Social Work

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The School of Social Work offers graduate work leading to the Master of Social Work degree. The M.S.W. program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work degree program offers preparation for professional social work practice. The organizing principle of the M.S.W. program is the improvement of the quality of individual life through the enhancement of social and economic justice and opportunity. Upon completion of the M.S.W. program, the student will have acquired knowledge, values, and skills consistent with the social work profession and be capable ultimately of engaging in autonomous social work practice. Graduates will be able to effectively deliver the social services needed to meet human needs in both urban and rural areas.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the regular two-year M.S.W. program applicants must:

  1. Meet all admission requirements set forth by the Graduate School.
  2. Have a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last two years of undergraduate course work.
  3. Show evidence of a broad liberal arts base with substantial preparation in the social and behavioral sciences and humanities.
  4. Demonstrate content in human biology and introductory statistics.
  5. International students must have a TOEFL score of 550 (paper); 213 (computer); 80 (internet) or above. The IELTS exam is also acceptable (a minimum score of 6.5).

Note: A standardized test score, such as the GRE, is not required for admission; however, students applying for a graduate assistantship will be required to have an official GRE score on file in the School of Social Work.

Entry is in the fall semester for the regular two-year program. To be considered for admission to the advanced standing M.S.W. program applicants must:

  1. Have a B.S.W. degree from an accredited social work program.
  2. Meet all requirements listed for the regular two-year program.

Entry is in the summer semester for the advanced-standing program.

Applications may be made at gradschool.siu.edu/apply.

Applications will be accepted up to April 1. Admissions Committee meets monthly from January to the April deadline, therefore, early applications have a better chance to receive their first choice in specialization. Applicants who complete their undergraduate degree requirements by December and have all application material submitted to the School of Social Work by October 1 may be considered for early admission and may take electives prior to entry into the summer or fall cohort

Applicants admitted for either the regular two-year program or for advanced standing may be required to take additional courses as a condition of admission. Documented potential for the profession of social work is considered a part of the admission criteria, which may also include an interview prior to acceptance.

Each application will be individually reviewed; however, meeting all stated criteria will not automatically guarantee admission to the school.

Applicants must apply online, both to the Graduate School and the School of Social Work. However, official transcripts should be sent directly to the School of Social Work. Students accepted into the M.S.W. Program must register for the semester they are admitted.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for admission to graduate study in Social Work.

Degree Requirements

Students admitted to the regular two-year program are required to complete the first year foundation curriculum and the second year advanced curriculum. They are required to complete a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate course work taken in the approved sequence. The foundation curriculum consists of 30 semester hours and includes the following courses:

  • Fall (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 500    Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3 hours)
    • SOCW 501    Generalist Practice (3 hours)
    • SOCW 510    Families, Groups and Organizations in Social Work (3 hours)
    • SOCW 541A  Foundation Seminar I (2 hours)
    • SOCW 541B  Foundation Practicum I (2 hours)
    • Elective (2 hours)
  • Spring (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 504    Ethnic Diversity in Social Work (2 hours)
    • SOCW 511    Social Work Research (3 hours)
    • SOCW 521    Social Work Policy Practice (3 hours)
    • SOCW 542A  Foundation Seminar II (2 hours)
    • SOCW 542B  Foundation Practicum II (2 hours)
    • Elective (2 hours)

Reduced Load

Students who are unable to attend full time can choose to attend part time under our Reduced Load Scheduling Agreement. The Reduced Load schedule includes:

  • Semester 1 – Fall (8 semester hours)             
    • SOCW 500-3       Human Behavior and the Social Environment in Social Work
    • SOCW 501-3       Generalist Practice
    • XXXX – 2               Elective
  • Semester II – Spring (8 semester hours)         
    • SOCW 504-2       Ethnic Diversity in Social Work
    • SOCW 521-3       Social Work Policy Practice
    • XXXX-3                 Elective
  • Semester III – Fall (7 semester hours)
    • SOCW 510-3       Families, Groups & Organizations in Social Work
    • SOCW 541A-2    Foundation Practicum Seminar I
    • SOCW 541B-2     Foundation Practicum I
  • Semester IV – Spring (7 semester hours)
    • SOCW 511-3       Social Work Research
    • SOCW 542A-2    Foundation Practicum Seminar II
    • SOCW 542B-2     Foundation Practicum I

