Social Work MSW

Master of Social Work

Admission Requirements

Admission to the MSW Program requires admission to the University of Missouri-St. Louis Graduate School and acceptance by the School of Social Work. Applicants to the program must meet the following requirements to be considered for admission:

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting organization.
  • Completion of a liberal arts education including courses in the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and the physical sciences. These courses must include one in statistics.
  • Attainment of a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate course work and a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the major field.
  • Submission of the following documents by the admission deadline:
    • A completed application to the UMSL Graduate School and a completed MSW supplemental application.
    • Two written essays.
    • Three letters of reference. – One from a professor in your major field of study, and one from a work or volunteer supervisor or other professional reference. Letters from employees/supervisees, friends, and family may not be used.
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and university attended.
    • Applicable fees.

Application Deadline

The deadline for application to the MSW program is March 1 for admission in the following fall semester and October 15 for admission in the following Spring semester. See School of Social Work's website for more details.

Admissions to the Program with Advanced Standing

Applicants with a BSW, BASW, or BSSW, from an accredited social work program may be given up to 24 credit hours of advanced standing for foundation social work courses. Admission to the advanced standing program is available to applicants who meet the general admission requirements and who:

  1. have earned a bachelor's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education within five years of applying to the MSW Program, and
  2. have earned a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the social work foundation curriculum, and no less than a B in all courses that are applicable.

Course Waivers

A student who does not have a bachelor's degree in social work but who can document successful completion (with at least a B) of foundation courses from an accredited BSW program within the last five years will be given course waivers and be allowed to replace these courses with electives.

Students from non-accredited BSW programs or students who have taken comparable course work in other undergraduate programs may take test-out examinations for select foundation courses; waivers will be given if students successfully pass test-out examinations. The waiver does not provide graduate credit; it is a mechanism for allowing elective courses to be substituted for required foundation courses.

Academic credit cannot be given for life experience and/or previous work experience, in whole or in part, in lieu of field practicum or foundation year courses.

Degree Requirements

The MSW is a two-year program comprising a foundation year and a concentration year. All students are required to take the foundation year courses. These provide a common base of knowledge across all practice settings and populations. Beyond the general requirements of the Graduate School, the department requires a minimum of 60 semester hours of course work, of which 48 must be at the 5000 or 6000 level and 48 must be in social work or cross-listed with social work, including the following foundation courses:

SOC WK 5100Generalist Social Work Practice3
SOC WK 5200Social Policy and Social Services3
SOC WK 5300Community Practice and Social Change3
SOC WK 5350Social Work and Human Service Organizations3
SOC WK 5410Social Work Research Methods and Analysis I3
SOC WK 5450Social Work Research Methods and Analysis II3
SOC WK 5500Foundations of Human Behavior in the Social Environment3
SOC WK 5700Diversity and Social Justice for Social Work3
SOC WK 5800Graduate Field Practicum I4
SOC WK 5801Foundation Field Practicum Seminar2
Total Hours30

Upon completion of the 30 credits of foundation year requirements, students move into a year of advanced study, called the concentration. The concentration year requires 30 hours of course work that includes up to 12 hours of elective graduate-level courses approved by the adviser. Students plan their degree program to reflect their career interests in the following concentration areas:

  • Family Practice
  • Leadership and Social Change

Additionally, if students choose, they may elect to participate in one of the following areas of emphasis:

  • Aging and Social Work Practice
  • Health & Behaviorial Health
  • School Social Work    

To remain in good standing, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.

The field practicum is an integral part of the concentration year. Students will complete 300 hours (20 hours of work per week) of MSW supervised practice in an agency during the second semester of the foundation year and 600 hours total (20 hours of work per week) in the concentration year. A student must receive a grade of B or better in the first-year field practicum course in order to be eligible to enter the second year field practicum. S/U grades are given for the concentration practicum.

Part Time Status

Students who enter the program as part-time students complete the foundation year in two years and the concentration course work in an additional two years.

All students must complete the MSW in four years.

Goals of the Master of Social Work

The goals of the MSW program of the University of Missouri- St. Louis are consistent with the land-grant public service mission of the University, the MSW feasibility study, and the educational policy statement of CSWE and are to:

  • Prepare students with the professional knowledge, skills, values and ethics for effective social work practice.
  • Prepare students to utilize critical thinking and capacity building skills at all levels of social work practice.
  • Prepare students to analyze and address dynamic issues and challenges facing diverse populations and to promote social justice and positive social change.
  • Prepare students to conduct and utilize research to respond effectively to dynamic social contexts, issues and problems found in social work practice.
  • Assist and support faculty in the advancement of social work knowledge, teaching, and service.
  • Develop and participate in collaborative activities with social agencies, communities, organizations, and governments that will enhance student learning, enrich faculty research and teaching, and promote human and societal well-being.