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Master of Science in Social Work

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Choose Saint Rose for Your Master's Degree in Social Work

You’re committed to earning a MSSW to help others.
We’re committed to making that happen.

If you’re committed to helping people meet the challenges of everyday life, the Saint Rose MSSW is your route to a rewarding career:

  • If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), the MSSW enhances your earning potential, provides you with a wider range of job options, and allows you to work in a clinical setting or start your own practice
  • If you’re a career changer, or if your undergraduate degree is in something other than social work, the Saint Rose MSSW is the perfect degree for your fulfilling future as a social worker.

Whether you aspire to shape social policy, serve clients on an individual basis, or work somewhere in between, our MSSW program ensures that you thoroughly understand the macro, mezzo and micro environments to be an effective change agent at any level.

Our approach to social work comprises prevention as well as treatment, and combines unmatched academic training, extensive fieldwork, and experienced faculty who wholeheartedly support your growth – whether you’re attending full time or part time.

Our Values

We view social work as an integrated continuum, rather than as a series of silos. We focus on well-being and prevention across five essential domains:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Social/ Environmental
  3. Emotional/ Psychological
  4. Physical
  5. Economic

Outstanding Faculty

Our faculty, all licensed practitioners from different backgrounds and practice areas, instruct and guide you in your area of interest — from addiction and LGBTQ issues to immigrant and prison populations.

Our faculty care about you as a person and go the extra mile to support you, whether that means connecting outside class to discuss research, or being flexible to accommodate your work or family obligations.

Janet Acker, Ph.D., MSSW, M. Div., LCSW-R, Associate Professor of Social Work and MSSW Program Director:

I grew up in a family committed to volunteerism and community service, and when I arrived at my first field placement as a young social work graduate student, I had the immediate sensation that I had found my “place.” I earned my MSSW at Columbia University, and over the next 30 years, developed clinical expertise in mental health, end of life/hospice care, HIV/AIDS, adoption and foster care, and case management.
I am passionate about using this rich body of work as a clinician, advocate, supervisor, administrator, and field instructor as a catalyst for teaching professional excellence and engaging students in their own process of experiential learning in practice settings.

Meet Our Faculty

Janet Acker, Ph.D., MSSW, M. Div., LCSW-R Associate Professor & Program Director

Over the last 30 years, Dr. Acker has developed clinical expertise in mental health, end-of-life/hospice care, HIV/AIDS, adoption and foster care, and case management, and is passionate about using this experience as a catalyst for teaching and engaging students. Her teaching interests include integrating classroom concepts and theories with practical application in the field, and on the continuum of social work at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of society.

View Full Bio

Maureen Rotondi, MSW, LCSW-R Associate Professor, Chair

She is a founding member of Rensselaer Child Advocacy Center, which provides trauma-focused counseling to children who have been abused and to non-offending family members. Professor Rotondi participated in the 2013 White House summit on the Affordable Care Act with the Council on Social Work Education. Current teaching subjects include child abuse, social welfare and social policy, diversity workshop, and field practicum. Her expertise includes diagnosing and treating pediatric mental health disorders, interviewing individuals who have been sexually abused, and testifying in state and federal criminal and family court. She is was a social worker for the emergency department at Albany Medical Center.

Chenique Rowe, MSW, LMSW Assistant Professor

Since graduating from Saint Rose in 2011, Professor Rowe has worked at Albany County Department for Children, Youth, and Families, as well as at a local domestic-violence shelter. She later worked in children’s mental health and as the women’s and children’s social worker in a hospital. Her teaching interests include diversity and social justice, various components of social-work practice, and field-experience courses.

View Full Bio

Janet Acker, Ph.D., MSSW, M. Div., LCSW-RAssociate Professor & Program Director

Over the last 30 years, Dr. Acker has developed clinical expertise in mental health, end-of-life/hospice care, HIV/AIDS, adoption and foster care, and case management, and is passionate about using this experience as a catalyst for teaching and engaging students. Her teaching interests include integrating classroom concepts and theories with practical application in the field, and on the continuum of social work at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of society.

View Full Bio

Maureen Rotondi, MSW, LCSW-RAssociate Professor, Chair

She is a founding member of Rensselaer Child Advocacy Center, which provides trauma-focused counseling to children who have been abused and to non-offending family members. Professor Rotondi participated in the 2013 White House summit on the Affordable Care Act with the Council on Social Work Education. Current teaching subjects include child abuse, social welfare and social policy, diversity workshop, and field practicum. Her expertise includes diagnosing and treating pediatric mental health disorders, interviewing individuals who have been sexually abused, and testifying in state and federal criminal and family court. She is was a social worker for the emergency department at Albany Medical Center.

