Who is this degree for?

Erikson’s M.S.W. program is ideal preparation for the social work professional who wishes to improve the lives of children and families.

You will be prepared to advocate for and address the complex needs of diverse populations in a range of practice settings:

  • Social service organizations
  • Courts
  • Foster care
  • Child welfare
  • Early intervention
  • Mental health
  • Hospitals
  • Research
  • Early childhood care & education
  • Therapeutic schools

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about the M.S.W.

Growing demand for child and family social workers

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects the need for social workers who work with children and families to grow 20% between 2010 and 2020. Meanwhile, infants, young children, and their families are the fastest growing populations in the child welfare and mental health systems.

As the premier graduate school in child development, Erikson prepares the next generation of leaders in this burgeoning field.

Unique child development focus

Most M.S.W. curricula leave little room for specialized training in child development and effective practice with infants, children, and families.

At Erikson, we infuse an interdisciplinary child development perspective across the social work curriculum, not just one or two courses. And this unique perspective builds the essential foundation for understanding development throughout the life span.

Supporting your professional growth

The heart of our program is an intensive two-year supervision seminar, a supportive forum for you to reflect critically on your social work practice and your own reactions, assumptions, and values.

For two and a half hours every week, faculty challenge students to integrate theory and research from the classroom with their practice in the field. This transformative experience helps you hone your professional identity as an advanced social worker with a deep mastery of child development.

Strong faculty & students

Successful social workers excel in teamwork and collaboration, and the classroom experience at Erikson prepares you for both.

Our top social work and child development faculty bring an unusual diversity of professional expertise and personal experience to their teaching, and our students bring with them a broad range of academic and professional backgrounds. This rich interaction models the very skills needed to manage the complexity, diversity, and ambiguity inherent in advanced social work practice with children and families.


This program has been approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of College and Schools (HLC). We have also applied to be accredited in February 2016 by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), in time for our first class of graduates in May 2016. More on the accreditation process and what it means for you


This program can be completed in two or three years, and requires a total of 60 credit hours.

Sample course schedule

Course Work

Core Courses:

Specialization Courses: