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Master of Social Work

The social work education curriculum at the master’s degree level is built upon a liberal arts foundation and includes both the professional foundation and one concentration: Services to Children and Families. Emphasis is on preparing culturally competent practitioners with particular knowledge and skills for working with Hispanic populations. The content related to the professional foundation as well as the concentrations in the master’s degree program prepares students for advanced social work practice. Students who graduate from the program demonstrate analytic and practice skills sufficient for self-critical, accountable and ultimately autonomous practice. Please note that no credit shall be granted or courses waived based on life or previous work experience.

The Worden School offers both a regular 54-hour program and an advanced-standing 31-hour program. The 54 hour program is available full-time or part-time and consists mainly of in class courses. There is a part-time, on-line format option for the 54-hour program. The 31-hour advanced-standing program is offered in two formats: 1) The traditional 31-hour program is available full-time or part-time and consists mainly of in class courses. 2) There is a part-time only on-line format option for the 31-hour program. Please note: students who start as an on-line or traditional student, must finish their degree program in the same format.

Admission Application Requirements

Regular Admission

  1. An earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  2. A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50, or a 3.00 for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work
  3. Official transcripts from all previous post-secondary work
  4. Three letters of recommendation not more than one year old (at least one from an academician, others from employers or supervisors)
  5. A personal statement of at least five typewritten double-spaced pages addressing the following areas: motivation for graduate studies; motivation for social work; social work related employment and/or volunteer experiences; social work career goals; and understanding of and identification with the Worden School of Social Service mission.
  6. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate a liberal arts foundation in undergraduate study, including human biology and a commitment to the values and ethics of the social work profession. Students must have completed a human biology course with a grade of C or better or must have taken and passed with a grade of C or better the human biology workshop offered by the Worden School of Social Service.
  7. Résumé

Advanced Standing Admission

In addition to the regular admission requirements, applicants to the advanced standing program must have the following:

  • A Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in the undergraduate social work major

Seamless Admission

Students with a BSW from OLLU with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher who are applying to the advanced standing program will be eligible for seamless admission if they start the MSW Program the semester following their graduation from the BSW Program (students who graduate in the spring may start in the summer or fall immediately after graduation). Application fee, deposit, and one letter of recommendation are waived for students eligible for seamless admission.

Students are requested to submit the following:

  1. Personal Statement
  2. Two Letters of Recommendation
  3. Résumé
  4. Application

Special Admission

Special admission must be approved by the director of the Worden School of Social Service and is only granted to transient students wishing to transfer master’s degree credit to a home institution, or a post-master’s degree student wishing to take master’s degree credit for special interest.

Before registering, an applicant for special admission must submit official transcript(s) showing degree awarded, to include master’s degree if applicable. Transient students need only submit a letter of good standing from their home institution verifying graduate status.

Admission Deadline

Deadlines for submitting all credentials for priority consideration into the Master of Social Work program are April 2 for fall, November 1 for spring and March 15 for summer. Applications completed after these dates will be considered on a space available basis.

International Students

An international student seeking admission into the program for a Master of Social Work should refer to page 35 of this bulletin for additional information on credentials needed for admission.

Conditional Admission

Conditional acceptance is granted on the merits of each case. In some circumstances, applicants who do not meet all of the requirements for regular admission may be admitted conditionally, providing they fulfill the conditions listed in their letters of conditional acceptance within the specified period time. If conditional acceptance is given because of missing official credentials, the period of time to provide those documents will not extend beyond the first term of attendance.

Academic Requirements

Students will be expected to complete the following requirement in addition to required coursework:

Computer Literacy Requirement validated by successful completion of SOWK 6342.

Master of Social Work Regular Program

54 semester hours of specified social work courses.

The 54-hour program may be completed in two academic years of full-time study in a foundation year and a concentration year. No concentration course work may be commenced until all foundation year course work is complete.

