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2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  Jun 29, 2022
2017-2018 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

College of Social Work

Sarah Gehlert,  Dean



The College of Social Work has offered graduate professional education at the master’s level at the University since 1969. The doctoral program admitted its first class in fall 1987. The college has offered its master’s degree in Seoul, South Korea, since 1992. The Master of Social Work degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education.


To promote social well-being and social justice with vulnerable populations through dynamic teaching, research, and service conducted in collaboration with diverse people of South Carolina, the nation, and the international community.


To become a leading institution for innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to educating social work practitioners and scholars, conducting research, and serving as a catalyst for positive social change.


Goal 1:

The College prepares M.S.W. graduates to work effectively and ethically within public and private agencies, including interdisciplinary settings, where they will serve primarily those vulnerable populations who experience problems related to economic and social deprivation and the consequences of institutional discrimination and oppression.

The College also produces Ph.D. graduates who are able to perform all the role expectations of academicians within social work degree-granting colleges and universities. Graduates are effective in transdisciplinary, community-engaged social work research and education and possess a commitment and a capacity to meet University and community service expectations through both graduate and undergraduate courses.

The College enrolled its first BSW student cohort in the fall of 2009. The purpose of the program is to prepare graduates for ethical, competent, and culturally relevant generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The College is in candidacy status for its Bachelor of Social Work program with the Council on Social Work Education. The College’s social work minor prepares University undergraduate students from other academic programs for responsible citizenship by introducing them to social work as a means to helping people enhance their well-being.

Goal 2:

The College advances the knowledge base of the profession and translates research into practice in order to reduce poverty and oppression and promote social and economic justice in global society.

Goal 3:

The College provides faculty consultation and service to local, state, national and international organizations; student provision of services to consumers in supervised field agency settings; and leadership as a catalyst in positive social change.

M.S.W. and Ph.D. Programs

Dual Degree Programs

Graduate Certificate Programs

The Center for Child and Family Studies

The Center for Child and Family Studies at the College of Social Work is a diversified academic center promoting best practice services to improve the lives of South Carolina children, families, and aging adults. Center staff look closely, design solutions, and build capacity.

  • Looking Closely - helping our partners identify the issues, gaps, and trends that impact their work
  • Designing Solutions - working together to identify desired outcomes and create the most effective approach to reach our shared goals
  • Building Capacity - assisting with the implementation of the designed solutions

South Carolina Center for Gerontology

The South Carolina Center for Gerontology is a consortium of faculties and researcher in academic institutions, policy-makers, practitioners, service providers, and other professional in the field of geronotology and geriatrics in the state. The Center was recommended by the Committees of Health and Medical Education and Academic Affairs of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and approval was granted in 1984. The main purpose of the Center is to facilitate disseminsation of new information and knowledge in aging to help enhance the quality of life for older South Carolinians.

The I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice

The I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice seeks to continue the mission of the Reverend I. De Quincey Newman by promoting social justice through interdisciplinary education, consultation, and research at the community, state, national, and international levels.

The Newman Institute is commited to the following:

  • Serving as a catalyst and resource for transdisciplinary teaching and advocacy on social justice issues
  • Pursuing rigorous theoretical and applied research on processes and conditions that create and sustain social justice
  • Maintaining and sustaining a community-centered focus on outreach to under-served populations in South Carolina
  • Preparing students in social work and other related disciplines to effect positive social change around social justice issues

M.S.W. Plans of Study

The MSW program of study prepares students to meet personal and professional goals while also achieving standards established by The Graduate School and the Council on Social Work Education. This program includes foundation level and advanced level curricula. There are several plans, listed below, by which the MSW curriculum requirements of the College of Social Work may be satisfied.

Full-time Program in Columbia — 60 Hours over Two Years

Advanced Standing Program in Columbia — 42 Hours over One Year

Part-time Program in Columbia — 60 Hours over Three Years

Part-time Program in Charleston and Greenville (with modified options for specializations) — 60 Hours over Three Years

Korea-based MSW Program in Seoul — 60 Hours

Field Education

Since field practice is considered a vital component of education for the social work profession, all MSW students enrolled in the College of Social Work are assigned to field practicum settings where they develop, practice, and improve their professional skills. The standard schedule is for students in foundation classes to be in an agency on Thursdays and Fridays and for students in advanced classes to be in placement on Mondays and Tuesdays. Often these days are negotiable with the field instructor. Nevertheless, the College cannot guarantee the availability of placements either on weekends or during evening hours as many agencies are not open on weekends or evenings and most agencies do not provide MSW supervision after 5 p.m.

Students are required to complete approximately 16 hrs per week at a field agency during the agency’s regular workweek. Students remain in the same agency setting for the duration of the school year.

Although most M.S.W. students prefer to complete their field placement concurrently with their other courses as described above, it is possible for students with two years of work experience in social work to elect the option of a block placement. Summer block placements are taken during a 14-week period (5 full-time days per week) after students have completed the required classroom courses for the period of study (foundation or advanced). This option is made available early May to early August to meet the needs of qualified students whose circumstances make concurrent placements impractical or impossible; it requires special approval in advance and should be discussed with the Director of Field Education.

Selection of field placements for students in the foundation year of study is made by the College on the basis of the learning needs of the students and the availability of foundation field agencies. For the final year of placement, students must specify their area of concentration (either advanced practice with individual families, and groups or advanced practice with organizations and communities).  They are also asked to indicate if they would like to be considered for placement in a specific agency. Every effort is made to accommodate the student’s field of practice interest. It is a basic expectation of the College that the advanced year field placement will relate directly to the area of concentration specified by the student and that it will expose the student to opportunities to integrate advanced practice knowledge and skills.

Every student in field placement is supervised by an experienced master’s-level social worker. In addition, each student has a faculty representative assigned to function as a liaison between the agency and the College and to serve as an educational consultant to the field instructor.

Most placement agencies are located in the Columbia area; however, the college also places students at other sites in South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina. Efforts are made to place students in the geographic location they prefer, or within commuting distance, when possible.

Programs and Courses

Click the link below to view programs and courses administered by the College of Social Work.



    Social Work