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Graduate programs

Master of Social Work

Program Administrators:

MSW Program Coordinator 
Amanda Keys
Pummill Hall, room 105
417-836-4213
AmandaKeys@MissouriState.edu

Field Education Coordinators:

Tiffany Havlin
Pummill Hall, Room 105
417-836-6314

Program Description

The MSW program prepares students for advanced generalist social work practice.  It is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  

The School of Social Work offers the MSW program in two options:  Advanced Standing and Regular Standing.  The Advanced Standing program option is designed for students who have a baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited program and who meet the Advanced Standing program admission requirements.  Those who have substantial work experience in the social work field and/or have completed course work in social work (even a minor) but have not graduated with a BSW, are not eligible for Advanced Standing.   The Advanced Standing program involves 34 credit hours and can be completed in full-time status (three semesters) or part-time status (six semesters). Advanced Standing students begin their studies during the summer semester of the admission year.

The Regular Standing MSW program option is designed for students who do not have a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, or who do not meet the other admission requirements for the Advanced Standing program.  The Regular Standing program requires 62 credit hours to earn the MSW degree.  The Regular Standing student can complete the program in full-time status (two calendar years) or part-time status (four calendar years).  Students accepted for admission into the Regular Standing MSW program option begin their studies in the fall.

Master of Social Work Admission Objectives

Admission to the Master of Social Work program is competitive and selective. All applicants applying on time and meeting the minimum standards will be considered for admission. However, merely meeting these standards does not guarantee admission. Only those students showing significant promise for a career in social work will be admitted to the program. The MSW program is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students regardless of their economic or social status, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, political orientation, disability, age, veterans’ status, or marital or parental status.

Admission Requirements for the Regular Standing MSW Program

Regular Standing MSW program applicants will apply using the centralized application service for social work known as SocialWork CAS. To begin this process, the applicant will create an account through the SocialWorkCAS website (socialworkcas.liaisoncas.org). SocialWorkCAS will verify the application for accuracy, calculate the GPA, and send materials to all specified Master of Social Work programs.

All documents required for the Missouri State University MSW application will all be submitted through SocialWorkCAS. Items submitted directly to SocialWorkCas include: an application, all official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a resume, personal statement essays, and three letters of reference.

The GRE exam is not required for admission.

Students are eligible to apply for admission into the Regular Standing MSW program when the following conditions are met:

  1. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by a regional agency recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.
  2. Applicants must have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for all undergraduate course work taken.
    • The GPA for upper-division course work (last 60 hours) in undergraduate classes may be used if higher than the overall GPA and if this GPA is calculated by the Graduate College or a referring college office.
  3. Applicants must also have taken at least 3 credits in research design and/or statistics with a grade of “C” or better, preferably in the social sciences, as evidenced in the departmental application and student transcript.
  4. Prerequisites: Applicants must show evidence of a bachelor’s degree that encompasses a liberal arts perspective with at least 9 credits of social science, child, family or aging studies preferred.
    • A liberal arts perspective is considered a program of study that involves classes from the following areas: economics, history or geography; natural, applied or life science; humanities, philosophy or literature; writing or other communication studies; mathematics or statistics; and social or human sciences.

Admission Requirements for the Advanced Standing Program

Advanced Standing MSW program applicants will apply using the centralized application service for social work known as SocialWork CAS. To begin this process, the applicant will create an account through the SocialWorkCAS website (socialworkcas.liaisoncas.org). SocialWorkCAS will verify the application for accuracy, calculate the GPA, and send materials to all specified Master of Social Work programs.

All documents required for the Missouri State University MSW application will all be submitted through SocialWorkCAS. Items submitted directly to SocialWorkCas include: an application, all official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a resume, verification of CSWE accredited BSW degree, personal statement essays, and three letters of reference.

The GRE exam is not required for admission.

Students are eligible to apply for admission into the Advanced Standing MSW program when the following conditions are met:

  1. Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) no longer than seven years prior to admission to the MSW program.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify their Bachelor of Social work meets CSWE's accreditation standards before applying to the advanced standing program.
    • Verification is to be submitted with the application by a notation of CSWE accreditation on the official transcript, or a print out of accreditation status of BSW degree awarding university listed on CSWE Accreditation page.
  2. Applicants must have no more than one grade of "C" and not grades below "C" in all social work prefixed courses.
  3. Applicants must also have taken at least 3 credits in research design and/or statistics, preferably in the social sciences, with a grade of “C” or better in both, as evidenced in the departmental application and student transcript.
  4. Applicants must have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for all undergraduate course work taken.
    • The GPA for upper-division course work (last 60 hours) in undergraduate classes may be used if higher than the overall GPA and if this GPA is calculated by the Graduate College or a referring college office.
  5. International students are able to apply for advanced standing program by completing the following procedures:
    • CSWE's International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service (ISWDRES) recognizes academic credentials in social work that are comparable to accredited baccalaureate and master's degrees in social work in the United States. Recognition is necessary to establish qualifications for employment, graduate school admission, membership in the National Association of Social Workers, state licensing, and/or certification.
    • An International applicant is required to complete the ISWDRES screening form through Council on Social Work Education to determine if a social work degree has been obtained before applying to advanced standing program.
    • Verification is to be submitted with the application through notation of CSWE accredited program on the official transcript or other forms of official CSWE document.

Application deadlines

Application and all additional materials must be submitted by the due date on the application for the year of desired admission for both Advanced and Regular Standing MSW program options. Deadlines will be strictly enforced so applicants are encouraged to apply early. Applicants must have all application materials submitted by the application deadline for consideration. It is recommended that all transcripts be received by SocialWorkCAS no later than two weeks before the due date in order to meet the admission deadline.