Chenique Rowe, MSW, LMSW Assistant Professor

Since graduating from Saint Rose in 2011, Professor Rowe has worked at Albany County Department for Children, Youth, and Families, as well as at a local domestic-violence shelter. She later worked in children’s mental health and as the women’s and children’s social worker in a hospital. Her teaching interests include diversity and social justice, various components of social-work practice, and field-experience courses.

View Full Bio

Donna Van Alst, MBA, LMSW Assistant Professor

Professor Van Alst worked as a program evaluator and coordinated a direct service program for youth aging out of foster care. She holds an MBA from New York University, and is interested in how social services are organized and delivered, as well as social entrepreneurship. She taught at Rutgers University’s School of Social Work, where she was research director of the Institute for Families and held a joint appointment with the school’s Child Welfare and Child Wellbeing Research Unit. Areas of expertise include child welfare services, disaster recovery, health services, social administration, and social policy. She is a mixed-methods researcher with a strong interest in program evaluation and intervention research.

Sunny Mathew, Ph.D., MSW Assistant Professor

Dr. Mathews spent a decade as a social worker in India focusing on community development, the empowerment of marginalized ethnic groups (Dalit), the elimination of child labor, and women’s and children’s health programs. His current research is on child-rearing patterns of Asian Americans in the U.S. Northeast, as well as the cumulative effect of poverty on health. He is also a Catholic priest in the Carmelite Order.

Julie Piepenbring, Ph.D., MSW Assistant Professor

Formerly executive VP and chief clinical officer at Adelbrook Behavioral and Developmental Services (Cromwell, Conn.), which serves youths diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, Professor Piepenbring taught social work at Southern Connecticut State University and provided clinical therapy to children and adults in private practice. Her research and academic interests focus on autism spectrum disorder and its impact on families, culturally competent clinical practice, and organizational leadership. She strongly believes in supportively challenging students to become critical thinkers and encouraging them to work to their full potential.

Donna Van Alst, MBA, LMSWAssistant Professor

Professor Van Alst worked as a program evaluator and coordinated a direct service program for youth aging out of foster care. She holds an MBA from New York University, and is interested in how social services are organized and delivered, as well as social entrepreneurship. She taught at Rutgers University’s School of Social Work, where she was research director of the Institute for Families and held a joint appointment with the school’s Child Welfare and Child Wellbeing Research Unit. Areas of expertise include child welfare services, disaster recovery, health services, social administration, and social policy. She is a mixed-methods researcher with a strong interest in program evaluation and intervention research.

Sunny Mathew, Ph.D., MSWAssistant Professor

Dr. Mathews spent a decade as a social worker in India focusing on community development, the empowerment of marginalized ethnic groups (Dalit), the elimination of child labor, and women’s and children’s health programs. His current research is on child-rearing patterns of Asian Americans in the U.S. Northeast, as well as the cumulative effect of poverty on health. He is also a Catholic priest in the Carmelite Order.

Julie Piepenbring, Ph.D., MSWAssistant Professor

Formerly executive VP and chief clinical officer at Adelbrook Behavioral and Developmental Services (Cromwell, Conn.), which serves youths diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, Professor Piepenbring taught social work at Southern Connecticut State University and provided clinical therapy to children and adults in private practice. Her research and academic interests focus on autism spectrum disorder and its impact on families, culturally competent clinical practice, and organizational leadership. She strongly believes in supportively challenging students to become critical thinkers and encouraging them to work to their full potential.

Patricia Weldon, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW Assistant Professor

Before entering academia, Professor Weldon was a social worker providing direct care and administration in mental-health and healthcare settings, mostly in trauma and crisis intervention. She focuses on helping students develop critical-thinking skills, expand their understanding of diverse experiences, and being lifelong learners. Her current research includes projects on trauma-informed care, organizational crisis management, and workplace critical incident response.

I-Hsuan Lin, Ph.D., MSW, MBA Assistant Professor

Dr. Lin, who worked as a social worker and administrator in organizations focusing on disadvantaged women and their families in Taiwan, later served homeless and immigrant older-adult populations in California. Currently vice president for a nonprofit organization working with Asian and Asian-American populations in California, she is building connections with communities in New York. She taught and helped develop online coursework at Indiana University. Her research interests center around the gendered work-family interface.

