The MSW Program began in fall 2002 and was fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education in spring 2006. The MSW Program prepares students for advanced practice in social work. Following completion of a generalist year of study, students complete a specialization in Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) or Adults and Healthy Aging (AHA). All social work students are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. No academic credit towards field experience or coursework is given based on previous work or life experience.

The MSW degree is offered via a regular on-campus or fully online delivery format. The curriculum in both programs is the same, but students must matriculate through only one pathway. Separate application processes are used for on-campus and online programs. On-campus students can complete their degree in a two-, three-, or four-year plan of study. On-campus MSW courses are offered during the day and evening hours. All courses are sequenced and must be taken in the order designated. Students should meet with their academic advisor to ensure timely completion of all degree requirements. The fully online program is offered in a flexible 8-week schedule format, and courses are taken in a prescribed sequence, one at a time, except during semesters when students are in their field practicum.

In both program options, students are required to successfully complete 1,050 hours of supervised field practicum in agencies approved by the Department of Social Work: 450 hours during the generalist year and 600 hours during the specialized practice year. Field placements generally require availability during regular daytime hours. The Department of Social Work will make reasonable efforts to work with a student to secure an appropriate field placement, but it does not guarantee a placement.

Admissions

Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission standards and application requirements specified in Graduate Admissions and apply using the online Application for Graduate Admission. The application process is competitive, and applications for the on-campus program are considered for the fall semester only. In addition to holding an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, applicants must have a minimum of 30 undergraduate credits in the liberal arts to include at least 3 credits in each of the following: English composition, history or government, social sciences, and statistics. For application deadlines and detailed application requirements, please refer to the CHHS Admissions website.

Requirements for MSW students with Advanced Standing

Students with a BSW degree who demonstrate superior academic achievement and excellence in social work practice will be considered for advanced standing. Advanced standing students begin the MSW Program in the summer and upon successfully completing SOCW 674, move directly into the specialization year. Advanced standing students must successfully complete 600 hours of supervised field practicum in agencies approved by the Department of Social Work.

All other academic policies for the advanced standing program are identical to those for the regular MSW Program.

Applicants must meet the admission standards and application requirements specified in Graduate Admissions and must apply using the online Application for Graduate Admission. The application process is competitive, and applications are considered for the fall admissions cycle only, with advanced standing students beginning courses in the summer. In addition to holding a BSW in Social Work earned within the past five years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, applicants must have a minimum of 30 undergraduate credits in the liberal arts to include at least 3 credits in each of the following: English composition, history or government, social sciences, and statistics. For application deadlines and detailed application requirements, refer to the CHHS Admissions website

Policies

Transfer of Credit

Students who began MSW programs at another CSWE-accredited MSW program may transfer a maximum of 29 graduate credits into the MSW program. 

Transfer credit is subject to university and college policies and must be approved by the program director and the dean. Students must note on the MSW Departmental Form and MSW Application Checklist that they are applying as transfer students.

Non-Degree Students

Admission to the on-campus MSW program is offered once a year for the fall semester only. Non-degree students may apply through the Office of Admissions and be admitted in the fall and spring and, as space allows, enroll in classes as appropriate. Please contact the program director for more information. 

Program Requirements

Students must earn a grade of B- or above in each course and must achieve a GPA of 3.0 over all courses applied to the degree. A prerequisite must be satisfied with a B- or better before registering for the next course in a sequence. A course in which the student earns a C may be repeated once. No more than 6 total credits of C may be repeated overall.

Social work faculty members evaluate each student's performance periodically and may terminate the student from the program when, in their judgment, performance is not satisfactory. The decision is based on the quality of academic and field performance, as well as on personal fitness for the profession of social work. The student has the right to appeal.

A student with a criminal history may find it difficult to obtain a field placement or employment in a human service agency depending on the specific charge. It is possible that a student with a criminal background may not be able to be placed in a field practicum or complete their degree program. The Criminal Background Policy is available on the Social Work Department website.

