Who is this degree for?

Erikson’s Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree program is the only one of its kind in the country. Throughout this intensive, innovative program, you will be engaged in social work practice that is informed by a deep understanding of how children develop in the context of family and culture, preparing you to become a social work professional who advocates for and improves the lives of children and families.

As a graduate, you will be prepared to address the complex needs of diverse populations in a range of practice settings, including:

  • Child welfare
  • Education
  • Courts
  • Child and family mental health
  • Family support
  • Hospitals and health care
  • Early intervention
  • Community development
  • Research
  • Early care and education
  • Therapeutic schools

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about the M.S.W.

What our M.S.W. students say

Kimberly Garner

Kimberly Garner, Class of 2018

“I have worked in the early childhood field my entire adult life and knew Erikson was renowned and respected. So when looking at graduate schools, first for my M.S. in Child Development and now for my Master of Social Work, there was really no other choice. Being here has been a life-altering experience. It’s the perfect blend of knowledge, practice, and reflection.”



Michelle Sturgill

Michelle Sturgill, Class of 2017

“I wanted to work with families and children who had experienced trauma, so the faculty helped place me in an internship with Erikson’s Early Childhood Project with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. I love it, because it gives me a sense of connection with children and families. While the coursework is important, I feel empowered when I can put my knowledge and skills to work through face-to-face interactions.”

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 12 percent by 2024. 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, however, we infuse an interdisciplinary child development perspective across the social work curriculum, not just one or two courses. 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 and 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 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: