Master's in Social Work

MSW Degree Requirements

The academic program leading to the Master of Social Work degree equips the student for careers in direct services, and macro practice. The M.S.W degree is conferred after satisfactory completion of the prescribed requirements that provide specialized understanding of methods and processes in Social Work practice. The minimum requirements for advanced standing students are 45 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. The minimum requirements for all other students are 60 credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. To be applied toward a degree, graduate credits must be earned within the past five (5) years. A letter grading system is utilized. Students choose a level of intervention or mode of practice as a major area of concentration, as well as a field of practice. This choice of concentration is supported by a foundation curriculum, fields of practice, and field instruction. Specific areas of concentration are subject to changes.

The purpose of the fields of practice concentration is to provide a knowledge base in the student's chosen area of specialization in social work. The courses examine policies, programs, and services; two semesters are required. The fields of practice include: criminal justice, social gerontology, mental health, social work in health care settings, family and child welfare, and displaced populations.

Supervised Field Instruction is provided for students in a wide range of agencies and organizations covering the fields of practice listed above. The educational experience takes place in a large number of approved field settings on a concurrent field instruction methods model.

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Electives

Students may choose electives from any of the following options:

  • courses in direct service, community organization or social service management concentrations or fields of practice concentrations which are not required for their chosen majors
  • from the list of general electives in the social work curriculum
  • from course offerings of other schools or colleges in the University or
from the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Courses should be chosen in consultation with the student's advisor.

Part-Time Enrollment

Part-time enrollment is available each semester with evening classes scheduled that cover foundation curriculum content. Under the part-time option, students are permitted to develop an individualized part-time course of studies with their advisers or they may choose the Planned Part-Time Program as recommended by the School. The Planned Part-time Program options are:

Plan 1: The usual full-time, two year program is distributed over a three to four year period, enabling a student to complete the degree requirements in four years.

Plan 2: A student completes half the degree requirements, 30 hours in full-time enrollment, and 30 hours in part-time enrollment, over a three year period.

Field Instruction

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Field Instruction is an integral part of the MSW program. It is the class that takes place at an agency site and is the practical learning component of the curriculum. This " off campus classroom " experience requires the first year student to spend 16 per hours per week and the second year student to spend 20 hours per week at an agency in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. The Office of Field Instruction chooses these sites. This course carries 6 credit hours per semester and accounts for over 1/3 of the 60 credits required for the completion of the MSW degree.

The field instruction program also requires a mandatory orientation for all entering students and ongoing field instruction seminars, which are structured as on campus classes. Student experiences at their field instruction sites are often the most memorable ones as they matriculate through the MSW program. The field instruction opportunities are diverse and are supervised by licensed social work practitioners. These experiences are exciting, challenging and provide opportunities for professional development in a practical sense. Goals of field instruction include but are not limited to the: (1) identification with the profession, (2) integration of classroom knowledge with practical experiences, (3) laboratory experience to increase and strengthen social work skills, (4) exposure to different social work settings, (5) opportunity to determine a specialty in an of area of practice, and (6) opportunity to learn about social and economic justice, and advocacy.

Field instruction complements the curriculum by providing opportunities to explore, expand, and explain the "Black Perspectives as articulated in our school's mission, vision and principles. Applicants choosing the MSW program should consider these opportunities for professional growth when planning their entry into the program. The Office of Field Instruction along with other faculty will assist students in their field experiences to insure that each student receives an appropriate learning experience.