View Full Bio

Heather Fronckowiak, MSW, LCSW Assistant Professor

As the clinical coordinator for a child-advocacy center in Rensselaer County, in Troy, Professor Fronckowiak provided therapy to child victims and their families and worked on several multidisciplinary teams regarding child-abuse investigations and prevention. She worked on a Federally funded project to implement an evidence-based group treatment for youth with problematic sexual behavior, and helped create a community-change team focused on systemic change.

She has been a child-advocacy trainer for New York State and currently consults to Fordham University on training for child protection-and-prevention workers. Other interests include secondary traumatic stress for practitioners and effective clinical supervision.

Patricia Weldon, Ph.D., MSW, LCSWAssistant Professor

Before entering academia, Professor Weldon was a social worker providing direct care and administration in mental-health and healthcare settings, mostly in trauma and crisis intervention. She focuses on helping students develop critical-thinking skills, expand their understanding of diverse experiences, and being lifelong learners. Her current research includes projects on trauma-informed care, organizational crisis management, and workplace critical incident response.

I-Hsuan Lin, Ph.D., MSW, MBAAssistant Professor

Dr. Lin, who worked as a social worker and administrator in organizations focusing on disadvantaged women and their families in Taiwan, later served homeless and immigrant older-adult populations in California. Currently vice president for a nonprofit organization working with Asian and Asian-American populations in California, she is building connections with communities in New York. She taught and helped develop online coursework at Indiana University. Her research interests center around the gendered work-family interface.

View Full Bio

Heather Fronckowiak, MSW, LCSWAssistant Professor

As the clinical coordinator for a child-advocacy center in Rensselaer County, in Troy, Professor Fronckowiak provided therapy to child victims and their families and worked on several multidisciplinary teams regarding child-abuse investigations and prevention. She worked on a Federally funded project to implement an evidence-based group treatment for youth with problematic sexual behavior, and helped create a community-change team focused on systemic change.

She has been a child-advocacy trainer for New York State and currently consults to Fordham University on training for child protection-and-prevention workers. Other interests include secondary traumatic stress for practitioners and effective clinical supervision.

Liz Espinoza, MSW, LCSW-R Visiting Assistant Professor

Professor Espinoza provides individual, family, and bilingual counseling and conducting mental-health evaluations for local courts and facilities through her private practice, and has more than a decade of experience as a clinician or social worker in school, hospital, and government-agency settings. Her teaching interests include clinical work, social justice, intersectionality, and immigration. Her research has focused on transnational social work. She has taught social work at the University at Albany, Smith College, and Simmons College.

Liz Espinoza, MSW, LCSW-RVisiting Assistant Professor

Professor Espinoza provides individual, family, and bilingual counseling and conducting mental-health evaluations for local courts and facilities through her private practice, and has more than a decade of experience as a clinician or social worker in school, hospital, and government-agency settings. Her teaching interests include clinical work, social justice, intersectionality, and immigration. Her research has focused on transnational social work. She has taught social work at the University at Albany, Smith College, and Simmons College.

Program Highlights

Academic excellence, rooted in the real world

  • Our comprehensive curriculum melds theory with practice, constantly tying lessons and concepts back to fieldwork.
  • Our MSSW is in candidacy for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education. (CSWE)
  • Our faculty’s excellent relationships with public and private organizations pave the way to fulfilling internships and postgraduation employment.
  • Choose from daytime, evening, and weekend classes, including some online offerings. (Note: Field work is typically done during the day. If you’re already employed as a social worker, you may be able to intern with your present employer)

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2018 and 2028 demand for social workers will grow:

Curriculum

Master’s degree program

Complete the 62-credit MSSW in two years on a full-time schedule, or in three or four years on a part-time schedule (summer attendance may shorten your time to completion)

Advanced standing program

For candidates who already hold a BSW,* we offer a 31-35 credit degree that can be completed in one year or within two years on a part-time schedule.

*BSW curriculum must be approved by Graduate Admissions and Social Work faculty

Internship/ Field Experience/ Service

The 62 credit MSSW requires a field practicum in each academic year.  In the first generalist year the practicum is at least 400 hours.  In the second specialized year the field practicum is at least 500 hours.

