The First Online MSWs

Convenience an added bonus of social work degree program

Wednesday, June 29, 2016
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first class of online MSW graduates

The first graduates of the online MSW program include (left to right): Jennifer Daler, Aimee Kereage, Alyssa Mahoney, Nichole Guptel, Marissa Binette, Melissa Grudinski, Kelly Westphal and Courtney Porter.

Alyssa Mahoney lives in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, and works in Laconia, both just far enough away to make taking classes on UNH’s Durham or Manchester campuses problematic.  

Distance wasn’t so much a problem for Aimee Kereage as was time. Working 50-hour weeks in the restaurant business and married with a 12-year-old daughter, she had next to none.

Melissa Grudinski began her studies in Boston, Massachusetts, but found the commute and the class schedule difficult to juggle with her work schedule.

Today, the women are among the first to graduate from UNH’s online master of social work (MSW) program. Launched in 2013, the 20-course curriculum lets students work mostly at their convenience; no campus visits are required. What’s more, taking two classes during five eight-week terms allows them to complete their degrees in 28 months.

"During my first internship, I was offered a position and immediately took it. Now, I am living out my goal."

But convenience doesn’t sacrifice quality: All of the courses are designed and taught by full-time social work faculty members.

“I chose UNH over other online programs because of the quality of education I had received as an undergrad there and because of the great reputation of UNH’s social work department,” says Grudinski, who works at PSC counseling in Manchester.

Fields of practice include health and mental health, addictions and substance abuse, children, youth and families and disabilities. An MSW degree prepares students to work in a wide variety of settings, including advocacy organizations, child welfare, disability, education, healthcare, employee assistance programs, juvenile and adult criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse, the military and other human service-oriented environments.

The program requirements also include two internships, which, as Mahoney testifies, can often lead to employment.

“During my first internship, I was offered a position and immediately took it. Now, I am living out my goal of being on an early intervention team and furthering my education by gaining knowledge in the community mental health system,” she says.

Learn more about UNH’s online MSW program.