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One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency)

Completion time Three to four years
Total credits 60
Total field education hours 900 hours
Starts per year Two each year, fall and spring terms
Prerequisites Two years (full-time) or four years (part-time) of work in social services

Applicants qualify for the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) pathway if they are currently working in direct practice work in a social services agency and have either

  • two or more years of full-time experience or
  • four or more years of part-time experience

The One-Year Residency for Working Professionals pathway was created to give employees of social service agencies and other nonprofit organizations the opportunity to advance their careers by earning an MSW over a period of several (usually three) years. Students in this pathway strengthen their abilities by connecting their practical skills to a theoretical framework.

This pathway is split into two segments:

  • Pre-residency phase, where the focus is on foundational courses that expand on the student’s work experience
  • Residency year, where students take more specialized coursework in addition to completing their fieldwork requirements

Before they start their residency year, students choose a method specialization and a field of practice. They can select options that align with their current job or choose a new direction to build cross-disciplinary skills.

One-Year Residency for Working Professionals students may choose to complete their field placement at their current place of employment, pending approval by their agency and the CSSW Field Education Department. Some students, however, choose to leave their agency for a new placement arranged by CSSW. If your agency is approved as your field placement site, you will be required to move under a different supervisor and complete different tasks.


Coursework Estimates

As a One-Year Residency for Working Professionals pathway student, you will take two courses per term in your first year. You should expect to spend four to six hours per week in synchronous classes. This is in addition to time spent on homework and other assignments.

During your second year, you can continue taking two courses per term, or start taking your electives for a total of three courses per term.

Once you reach your final year, you are considered a full-time student as you add a field placement to your schedule.

Most students in this pathway earn 28 hours per week in field. For those approved to complete their field placement at their job, 14 hours of their paid work is counted toward field and then 14 hours of new assignments must be completed. Visit our Field Placements page and our Field Education Manual for more information.


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To learn more about the Master of Science in Social Work from the Columbia School of Social Work, please fill out the fields below to download a brochure. You can also contact an admissions counselor directly at (866) 627-4750.

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