW/CAST curriculum design incorporates the person-in-context approach of social work with culturally relevant secondary teaching methods. As such, graduates will be trained to identify, design, and facilitate programmatic responses to the unique needs of children in schools in urban communities, and also to enhance classroom teaching and student learning through their specialized evidence-based expertise.
The program is efficiently designed to be completed in two calendar years (5 semesters), and has two distinct components. First, the teaching certification portion is a two-semester fall-spring full-time program preparing students to be secondary education teachers (grades 7-12) in one of 5 core disciplines: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Foreign Language. Then starting in the summer of year two, the 3-semester MSW degree experience prepares students for leadership roles in urban education in high need communities. By combining courses of study in the School of Education and School of Social Work, graduates will:
1) Understand the learning environment of students in the urban settings
3) Understand schools as organizations in context
2) Utilize culturally relevant classroom instruction to promote academic growth of adolescents
4) Facilitate intervention programs and student support services that focus on the social and emotional needs of students
Upon successful completion of this combined program graduates will be awarded a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) from our direct practice concentration, and certifications in secondary school teacher (grades 7-12) and school social work (pending praxis and licensure exams for relevant certifications).
Admissions and Prerequisites
Candidates for this combined program will need to enter having completed sufficient credits at the baccalaureate or higher level in fields relevant to one of the five secondary teaching disciplines: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language. If a candidate is from a related field and just shy of credits (e.g. political science), they may choose to take relevant courses prior to enrollment. Also, two education courses (6 total credits) are also required as prerequisites and are available the summer before the start of the program (Foundations of Special Education; Teaching English Language Learners). All prerequisites must be met by the start of the first fall semester of year 1.
Interested candidates should apply to the School of Social Work MSW program and the School of Education Instruction 1 program separately, indicating their interest in the MSW/CAST program where asked in the respective application materials. Applicant qualifications for each school will be reflective of the general standards of each individual program. Candidates who are accepted to both programs will be accepted to the combined program, and will be notified and welcomed to the upcoming cohort.
Coursework. In this uniquely rigorous and efficient program, students will meet an adapted set of the core requirements of both schools, whereby a number of pre-approved courses electives in one program count dually toward course requirements in the other. The total number of credits taken will be 51-54 in Social Work and 22-25 in Education. These credits include required field experiences for both programs.
Fieldwork. The Professional Year (year 1) School of Education field experiences will consist first of ten hours a week during the fall semester observing and teaching in a grade 7-12 classroom alongside an experienced mentor teacher. In the spring semester, the students will complete a full-time student teaching experience in the same classroom. Then in the summer semester following year 1, students will complete their foundation field placement for the School of Social Work. Finally, the concentration field practicum for social work will occur in the fall and spring semesters of year two. This field practicum will be in a primary social work role within a school setting.
Students will pay the tuition of whichever school they are enrolled in for the majority of their credits that term. Specifically, fall and spring Year 1 students will pay School of Education tuition, and the remainder of the program will be paid to the School of Social Work. Significant scholarship support is available to students in the program.
The secondary education focus, along with the 2 calendar year quickened pace, makes MSW/CAST program one-of-a-kind nationally. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to serve as either a School Social Worker or a Classroom Teacher. To the teaching profession, graduates bring therapeutic, person-in-context, and family-relations perspectives that will uniquely equip them to build positive relations and supports for students in particularly challenging contexts. Conversely, a school social worker with teacher training will have enhanced skills to support teachers in identifying effective interventions to address psychosocial issues in the classroom. More broadly, a social work with teacher training will be able to construct and deliver instruction more effectively to impact change and understanding amongst his/her clients, colleagues, and staff.
In sum, graduates of this program are uniquely qualified for, although not limited to, work in high need urban educational environments. Ultimately, this degree is a rare and powerful distinction for individuals looking for enhance their preparation and employability in secondary schools.