Top five specializations to pursue in MSW post-graduation courses

Are you empathetic towards your fellow-beings? Do you have the aptitude and passion to go out of the way to help those in distress? Do you have the patience to listen to others and the ability and attitude to console them and to offer viable solutions? An MSW degree with the correct specializations can be a satisfying and successful opening for you. Read on to know more about the course, its scope, and career prospects.

Social work can be a passion as well as a profession. The point to be noted is that even when you take up social work as a profession, you would be able to excel and enjoy satisfaction only if you are passionate about it. Social work basically means working for the upliftment of the downtrodden and putting in efforts to bring up people who stay aloof from the mainstream as a result of their mental or physical illnesses or economic conditions.

Master of Social Work (MSW) is a two-year professional master's degree course that offers to prepare a person with an inclination to help and assist their fellow beings to attain the academic knowledge which would guide them to deal with such social issues with professional accuracy. Addressing the social work students at a conference conducted by the University of Dublin in 2010, the then President of Ireland, Mary Mc Aleese said, 'You are very important companions and sometimes navigators on the journey towards individual recovery and personal fulfilment and our communal journey towards being sensitive, caring societies which outreach effectively to our vulnerable citizens.'

Scope of MSW course

The scope of MSW degree as a career prospect has been seeing a steady increase in the recent past and has now become one of the most sought after post-graduate degrees for those students with an aptitude for social work. It was not that popular a few years back but with many corporate, IT companies, Hospitals, Educational institutes, Industries, NGOs, and some government departments opening the doors and setting their preference for MSW graduates, the course has been witnessing an upward interest among students. After completing the post-graduation, candidates can engage themselves in the field of social work as counsellors or therapists in the field of mental health, education, rehabilitation of criminals, and those who drift away from the social stream due to mental, physical or financial constraints, etc. They can also go for M.Phil in social work to enhance their career prospects.


In addition to the eligibility criteria of being a graduate with a minimum of 50% marks from a reputed university, certain skills and aptitude like the ability to communicate, patience, empathy for fellow beings, social and self-awareness, etc would form the criteria to assess one's eligibility for admission to the MSW course. Though graduation is the basic educational qualification, some universities and colleges give preference to candidates who hold a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) degree, a degree in psychology or sociology, or those who have experience in the field of social work.

Five top specializations for social work career

Considering the fact that it is not practically possible to cover all the areas included in the syllabus, the course has been formulated into specific fields and the candidates pursuing MSW can opt to specialize in specific areas. In addition to the specific field in which they have opted to focus on, most of the colleges have mandatory certification courses as part of the curriculum so as to enable the students to gain knowledge in the fields in which they are not specializing. The specializations that have better career options and which the students generally opt for are-

  1. Mental health and substance abuse
  2. Child and family social work
  3. Community social work
  4. Geriatric social work
  5. School social work
  6. Criminal justice social work

1. Mental health and substance abuse- This specialization is one of the most sought after and one of the most challenging ones among all. It prepares a candidate to deal with mentally ill patients and those who develop psychiatric problems due to substance abuse. The work involves risk assessment, group, and individual counselling sessions, assessing and advising medical interventions, follow-up counselling, and rehabilitation sessions. Mental health is an area that has come into the forefront in the present time due to various reasons like mental stress at home and workplaces, family issues, widening generation gap, substance abuse etc and the social worker who is working in this area has a very important role to play. Anyone who has specialized in this field can practice as a psychiatric social worker.

2. Child and family social work
We are living in an era where most of the families are nuclear. In most of the families, both the parents would be working. The children are also very busy with their studies and when they are free, they prefer to keep themselves glued to their gadgets. This has caused a sort of disconnect among the family members and in many of the homes, direct communication has reduced to such a level that they seldom speak to each other. In addition to this there are problems like unemployment, poverty and so on that is putting the family members under a lot of mental stress. The social workers who practice in this area will be required to identify such families in the society, arrange counselling sessions for the members of such families and support them to overcome any sort of mental trauma. They will also be required to advise and assist them in case medical attention is solicited.

