Master of Social Work (MSW)
Offered through the Department of Social Work
in the School of Health and Human Services
224 Stewart Hall
Web site: www.stcloudstate.edu/social work
Additional Links: http://www.socialworkers.org, http://www.socialwork.state.mn.us
Department Chairperson: Dr. Tracy Ore
Department Office Manager: Ms. Carleen Guck
Director of Graduate Program: Dr. Gary Whitford
Graduate Faculty: Pfohl, Stilwell, Whitford, Teboh, Lamin, Brumbaugh-Johnson
The Master of Social Work degree prepares the professional worker to think critically, and work effectively and collaboratively in the professional world of social services. Social workers graduating from SCSU will be prepared to promote economic, political, and social justice in a diverse and global society The purpose of the program is to:
- Develop social work knowledge and skills to become advanced-level generalist social workers who are grounded in the liberal arts and the values, ethics, and theories of the social work profession
- Encourage and guide students' use of critical thinking and collaboration with others to intervene with systems at all levels.
- Develop student's professional identity as social workers who promote change at levels including individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and the policy arena.
- Provide opportunities for students to become knowledgeable and involved in empowering communities and populations who create human service delivery systems based on social work values.
- Educate students so they will understand the implications of social welfare history and policy and demonstrate policy practice skills to influence, formulate, and advocate for policy consistent with social work values.
- Educate students in order they they will be able to evaluate their own practice and contribute their knowledge to the advancement of their social work profession.
- Challenge and educate students so they will be able to recognize and enhance cultural and global diversity, and advocate for equality in the distribution of societal resources and political justice at all levels of intervention (local, state, national and global).
Mission of the Department of Social Work
The mission of the Department of Social Work is to use an anti-oppression lens, with a focus on race, class and gender, to inform both its educational environment and educational programs. Faculty, staff and students commit to an experiential and transformative educational process that will challenge them to think critically and analyze systemic inequalities in the United States and the world. This process will prepare professional social workers to work as change agents in a diverse world.
Mission of the MSW Program
Our mission is to engage students in an educational program that prepares them to think critically and evaluate practice and programs and contribute to the body of social work knowledge through active research. Students will be prepared to work effectively and collaboratively as professional social workers to enhance human well-being and promote economic, political and social justice in a diverse and global society. Using justice centered and community based practice approaches, the MSW program will prepare social work professionals at the advanced generalist level who can practice across a variety of social service settings.
Accreditation Specific to the Program
The Master of Social Work Program is accredited by and in good standing with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The social work profession is committed to social justice and works towards resolving systemic issues that may impact a community and its members. It is considered a "profession of hope, grounded in practice problem solving expertise" (Celebrate Social Work Month-2009) professional social workers see human potential. Social workers strive towards empowering individuals, groups, and communities to create better lives for themselves and those around them. Social workers are active in public advocacy, government agencies, an at all levels of services in communities. According to the National Association of Social Workers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is expected to continue growing through 2012 (www.helpstartshere.org). The MSW has national and international recognition as a professional degree.
Professionals with the MSW degree work in public and not-for-profit community agencies. This includes mental health settings, hospitals, clinics, domestic violence agencies, employee assistance programs, and all areas of child welfare practice. MSW degree holders have enjoyed responsible administrative positions such as: agency directors, clinical directors, advocates through the court system, and in communities with groups of all sizes. Social workers may serve as researchers and consultants for managers in the social service arena. Social workers are also employed in the political arena as advocates for social work or human rights organizations that seek changes in policy which will further social justice for all persons.
- The GRE is not required.
- The MSW program will admit students fall semester only for the two year Foundation track. Advanced Standing are officially admitted for fall semester but begin coursework in the preceding summers. Spring semester admittance is not available.
- Students are admitted into either the Foundation or Advanced Standing track.
- The two-year Foundation program is for the applicant with a bachelor degree other than social work and for applicants whose Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) is older than seven years.
- The Advanced Standing track is for applicants who have received the BSW degree within the last seven years.
- When to apply:
- The Program has limited admission space for students; therefore qualified students are encouraged to apply for consideration by the priority deadline of January 15. Applications must be complete by the stated deadlines.
- Applications may be submitted beginning September 1, but must be postmarked by January 15 for priority consideration. Completed applications are reviewed as a pool by a faculty committee following the January 15 priority deadline. Applicants are notified of admission decisions within approximately one month of the January 15 priority deadline.
- Applications received after January 15 will be considered if program spaces remain available following the January 15 priority review. To be considered for a possible second round of consideration, complete applications must be received by February 15. A faculty committee review will take place following the secondary deadline of February 15. Notification of an admission decision will be provided to secondary pool applicants within approximately one month.
- Once the Program is full, qualified applicants are placed on a waiting list in the event, space in the Program becomes available. Applicants are encouraged to check deadlines as the date may change slightly from year to year.
Wait list Information
- Competition for limited places in the MSW program requires the necessity of a wait list. Click here for details.
- All applications are submitted and reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies (www.stcloudstate.edu/gradadmissions) before being forwarded to the Department of Social Work. Students who are accepted into the MSW program must first meet the admissions standards established by the School of Graduate Studies at St. Cloud State University.
