Graduate Programs

MSW Program Mission Statement

The Master of Social Work Program at Gallaudet University prepares its graduates to become competent and ethical professional social workers who are committed to social change, the promotion of societal well-being, and commitment to the improvement of service delivery to deaf and hard of hearing populations.  The program emphasizes the cultural and linguistic competencies necessary to work effectively with diverse deaf, hearing and hard of hearing populations and to become advocates and leaders who challenge long standing social injustices faced by this population.  The program curriculum uses a generalist social work perspective and person-in-environment framework which emphasizes the core values of the social work profession: service, human rights, social and economic justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, and integrity and competence in social work practice.  The core competencies of the social work profession, including scientific inquiry, are integral to the MSW curriculum, which emphasizes the strengths and capacities of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in a global society.

MSW Program

The master of social work program at Gallaudet University prepares students for advanced social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Graduates will possess the knowledge and skills to enter the profession as practitioners in the various settings in which social workers practice, such as:

  • public welfare
  • health care
  • family and child welfare
  • mental health
  • developmental disability
  • corrections
  • substance abuse
  • aging

The graduate of this program will possess knowledge and skills in areas of direct practice with:

  • individuals
  • families
  • groups
  • organizations and communities

In addition, our MSW graduates are prepared for areas of indirect practice such as:

  • policy development
  • program evaluation
  • research

Iris Ziegler, left, a current student stands with Janis Pressley, a graduate of the program and Iris' field instructor.

Program of Study: Master of Social Work

The first year consists of the foundation courses in five curriculum areas:

  • human behavior and the social environment
  • social welfare policy
  • social work practice
  • research
  • field practicum

The concentration consists of advanced content in all the curriculum areas, expanding and deepening knowledge and skills acquired during the foundation year and preparing the student with the special knowledge and skills needed for social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. 

The MSW program consists of 60 credit hours. American Sign Language courses in the ASL and Deaf Studies Department are strongly recommended. The field practicum entails fieldwork for two days a week, or 250 hours a semester, for the first two semesters of the program.

During the second or advanced year, students attend a block internship. For their final semester, students may elect to do their placements out of state or in another country.

The advanced curriculum, in the second year of the full-time program, is a concentration on the professional knowledge, skills, and values required for social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Among the areas included in the advanced concentration are:

  • the experiences of deaf and hard of hearing people through the life span
  • deaf culture
  • diversity within deaf and hard of hearing communities
  • working with interpreters
  • social work with families with one or more deaf members
  • social work with deaf and blind people and deaf people with multiple disabilities
  • social work with deafened children, adolescents, and adults
  • aging and hearing loss
  • developing programs and services for deaf and hard of hearing people
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • advocacy and empowerment in deaf communities
  • research on deaf and hard of hearing issues, and evaluation of programs and services for deaf people
  • working with advocacy and self-help groups
  • social work with groups of deaf and hard of hearing people

Part-time Options

Students may wish to enroll on a less than full-time basis. Part-time options are available on a three-year schedule. The program must be completed within three years. The course plans are designed to preserve sequential learning.

Additional Information

Visit the Graduate School's Web site to learn more about the courses offered by the Department of Social Work.

Honor Society Information PDF

MSW Program Student Handbook PDF

MSW Program Field Practicum Manual PDF

Student Concern Form PDF

For the program of study and requirements for the MSW in Social Work, click the link "Program of Study" in the right-side menu.

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