Admission to the MSW program involves the “whole person” concept. As such, the admission process takes into account a person’s character and personal fitness to the social work profession, academic preparedness for graduate study, and a student’s potential to conduct applied social work. Evidence of this includes: previous employment or significant volunteer experience in human services, the student’s statement of purpose, letters of reference, and other information relevant to the admission decision.

Transfer Students

The MSW program will consider transfer credits for core courses only from accredited graduate social work programs. No credit will be given for life or work experience. A maximum of 12 graduate hours from such programs may be accepted if taken at the generalist level. No transfer course work will be accepted for classes taken at the specialist level. Elective credit may be transferred from other social work programs or from programs related to social work (i.e., psychology, counseling, public health, etc.). Elective courses must have been taken within 5 years of entering the MSW program in order to count toward the degree requirements.

After a prospective student has been accepted for admission, the Graduate Admissions Committee will determine the amount of acceptable transfer credit (up to the maximum credit allowed) following a review of official transcripts, catalog descriptions, and course syllabi. Primary emphasis is on assessing whether the objectives and content of transfer courses matches those of required Missouri State University courses. No transfer credits for core courses or electives will be accepted if the student earned less than a "B" or took the class more than 5 years prior to enrolling in the MSW program.

Academic Standards

Students are expected to meet graduate school requirements for good academic standing of a 3.0 GPA for all graduate course work transferred in or earned at Missouri State University. Students will be dismissed from the program for any of the following academic reasons:

  1. Two grades of “C” in any graduate coursework.
  2. A grade of “no pass” or “C” in any field practicum (i.e., SWK 740 and SWK 780).
  3. A grade below “C” in any graduate coursework.

Social Work Policies and Procedures for Review of Academic Performance and Grievances

All social work graduate students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics. All policies concerning student academic performance and personal conduct are delineated by University Policies. All related or other departmental policies and procedures can be found in the MSW Student Handbook.

Capstone Requirements for Regular and Advanced Standing MSW Programs

There are three additional requirements that all MSW students must do to graduate. First, is carrying out a research study and participating in a poster presentation to discuss the student’s study. Second, is completing a comprehensive examination. Third, is the successful completion of all field education hours. Field education hours are completed in-person in an agency approved by the School of Social Work. There are 450 hours in the field practicum at the generalist level and 525 hours at the specialist level. Advanced Standing students are in the field only at the specialist level. All three capstone requirements must be finished before a MSW degree will be granted.

Degree Requirements for Regular Standing MSW Program

The Regular Standing MSW program requires a minimum of 62 hours of graduate credit plus any prerequisite courses.  The required courses by curriculum level are listed as follows for both full-time and part-time options.  The first phase in the program is the generalist level and involves courses taken in the first year (if full-time status) or first and second years (if part-time).  These courses must be completed before enrolling in the second level of classes.  The second phase of course work is the specialist level and involves courses taken in the second year (if full-time status) or third and fourth year (if part-time).  

Required Courses for Regular Standing MSW Program:

Generalist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 705 Human Behavior in the Social Environment 3 hrs
SWK 710 Foundations in Social Work Practice with Individuals 3 hrs
SWK 715 Social Welfare Policy and Services 3 hrs
SWK 725 Foundations in Social Work Practice with Families and Groups 3 hrs
SWK 726 Foundations in Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations 3 hrs
SWK 730 Perspectives in Human Diversity and Societal Systems 3 hrs
SWK 740 Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar I (450 hours) 10 hrs
  Total Hours for Generalist Level 28 hrs

Specialist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 746 Foundations in Social Work Research 3 hrs
SWK 750 Social Work Practice I 3 hrs
SWK 754 Advanced Clinical Social Work Assessment 3 hrs
SWK 755 Social Work Practice II 3 hrs
SWK 756 Social Work Practice III 3 hrs
SWK 760 Advanced Policy Practice 3 hrs
SWK 780 Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar II (525 hours) 10 hrs
SWK 797 Applications in Social Work Research 3 hrs
  Social Work Elective 3 hrs
  Total Hours for Specialist Level  34 hrs
  Total Hours for MSW Regular Standing Program Option 62 hrs

Degree Requirements for Advanced Standing Program

The Advanced Standing MSW program requires a minimum of 34 hours of graduate courses. The required courses are listed as follows for both full-time and part-time options. The full-time option can be completed in three semesters and the part-time option can be completed in six semesters.

Required Courses for Advanced Standing Program

Specialist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 746 Foundations in Social Work Research 3 hrs
SWK 750 Human Behavior and Family Systems 3 hrs
SWK 754 Perspectives on Individual and Family Health Assessment 3 hrs
SWK 755 Family Health Social Work Practice II 3 hrs
SWK 756 Family Health Social Work Practice III 3 hrs
SWK 760 Family Health Policy 3 hrs
SWK 780 Social Work Field Practicum II (525 hours) 10 hrs
SWK 797 Applications in Social Work Research 3 hrs
  Social Work Elective 3 hrs
Total Hours for the MSW Advanced Standing Program Option 34 hrs

Current Elective Courses in the MSW Program:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 602 Rural Health (online) 3 hrs
SWK 641 Family Health and Family Violence  3 hrs 
SWK 643 Non-Profit Management in Health and Human Services 3 hrs
SWK 695 Forensic Social Work 3 hrs
SWK 696 Health Literacy in the Human Services (online) 3 hrs
SWK 699 Special Topics in Social Work Practice 3 hrs
SWK 742 Substance Use and Social Work Practice 3 hrs