MSW graduates preparing for their hooding ceremony.

The Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program at the College of Staten Island (CSI) has recently been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE), the national accreditor for undergraduate and graduate social work programs. The College now has two nationally accredited social work programs, a clinical MSW and a generalist BSSW.

“We are pleased that the rigor and excellence of our MSW program has just been recognized by the national accreditor of social work programs. MSW students can be confident that the College of Staten Island program meets all New York State and national expectations, and will prepare them well for an exciting and very meaningful career in a rapidly growing profession,” noted Christine Flynn Saulnier, MSW, PhD, Chair and Professor in the Department of Social Work.

The MSW program was introduced at the College in 2014 and initial accreditation by the CSWE is a three-year process. Nearly 1,000 pages are submitted annually with site visits each fall by CSWE representatives. The process at CSI culminated with the final visit in fall 2016, followed by a meeting of the CSWE Commission on Accreditation in February 2017.

The MSW has a single concentration in Disability Studies, which, according to the CSWE, is unique in the nation.

Students in a policy course discuss their case analyses.

“As we define disability broadly to include physical, developmental, sensory, and psychiatric impairments, as well as disabilities related to aging, chronic health issues, alcohol and drug problems, and military service, the clinical MSW prepares students for direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Graduates are eligible for the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) exam immediately upon graduation and the LCSW upon completion of NY State-required post-MSW practice,” said Dr. Saulnier, adding that the program plans to offer a macro track as well, beginning in fall 2017.

The macro track will prepare students for the LMSW exam immediately upon graduation and will provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to manage agencies, work in community development, and engage in policy making and other indirect practice. MSW graduates of either track are prepared to work with any population, but will have special expertise in a broad range of disabilities.

Students immediately begin to apply the theories and methods that they are studying in their carefully constructed and closely monitored internship placements. MSW students are placed in internships all over New York City and in New Jersey. Approximately one-third of interns are offered employment at one of the two places where they intern over the course of the academic year.