- All application materials are submitted and reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies before being forwarded to the Department of Social Work.
- Advanced Standing students are admitted to the MSW program and will have a start date for the first summer session.
- Foundation students are admitted only for the fall semester.
- (Please see below for explanation of Advanced Standing and Foundation status)
The graduate application process includes: an admission application, application fee, Statement of Intent, official transcripts documenting degree complete and grade point average (GPA) from all institutions of higher education where 15 or more credits were completed, GRE verbal and quantitative scores, and three recommendation forms.
Applicants are admitted to the MSW program as foundation students or as advanced standing students according to the following criteria:
- An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.
- For advanced standing applicants, the degree must be from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and earned within the past seven years. The social work degree must be granted prior to the first day of class. Official transcripts must be submitted before enrollment in coursework.
- For applicants NOT holding a BSW degree, must demonstrate completion of the following pre-requisites: human biology, social statistics, human life cycle development and three additional courses in social/behavioral sciences. This includes courses in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, psychology, history, and human relations. The courses may be taken at any accredited college or university. A transcript documenting completion of the courses are due at admission.
- How are your career goals consistent with:
- the mission of the Department of Social Work;
- the mission of the MSW Program; and
- the values of the Social Work profession as articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics (www.socialworkers.org).
- Describe a social justice issue that is of interest to you and describe the contribution you plan to make toward the resolution of the problem
- Your response should be three to five (3 – 5) typed double spaced pages (12 point font). Remember to include citations for any sources used.
Applicants may be requested to participate in an interview. Selection includes consideration of academic background, previous work experience, scholarship, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, and commitment to the social work profession.
*Please note: the MSW program does not award academic credit for life experiences and/or previous work experiences.
Admission to a graduate program does not constitute candidacy for a degree. Rather, a student who has been admitted to graduate study is advanced to degree candidacy upon the recommendation of the Department of Social Work degree faculty. Advancement to a degree candidacy requires that that candidate:
- Successfully complete the required coursework, research and field internships required for the MSW degree.
- Clearly demonstrate the aptitude and ability to pursue graduate work, exhibited the maturity expected of an MSW and compliance with the social work code of ethics in the classroom and in the field internships, and a documented commitment to social work as a profession.
- Complete the necessary forms for graduation.
Required Orientation Program
All new students will be required to attend a new student orientation program prior to the beginning of the academic year. Students will be notified of the date, time, meeting place, and schedule for orientation.
Length of Program
The MSW Program provides students with full-time and part-time options.
- Full-time student Foundation: four semesters (54 credits) with a two-year commitment beginning the fall semester following admission. The Research II (SW 632) course is offered during the summer only and is taken between semester two and three in the program plan of study.
- Full-time student Advanced Standing: one summer session and two semesters (30 credits) with a one-year commitment beginning with the summer session following admission. The Research II (SW 632) course is offered during the summer only and is taken prior to the start of the fall semester.
- Part-time student Foundation: eight semesters (54 credits) with a four-year commitment beginning the fall semester following admission. The Research II (SW 632) course is offered during the summer only and must be taken following Foundation coursework and prior to Concentration Year field placement, thesis, or capstone.
- Part-time student Advanced Standing: one summer session and four semesters (30 credits) with a two-year commitment beginning with either the fall or summer session following admission. The Research II (SW 632) course is offered during the summer only and must be taken following Foundation coursework and prior to Concentration Year field placement, thesis, or capstone.
Elective courses will be incorporated into the program plan of study for students.
Courses are held on Wednesday and Thursday in the late afternoon and evening from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the regular academic year. Field Placements (see Supervised Field Placement below) are scheduled during the week and typically during the day based on needs of the Field Agency, Field Instructor, student, and Program standards. Elective courses may be offered on other days and times during the week as well as during summer sessions. SW 632 Research II is only available during the summer session.
Each new student will be assigned an advisor when they are admitted. In order for courses to be taken in sequence, all semester schedules will be planned by the department. Students may have some flexibility in the course section in which they are enrolled and the selection of their Field Placement site and hours.
The MSW Program is an Advanced Generalist concentration with a focus on individuals and families in changing communities. The Advanced Generalist concentration prepares the MSW professional for practice in all areas of social work including clinical social work practice. The Program's curriculum listed below reflects the Advanced Generalist focus. Additions, deletions, or changes may be approved in the future. It is the responsibility of the student to check on changes that affect her/his program.
Students must select Program Plan A or Program Plan B upon entrance into the MSW Program:
- Program Plan A is for students interested in completing a thesis. While the thesis is strongly supported for all students, students considering careers in research, higher education, or certain positions in management and policy change are strongly encouraged to consider Program Plan A.
- Program Plan B affords students the opportunity to implement the knowledge and practice skills obtained through their graduate education by completing a capstone project.
