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Black Jeff, McMaster School of Social Work Alumni, BSW 2013, MSW 2014

Jeff Black

McMaster School of Social Work Alumni, BSW 2013, MSW 2014

School of Social Work


I am a graduate of McMaster’s MSW: Critical Analysis of Social Work program. When looking to pursue a MSW, I was immediately drawn to McMaster’s program. While I am passionate about front-line practice, I wanted to be engaged in a program that valued research and offered the opportunity to complete a thesis project. McMaster’s MSW offered the challenge of critically examining the role of structures, systems, and policy and their intrinsic link to social work practice in the field.

My experiences in this program pushed and assisted me to locate and ground myself theoretically within social work literature, and I was tasked to find new ways of conceptualizing and problematizing the world around me. The small class sizes offer an opportunity to truly engage with your fellow students and professors, creating a supportive environment where I was challenged to reach a higher level of critical reflection, expression of self, academic writing and other forms of non-traditional academic performance.

The opportunity to engage in a thesis research project has been vital to my development as a social work academic and practitioner. While the thought of creating and completing your own research can be daunting, McMaster’s faculty are incredibly supportive, while still fostering your own autonomy as a researcher and writer. The program encouraged me to take creative risks and find new approaches to tackling research and expression.  The skills developed through the program have allowed me to effectively engage in challenging professional discussions with service users and providers in various fields of practice, present my own research at conferences internationally, and work with undergraduate students in the classroom setting as a Teaching Assistant.

My growth that occurred during my time in the MSW program has been vital to both my personal and professional self. Choosing McMaster’s MSW: Critical Analysis of Social Work has been a catalyst in my trajectory moving forward in the field of social work.