Columbia University in the City of New York Reviews of Master's in Social Work

  • 17 Reviews
  • New York (NY)
  • Annual Tuition: $54,627
100% of 17 students said this degree improved their career prospects
71% of 17 students said they would recommend this program to others
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Reviews - Master's in Social Work

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  • Reviewed: 11/2/2023
  • Degree: Social Work
"I've been in mid to senior level management for years holding several degrees and five credentials leading audit teams. I thought it time to switch careers and obtain an MSW (original undergrad was social work but switched to business and accounting). I looked at this program and thought it would be a great program to apply to. I grew-up in Foster Care and was looking to learn the best practices to create a non-profit specific to offering guidance/direction to Foster children. I was admitted to this school but left before classes started. The consistent loss of transcripts, inability to obtain correct tuition information from the staff for the VA, me stating that I would need to look for another school without the correct tuition amount because the VA wouldn't approve the incorrect information they gave, and the response "best of luck"-then me having to contact the director to get the correct tuition, lack of concern by staff, and the inexperienced/lack of compassion during onboarding introduction/orientation lead to the school made me realize this was not the school for me. Out of any school in college, I would have expected a school of Social Work to be a bit more concerned with success. There are other options for an MSW and recommend reviewing them before looking at the school "name.""
Social Worker
  • Reviewed: 5/11/2020
  • Degree: Social Work
"The School of Social Work at Columbia is not worth the price tag. The majority of their Full-time, US citizens masters' student graduate 6 figures in debt- no lie just coming out of school. In terms of career services support, all they did was give my graduating class a pamphlet book on how to write resumes. There was also very little assistance for quality of life issues when one moves to New York to go to school. I did not enjoy my experience there, probably because most students are not offered housing on campus. Only students who come from far are offered campu housing. If you come in from even Massachusetts you are expected to find your own housing off campus. Living so far away from campus and commuting did not offer a connection to the school. In terms of academics, the program really lacked stimulation. The majority of the first year is spent regurgitating information that was already read. I have learned more in my field outside of my education than I even did DURING my studies. Coming from Wesleyan, this school was not challenging, or stimulating, or supportive at all. I know other people who also came from strong undergraduate programs who were also not very satisfied with their experiences. I have heard from others that if you want to do a more clinical route, NYU is a way to go that is strong. Also, I have heard great things about the program at UChicago. I have had a successful career, but everyone that I work with went to cheaper schools for Social Work, or got way more financial aid, so it was not worth attending Columbia."
  • Reviewed: 8/29/2018
  • Degree: Social Work
"I transferred out of this program because of how disappointed I was. CUSSW definitely over-admits students to the point where they do not have enough resources to provide an adequate educational opportunity in this field to everyone there. Furthermore, if you are coming in with prior experience in the field of social work or human services, this program is definitely not for you. I did not feel challenged in any of my classes or my field placement. Faculty and staff, particularly field faculty, were very difficult to get in touch with and I truly felt like a number due to the extremely high amount of students they admit. I love the new program I transferred to and am having the experience I hoped I would have at Columbia. I've never written a review before, but my experience at CUSSW was so negative and disappointing, I think it's important that other people are aware before making the decision to attend."
  • Reviewed: 9/1/2017
  • Degree: Social Work
"Columbia University's School of Social Work program was a great experience. I had excellent professors, enriching field experience, and felt completely prepared for a career following graduation."
  • Reviewed: 5/22/2017
  • Degree: Social Work
"Speak with the professors you most admire for career advice. And do not get a liberal arts degree unless you're planning on going to grad school"
  • Reviewed: 3/10/2017
  • Degree: Social Work
"I have really been enjoying my experience at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW). Overall, I feel I'm deriving great value from my education. I am gaining much greater awareness of concepts of power, oppression, and privilege, and exploring my own identity and responsibility to dismantle such systems of oppression. I am inspired by other students and professors in my program, and appreciate the energy and enthusiasm devoted to social justice. Drawbacks to this program are the high cost of tuition and limited availability of scholarship funds. I also wish the program were more diverse, and more representative of the communities social workers serve in New York City."