Students admitted to the advanced-standing program are required to complete nine semester hours of transition courses, with a grade of B or better in each course, and a minimum of 30 semester hours in the second-year graduate course curriculum in the approved sequence. The transition courses include the following:

Summer Advanced Standing (9 semester hours)

  • SOCW 502   Perspectives on Human Behavior for Social Work Practice (3 hours)
  • SOCW 512   Advanced Social Work Research (3 hours)
  • SOCW 522   Advanced Social Work Policy Practice (3 hours)

The second-year curriculum is organized around the following areas of emphasis: health/mental health; and children, youth and families. The school also offers course work in preparation for a Professional Educator License in School Social Work by the Illinois State Board of Education. Applicants must indicate their preference of area of emphasis. Although we attempt to accommodate each applicant's first preference, we do not guarantee students will receive their first choice. The second-year curriculum includes the following courses in each area of emphasis:

Health/Mental Health

  • Fall (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 531   Psychosocial Disorders (3 hours)
    • SOCW 543-A   Advanced Practicum Seminar I (3 hours)
    • SOCW 543-B   Advanced Practicum I (3 hours)
    • SOCW 551      Advanced Social Work Practice I: H/MH (3 hours)
    • SOCW 555      Advanced Policy Analysis and Practice: H/MH (3 hours)
  • Spring (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 532    Program Evaluation for Social Work (3 hours)
    • SOCW 544A  Advanced Practicum Seminar II (3 hours)
    • SOCW 544B  Advanced Practicum II (3 hours)
    • SOCW 552    Advanced Social Work Practice II: H/MH(3 hours)
    • Elective (3 hours)

Reduced Load Health/Mental Health Scheduling Agreement is as follows:

  • Semester 1 – Fall (6 semester hours)
    • SOCW 531-3       Psychosocial Disorders in Social Work Practice
    • SOCW 555-3       Advanced Policy analysis & Practice: H/MH
  • Semester 2 – Spring (6 semester hours)
    • SOCW 532-3       Program Evaluation for Social Work
    • XXXX-3               Elective
  • Semester III – Fall (9 semester hours)
    • SOCW 543A-3    Advanced Practicum Seminar I
      SOCW 543B-3    Advanced Practicum I
      SOCW 551-3      Advanced Social Work Practice i: Health & Mental Health
  • Semester IV – Spring (9 semester hours)
    • SOCW 544A-3    Advanced Practicum Seminar II
    • SOCW 544B-3    Advanced Practicum II
    • SOCW 552-3      Advanced Social Work Practice II: Health & Mental Health 

Children, Youth and Families

  • Fall (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 531     Psychosocial Disorders (3 hours)
    • SOCW 543-A  Advanced Practicum Seminar I (3 hours)
    • SOCW 543-B  Advanced Practicum I (3 hours)
    • SOCW 561     Advanced Social Work Practice I: CY&F (3 hours)
    • SOCW 565     Advanced Policy Analysis and Practice: CY&F (3 hours)
  • Spring (15 semester hours)
    • SOCW 532     Program Evaluation for Social Work (3 hours)
    • SOCW 544A   Advanced Practicum Seminar II (3 hours)
    • SOCW 544B   Advanced Practicum II (3 hours)
    • SOCW 562     Advanced Social Work Practice II: CY&F (3 hours)
    • ELECTIVE (3 hours)

Reduced Load Children, Youth & Families Scheduling Agreement is as follows:

