The SSA Master of Arts program prepares you to be a leader in the fields of clinical social work and social administration practice. The AM degree from SSA is equivalent to an MSW, but with a broader educational and experiential foundation that combines direct social work practice with policy development, interdisciplinary research and social science theory. The comprehensive and interdisciplinary nature of the AM degree translates into greater flexibility and choice in your future career.

The Individual & Society

The goal of all SSA coursework and fieldwork is to frame individual distress in a larger social context. To be an effective social worker—a real force of positive change in people's lives—you must be able to recognize and understand the diverse and intersecting causes of distress: psychological, biological, familial, political, economic and social. This broader understanding will inform the clinical methods you use to help people overcome their own unique challenges, prevent problems from occurring in the first place, and find new hope.

Clinical & Administration Concentrations

The SSA master's program begins with a first-year core curriculum that introduces you to the chief methods of social intervention (direct practice, policy and research), the diversity of human experience, and the fundamentals of human behavior and development. You are then asked to choose between two academic concentrations:

  • Clinical Concentration – Learn the major prevention and treatment approaches of direct clinical practice and engage with real clients through clinical fieldwork in hundreds of agencies and organizations across Chicago.
  • Social Administration Concentration – Take advanced coursework in the economics, politics, organization, and delivery of social welfare services and participate in administrative fieldwork at government agencies and community development organizations.

The SSA master's program offers the flexibility to customize your education to your specific career goals. Choose from elective courses within SSA and throughout the University in a wide variety of social work and related fields. Explore opportunities to study abroad. You can also leverage the interdisciplinary strengths of the University of Chicago by combining your AM degree with a Master of Public Policy, an MBA or a Master of Divinity.

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Learn how to apply to the master's program or contact us with any questions. 

Zehua Cui

"I had no awareness of the existence of social work in schools in China, so I am thankful for my first year internship experience with children at Namaste Charter school, which totally opened up a new world for me. The experience broadened my horizon in terms of the various ways in which we can help children," says Zehua Cui.