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How to Graduate with Your MSW Degree On Time


With 2024 graduation just weeks away, Master of Social Work (MSW) students just starting the program get a hint of what’s to come for them! But just because you’re in the Generalist Phase of your MSW program doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the big day.

It’s never too early to set yourself up to graduate on time. We sat down with Assistant Director of Student Services Kaitlynn Toro to give us the scoop on how to stay on track and graduate on time!

Tip #1: Follow Your MSW Plan of Study

Whether you’re a full-time or part-time student at Fordham, it’s super important to follow your plan of study. But wait—what exactly is a plan of study?

Your plan of study is your road map. Throughout your MSW studies, you’ll refer to your plan of study when deciding what courses to take next. Most importantly, your plan of study will determine how long it takes to finish the program.

At Fordham, we offer full-time and part-time plans of study. Advanced standing students can finish their plan of study in as little as nine months, whereas traditional students usually take two years start to finish when attending full-time. We also have three- and four-year plans of study for students who want to attend part-time. We’re here to work with your schedule!

Learn more about Fordham MSW plans of study here. 

Tip # 2: Perform a Degree Audit

When it’s time to register for classes, you can go into your Fordham Student Portal and see an overview of your completed coursework thus far. In the portal, you can see what classes you’ve finished (and gotten an A, we’re sure), and what courses still need to be taken. It’s all spelled out!

This will guide you when you’re confused about what to take next. At Fordham, Specialist Phase MSW students are offered to take eight “Selectives” after their core classes. This means you have many options to explore your passions, but sometimes, it can be tricky to keep an eye on what classes you’ve taken and which you haven’t. A degree audit helps you stay on the roadmap!

Tip #3: Join Our Group Academic Advising Sessions

There’s power in numbers! There’s a good chance that other students are wondering the same thing if you have a question. You’re not alone!

That’s why we host group academic advising sessions each semester for all our MSW students. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered, meet your classmates, and hear their questions. This can further inform your studies, and you can make more connections along the way. We send invitations for these sessions to your Fordham email, so check that inbox!

No social worker is an island! Lean on our team and your classmates whenever you’re mixed up.

Tip #4: Meet with Your Student Success Advisor

Group sessions are great, but sometimes, you need to meet with someone one-on-one. That’s what our staff is here for!

Fordham MSW students receive a Student Success Advisor after enrolling in the degree program. This is your person! They are there to answer any and all questions you may have—and if they don’t have the answer, they will find someone who does.

While group advising sessions are terrific for the community aspect of an MSW, we know it can be uncomfortable asking questions in this setting for some. Meet one-on-one with your advisor and get everything ironed out; your education is too important to leave anything up to chance/guesswork! Your advisor will ensure you’re taking all the required classes to complete your degree on time and will even help you navigate your future after graduation.

Respect Your Time and Effort by Graduating on Time!

You see it every day—social workers are desperately needed. There’s no time to waste.

That’s why we want you to complete your MSW degree on time. Society needs you—and the sooner you can get out into the workforce, the better.

Not to mention, this is your time and effort we’re talking about! No one wants to delay graduation because they missed a required course or something similar. These mishaps can all be avoided if you take Kaitlynn’s advice—and don’t be afraid to contact GSS staff anytime you’re confused. We’re here to help you become the best social worker you can be.


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