Social Work - Standard Program, MSW

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Moment by moment and person by person, social workers intervene to improve lives and strengthen communities. Wherever life takes you, this master's degree prepares you to thrive in our diverse society in a variety of professional settings including mental health organizations, schools, nonprofits and government agencies.

The professional program leading to the MSW degree prepares social workers for advanced professional social work practice. The program is designed to prepare social workers to be capable of responding effectively to the needs of special populations, particularly in the American Southwest.

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

This degree program offers the following concentrations:

We also offer a one-year, advanced-standing Master of Socialwork (Advanced Generalist) degree as an alternative to the Standard MSW program.

Moment by moment and person by person, social workers intervene to improve lives and strengthen communities. Wherever life takes you, this master's degree prepares you to thrive in our diverse society in a variety of professional settings that include mental health organizations, schools, nonprofits and government agencies.

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The professional program leading to the MSW degree prepares social workers for advanced professional social work practice. The program is designed to prepare social workers to be capable of responding effectively to the needs of special populations, particularly in the American Southwest.

The first year of the standard program focuses on curriculum and skills that build a foundational knowledge in social work. The second year of the program allows students to focus their coursework in a specific area to build specialized practice knowledge.

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

At A Glance

Social Work - Standard Program, MSW

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Application deadlines

Fall - June 15 (Online and In-Person programs)

Spring - November 1(Online program)

Degree requirements

STANDARD PROGRAM (ground immersion):

Required Core (3 credit hours)
SWG 510 Foundation Practice I (3)

Foundation Coursework (18 to 27 credit hours)
SWG 501 Micro Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3)
SWG 502 Macro Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3)
SWG 511 Foundation Practice II (3)
SWG 519 Research Methods in Social Work (3)
SWG 531 Social Policy and Services (3)
SWG 533 Diversity and Oppression in a Social Work Context (3)
SWG 541 Field Practicum I (3)
SWG 542 Field Practicum II (3)
SWG 585 Macro Social Work Practice (3)

Restricted Electives (21 to 27 credit hours)

Other Requirements (3 credit hours)
SWG 610 Advanced Social Work Practice III (3) or
SWG 619 Practice-Oriented Research (3) or
SWG 623 Program Evaluation (3)

Culminating Experience Options (0 to 6 credit hours)
portfolio (0) or
SWG 599 Thesis (6) or
SWG 593 Applied Project (3) or
SWG 621 Integrative Seminar (3) or
SWG 693 Applied Project (3)

ADVANCED GENERALIST TRACK (digital immersion):

Required Core (3 credit hours)
SWG 510 Foundation Practice I (3)

Advanced Generalist Track Coursework (54 credit hours)

Culminating Experience Options (3 credit hours)
SWG 593 Applied Project (3) or
SWG 693 Applied Project (3)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students on the 51, 54 and 57 credit hour paths have an undergraduate Council on Social Work Education-accredited BSW in social work degree or BA degree in community advocacy and social policy. Path selection depends on the student's educational background. Students are to consult an academic advisor in the unit.

The 60-hour Advanced Generalist track is the digital immersion option. These students have a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students in the 60-hour path must take foundation year coursework in restricted electives per CSWE accreditation standards.

All credit hour path criteria must be approved by the academic unit prior to selection in the iPOS. A student interested in moving to a concentration should notify the academic advisor prior to submitting their iPOS. The academic unit advises and monitors students to ensure they choose the appropriate coursework.

The number of credit hours required for restricted electives depends on the credit hour path chosen and the culminating experience. Students should see the academic unit for a complete list of approved electives.

The foundation year includes basic courses in direct practice, organizational and community change, social policy, human behavior and research. Foundation coursework is selected in consultation with the academic advisor. Students are required to complete two practicums: a foundation field placement (480 hours) and a specialization field placement (480 hours) in a different setting.

Other requirement coursework may be substituted with approval of the academic unit.

The program may be completed within four semesters (full time) or six semesters (part time).

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution. All applicants are required to have completed a course in human biology and a course in statistics before enrolling in the graduate program or before registering for SWG 519.

The School of Social Work requires one of the following:

  • undergraduate degree with 30 credit hours in liberal arts courses at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • Bachelor of Social Work from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited school of social work
  • liberal arts undergraduate degree

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  3. three letters of reference
  4. professional resume that includes volunteer and paid work experience
  5. statement of educational and career goals
  6. signed standards of ethical and professional behavior form
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

A combination of academic and professional references is desirable. References from friends, family members or personal therapists are not accepted. At least one of the three required references must be from the applicant's Bachelor of Social Work field instructor or, if employed in a social work-related job for two or more years, a recommendation from the applicant's supervisor.

Professional resume should include both work and volunteer experience in social service organizations. In order to be considered for possible admission, applicants who do not have work experience in social service organizations are required to have a minimum of 240 hours of volunteer experience in the social services over a six-month period in the five years immediately preceding application.

Guidelines for writing the statement of educational and career goals can be found at https://socialwork.asu.edu/content/msw-application-proceduresmaterials.

Test scores from either the GRE or the Miller Analogies Test are required only if the applicant's junior and senior GPA was below a 3.20 (scale is 4.00 = "A").

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.

Part-time Program
Students interested in this option must specifically apply to the part-time program and complete it in accordance with the plan developed to finish the degree in three years.

Transfer Credit
Any transfer work is reviewed and approved in accordance with Graduate College policy. Transfer work must have been completed within three years of the semester and year of admission to the Master of Social Work degree program at ASU with a grade of "B" (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better.

Exemptions
Courses must have been completed within three years of the admit term of the Master of Social Work degree. Grades received must be an A- or better. A letter of good standing is required from the institution where students have taken the coursework. Course equivalencies from outside of ASU are reviewed by the MSW Program Coordinator. Courses identified as required core and culminating experiences in the breakdown of requirements cannot be substituted.

Concurrent degrees are currently unavailable for the online Master of Social Work degree program.

Students should contact the School of Social Work with any questions about the application process.

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What are Concurrent Programs at ASU?

Students pursuing concurrent degrees earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. ASU offers students two ways to earn concurrent degrees: by choosing a predetermined combination or creating their own combination. Predetermined combinations have a single admissions application and one easy to follow major map. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor. Either way, concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests.

What are ASU's Online Programs?

ASU Online offers programs like Social Work - Standard Program, MSW in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year.

More information on the program is available directly from ASU Online.