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Fordham Launches Online Master’s Degree in Social Work


The Graduate School of Social Service (GSS) has launched an online master’s in social work (MSW) program, with its first cohort of students beginning this September.

The online MSW will consist of a 66-credit, 20-course program providing the same foundation and advanced coursework as Fordham’s on-site MSW. It will be open to students who live outside a 50-mile radius of Fordham’s campuses, within the tri-state areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Additional registration and course information is available on the GSS website.

GSS is the first school of social work in New York state to offer an online MSW, said Dale Lindquist, LCSW, D.Min.

“This program presents an MSW degree opportunity for people dedicated to the field of social service who, due to geographic location or personal circumstances, do not otherwise have access to an on-campus social work education,” he said. “The coursework will encompass the unique qualities of a Jesuit-based social service education.”

Lindquist was referring to Fordham’s collaboration with the Jesuit Distance Education Network (JesuitNet), a clearinghouse for online courses at the nation’s Jesuit colleges. JesuitNet worked with the University to develop the MSW and to manage its marketing effort.

The degree’s online courses encompass an evidence-based design that employs Ignatian pedagogical concepts and that are designed to promote higher-level thinking skills.

“Our distance education curriculum embodies the progressiveness of a Jesuit institution,” said Peter Vaughan, Ph.D., dean of GSS. “It also reflects a Jesuit way of thinking and caring for people.”

Like their on-site counterparts, all online MSW students will be required to complete a social work theory and a fieldwork curriculum before graduating. Lindquist said that GSS would work with each online student to find a field placement in his or her respective geographical area.

In addition, online students would participate in a monthly integrative seminar designed to match classroom learning and field learning. They will travel to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus twice a year to meet fellow online students, faculty and staff.

Initially, the online program will start with a cohort of 15 students per semester in a part-time program, which will take three and a half years to complete. Once completed, the online MSW degree will qualify graduates to take the MSW certification or licensing examinations in their home states.

All online courses will be taught by full-time GSS faculty members who have undergone an intensive six-week training with JesuitNet on the methods of online instruction, which incorporates PowerPoint presentations, audio scripts, video lectures and other new media. Particular focus will be placed on how to develop, teach and measure competencies in an online setting, Lindquist said.


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