3. Community social work
Community social work is not specific to individuals or a group but spreads over a particular community, which can be a large group of people, like people working in an organization, residing in a particular city or a state or even across countries, having similar problems. Their work involves identifying and collecting data of the larger issues affecting the group and make efforts, by coordinating with administrative agencies, to find solutions. Candidates specialized in this category can be well-placed in government agencies or NGOs.

4. School social work
This is an area that has gained a lot of importance and acceptance in the recent past. The responsibilities of a school social worker involves identifying students facing stress and psychological issues, counselling them, intervening to maintain a balance in the administration- teacher-student-parent inter-relationship, advising school administration as to measures to be taken to ease the mental burden of students, etc. Persons specialized in this field will have developed the skills to deal with children and adolescents.

5. Criminal justice social work
The world has never been short of criminals and no jails have ever been vacant. Apart from studying and understanding a criminal, a social worker who has specialized in this area takes upon himself the huge responsibility of merging a criminal, who has undergone imprisonment or who is on parole, back with society. Our society still looks down upon a person who has been convicted and has served a term in jail irrespective of the facts that have led to his conviction. It is here where the wider role of a social worker comes into play. Their role involves counselling the prisoners and their families, ensuring that they are not denied any human rights and to help such ex-prisoners rehabilitate themselves and also to identify their level of criminal mentality, and recommend medical assistance where needed.

A few top MSW colleges in India

  1. Madras School of Social Work, Egmore
  2. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  3. Loyola College of Social Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram
  4. College of Social Work, Mumbai
  5. Madras Christian College (MCC), Chennai
  6. Institute for Excellence in Higher Education (IEHE), Bhopal


With the changes taking place across the globe in different sectors and the effect of the same on the daily life of human beings, the relevance and scope for social work have widened and the importance and need for social workers are also on the rise. Hence, if you have an inclination to the profession and have an attitude to help others, you can surely opt for this course and can make a lucrative and satisfying career by carefully blending your passion with your career.


Author: Umesh22 Feb 2021 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 9

There are many good and positive people in this world who are contributing to society in many ways not only by helping the needy persons but helping the whole community for collective growth. These are the people doing selfless service to humanity in the best possible way. It is in this context that such courses are very useful for inculcating knowledge in the people who are passionate about helping others. The PG course in Social Work can provide skills to the students who have a liking and passion for social work.

This course slowly has picked up the fancy of students as many people are realising that it has a wide scope as there are so many problems and challenges in our mixed societies where all sorts of conflicts and confrontations arise. For people believing in humanity, this is a subject of choice.

The author has provided exhaustive information in detail about this course and I would like to add some more colleges where one can pursue this course -

1. Christ University, Bangalore.
2. Stella Maris College, Chennai.
3. Kristu Jayanti College, Bengaluru.
4. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.
5. Vimala College, Thrissur.
6. Bharata Mata College, Kochi.
7. Sri Ramakrishna College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.
8. Shrimathi Devkunvar Nanalal Bhatt Vaishnav College For Women, Chennai.
9. Hindustan College of Arts and Science, Chennai.
10. Sacred Heart College (Autonomous), Tirupattur.
11. Kongu Arts and Science College, Erode.
12. Alva's College, Moodbidri.
13. Moodabidri, Karnataka.
14. Nazareth College of Arts and Science, Chennai.
15. Don Bosco College, Panjim.
16. Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat.
17. Pandit Sunderlal Sharma Open University
18. Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune.
19. Amity University, Gurgaon.

Author: Swati Sharma24 Feb 2021 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

An informational article is given by the author. In the field of MSW, it is mainly an attempt to connect the backward sections of the society and the people with the mainstream society. The main objective is to improve the standard of living of people deprived of justice and welfare.

There are many NGOs available for jobs in this professional field and you can find jobs in the following positions -
Community service provider
NGO Project Coordinator

The following areas in government jobs are also available-
Rural health program,
Child abuse prevention committee
Street Children Education,
Drug Rehabilitation Center.

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