Graduate Catalog

Ellen Whiteside McDonnell School of Social Work

Phyllis F. Scott, Ph.D., Dean

Faculty: Alicea, Austin, Daniels, LaPorte, Levenson, Lewis, McGhee, McMahon, Naranjo, Nowakowski-Sims, Rodriguez, Rosenwald, Singleton, Smith, Shtompel, Teahan, Tucker, Williams, Zaoui

The socio-cultural revolution of the 1960s created a shift in beliefs and values that affected local and global infrastructures on a multi-dimensional level. Barry University’s founders, the Adrian Dominican Sisters, challenged these exploitative and dehumanizing practices by confronting systems that denied basic human rights. The injustices suffered by many vulnerable and marginalized populations could no longer be denied; the need for individuals who would strive to promote social justice and bio-psycho-social-spiritual-political change was necessary. Thus, twenty years after the founding of Barry University, the local community upheaval and social unrest in the mid-1960s, prompted Barry University to consider ways it might advance social justice and individual well-being through professionally trained social workers. In 1966, Barry University established the first graduate social work program in South Florida. Today, this social work program is recognized as an important participant in the University’s scholarly community.

Mission Integration-Philosophy

The M.S.W. Program is integral to Barry University’s continued vision, mission, and Core Commitments. The mission of Barry University is organized around the mission and values of Catholic intellectual tradition and social teachings, and the Adrian Dominican Sisters that serve as the inspiration for the University’s core commitments and underscores the mission of the School of Social Work. These core commitments are as follows:

Knowledge and Truth

The School of Social Work believes that every social work student should consistently seek and/or create opportunities to help shape a more just and humane society. Students are expected to demonstrate a deep commitment to learning; enhancing their abilities to collect, analyze, integrate, synthesize, and apply relevant knowledge and research to practice and the advancement of the profession.

Inclusive Community

The School of Social Work expects all students to demonstrate respect for themselves and the rights and privileges of others; perform all responsibilities with integrity; be open to cultural, social, and intellectual differences; and conscientiously self-reflect.

Social Justice

The School of Social Work believes that the core of social work practice is social change. Implicitly and explicitly the School promotes social justice and views students as an important catalyst in fostering peace and equality in all communities. We, therefore, encourage students, whether through research and/or service, to get involved in school, campus, and community activities that promote social justice.

Collaborative Service

The School of Social Work believes in service learning, life-long learning, and community engagement. Students in their internships are expected to practice with dignity and respect, to work as an effective team member, and demonstrate ethical interpersonal skills.

Graduate students are adult learners; intrinsically self-directed learners. Each student is responsible for his/her education and success in the program. This accelerated year-round program requires intense commitment, creativity, initiative, well-focused study habits, strong reading and writing skills, and a readiness to learn.

The Mission of the School of Social Work

Since its founding in 1940, Barry University has pursued a mission of providing quality education in a caring environment, featuring a spiritual dimension and emphasizing community service. Social Work, a profession that embraces the values of social responsibility and community service, finds a close fit within such a mission.

The mission of the Barry University School of Social Work is framed by the core values, ethics, and commitments of the social work profession and Barry University mission. Within a culturally diverse framework, the School is committed to educating social workers for professional social work practice that is informed by context and characterized by competence, skills of leadership, quality, the quest for social and economic justice in local and global communities, and dedication to continuous professional growth and development.

The Mission of the M.S.W. Program

Within the context of the BUSSW mission, the M.S.W. Program is committed to educating advanced clinical practitioners within a trauma-informed, resiliency framework. The M.S.W. Program is committed to advancing students as local and global leaders and advocates for social and economic justice with emphasis on academic excellence, cultural diversity, ethical practice, and community engagement.


Barry University School of Social Work M. S.W. Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). E-mail addresses:

Accreditation Assessment Fee

In accordance with the Educational Policies and Standards, of CSWE, the School of Social Work continuously assess and report each student’s achievements of the required core competencies. To facilitate this assessment, effective January 2020, each student will be assessed an annual fee of $85.00.