Social Work

About Us

The Department of Social Work congruent with the Mission of Madras Christian College offers Human Rights and Value based Professional Social work education as a vocation of service through building of character, experiencing transformational development and acquiring critical consciousness in order to empower people to promote an egalitarian and just society.

The Department of Social work offers a Master Degree in Social work (MSW). Social work is a practice profession and therefore the objectives of the MSW course are to prepare candidates for a career in Social work.

Programmes offered

M. S. W (Community Development and Medical Psychiatry)



D. Prince Annadurai
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B. Prince Solomon Devadass
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S. Sudharsan
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Objectives of the Post-Graduate course in Social Work

The objectives of the MSW course are to prepare candidates for a career in Social work through a professional training programme aimed at developing in them:

  • Scientific knowledge about the dynamics of problems and issues in our society.
  • Theoretical knowledge about the dynamics of individuals, groups and communities.
  • An ability to critique the ideologies that lead to systematic domination, marginalization and rights violation of vulnerable groups.
  • Necessary skills for Social work practice.
  • An ability to apply skills in social work practice and social work research in different fields for achieving desirable change, development and empowerment of people.

Attitudes and values necessary for working with people and organizations for achieving the goals of social work profession namely

(1) to enhance people’s capacity for social functioning

(2) to improve the quality of life for everyone

(3) to promote social justice

(4) to provide opportunities for people to develop their capacities to become participating and contributing citizens.

Brief History of Social Service Programme in MCC

The Social Service Programme was shifted from Madras in 1937 to a suburb which was located 25 km South of the city. This quiet suburban setting with only small rural communities around has now changed to a complex urban scenario necessitating the inclusion of urban concerns in the extension services of the College and prompting programmes of rural welfare. Hence, the Social Service programme was deeply aware of the need to relate campus training to rural welfare and development.

The once small panchayat has grown in the past two decades to a large municipality with a resident population of 1, 50,000. The spillover and the steady spread of the city in the direction of Tambaram are now rapidly transforming the municipality to a satellite town of the metropolis of Madras. Concurrent with and responding to these developments in its locale, the College has been recasting its thrusts in the area of extension programmes and social services. The earlier emphasis on service orientation is now replaced by training-cum-service concept, and the autonomous status granted to the College in 1978 has enabled the college to introduce the same in the regular programmes that in earlier years had only either the academic or the service component.

The RSL and the CIRDS

Recognizing the need for a well-organized unit for rendering social service to villages around, the College founded the Rural Service League (RSL) in the late ‘30s soon after moving from Madras to Tambaram. The College community gave all possible support to the RSL that had Dr. Malcolm Adiseshiah, Dr M. Sargurudas and Dr Chandran Devanesan as its leaders. Many students were motivated over the years for services to the rural communities as well as other less privileged and needy sections of the neighborhood population.

The interest and the service orientation remain with several students long after they leave the College. The alumni chapter in UK, with the enthusiastic support of Jonathan Callaghan (19), a British Student at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, was engaged in raising funds in the early ‘70s for a project of the Rural Service League. Jonathan died in an accident in 1976 and his death spurred his family and friends to enhance the scope of the project into a Memorial in his name on campus at Tambaram. The Jonathan Callaghan Memorial Centre for Integrated Rural Development Studies (CIRDS) offered from 1983 a postgraduate diploma programme in rural development studies and this later on led to the establishment of a full time master’s programme in social work.

History of Social Services Initiation at MCC, Tambaram

In 1940 a serious epidemic of Cholera broke out in the villages around Mappedu. Large scale deaths occurred. When the news of the epidemic reached the College, Professor Malcolm Adiseshiah with a band of students visited the villages and arranged for burying the dead and provided medical relief to others. The academic community was struck for the first time with the realities of Rural India. The Rural Service League was formed and the team relocated Mappedu village with planned roads and house plots along with a community well. From this small beginning the Rural Service League soon adopted14 villages and provided educational facilities for children, conducted adult literacy programmes and extended medical aid. The R.S. L. School at Old Tambaram which began as evening classes under a mango tree has now good buildings, 30 teachers and over 900 students, and is a Government recognized Middle School.

The principal Thrust of the College in social service shifted again from Old Tambaram to Mappedu village in 1971 when the Family Life Institute (FLI) was established. Today the FLI provides medical services, non-formal education, a nursery school, and tailoring and envelope-making units.

Under the leadership of Mrs. Agnes Martin the Staff wives Fellowship of the College started the Maternity and Child Welfare Center in late ‘30s in West Tambaram and for many years to come it was the only hospital in Tambaram. Today it also has a primary school called the Oxfam School.