Foundation Year

SOWK 6315

Generalist Social Work Practice: Individuals, Families and Groups

SOWK 6321

Social Welfare Policy and Services

SOWK 6331

Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Social Systems

SOWK 6151

Foundation Integrative Seminar I

SOWK 8351

Field Education I

SOWK 6325

Generalist Social Work Practice: Organizations and Communities

SOWK 6332

Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Individuals and Families

SOWK 6152

Foundation Integrative Seminar II

SOWK 8352

Field Education II

SOWK 6341

Social Work Research I

Concentration Year

SOWK 7371

Psychopathology

SOWK 6342

Social Work Research II

Services to Children and Family Concentration:

SOWK 7318

Advanced Practice with Children and Adolescents

SOWK 7320

Family-Centered Social Work Practice

SOWK 7325

Family Stress, Functioning and Social Support

SOWK 7360

Policy and Practice in Human Services

SOWK 8456/ 8556

Field Education: Services to Children and Families

SOWK 7156

Advanced Block Integrative Seminar

Master of Social Work Advanced Standing Program

28 semester hours in specified social work courses and three semester hours of electives.

To qualify for advanced standing in the MSW program, an applicant must have a BSW from a baccalaureate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the social work major in both academic and field education courses.

The 31-hour program may be completed in 12 consecutive months.

Services to Children and Family Concentration:

SOWK 7318

Advanced Practice with Children & Adolescents

SOWK 7320

Family-Centered Social Work Practice

SOWK 7325

Family Stress, Functioning and Social Support

SOWK 7360

Policy and Practice in Human Services

SOWK 8456/8556

Field Education: Services to Children and Families

SOWK 7156

Advanced Block Integrative Seminar

SOWK 6342

Social Work Research II

SOWK 7371

Psychopathology

Elective

Three Semester Hours

While this represents a typical full-time load, some variations including part-time study are permitted.

Transfer Credit

No more than 24 hours from a CSWE — accredited social work program may transfer into the 54 semester hour program. Up to three hours of elective credits from an accredited University may transfer into the 31 hour program. Prior approval must be obtained from the director of the MSW program to ensure earned course credits will be accepted for transfer and counted toward the degree.

Field Education

Field Education is an integral part of the master’s degree social work education. Field placement in a wide range of social welfare settings allow students to apply knowledge, skills and values acquired in the classroom.

The Worden School of Social Service’s placements are developed around a combination concurrent and block model. Students in the 54 semester-hour program participate in Field Education that is two semesters and 16 hours per week as part of the foundation curriculum in the first year. In the second year, as part of the concentration curriculum, students undertake a one-semester field education placement consisting of 32-33 hours per week in human service organizations. Students in the 31 semester-hour advanced standing program participate in field education that is one semester and 32-33 hours per week. Students may do only one work-related field placement.

Work-related placements are possible for first and second year students. A written proposal must be submitted to the director of field education at least three weeks before the end of the semester preceding the start of the field placement. Students should consult the director of field education for written instructions on preparing the proposal. Work-related placements are granted on a very restrictive basis. Refer to Worden School Field Education manual for guidelines.

Students are discouraged from working a full-time job while enrolled in field education because of the time-intensive nature of field education courses. While every effort will be made to accommodate employed students, the Worden School cannot guarantee a field placement that can be arranged around work hours. The most important criterion for a field placement is that it provides the student with an educational experience that meets MSW Program goals and objectives.

The Worden School of Social Service does not grant credit for previous life or work experience in place of field education. Field education hours earned at another accredited social work program will not be accepted as transfer credit unless through an exemption granted by the Worden School.

In order to enter the Worden School of Social Service field education courses, all students are required to be enrolled in the group professional liability insurance policy that the school carries. Students will be required to answer a number of questions, one of which asks about conviction for criminal acts. If the student has been convicted of a crime, the insurance company may refuse to enroll the student in the policy. Should this occur, the student would not be permitted to engage in the field education courses required for completion of the master of social work degree. Also, students should be aware that, increasingly, field education sites require a student to complete a criminal background check in order to be placed at the site.

In addition, in accordance with Article 6252-13a, Texas Civil Statutes, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners may suspend or revoke a social work license or refuse to issue a social work license for a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for a crime that is directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the social work profession. (See Article 50.02 and 781.314b of the Texas Professional Social Work Act and Chapter 50 Human Resources Code.)