Scope of Master of Social Work in India

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Kritika Gupta
Senior Executive – Editorial,
Updated on Jun 28, 2021 13:26 IST
In India, the requirement for a social worker is increasing by the day. And, students with a degree in the same programme can do wonders with their life in terms of helping or guiding an individual. Read on to know more about Masters of Social Work programme.
Social work, Social worker, Social Work programme, Social work degree

Ever thought of the hardships that the underprivileged group in our society goes through with each passing day? Groups that suffer from structural discrimination like women, children, aged persons, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/ AIDs, or people suffering from domestic violence.

For those who wish to help or contribute to such a cause, then a degree in Social work is one of the best career choices one can make. It is one of the fastest-growing professions and is highly in demand both in India and globally. It is a career area, mostly related to psychology wherein trained professionals to aim to reduce the sufferings of those going through social deprivation. Anyone willing to help or bring a change in society is eligible for a Master of Social Work with minimum graduation in any field.

Highlights of MSW Course

Given below is a brief about the programme:

Full Form

Master of Social Work

Course Level




Examination Type

Semester Type


Graduation in any stream

Admission Process

Merit-Based + Written Test, followed by Personal Interview and/or Group Discussion

Job Positions

Social Worker, Public Welfare Managers, Consultants, Project Coordinator, Professor, Program Coordinator, Training Coordinator, etc.

Job Sectors

Government Dept., NGOs, Global Counselling Centres, Health Industry, Human Rights Agencies, etc.

MSW: Scope In India

In the present day scenario, social work is in the top 10 fastest growing areas of development. Individuals who are in this field, known as social workers actively promote change at individual, community and policy levels and assist people to create positive outcomes. From a student in 4th grade to popular celebrities like Dia Mirza or renowned logos like Times of India, everyone is supportive and willing to contribute to our country in the form of social work.

If we talk about the importance of this discipline in today’s world, it is beyond any question as we are highly likely to miss out on the least fortunate ones among us in the enthusiasm to advance ourselves. Master of Social Work or MSW is a postgraduate programme, offering a blend of theoretical knowledge and on-ground experience to students in the development of communities that require attention and support. An ideal programme structure of an MSW will have a student learning through classroom training and with real-time interaction while working with such communities under expert supervision.

MSW: Jobs and Career Opportunities

A Master of Social Work degree or MSW degree opens up various avenues in rewarding and challenging community work settings. The programme provides an opportunity to explore multiple specializations and build a career in sectors such as Healthcare, Education, Women & Child Development, to name a few. Initially, a graduate’s work is centred around child protection, family welfare, financial support to low-income families, refugee rights and aid, indigenous community rights, human rights, mental health support, substance abuse and rehabilitation, women empowerment and more.

There is a possibility that some of the occupations in these areas may require specialized certifications. The Government bodies, international NGOs and private organizations in the health sector are the major employers of social work graduates. A degree in social work can be considered an ideal choice for individuals who find their happiness in helping and developing people who belong to society's helm.

Listed below are popular career choices one can go for after the completion of their Master of Social Work:

  • Administration and Management: They act as proactive leaders in the public and private domain that provide services to the clients. It is obvious to have thorough knowledge about social policy and the delivery of social services, vision for future planning, an understanding of human behaviour, and commitment to social work ethics and values is a must for them.

  • Advocacy and community organization: Advocacy is one of the keystones of social work practice. Social work advocates champion the rights of individuals and communities intending to achieve social justice. Ideally, this helps people seek justice against any sort of inequality they face.

  • Child welfare: This is an intense field where help is provided to the most vulnerable children, youth and families. Whoever suffers from any kind of exploitation or fails to have a sound life seeks help from this branch.

  • Developmental disabilities: Parents having children with developmental disabilities can help social workers get a better understanding of their legal rights. They contribute in a way that they help parents learn to be advocates and find special services that enable their children to be as independent as possible

  • Health care: These individuals are professionally trained social workers who help people in need of health care advice to lead a happy healthy life.

  • International social work: For those willing to have a career in this, the work here is diverse. Their help includes direct services in communities, refugee camps, orphanages, hospitals, and schools, as well as supporting the efforts of national, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations to enhance social well-being.

  • Justice and correction: They are those who work in justice and corrections can be found in courts, rape crisis centres, police departments, and correctional facilities.

  • School Social Work: Social workers who work in school premises help students cope with their emotional and mental crisis.

Social Worker: Basic Roles and Responsibilities

Unlike other professions, the role and duties of a social worker are quite different and challenging from other work profiles. Their working areas are way too different as they are engaged in areas like unemployment, education, health care, politics so in all it is a cluster of all other work areas. A brief about the same is given below:

  • Assessing the needs of clients and ensuring they have access to appropriate support services

  • Providing practical support, counselling and information to the clients

  • Acting as an advocate for clients in situations where they may be experiencing discrimination, injustice or inequality.

