Master of Social Work (School Focus Area)


Dr. Martha Sheridan, Coordinator of School Social Work Focus Area
Hall Memorial Building, Room S338C

The master of social work program at Gallaudet University prepares students for advanced social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills to enter the profession as practitioners in various settings, such as schools, health care agencies, family and child welfare agencies, mental health settings, disability organizations, corrections agencies, organizations that provide services to senior citizens, etc. Graduates possess knowledge and skills in areas of direct generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Graduates may practice in areas such as policy, research, program development, and agency and community work.

The MSW program consists of 60 credit hours of study. The foundation curriculum consists of courses in eight core curriculum areas: human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, research, field education, values and ethics, diversity, and populations at risk, including social and economic justice. Foundation students attend a concurrent field practicum with courses, entering the field of practice for two eight-hour days a week at an internship site. Students complete the first year of study with approximately 500 hours of field practicum experience in addition to course and lab credit.

The advanced curriculum concentration courses consist of advanced content in all of the curriculum areas. Graduates expand and deepen knowledge and skills acquired during the foundation year and develop special knowledge and skills needed for practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Students in the advanced year have a full semester of courses in the fall semester and a full block placement in the spring semester with two online courses. During the spring semester, students are placed in settings that require advanced social work practice skills. Students work at their internship sites for four eight-hour days, totaling thirty-two hours per week or 512 hours for the semester in addition to two online courses. At the completion of the second year of study, students graduate with 12 credits of field practicum (approximately 1012 hours of field practicum) and 50 course credits.

Students in the MSW program may apply to participate in a school social work focus area which is part of Gallaudet's Educator Preparation Providers Unit, accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Students take courses specifically related to school social work, including school social work policy and school social work practice. Internship experiences during both years take place in school settings or in other education-related agencies. A student may take an approved elective course in order to enhance preparation to work with deaf and hard of hearing children in schools.

MSW students must achieve an ASLPI rating of 2 by the end of their foundation curriculum, prior to taking the qualifying examination and prior to admission into the concentration curriculum. Students are responsible for scheduling their ASLPI evaluations by appointment with the Center for American Sign Language Literacy (CASLL) on the second floor of the Merrill Learning Center early in the fall semester of their first year in the program. ASLPI scheduling at the CASLL only occurs during a two-week sign-up period only at the beginning of the semester. This is the only time during a given semester that MSW students may secure individual interviews.  

Students not reaching the ASLPI rating of 2 in the fall semester must meet with their advisors to develop a plan of activities (ASL classes and interaction activities) which will facilitate skill and rating advancement. It is the student's responsibility to register for these classes and activities, and to schedule subsequent ASLPI evaluations until the required rating is achieved. A rating of 2+ is required for graduation.  Students not achieving the ASLPI rating of 2+ are required to provide a portfolio of documentation which would include the ASLPI or SCPI proficiency level(s) obtained and three letters of recommendation from individuals (internship supervisor, academic advisor, or others), along with everything else the students have done to improve their skills. Then the Social Work Department will make a decision based on that information, the student progress in the M.S.W. program, and the population and setting in which the student aims to work.

For more information on the School Social Work Focus Area, please visit the School Social Work Focus Area webpage

Admissions Procedures for the School Social Work Focus Area

Applicants for the MSW in Social Work must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. For more information, visit the MSW School Focus Area checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Courses' and 'Requirements' tab.