MSW Degree Concentrations

African american student in class - LG

Our MSW degree offers three areas of concentration that can help you take your social work career in a number of directions:

  • Working directly with clients in a clinical setting.

  • Leadership and macro practice.

  • Conducting research.

You select your concentration after completing the Foundation Phase of the program (the first 33 credits). Your concentration determines which courses you take in the Advanced Phase of your degree and your fieldwork options.

Clinical Concentration

The Clinical Concentration is for students who want to provide direct social work services and treatment to individuals, families and groups. Our clinical social work curriculum is based on the person-in-environment framework, giving particular emphasis to the reciprocal relationship with environment, human rights, social justice, and well-being. The Clinical area curriculum views human rights and well-being as being closely inter-related; it emphasizes the philosophy that people have the right to adequate resources for the promotion of all areas of bio-psycho-social well-being. Clinical practice students can focus on either children and their families or adults and their families

Graduates who choose the Clinical Concentration can go on to careers as:

  • Adolescent Social Work Team—Staff social worker in Legal Services
  • Child and Adolescent Therapist in a Private Practice
  • Care Manager in an Assisted Living

Leadership and Macro Practice Concentration

This concentration prepares students for a career in the leadership and management of social services in local, national or international communities, agencies, and organizations. Graduates who choose the Leadership and Macro Practice concentration can go on to careers as:

  • Health Care Integrator in a Hospital Setting
  • Recruiter in a Staffing Agency
  • Deputy Director for Early Intervention Program

Leadership and Macro Practice is divided into two areas for a greater degree of specialization:

  • Focus A—Human Service Leadership focuses on managing organizations and systems, developing policy, writing grant proposals and obtaining funding.

  • Focus B—Community-based Practice and Leadership focuses on management responsibilities, as well as direct clinical practice with clients.

Research Concentration

An increased emphasis on accountability and evaluation is profoundly shaping social work practice. Social workers with research skills are being increasingly sought after in a wide variety of settings at all levels of practice. The Fordham Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) is the only program in New York City to offer instruction in such advanced research skills through this concentration.

You may choose to concentrate in research or simply take courses within this concentration to strengthen your research skills and potentially enhance future job opportunities. You also may want to consider the dual master of social work/master of public health degree offered in collaboration with Mt. Sinai School of Public Health.

The Research Concentration is also excellent preparation for students who are considering enrolling in a PhD program in the future.

CASAC-T NYS Qualifications for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling

An opportunity for students interested in the addictions field of practice who choose either the Clinical or Leadership and Macro Practice Concentration (Focus B). This certificate in alcohol and substance abuse provides 350 educational hours required for the Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor-Trainee (CASAC-T) certificate. Students receive a certificate of completion from the Graduate School of Social Service stating they have completed the required 350 educational hours for CASAC-T in New York State.


  • Field Practicum in an OASAS licensed substance abuse setting, with specific learning goals and assignments related to services and practice in substance abuse.
  • Substance Abuse Elective Requirement SWGS 6417 - Practice with Abusers of Alcohol and Other Substance.
  • Field Integrative Seminar that address topics in the field of substance abuse, facilitated by a faculty advisor experienced in this field.

For further information, contact Sandra Turner, PhD, via email at or by phone at 212-636-6622.