brusselsprout

10+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2008
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I am interested in attending a clinically oriented MSW program. I have identified a number of programs that have the clinical concentration track. However, it appears that there is a great variation within schools that have that clinical concentration. Some schools with a clinical concentration seem to offer more chances to take electives such as "cognitive-behavioral therapy," etc. Also some schools just offer more clinical courses than others.

It seems like NYU and Smith are two really clinically oriented schools. However, because of geographical constraints, I'm not able to consider those schools but instead am trying to figure out which schools will offer me the best clinical training and experience. Is there a list somewhere with this info? If not, what are some good ways to tell from the info on a website if the school is more clinically focused? For example, one school that has a clinical concentration requires students to write a research paper in their second year. It seems like this "eats up" 3 credits with a research paper class--something I am not interested in when I could be taking an extra clinical course in its place.
 

thepsychgeek

10+ Year Member
Apr 28, 2008
159
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Psychology Student
I am interested in attending a clinically oriented MSW program. I have identified a number of programs that have the clinical concentration track. However, it appears that there is a great variation within schools that have that clinical concentration. Some schools with a clinical concentration seem to offer more chances to take electives such as "cognitive-behavioral therapy," etc. Also some schools just offer more clinical courses than others.

It seems like NYU and Smith are two really clinically oriented schools. However, because of geographical constraints, I'm not able to consider those schools but instead am trying to figure out which schools will offer me the best clinical training and experience. Is there a list somewhere with this info? If not, what are some good ways to tell from the info on a website if the school is more clinically focused? For example, one school that has a clinical concentration requires students to write a research paper in their second year. It seems like this "eats up" 3 credits with a research paper class--something I am not interested in when I could be taking an extra clinical course in its place.
Many schools will have you writing some sort of research paper over your course at school, which will ultimately lead to your thesis (fun, eh?). Consider it something to buff up your skills, rather than something that "eats up" your credits.

The problem isn't what schools are clinical or not, but how they appeal to what YOU want from a clinical program. I wish I could be more specific, but since I'm applying to schools like Smith and NYU (on the east coast), I don't know much about outside the area. Instead of trying to figure out if they're "clinical" or not, look at individual programs, and see how they apply to you.

Re: Smith and location, why is that an issue? Can you not get to MA for the summer? Or is it that you can't travel at all? Because the block schedule at Smith means you're out on placement for the "academic year" (and you have to write a research paper while you're at it!). Smith, Hunter, and NYU are the big-name clinical schools on the E.C. that I know of.
 

WannaBeDrMe

10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
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The "eating up" credits part disturbs me... grad school is gradschool and things are in place for a reason. Granted, I have only looked into the master's programs at a handful of schools compared to the big picture... but all of them had a thesis or capstone paper project that was required for graduation. Just like other masters degrees, you must be accepted for candidacy, pass comprehensives (sometimes, I did, but I think that might have been b/c I did a dual degree, not sure if the other SW kids did too), submit a proposal and write up the resaerch... capstones are even worse sometimes because it seems there are more stages to the work being completed...no way to cut corners and save time b/c the work is integrated into everything you do....

Not many programs just let you go in and build your own courses from the ground up... but luckily, a few are flexible. No one says you can't take MORE than the required hours for your degree. If you fear the eating up credits, take more credits each semester, 1 extra class at a time... find a way to make it work for you.

I don't believe anyone should practice if they haven't had the foundations courses. It is absolutely critical to understand ethical issues, legal issues, exposure to the different types of practice out there (generalist courses), history courses, and especially research... but that's just my bias.

Good luck to you, I hpe you find smoething that makes it work for you
 
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brusselsprout

10+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2008
7
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Hi,

Thanks for your responses. I've done lots of research on schools that would work and NYU and Smith look great but the problem is I'm married and a mom and so I have to stay in my current geographical area or another close area where my husband can find a job. So while NYU and Smith really appeal to me because they offer a ton of great electives that I'm interested in, unfortunately they won't work for practical reasons. Haven't heard of Hunter but I think that's in NY and that won't work either.

