Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak impacted the Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate students’ education and field instruction. Engagement in classes in remote or restricted field placements was a new and evolving form of learning. This study investigated social work students’ level of motivation and preparedness entering the field after the novel form of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. This comparative quantitative exploratory study surveyed 70 advanced-year social work students. This study was undertaken as a means to learn about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, to benefit future cohorts, and to facilitate preparedness of faculty and staff for remote learning.

The study’s results suggest that most MSW students were impacted by the pandemic and the shift to remote learning and internship. Yet, the results indicated few differences in impact between the two groups of students this study examined: Title IV-E child welfare students and those students pursuing other social work specializations. The study hypothesized that Title IV-E students, who benefit from increased supports would report being more prepared to enter the field than their non-Title IV-E peers. The study’s findings suggest that, in spite of the pandemic and the switch to online learning and internships, Title IV-E and non-Title IV-E students are equally prepared to enter the field, but that Title IV-E students might be more prepared to build rapid rapport with clients. Implications for social work education and training are discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons