Social Work, Master of Social Work (157)

SocialWork

http://www.wku.edu/socialwork


Program Coordinator

Patricia L. Desrosiers, patricia.desrosiers@wku.edu, (270) 745-4557

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) prepares students for professional social work practice at the graduate level to meet the needs of increasingly diverse rural populations. It is particularly dedicated to addressing the work-force needs of agencies that serve families and communities. Moreover, the MSW curriculum emphasizes social work practice at the advanced level in rural communities.

There are two program options for students meeting the admission requirements outlined below. The Traditional Option requires 60 semester hours for students with a baccalaureate degree in any field and may be taken full or part-time. The Advanced Standing Option requires 33 semester hours for students who have earned a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree from an accredited social work program and who have fulfilled the additional admission requirements outlined below. The Advanced Standing Option may be taken full or part-time as well. All program options require students to complete SWRK 661 as a capstone course prior to graduation. This course integrates the entire curriculum in a comprehensive practice experience. Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination, the Practice Readiness Exam, prior to graduation.

Program Admission

Admission Requirements for the 60 hour Traditional Program

  1. 2.75 or greater GPA based on the last 60 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate semester credit hours prior to admission. Students with a lower GPA must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and achieve minimum scores of 139 on each of the sections (verbal and quantitative) and apply for Alternate Admissions (See Alternate Admissions and Admissions Appeal Process).  All GRE scores must have been taken within 5 years of the application date.
  2. A Western Kentucky University Master of Social Work program application, personal statement, and writing sample.
  3. Three completed WKU Master of Social Work program reference forms.
  4. Demonstrated competence in the use of basic statistical methods through completion, with a minimum grade of "C", of an undergraduate or graduate course covering the portion of the research process involving the quantitative manipulation and analysis of data. This course should cover descriptive and inferential statistics. The student must submit documentation that this prerequisite has been met prior to program admission. Any course presented to fulfill the statistical competence requirement must have been completed within seven years prior to admission into the MSW program.
  5. Liberal arts background - at least 30 hours in liberal arts coursework (social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, communications, mathematics, etc.), including at least one course in sociology, psychology, OR anthropology AND at least one course in American government, political science, OR economics. All courses counted towards the liberal arts requirement must have been completed with a final grade of "C" or higher. Applicants may be enrolled in liberal arts prerequisite courses while their MSW applications are being evaluated, but all of these courses must have been successfully completed before admission to the program. Offers of admission will be contingent upon the successful completion of all required courses.
  6. Students at or above a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate semester credit hours (prior to admission) applying for the 60 hour Traditional Program who otherwise meet admission criteria in the application for the MSW program are not required to take the GRE for admission.
  7. An interview may be required.

Alternate Admissions for the 60 hour Traditional Program

An applicant who believes that her/his individual circumstances warrant consideration for a waiver of the minimum admissions requirement of an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and 800 on the GRE must petition the MSW Program Director. Students must meet all other traditional program admission requirements. The request should be attached to the MSW application in the form of a statement entitled "Petition for Exceptional Consideration." The petition should include a statement indicating how failing to meet the minimum admission requirement of a 2.75 GPA and 800 GRE score does not adequately represent the applicant’s capabilities. The applicant should briefly discuss her/his demonstrated capacity for successful achievement of an arduous MSW program. For example, an applicant might provide evidence of:

  1. Superior grades during the final semester(s) of work prior to graduation indicating a trend toward improved performance;
  2. Competence through achievement in another graduate program; and/or
  3. Outstanding work experience in human services (volunteer or paid).

The applicant should also discuss how she/he plans to address potential obstacles to successful completion of the program. Finally, the applicant should attest to the accuracy of all information provided in the petition, date and sign the document.  The petition must be submitted with the application.

Admission Requirements for the Advanced Standing Option

  1. Completion of a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree at a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited institution within the previous seven years with at least a 3.0 GPA based on the last 60 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate credit hours. Alternate Admissions is not an option for the Advanced Standing Program.
  2. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 400 hours of educationally based field instruction in direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities under appropriate social work supervision. A copy of the student’s final field evaluation must be submitted.
  3. Completion of courses from the following subject areas within an accredited social work program at the  upper-division  (junior  and  senior)  level  with  a  grade  of  "C" or  better  in  each  course:  Human Behavior and the Social Environment - one course; Social Welfare Policy and Services - one course; Social Work Practice - two courses to include study of intervention methods with individuals, families, small groups and communities; Social Work Research - one course in research methodology.
  4. The GRE is not considered for admission to the Advanced Standing Program.
  5. A Western Kentucky University Master of Social Work program application, personal statement, and writing sample.
  6. Three completed WKU Master of Social Work program reference forms.
  7. Demonstrated competence in the use of basic statistical methods through completion, with a minimum grade of "C", of an undergraduate or graduate course covering the portion of the research process involving the quantitative manipulation and analysis of data. This course should cover descriptive and inferential statistics. The student must submit documentation that this prerequisite has been met prior to program admission.  Any course presented to fulfill the statistical competence requirement must have been completed within seven years prior to admission into the MSW program.
  8. Liberal arts background - at least 30 hours in liberal arts coursework (social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, communications, mathematics, etc.), including at least one course in sociology, psychology, OR anthropology AND at least one course in American government, political science, OR economics. All courses counted towards the liberal arts requirement must have been completed with a final grade of "C" or higher. Applicants may be enrolled in liberal arts prerequisite courses while their MSW applications are being evaluated, but all of these courses must have been successfully completed before admission to the program. Offers of admission will be contingent upon the successful completion of all required courses.
  9. An interview may be required.

Please refer to the admission section of this catalog for Graduate School admission requirements.

Program Requirements (33-60 hours)

Traditional Program Degree Requirements (60 hours)

Required Courses
SWRK 501Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice3
SWRK 510Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
SWRK 520Generalist Social Work Practice3
SWRK 522Group Dynamics in Social Work Practice3
SWRK 523Rural Community Organization and Development3
SWRK 530Foundation of Social Welfare Policy3
SWRK 540Foundations of Social Work Research Methods3
SWRK 560Generalist Field Practicum I3
SWRK 561Generalist Field Practicum II3
SWRK 610Social Work Administration and Supervision3
SWRK 620Advanced Psycho-Social Approaches for Rural Practice3
SWRK 622Integrated Social Work Practice with Families3
SWRK 623Social Work Clinical Assessment and Intervention3
SWRK 630Rural Social Welfare Policy3
SWRK 640Applied Social Work Research3
SWRK 660Advanced Generalist Field Practicum I3
SWRK 661Advanced Generalist Field Practicum II3
Electives
Select 9 hours with advisor approval9
Total Hours60

Advanced Standing Degree Requirements (33 hours)

Required Courses
SWRK 610Social Work Administration and Supervision3
SWRK 612Social Work in Diverse Rural Areas3
SWRK 620Advanced Psycho-Social Approaches for Rural Practice3
SWRK 622Integrated Social Work Practice with Families3
SWRK 623Social Work Clinical Assessment and Intervention3
SWRK 630Rural Social Welfare Policy3
SWRK 640Applied Social Work Research3
SWRK 660Advanced Generalist Field Practicum I3
SWRK 661Advanced Generalist Field Practicum II3
Electives
Select 6 hours with advisor approval 16
Total Hours33
1

3 hour elective may be taken in winter or summer term