Laura J. DeInnocentiis
  • Reviewed: 2/12/2017
  • Degree: Social Work
"Columbia School of Social Work is a wonderful place to earn a master's degree in social work. The degree has several tracks allowing students to focus on the concentration they are most interested in pursuing: clinical, generalist practice and programming, policy, and social enterprise administration.. In addition, there are sub-specialties to choose from, including work with mental health and disabilities, international social welfare, children and families, school-based issues, contemporary issues, and aging. Columbia offers flexible programs to fit anyone's schedule. These are not limited to the 16-month accelerated, online, extended, part- and full-time options, as well as the minor and dual degree programs. Located in the heart of Morningside Heights in New York City, CSSW's diverse neighborhood allows students to experience a variety of populations without straying far from campus. The social work school, a large, modern building on 1255 Amsterdam Avenue, is self-contained. All classrooms, conference rooms, libraries, resource rooms, computer labs, offices as well as the library, writing center, and cafe are located inside for convenience. Columbia University's other wealth of resources, available on its main campus or at the medical center in Washington Heights, are both easily accessible by foot, public transportation, or the free Columbia shuttle. The University provides a great deal of support, from students' first admissions inquiries to financial aid questions, throughout registration and their academic careers, to graduation day and beyond. The Career Office helps students search for the best job match possible, prepare for interviews, update their resumes, and connect them to agencies and organizations through job fairs. From a current student's perspective, Columbia opened doors I had never imagined. This semester's "Spirituality and Religion in Social Work" class inspired me to add a meaningful new dimension of unifying transcendence to my work with individuals. I look forward to engaging and provocative classroom discussions and to the smaller break-out sessions we have to consider topics in more depth. My professors share their knowledge, experience, and expertise in their lectures, but it is their passion for helping others and their drive to change the world that becomes contagious. Columbia School of Social Work nurtures a community of compassionate, respectful, and collaborative thinkers and learners all working to promote human rights and social justice. For two years, all students spend three full days a week in field placements to gain hands-on experience in the area of social work they wish to specialize. This direct service work is most valuable, especially since Columbia offers consistent support during the transition period. The academic curriculum is rigorous but well-coordinated with other courses and programs that occur simultaneously or sequentially. If a student is interested in a particular subject, there is no shortage of opportunities to feed that thirst for knowledge. Every day, Columbia offers conferences, workshops, online courses, mini classes, films/videos, lectures, guest speakers, clubs, study/research groups, events, and performances to broaden students' experiences. The Columbia School of Social Work has established relationships with many countries around the world for those students who want to spread their love and service outside of global New York City."
Amanda Browne
  • Reviewed: 12/30/2016
  • Degree: Social Work
"Likes about Columbia's Social Work program: - access to resources within the whole of Columbia. For me this has been mostly in the form of professors and networking opportunities that have led to internships or potential jobs/research opportunities. You can cross-register with different schools and people tend to be pretty open to hearing you out because you are part of the Columbia community - the brand - this kind of goes with the first point. For better or worse, dropping the Columbia affiliation can elicit more positive responses in certain communities (mostly in highly visible institutions, non-profit or otherwise) - the students - this has been a mixed bag for me, but the students I've developed relationships with have helped challenge my world view and shaped how I can incorporate elements of social justice and allyship in my work, even though my interests are more international than domestic. Dislikes: - the administration - the advertised experience is not necessarily what you get in the classroom and it could be managed much better. Part of the challenge is that the School of Social Work gets the least amount of resources from the University and part of it is that some administrators are driven more by the bottom line than the student experience. There are efforts to hold the administration more accountable, but it's definitely a challenge - There is a heavy dependency on adjunct professors, including for core classes. When the adjunct professor is good, this can be great, because you sometimes get a more innovative class experience, but sometimes you get professors who don't have the time to dedicate to a core competency class. This means there's a lot of variation across student experiences as well, which then can get tricky when navigating difficult conversations around race, inequity, and our general role as social workers. - the size and experience of the student population - my cohort was 400 students, about 80% came straight from undergrad and were also predominantly white females. For the most part they are all wonderful people, but a lot of the administrative issues could be addressed by making the class size smaller and, while there is more diversity in the classroom than some of the other schools I was looking at, the lack of experience and the level of privilege skews the conversation. That being said I am a white female, but I came in with 5 years of work experience and seeking a diverse environment where I could learn from my classmates. The program tends to cater to the 22 year-old recent graduate, so I had to be more proactive about creating the experience I wanted. Basically, the experience is what you make of it. It depends on what you're looking for. For the Mailman School of Public Health, in addition to some of the more general things like resources and brand: Likes: Faculty: The Population and Family Health department is full of incredible, supportive faculty and interesting programs for anyone interested in Force Migration, Humanitarian work, and public health in complex emergencies. The Core: it's really intense and has its downsides, but it's really nice to get all of the foundational requirements out of the way in the first semester. Students: I encountered a wider variation of experience, backgrounds, and interests in the Core at Mailman along with a greater number of students with similar interests. This made classes much more enriching and created a greater sense of community and belonging compared to a more professional degree program like the one at the School of Social Work Career and Student services: Mailman makes a good effort to invest in their students and help them succeed. They're career services are especially helpful for resume and job search advice. Dislikes: The Core: I think the Core is an overall strength, but there's also a lot of volume in terms of assignments and homework that tends to emphasize more of a rote learning or 'teach to the test' type of practice. It is quite the pedagogical endeavor, so the faculty are open to and make an effort to incorporate feedback to ensure high quality learning, but it's not the perfect formula just yet."