Insurance Coverage

Students engaged in internships are covered for liability under the Commonwealth of Virginia's Self-Insured Liability Insurance Plan and covered for medical malpractice under the Medical Malpractice Insurance Plan, as established by the Department of General Services, Division of Risk Management. Only practicum activities that have been determined by the field instructor to be part of the course are covered. Students are encouraged to obtain professional liability coverage through the National Association of Social Workers, although this additional coverage is optional.

Immunizations

All students who are enrolled in a course that requires a field placement (SOCW 672SOCW 673SOCW 696SOCW 698) must have an annual tuberculosis screening (PPD). In addition, students must complete the entire Hepatitis B immunization series in accordance with current U.S. Public Health Service recommendations. Any cost related to these requirements is the responsibility of the student. Students can register for field classes prior to the completion of the immunizations, but documentation of completion must be submitted to the MSW administrative assistant in the Social Work Department office no later than one month after the beginning of the semester. Immunizations are program requirements and must be completed by the student even if they are not required by the agency.

Banner Code: HH-MSW-SOCW

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 60

In order to graduate with the MSW degree, students must successfully complete the generalist courses and the courses for one specialization. Before beginning Specialization Courses, students must complete all Generalist Courses.

Generalist Courses

SOCW 600Foundations of Social Work and Social Welfare3
SOCW 623Human Behavior and Social Systems3
SOCW 644Community Practice Across the Life Course3
SOCW 656Poverty, Oppression, and Inequity3
SOCW 659Organizing and Advocating for Change3
SOCW 660Foundations of Direct Practice3
SOCW 671Research Methods for Social Workers3
SOCW 672Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 673Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar II3
SOCW 674Psychopathology3
Total Credits30

Specialization in Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)

Core Courses

SOCW 630Forensic Social Work Practice3
SOCW 6503
SOCW 6833
SOCW 688Program Evaluation for Social Workers3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Total Credits18

Specialization in Adults and Healthy Aging (AHA)

Core Courses

SOCW 640Advanced Clinical Practice3
SOCW 6503
SOCW 688Program Evaluation for Social Workers3
SOCW 689Clinical Practice with Older Adults3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Total Credits18

Macro Elective Courses

Select 1-4 courses from the following:3-12
Immigration Policy
Social Policy for Children and Youth
Aging Programs and Policies
Global Human Rights Policy
Selected Topics in Social Work and Social Change
Social Work and the Law
Organizational Leadership for Social Workers
Other course with permission of chair
Total Credits3-12

Clinical Elective Courses

Select 0-3 courses from the following:0-9
Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
Advanced Group Theory and Practice
Selected Topics in Clinical Practice
Family Therapy
Trauma and Recovery
Military Social Work
Substance Abuse Interventions
Other course with permission of chair
Total Credits0-9

MSW for Students with Advanced Standing

In order to graduate with the MSW degree, advanced standing students must successfully complete the generalist course (SOCW 674) in the summer prior to beginning the specialization curriculum and the courses for one specialization.

Generalist Course

SOCW 674Psychopathology3
Total Credits3

Specialization in Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)

Core Courses

SOCW 630Forensic Social Work Practice3
SOCW 6503
SOCW 6833
SOCW 688Program Evaluation for Social Workers3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Total Credits18

Specialization in Adults and Healthy Aging (AHA)

Core Courses

SOCW 640Advanced Clinical Practice3
SOCW 6503
SOCW 688Program Evaluation for Social Workers3
SOCW 689Clinical Practice with Older Adults3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Total Credits18

Macro Elective Courses 

Select 1-4 courses from the following:3-12
Immigration Policy
Social Policy for Children and Youth
Aging Programs and Policies
Global Human Rights Policy
Selected Topics in Social Work and Social Change
Social Work and the Law
Organizational Leadership for Social Workers
Total Credits3-12

Clinical Elective Courses

Select 0-3 courses from the following:0-9
Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
Advanced Group Theory and Practice
Selected Topics in Clinical Practice
Family Therapy
Trauma and Recovery
Military Social Work
Substance Abuse Interventions
Total Credits0-9

Conflict Analysis and Resolution, MS and Social Work, MSW Dual Degree

The Department of Social Work and the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution have joined forces to offer a three year dual-degree program. Students can earn both an MSW and an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution while taking advantage of the diversity of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and the university's proximity to the nation's capital. This is the only dual-degree program of its kind.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission standards and application requirements specified in Graduate Admissions and apply using the online Application for Graduate Admission. The application process is competitive, and applications are considered for the fall semester only.