Program Plan A (Thesis)
Students entering the MSW Program who select Program Plan A complete six (6) thesis credits in addition to the courses listed below. Students selecting the Thesis option work independently with their thesis advisor on the completion of the thesis (see http://bulletin.stcloudstate.edu/gb/options). Thesis credits must be taken over at least two semesters. Foundation students complete coursework for a total of 54 credits over two years (four semesters plus summer course of study) assuming a full-time course of study. Students entering as Advanced Standing students complete 30 credits in one year (two semesters plus summer course of study) assuming a full-time course of study. All students are expected to complete a thesis prior to graduation in Program Plan A.
Program Plan B (Capstone Project)
Students entering the MSW Program who select Program Plan B complete nine (9) credits in addition to the courses listed below. The nine credits include the required SW 670 Culminating Project course offered in the spring and students' last semester. The remaining six credits are elective graduate courses across disciplines related to social work practice and based upon students' goals in consultation with students' advisor and designated by the department. Foundation students complete coursework for a total of 57 credits over two years (four semesters plus summer course of study) assuming a full-time course of study. Students entering as Advanced Standing students complete 33 credits in one year (two semesters plus summer course of study) assuming a full-time course of study.
MSW Program Courses
Students accepted into the MSW Program as Foundation students must take the following courses:
SW 611. Generalist Social Work Practice I
SW 612. Generalist Social Work Practice II
SW 613. Social Work with Marginalized Populations
SW 614. Human Behavior in the Social Environment
SW 615. Field Placement I
SW 616. Integrated Practice Seminar I
SW 621. Social Welfare Policy
SW 622. Research I
SW 625. Field Placement II
SW 626. Integrated Practice Seminar II
Once the above coursework is completed students move to the Concentration courses listed below.
Advanced Standing students are exempt from Foundation courses and begin with Concentration courses:
SW 630. Advanced Generalist Practice in Changing Communities
SW 631. Advanced Generalist Practice with Vulnerable Individuals and Families
SW 632. Research II (offered between Year One and Two)
SW 635. Field Placement III
SW 636. Integrated Practice Seminar III
SW 641. Advanced Generalist Practice with Organizations
SW 642. Advanced Policy Practice
SW 645. Field Placement IV
SW 646. Integrated Practice Seminar IV
SW 650. Social Work in Mental Health
Program Plan A required course: SW 699 6 credits (at least two semesters)
Program Plan B required courses: SW 670 and 6 advisor approved elective credits.
NOTE: Research II (SW 632) is offered during the summer only and is taken between semester two and three for Foundation students, and prior to the start of the first semester for Advanced Standing students.
Supervised Field Placement
All Field Placements must be in an agency approved by the Department of Social Work and supervised by Faculty Field Liaison and Field Instructor with an MSW degree and two years of post master's degree experience. Students admitted as Foundation students complete two Field Placements over a period of four semesters. In the first year students enter Field Placement and complete 150 hours per semester for a total of 300 hours. In the Concentration Year (second year), students enter Field Placement and complete 300 hours per semester for a total of 600 hours. Students entering as Advanced Standing enter Field Placement for two semesters and complete 300 hours per semester for a total of 600 hours.
Academic Review and Retention Policy
The Department of Social Work faculty meets regularly to discuss the progress of students in the program. The following elements are reviewed: academic progress and promise; social work skill acquisition and development; and legal and ethical issues or other matters that may interfere with or impede progress in the program. In the event that there is a faculty concern about a student regarding any of these areas, a faculty member will meet with the student to discuss necessary remediation, offer steps toward improvement, or offer assistance to the student in finding a more suitable field of study. Preliminary evaluation of prospective students’ suitability for social work occurs at the time of admission and throughout the course of study. Throughout the program, course evaluations are made by faculty as to whether students have developed the skills, professional behavior, and professional characteristics necessary to proceed as a MSW student. During the Field Placements, regular evaluations based upon a learning contract are made by Faculty Field Liaisons and the Field Instructor to determine student progress, successful completion of the Field Placement and progress towards graduation.
- Three graduate assistantship positions are available for the fall-spring academic year.
- Graduate assistants work 20 hours per week with a faculty member on administration, teaching, research projects, or providing administrative support.
- Graduate assistantships require full-time student status.
- An application must be submitted to the department chairperson. It is recommended that applicants for department graduate assistantships meet the March 1 deadline for full consideration.
- In addition, all applicants for department assistantships are required to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility and apply for a federal work-study assistantship.
- Graduate assistants receive a stipend for the fall-spring academic year and tuition reimbursement in both the fall and spring semesters. Interested individuals should consult the Graduate Studies Web site for Graduate Assistants at www.stcloudstate.edu/graduatestudies/ga/ for specific details.
For more information contact:
Dr. Gary Whitford
MSW Program Director
Dr. Tracy Ore
Web site: http://www.stcloudstate.edu/socialwork
Minnesota License to Practice
The Minnesota Board of Social Work has specified requirements for individuals to obtain a license to practice social work. Primary requirements include submission of an application, fee for application, documentation of degree from a CSWE-accredited program, and examination. Applicants for a license from the MN Board of Social work must document any ethical or legal irregularities. Information regarding licensure can be found at www.socialwork.state.mn.us/. Individuals should consult the MN Board of Social Work directly with any question or concerns.