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The College of Social Work MSW Program prepares graduates to become advanced practitioners who serve diverse communities in South Carolina and beyond through specialized practice competencies in one or more of the following areas: Children, Youth, and Families; Health and Mental Health; Military and Veteran Communities; Aging; and/or Community, Social, and Economic Development. The MSW Program will provide students essential knowledge, skills, and values to practice effectively, ethically, and collaboratively to promote social well-being and social justice for vulnerable populations.
Program Goals and Learning Outcomes
Goal 1: The program produces Master’s-level social workers who provide competent and ethical practice with, and on behalf of, diverse and vulnerable populations.
- Learning Outcome 1: Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice (2.1.2*)
- Learning Outcome 2: Engage diversity and difference in practice (2.1.4)
- Learning Outcome 3: Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (2.1.10)
Goal 2: The program produces Master’s-level social workers who demonstrate a strong professional identity and ability to advance human rights and social and economic justice.
- Learning Outcome 4: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services (2.1.8)
- Learning Outcome 5: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly (2.1.1)
- Learning Outcome 6: Advance human rights and social and economic justice (2.1.5)
Goal 3: The program produces Master’s-level social workers whose professional judgment demonstrates an understanding that person-in-environment perspective requires a critical analysis of practice contexts and research findings.
- Learning Outcome 7: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (2.1.3)
- Learning Outcome 8: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research (2.1.6)
- Learning Outcome 9: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment (HBSE) (2.1.7)
- Learning Outcome 10: Respond to contexts that shape practice (2.1.9)
*Numbers refer to the CSWE’s 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) Core Competencies
The admission policy for the MSW degree program applies to every applicant. All applicants must fulfill the general admission requirements of both The Graduate School and the College of Social Work.
- The deadline for Advanced Standing Program admissions is February 1.
- The deadline for Full-time and Part-time Program admissions is March 1.
Advanced Standing students begin their program in the Summer term. Full-time and Part-time students begin their program in the Fall term.
Minimal requirements for admission include:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale).
- Applicants with a GPA below 3.00 must submit a GRE score taken within the last five years.
- Evidence of intellectual maturity, emotional stability, and motivation and capacity to work with people.
- At least two letters of reference submitted by individuals who can attest to the candidate’s potential for graduate study and masters-level social work practice.
- An interview may also be required.
- Satisfactory scores on the TOEFL or IELTS as required by The Graduate School for international applicants whose native language is not English.
- Applicants to the Korea-based MSW Program are exempt from this requirement.
The College of Social Work is committed to diversity in its student body. Admission is limited and competitive. Admission to the College of Social Work is contingent upon admission to The Graduate School.
Transfer From Other Programs
An applicant seeking to transfer from another CSWE-accredited MSW program must:
- Meet the minimal requirements for admissions outlined above.
A formal written request for transfer must be made at the time of application for admission. A maximum of 30 credit hours (foundation content) of graduate credit may be transferred from other institutions accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Acceptance of graduate transfer credit is determined by the Coordinator of the MSW program, who assesses potential transfer courses in terms of their equivalence with courses in this graduate program and the adequacy of the applicant’s performance in these courses. A grade of less than B in any course will disqualify that course from consideration for transfer. Transfer students coming from another accredited MSW program will be allowed to take Advanced Standing courses if they are missing content that is offered in the USC master’s program and need those courses to complete their foundation year experience. Credit will not be given for work or life experience.
Credit for Life Experience
In accordance with the mandates of the Council on Social Work Education, no credit is given for life experiences. Students will not receive academic credit for life experience or previous volunteer, service learning activities or assignments, or work experience in social work.
Academic credit will not be granted for life experience or previous work experience, and such experience will not be substituted for any of the courses in the professional foundation areas or the field practicum.
Degree Requirements (60 Hours)
Requirements for the MSW degree include the completion of 60 hours of course work (42 hours for Advanced Standing students) with an overall GPA 3.00 or better and a grade of S for Advanced Field Instruction courses.
All Advanced Standing students are required to demonstrate professional writing skills. This requirement can be met by successful completion of either:
a. The online Professional Writing Skills Assessment, or
b. The Writing for Professional Practice Course — SOWK 702 .
All work for the MSW degree must be completed within the timeframe and requirements established by The Graduate School and in accordance with accreditation standards established by the Council on Social Work Education.