If anyone can suggest other clinical schools on the East Coast or midwest I'd love to hear about them. In the meantime, in the areas I'm considering, I haven't found any schools that appeal to me as much as those two. For instance, Bryn Mawr is a school I'm considering, but it does not seem to be as clinically focused as I would like.
 

WannaBeDrMe

10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
296
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Hi,

Thanks for your responses. I've done lots of research on schools that would work and NYU and Smith look great but the problem is I'm married and a mom and so I have to stay in my current geographical area or another close area where my husband can find a job. So while NYU and Smith really appeal to me because they offer a ton of great electives that I'm interested in, unfortunately they won't work for practical reasons. Haven't heard of Hunter but I think that's in NY and that won't work either.

If anyone can suggest other clinical schools on the East Coast or midwest I'd love to hear about them. In the meantime, in the areas I'm considering, I haven't found any schools that appeal to me as much as those two. For instance, Bryn Mawr is a school I'm considering, but it does not seem to be as clinically focused as I would like.
Is Kansas mid-west? I never know... but I'm a HUGE fan of Kansas's social work people. It isn't clinical on face value... but it's tremendously person centered, organized, well published, intensely involved, etc. Where else on the East coast?? What area specifically? I know a lot about the mid-atlantic schools...

Edit: From Kansas's page...

Clinical Social Work Practice Concentration

Clinical social work practice is the professional application of social work theory and methods to the treatment and prevention of psychosocial problems, disability, or impairment, including emotional and mental disorders. Clinical practice includes the application of assessment and diagnostic strategies, the formation of a treatment plan that may include psychotherapy, counseling, client advocacy, systemic and organizational interventions, consultation and evaluation, and other clinically appropriate interventions with individuals, families, couples, groups, and social systems.
By the end of the student's course of study in the clinical concentration:
  1. Students will complete comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessments and articulate diagnostic impressions with a range of client systems and problems, demonstrating they have taken into consideration client strengths and diversity in their formulations.
  2. Students will develop and implement appropriate intervention plans consistent with advanced understanding and integration of clinical practice theories and models.
  3. Students will demonstrate knowledge and skill in indirect practice to enhance service delivery and client well-being.
  4. Students will demonstrate a thorough and comprehensive level of knowledge for social work in a particular field of practice.
  5. Students will critically analyze theoretical models of clinical practice in relation to challenging the dominant norms and world views that have served to marginalize and oppress persons on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, culture, and other distinguishing characteristics.
  6. Students will engage in clinical social work practice in a manner consistent with social work values and ethics and the themes of the School using appropriate supervision and consultation.
  7. Students will evaluate the effectiveness of their clinical practice interventions by applying systematic evaluation strategies to client outcomes, and subsequently using the feedback from those strategies to modify case plans on an ongoing basis.
 

xenobart

MSW 2010
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 26, 2008
42
1
Status
Psychology Student
I think the best way to find out about how clinically oriented a program is would be to talk to current students (and recent graduates) at the school and see what they say. You'll get the most accurate and most honest responses from them. They might also be able to tell you about the reputations of other programs in the area. For example, I can tell you that among california MSW programs, the UCs are more research / theory oriented and require a thesis, while the cal states are more clinical / practice oriented and require fewer policy and research papers. unfortunately I don't know a lot about east coast programs outside of what's aready been said.
 

biogirl215

10+ Year Member
May 1, 2007
458
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Status
Hi,

Thanks for your responses. I've done lots of research on schools that would work and NYU and Smith look great but the problem is I'm married and a mom and so I have to stay in my current geographical area or another close area where my husband can find a job. So while NYU and Smith really appeal to me because they offer a ton of great electives that I'm interested in, unfortunately they won't work for practical reasons. Haven't heard of Hunter but I think that's in NY and that won't work either.

If anyone can suggest other clinical schools on the East Coast or midwest I'd love to hear about them. In the meantime, in the areas I'm considering, I haven't found any schools that appeal to me as much as those two. For instance, Bryn Mawr is a school I'm considering, but it does not seem to be as clinically focused as I would like.
FWIW, if you are advanced standing at Smith, you can do your field placement anywhere and only have to be in residence for two summers.
 
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