Sumudu Waas
  • Reviewed: 10/5/2015
  • Degree: Social Work
"Graduate school is a great opportunity to move forward with your education. Columbia School of Social Work has opened many doors for me within the short period of time I have been here to expand my horizons. I truly appreciate the staff and their positive energy and the eagerness to teach as well as learn. This has been a great experience and an opportunity thus far."
Chelsea Raymond
  • Reviewed: 2/20/2015
  • Degree: Social Work
"Columbia University offers a integrative approach that caters to each individual student. They are supportive of your current and future goals. The rigor is at an acceptable level for graduate level coursework. I would highly recommend this program over other social work programs in NYC. It is the only program offering unique tracks like policy and program planning. This is the primary reason why I chose Columbia regardless of the steep cost of tuition."
Mary Ackerly
  • Reviewed: 9/10/2014
  • Degree: Social Work
"The networking and alumni support is very strong as well as the advising department/ The professors are admirable and mostly interesting. The workload is heavy but manageable."
Madeline Briker
  • Reviewed: 8/28/2014
  • Degree: Social Work
"Pros: in New York City, receiving a Columbia degree, interesting classes, great professors Cons: the administration and field placement office are extremely unhelpful; all claim to be supportive and work with students, but I have found myself fighting with them when it comes to things like internship placement and financial aid"
Catherine Vavrinak
  • Reviewed: 8/27/2014
  • Degree: Social Work
"A program that gives you special preparation through their field placements."
Chassidy Ryals
  • Reviewed: 8/1/2014
  • Degree: Social Work
"Columbia University School of Social Work is top notch when it comes to student support and professional development. The staff is available and more than helpful. The education and and network is without compare, however the incredible cost of tuition/living expenses and limited scholarships limit students from more humble backgrounds from being able to afford this quality of education."
Sophie Moullin
  • Reviewed: 10/19/2013
  • Degree: Social Work
"The Social Work School at Columbia has great faculty doing important work. It's really sad though that their master's program is so shocking bad. Classes literally consisted on "analyzing" rap songs, long, racially charged, politicized debates with non-academic adjuncts who consistently got basic facts wrong. On this program, you pay a huge Ivy grad school fee, plus the cost of living in NYC, just to do volunteer work (a placement you could organize yourself) and idiotic 'assignments' (one involved literally making 'hungry' signs for the homeless of Harlem). Seriously, I worry about the students going to work with vulnerable, high-poverty communities with only this training - and huge debt!!"
tal haber
  • Reviewed: 8/12/2013
  • Degree: Social Work
"Columbia University is a title that provokes many expectations. However, one should always consider that when it comes to grad school, the biggest asset you have is your own personality and skills. Most schools offer opportunities to network and excel - it is on you to to take advantage of it, initiate and stand out."
Erick Nunez
  • Reviewed: 8/5/2013
  • Degree: Social Work
"NYC is a place where you have to take the train and that can be tiring at times. Columbia is a very expensive school but worth the education and staff are amazing and helpful."