The 31 credit Advanced Standing MSSW requires a field practicum of at least 500 hours over the course of the academic year.

View Course Requirements

Suggested Pathways for Part-time Candidates

All of these options are flexible and can be extended or shortened by taking summer offerings.

Download The Suggested Pathways Guide (PDF)

Fall – Year One11 creditsSpring – Year One11 credits
SWK 589 – Policy3SWK 592 – Psychopathology4
SWK 581 – Practice w/ Indiv & Fam4SWK 583 – Groups3
SWK 580 – Field Practicum4SWK 582 – Field Practicum4
Fall – Year Two9 creditsSpring – Year Two9 credits
SWK 551 – Research3SWK 651 – Advanced Research3
SWK TBD – Elective3SWK TBD – Elective3
SWK 689 – Health Policy3SWK 675 – Diversity and Determinants3
Fall – Year Three11 creditsSpring – Year Three11 credits
SWK 679 – Promoting Well-Being3SWK 622 – Administrative Practice3
SWK 678 – Field Practicum5SWK 690 – Field Practicum5
SWK TBD – SWK Elective3SWK TBD – SWK Elective3
Fall – Year One6 creditsSpring – Year One7 credits
SWK 589 – Policy3SWK 592 – Psychopathology4
SWK TBD – Elective3SWK 551 – Research3
Fall – Year Two8 creditsSpring – Year Two10 credits
SWK 581 – Practice w/ Indiv & Fam4SWK 583 – Groups3
SWK 580 – Field Practicum4SWK 580 – Field Practicum4
SWK 651 – Advanced Research3
Fall – Year Three6 creditsSpring – Year Three9 credits
SWK TBD – Elective3SWK TBD – Elective3
SWK 689 – Health Policy3SWK 675 – Diversity and Determinants3
SWK TBD – SWK Elective3
Fall – Year Four8 creditsSpring – Year Four8 credits
SWK 679 – Promoting Well-being3SWK 622 – Administrative Practice3
SWK 678 – Field Practicum5SWK 690 – Field Practicum5
Fall – Year One6/10** creditsSpring – Year One9credits
SWK TBD – Elective3SWK 651 – Advanced Research3
SWK 581 – Practice w/ Indiv & Fam3SWK TBD – Elective3
**SWK 592 – Psychopathology4SWK 675 – Diversity and Determinants3
Fall – Year Two8 creditsSpring – Year Two8 credits
SWK 679 – Promoting Well-BeingSWK 622 – Administrative Practice3
SWK 678 – Field Practicum5SWK 690 – Field Practicum5

**May be required if you did not have a comparable course in your BSW

What Our Students Say

Chad Foster, MSSW ’17, G’18

Case manager, SaVida Health
Bennington, VT.

Chad Foster ’17, G’18, Saint Rose Masters of Social Work Alumni

At Saint Rose, I learned how to prepare for the world of social work: not only how to become an effective social worker, but how to navigate the ethics that are intertwined with helping any population, and assist them to the best of your abilities.

We learned that our ability to help others through challenges is based on our own well being as practitioners, and we learned the importance of knowing your own limitations. If you’re not emotionally, mentally, and physically ready to perform services, then the people you’re helping will also feel that burden. That’s only one of the many life lessons I learned at Saint Rose.

Career Outlook

Influence the future.

Whether you want to work in the public or private sector; as a clinician, administrator, or policymaker; helping children and families, refugee populations, or incarcerated individuals, you’ll be a capable, creative, and compassionate problem solver and advocate.

Organizations employing Saint Rose MSSW graduates:

  • Albany Medical Center
  • Catholic Charities
  • City School District of Albany
  • In Our Own Voices
  • Northern Rivers Family Service
  • Rensselaer County
  • Saint Catherine’s Center for Children
  • Saint Peters Health Partners
  • United Tenants
  • Savio House (Denver, Colo.)

Discount Eligibility

Employees of Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Health Partners who meet admissions criteria for the MSSW program are eligible to receive a 20% discount. Contact Graduate Admissions for more information.

Email Graduate Admissions

Contact Us Now

Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out. We’re here to help.

Maureen Rotondi, MSW, LCSW-R

Department Chair
Department of Social Work

 

Janet Acker, Ph.D., MSSW, M. Div., LCSW-R

MSSW Program Director
Department of Social Work

Got Questions?

Got Questions? (Grad Short Program Form)