Social Worker: Basic Skills Required

A social worker should possess the right balance of empathy combined with a genuine desire to improve the quality of the lives of service users. Apart from this, a social worker should have the ability to think on his/her feet and make difficult decisions under pressure. General administrative skills are also needed for the profession. Other skills that one must possess are:

  • Patience

  • Resilience

  • Initiative to change someone’s life for the betterment

  • Caring attitude

  • Capacity to involve in legal procedures

  • Listening skills

  • Optimistic approach

MSW Eligibility Criteria

Universities set MSW eligibility, and there could be slight variations in it among the institutions. However, the following are the most common criteria to be met by the students for any recognized university in India.

  • Must possess a bachelor degree or an equivalent that includes at least one year of full-time studies in social science

  • Graduates without a social science background in their UG or relevant work experience might be asked to take up bridge courses by some universities.

  • Minimum 50 per cent aggregate is required depending on the university’s criteria

Check MSW Courses

Popular Colleges offering MSW Programme

In India, there are over 500 institutes that offer MSW programme to students who aspire to build a career in social work. Of this, 260 are private institutes and more than 120 are public/government institutes. Given below are India’s Best Social Work Colleges 2020 as per India Today:

Rank 1: Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

City: Mumbai

Ownership: Deemed-to-be-University

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was earlier known as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work and was established in the year 1936. For the Insitute, the year 1964 was an important landmark when it was declared Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act (UGC) 1956. It is known for its various UG and PG programmes. Currently, the Institute offers the following MSW programmes:

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Community Organisation & Development Practice)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Criminology & Justice)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Dalit & Tribal Studies and Action)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Disability Studies & Action)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Livelihoods and Social Entrepreneurship)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Mental Health)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Public Health)

  • Master of Arts in Social Work (Women-Centred Practice)

Check TISS MSW Courses

Rank 2: Rajagiri College of Social Sciences

City: Kochi

Ownership: Autonomous

Established in the year 1955, the Department of Social Work at Rajagiri College of Social Sciences started with a Diploma Programme in social services (DSS). It was later in 1961, the school introduced a Master of Social Work (MSW) Programme with specialisatons in Labour Welfare/ Personnel Management and Industrial Relations. And, in 1969, more specialisation namely Social Welfare Administration, Family and Child Welfare, Community Development and Medical and Psychiatric Social Work were introduced in the MSW programme.

With this, the School started taking up various social work projects by establishing different Live Labs, and Research and Training in Social Work and related fields. And, till date the school is only expanding and introducing more and more programmes. As per the official website, the Department is rated as the second-best in social work education in the country.

Read more: Rajagiri College of Social Sciences MSW Course

Rank 3: Department of Social Work, University of Delhi

City: Delhi

Ownership: Public

From the academic session 1994-95, the Department. Of Social Work (earlier known as the Delhi School of Social Work) introduced Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. In the year 2009, the Dept. then introduced MA (Social Work) programme. The major focus is given on the social development of the marginalised and excluded communities like women, children, vulnerable and backward caste groups, elderly, persons with disability, persons affected by HIV/ AIDS, LGBT communities or those affected by the disaster.

Check DSSW MSW Course

Rank 4: Madras School of Social Work

City: Chennai

Ownership: Autonomous

Established in the year 1952, the Madras School of Social Work, located in Chennai South India is an Autonomous Institution NAAC accredited and affiliated with the University of Madras. The school was founded by Mary Clubwala Jadhav under the auspices of the Madras State Branch of the Indian Conference of Social Work (renamed the Indian Council of Social Welfare) and the Guild of Service (central). It is also known for its MSW programmes which are listed below:

  • M.S.W (Aided)

  • M.S.W (SF)

  • M.A. Human Resource Management (SF)

  • M.A. Human Resource and Organization Development (SF)

  • M.A. Development Management (SF)

  • M.A. Social Entrepreneurship (SF)

  • M.Sc. Counselling Psychology (SF)

Check Madras School of Social Work MSW Courses

Rank 5: Loyola College of Social Sciences

City: Thiruvananthapuram

The Department of Social Work at Loyola College of Social Sciences was established in 1964 and is considered as the pioneering professional department under the University of Kerala, offering a Masters Degree in Social Work. The department has maintained its rank at 6 among the National Best Social Work Colleges by various national surveys – India Today, The Outlook and The Week – offers two specializations – Medical and Psychiatric Social Work and Community Development. Other than MSW, it also offers MSW (Disaster Management). It was established in 2020, and aims at moulding professionals for intervention at times of disasters and equipping them with necessary skills for the same. The programme has two specialisations -‘Disaster Health’ and ‘Technologies For Disaster Management.’

Check Loyola College of Social Sciences Courses

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About the Author
Kritika Gupta
Senior Executive – Editorial,

Exploring in and out of everything, Kritika comes across is her forte. She is a content curator by profession, explorer by choice, an all-time good listener and a total movie buff at heart. Continuously inking valua... Read Full Bio


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