Students interested in the 3-year dual degree program submit one online Application for Graduate Admission, select the MSW in Social Work as a primary program, and submit all application support materials to the Office of Graduate Admission in the College of Health and Human Services. Applicants should communicate their interest in completing the dual degree program in their essays, and recommendations should address the dual program interest. Students must be admitted to both programs in the same semester (fall only) to be admitted to the dual degree program.

For application deadlines and detailed application requirements please refer to the CHHS Admissions website. Interested students should consult the MSW program website, the MSW program, and the MSW program director for additional information prior to applying.

Transfer of Credit

Transfer credit is governed AP.6.5.3 Transfer of Credit and AP.6 Graduate Policies. Transfer credits must be approved by the program director and the dean. Students who enroll initially through non-degree studies should seek course advising through the department prior to taking a course and plan to submit their application to the dual degree program as soon as possible. 

Please refer to the Transfer of Credit policy for the MSW in Social Work for departmental policy governing courses taken at another institution and the maximum number of credits allowed.

MSW-MS Degree Requirements

Total credits: 78

Social Work Courses

SOCW 600Foundations of Social Work and Social Welfare3
SOCW 623Human Behavior and Social Systems3
SOCW 644Community Practice Across the Life Course3
SOCW 6503
SOCW 656Poverty, Oppression, and Inequity3
SOCW 659Organizing and Advocating for Change3
SOCW 660Foundations of Direct Practice3
SOCW 672Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 673Generalist Field Practicum and Seminar II3
SOCW 674Psychopathology3
SOCW 688Program Evaluation for Social Workers 13
or CONF 660 Conflict Assessment and Program Evaluation
Total Credits33
Specialization in Children, Youth, and Families (CYF)
SOCW 630Forensic Social Work Practice3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Select two courses from the following. At least one course must be a Macro Elective Course.6
Macro Elective Courses
Immigration Policy
Social Policy for Children and Youth
Aging Programs and Policies
Global Human Rights Policy
Selected Topics in Social Work and Social Change
Social Work and the Law
Organizational Leadership for Social Workers
Clinical Elective Courses
Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
Advanced Group Theory and Practice
Selected Topics in Clinical Practice
Family Therapy
Trauma and Recovery
Military Social Work
Substance Abuse Interventions
Advanced Clinical Practice
Clinical Practice with Older Adults
Total Credits15
Specialization in Adults and Healthy Aging (AHA)
SOCW 640Advanced Clinical Practice3
SOCW 689Clinical Practice with Older Adults3
SOCW 696Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar I3
SOCW 698Specialized Practice Field Practicum and Seminar II3
Select two courses from the following. At least one course must be a Macro Elective Course.6
Macro Elective Courses
Immigration Policy
Social Policy for Children and Youth
Aging Programs and Policies
Global Human Rights Policy
Selected Topics in Social Work and Social Change
Social Work and the Law
Organizational Leadership for Social Workers
Clinical Elective Courses
Forensic Social Work Practice
Creative Arts in Social Work Practice
Advanced Group Theory and Practice
Selected Topics in Clinical Practice
Family Therapy
Trauma and Recovery
Military Social Work
Substance Abuse Interventions
Total Credits18

Conflict Analysis and Resolution Courses

CONF 600Foundations of Conflict Analysis and Resolution6
CONF 610Conflict Inquiry3
CONF 657Facilitation Skills3
CONF 625Engaging Conflict 13
Total Credits15

Electives

Select 12 credits of CONF Electives with approval from S-CAR12
Total Credits12