MSW Syllabus

5 minute read
MSW Syllabus

“You cannot change the world, but you can change someone’s world.” This quote very well summarizes the essence of social work. Raising the voice against the odds is something that not everyone has the audacity to do. Since ancient times, there has always been a section of unprivileged people who often be the victim to injustices and are discriminated by the privileged classes. To stand up for them and their rights, social workers come to their rescue. However, it is not the cup of tea for everyone to become one. An ideal social worker tends to be selfless, demonstrate leadership skills and have the courage for standing against the wrong. If you are an aspiring social worker who wants to pursue a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from some of the universities abroad, it is important for you to know about the curriculum the course has to offer. In this blog, let us discuss everything you need to know about the MSW syllabus.

Course Overview

Generally, two-years post-graduate program, Masters in Social Work is a professional degree which intends to work for the welfare and improve the qualify of life for an unprivileged individual, group or a community. This course is specially designed for the young minds who, after completing their Bachelors in Social Work, desire to work in the welfare and development sectors and trains them with all those aspects in the disciplines of Social Science, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Economics, Public Health, Community Development and Law to solve various issues and problems persisting at both district, state and national level. The degree makes the students capable enough to assist people and raise voice against the odds. Talking about the MSW syllabus, the main essence of every curriculum in social work studies focuses on the general areas which include: Public Health, Family, Women Empowerment, Community Development, Education, Rehabilitation and Correction to name a few.

Objectives of MSW Syllabus and course curriculum

Mentioned below are the main and important objectives behind the MSW syllabus and course curriculum.

  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of the history of social work in India.
  • To sensitize the students to realise the importance and need for education in social work in India. 
  • To provide students with the tools and analytics to understand the definition, concept, foundation and objectives as well as the many methods of social work. This can only be done by imparting knowledge.
  • To make students equipped with the principles and values which build the foundation of professional social work. 
  • To provide students with real-life experience of fieldwork and research in social work.

MSW Syllabus: Semester-wise Breakdown

The MSW syllabus is divided into 4 semesters wherein the topics included largely focus on the ethical principles, leadership abilities of the students. The multi-disciplinary program educates the students to communicate and work with various communities and individuals so as to bring about a positive change within society. The MSW syllabus we have mentioned below is only to give you a rough idea about what all topics shall be covered in a typical MSW course, as the curriculum and topics may differ from country to country and university to university.

Semester 1 Semester 2
Social Welfare Policy
Human Behaviour and Social Environment
Social Work Research
Contemporary Issues in Diversity
Legal and Ethics Issues in Social Work
Management and Community Practice
Financial Management and Resource Development
Social Group Work
Social Work and Social Justice
Community Organization
Social Work with Rural, Urban and Tribal Community
Social Policy, Planning and Development
Social Work Approaches for Social Development
Semester 3 Semester 4
Social Legislation and Labour WelfareIdeology and Ethics of Social Work
Disaster Preparedness and Management
Social Policy
Rights, Recognition and Social Justice
Contemporary Themes in Professional Practice
Human Resource Development (optional)
Rural Development (optional)
Social and Political Theory
Advanced Advocacy and Social Actions
Social Work AdministrationTribal Anthropology and Social Justice
Corporate Social Responsibility
Poverty Reduction, Micro Finance and Micro Enterprises
Block Field Work Placement
Labour Welfare and Legislation
Personal and Professional Growth

MSW Books

Name of the Book  Name of Author
Sociology: A systematic introduction  Harry M. Johns
An Introduction to Counselling  J. McLeod
Voluntary Social Welfare in India  Paul Choudry
International Social Work  Cox, David & Manohar Pawar
Personality Development Elizabeth Hurlock
Social Work and Community Development  Pradeep Kumar Johri
Child Rights in India, Law, Policy, Practice Asha Bajpai
Applied Psychology for Social Work  Ingleby Ewan
A Dialectic Journey of Theory and Practice  J.M Papa 
Social Work Education in India  K.K. Jacob
Industrial Social Work. Mumbai: Tata Institute of Social Sciences  M.M Desai and V Dole 

MSW Syllabus: Details of Fieldwork 

While theory lessons, presentations and discussions, as well as debates, can take place in the classroom, they are an important part of understanding and learning about Social Work. Practical training also holds an important position in the tenets of the course of Master’s in Social Work, it is called Fieldwork. Fieldwork equips students to experience and understand real-life cases in the real world scenario. These are in the form of:

  • Study tour
  • Workshops
  • Block fieldwork
  • Observation visits
  • Rural camp

Objectives of Fieldwork

The main objectives of fieldwork and mentioned below for your reference. 

  • To develop the skills of students in a way so that they can critically evaluate the policies and problems in society.
  • To learn and understand the various social work practices so that students can apply them in different situations and spectrums of society. 
  • To make the students aware of the many problems and social realities of our society and analyse the response common people have towards such situations.

Social work is an extensively broad domain and it is needless to say, every course in this field specializes in various aspects and sub-fields of social work. After knowing the MSW syllabus, if you think that Masters in Social Work is not for you, here are other related full time and distance learning courses you can pursue.

  • Masters in Family Intervention
  • Master in Social Work with Children and Youth
  • Master’s Degree in Research in Social and Health Studies
  • Masters in Humanitarian Action
  • Master’s Degree in Psychosocial and Community Intervention
  • Master of Arts in Social Work
  • Master of Arts in Psychotherapy Practice
  • Master of Science in Health and Social Care
  • PG Diploma/ PG Certificate/MA in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • PG Diploma/ PG Certificate/MA in Child Protection
  • MA Counselling Psychology

MSW Entrance Exam Syllabus

  • History, Philosophy and Fields of Social Work
  • Theory and Practice of Counselling
  • Project Planning and Management
  • Social Work Research and Social Statistics


Ques. How much time is required to finish the programme?

Ans. The MSW programme usually lasts four semesters and is completed in two years.

Can students in the scientific stream apply to the MSW programme?

Ans. There are often no subject-specific requirements for the MSW programme. Students from any stream are therefore eligible to apply for the programme.

Will I be required to perform an internship?

An internship or field experience is required to complete the programme because it enables students to put the practical skills they have gained in class to use in the real world.

“In order to bring about a change, be the change yourself.” If you aspire to be the next change in society, it is important for you to be educated enough to do it with ease. Our experts at Leverage Edu are here to help you choose the course which best suits your interests and skills only to help you make a successful career out of it. Also, book your 30 minutes of free career counselling session with us and get the answers to all your career-related questions.

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