  • Semester I – Fall (6 semester hours)
    • SOCW 531-3       Psychosocial Disorders in Social Work Practice
    • SOCW 565-3       Advanced Policy analysis and Practice: CYF
  • Semester II – Spring (6 semester hours)
    • SOCW 532-3       Program Evaluation for Social Work
    • XXXX-3               Elective
  • Semester III – Fall (9 semester hours)
    • SOCW 543A-3    Advanced Practicum Seminar I
    • SOCW 543B-3    Advanced Practicum I
    • SOCW 561-3      Social Work Practice I: CYF
  • Semester IV – Spring (9 semester hours)
    • SOCW 544A-3    Advanced Practicum Seminar II
    • SOCW 544B-3    Advanced Practicum II
    • SOCW 562-3      Social Work Practice II: CYF 

Licensure in School Social Work*

* Endorsement in Professional Educator License (PEL) in School Social Work (Please refer to the Teacher Education Program (TEP) for the most current information on licensure requirements for School Social Work)

Those students who wish to qualify for endorsement in school social work need to:

  1. Complete the core courses listed above under the children, youth and families emphasis.
  2. Take the following courses (which will satisfy the elective requirements):
    1. SOCW 533-2, Social Work Practice in the Schools & SOCW 567-2, Advanced School Social Work Issues
    2. SPED 408-3 OR SPED 420-3
    3. EDUC 319 AND EAHE 501-3 or EAHE 503-3 (A waiver may be available with permission of the School of Social Work).
  3. The field placement (SOC 543B-3 and SOCW 544B-3) will be in a school setting for two consecutive semesters.
  4. SPED 408-3 or SPED 420-3 is a prerequisite to field placement for students in the School Social Work Endorsement Program and must be completed before fall semester field placements (SOCW 543A, SOCW 543B).
  5. Pass the ACT with a score of 22 or higher plus the writing section with a score of 6 or higher (9/10/16 or later) and the School Social Work Licensure Exam.

In each year of study, in addition to classroom work, students are required to complete field practicum. Applied learning through field practice is an integral component of social work education. Field instruction provides the student with the opportunity for applying social work theory and conceptual learning to realistic and practical situations. Students may not substitute current or past, paid or volunteer, social work experience for the field practicum requirements of the M.S.W. program. While the school takes into account the student's career goals in the selection of the field practicum assignment, we do not guarantee that students will receive their first preference of field assignment.

M.S.W. students must maintain an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).

Within limits imposed by the policies of the Graduate School of the University, transfer credits will be permitted for up to 30 semester hours for applicants who wish to transfer from another accredited graduate program in social work.

Student Advisement

Upon admission to the Master of Social Work degree program, the student will be assigned a faculty adviser. The adviser is responsible for supervision of the student's progress and is available for career counseling as well as assisting in other matters which might arise in connect with the student's work.

Financial Aid

The program offers limited financial assistance through graduate assistantships. Other scholarships, grants-in-aid, etc., may be applied for throughout the Graduate School, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale IL  62901-4716.

M.S.W./J.D. in Social Work and Law

A concurrent degree in social work and law is designed to educate practitioners in law and social work to effectively utilize the problem-solving strategies and techniques of both professions. Students prepared in this program will develop an understanding of the ethics, language, research, history, and processes of both professions. Individuals so trained will be uniquely prepared for careers which combine both legal and human service needs such as administration, supervision of the provision of services, legal aspects of services, public policy leadership roles, family practice and community planning and development. Accepted students could complete a concurrent program in as few as three years with full-time summer attendance. Students must meet the requirements of admission and be admitted separately to the School of Social Work and the School of Law. Students currently enrolled in social work or law programs must have a minimum GPA before they may enroll in the concurrent program. The minimum GPA for social work is 3.0 and for law is 2.5. Social work students interested in this program should consult with the School of Social Work Graduate Program Director.

Certificate in Gerontology

The School of Social Work participates in the Certificate in Gerontology interdisciplinary program and offers a class, SOCW 575, Policy and Program Issues of Aging, which is a Certificate requirement. For more information on the Certificate program, please see the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs tab on the Graduate Catalog homepage.