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What is the Reduced Residency program?

The Reduced Residency program was created to give employees of social service agencies and other nonprofit organizations the opportunity to move their careers to the next level by earning an MSW over a period of several (usually three) years. As a Reduced Residency student, you will find that, unlike students in our Two-Year and Extended programs, you will be able to continue working at your agency for the first two years of your degree, while completing foundational coursework that connects your work experience with social work theory. What makes you similar to students in all of our other programs is your desire to receive first-rate field education training that you know only CSSW can provide. Even if you elect to remain at your agency to work in Year 3, you’ll be completing your field requirements in another department. Or you may leave your agency altogether at that point and take a placement organized by the School. For more information, please review the Reduced Residency Guide.


  • Students must request to be admitted to this program when they apply to CSSW, as the application and admission process is specific to this program.
  • The Reduced Residency Program is structured into two periods: the pre-residency period (usually two years of part-time enrollment while continuing to work full-time at a social services organization), and the residency period (a year of full-time enrollment).
  • In addition to the General Requirements, the Reduced Residency Program requires:
    • Full-time employment in a human services organization for at least two years or half-time for at least four years prior to application.
    • Employment during the pre-residency phase of the program at a human services organization in which the student is providing direct practice services. Students who are employed at a human services organization during the pre-residency phase but not providing direct practice services will be responsible for establishing a mechanism that would allow them to meet the direct practice requirements of the program (e.g., by volunteering).
    • Choice of a method compatible with current work responsibilities.
  • Students in this program fulfill the same 60-credit degree requirement as other students enrolled in the School, and earn their Master of Science in Social Work degree through a combination of part-time and full-time study during a period of no fewer than four terms and no longer than four years. In consultation with the Office of Advising, Reduced Residency students develop an academic plan that meets the program requirements.
  • While the School does offer select classes in the evening, it is not possible to complete all program requirements by only taking evening classes. Reduced Residency Program students generally are able to take all background courses in the evening (6-8 p.m.), however most practice courses are only offered during the day or early afternoon.
  • Only students enrolled in the Reduced Residency Program may qualify to use their place of employment as their field placement site. However, this is not guaranteed; all Reduced Residency sites must meet the CSSW Field Education Department criteria as outlined in the Reduced Residency Guide.