During the mid ‘40s the Student Christian Movement of the College started a Leprosy Clinic at Pammal Village. Bi-weekly visits to the clinic by students and staff continue to be organized and about 300 patients benefit from this programme.

The College Farm was started in 1965 and today it is a model mixed farm and offering training programmes in poultry, sheep rearing, dairy, piggery and agriculture. It extends over an area of 60 acres.

In 1969 when the Government of India introduced the National Service Scheme for the first time, the College was given two units each with 100 students. Today with four units, the students participate in a variety of programmes in the evenings during week days and for longer periods at weekends and during vacations.

Community and Social Service was introduced by the University of Madras under the Vice-Chancellorship of Dr. Malcolm Adiseshiah. The College took this programme seriously and today all postgraduate and undergraduate students have to put in 60 hours of Community and Social Service before being declared eligible for their respective degrees. The programmes are an encounter for the students with the social realities of the neighbourhood.

The Student Services for the Blind is yet another campus association started in 1956 and the students and staff enrolled as members help visually handicapped students in the College. With the changing needs of students with disability, it is now called Students Service for the Differently Abled.

The College has moved on to formal training-cum-service programmes with the establishment of the CIRDS. From offering a diploma programme in Integrated Rural Development Studies, the Centre is now offering the Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW).

MSW Academic Programme:

The 2-year Master of Social Work (MSW) spread over 4 semesters consists of theory, field work and research projects. The Department offers two specializations during the II year namely Community Development and Medical & Psychiatric Social Work and a student will have to choose one of them at the end of the 1st year.

A complete revamping of the curriculum was carried out during the academic year 2015 and efforts were made to update the curriculum, provide new papers and also to bring changes in the evaluation patterns.

The MSW programme consists of:

  • Core courses, which are mandatory for all students.
  • Supportive courses that are mandatory for all students.
  • Specialization Elective Courses: A student can choose Community Development OR Medical & Psychiatric Social Work.
  • General Elective courses which a student can choose from amongst the courses approved by the department.
  • Research Project (Mandatory Course) – Dissertation and Viva voce.
  • Field Work, which includes Rural Camp and Study Tour; and Block Internship
  • Soft Skills

Highlights of innovations introduced:

  • New electives were introduced in areas such as Disaster Management, International Social Work, Conflict Resolution & Peace Building, Social Work with Families & Children.
  • Term papers were introduced as ESE for 2 credit papers (Electives) with clear guidelines.
  • A specialization paper on Community Development Practices was introduced.
  • Current and new developments were updated.
  • Concepts related to qualitative research were introduced in the curriculum.

Field Work:

Concurrent Field Work Practicum:

Concurrent fieldwork is an integral part of the total training programme in Social Work and is an inseparable part of the social work programme. It consists of practicing social work skills for intervention under the guidance of professional social workers in selected placements. Such placements provide an opportunity to the learner to apply theory to practice and gain firsthand experience. Under the concurrent fieldwork there will be no classroom lectures on two days in a week and on such days the students will report to the placement organizations. Fieldwork will commence with orientation visits to selected social work organizations. The organizations selected for fieldwork practicum should have a well-defined fieldwork programme, willingness to give facilities for training for students and a policy of maintaining high standards of welfare programmes. Fieldwork will be organized under competent supervision provided by the field supervisors, who are members of the organization staffing. Dual supervision will be adopted in the fieldwork practicum where the department faculty and the field supervisors assume responsibilities for the supervision of the students through individual weekly conferences and periodical consultations with the field supervisors. Two days a week are set aside for concurrent fieldwork of 15 hours per week. Each semester shall have a minimum of 24 days of concurrent fieldwork spread over 12 weeks with 15 hours per week. Six credits are assigned for fieldwork practicum in each semester. A student shall earn a total of 24 credits in 4 semesters of fieldwork practicum.

In addition to this, as part of field work, the student shall attend a rural camp in the second semester for a minimum of 10 days and submit a written report after the camp and in the III semester the students will go for a study tour to places of social work interest for a period not exceeding 10 days and submit a report of the same.

Block Internship Programme:

Block internship is in addition to concurrent fieldwork practicum. It should occur at the end of the 2-year period and it may sometimes lead to students’ employment in the organization. Completion of block internship is a requirement for course completion. The internship should be for 30 days with 8 hours per day totaling to 240 hours with 2 credits.

International Block Placement: Students have over the last 5 years explored the opportunities to do their block internship aboard either with our international partners or through the contacts with INGO’s established during their international study tour. These placements have provided them with an international cross-cultural experience of social work practice.