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  Jul 24, 2017
 
 
    
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Graduate Catalog 2006-07 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Social Work


Director of Admissions and Student Services
Nancy McFadden
Room 4424, CHHS Building
(269) 387-3201

The Master of Social Work program in professional social work is designed to prepare students for direct service and leadership positions in the field of social welfare.  The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  The curriculum is structured as an integrated and sequential set of conceptual and practicum educational experiences.  In preparing students for practice, the School of Social Work recognizes a variety of theoretical paradigms and values and welcomes the challenge and benefits of intellectual and philosophical diversity.  It supports students in their personal synthesis of these paradigms and values.  In addition, the School stresses development and dissemination of social work knowledge and practice skills.

The graduate program prepares students for specialized and advanced levels of practice.  It also incorporates a foundation curriculum, built on a liberal arts base.  The foundation has two goals:   To provide students with the knowledge, values, and skills leading to an informed perspective on the profession of social work and its service delivery systems, and to prepare students for entry into the concentrations.

There are two concentrations in the graduate program:  1. Interpersonal Practice and 2. Policy, Planning, and Administration.  These concentrations build on the foundation curriculum and are the vehicles through which students learn the specific advanced skills of their chosen area of concentration.

The Interpersonal Practice concentration prepares students to become informed practitioners and leaders in working with individuals, families, and groups.  Practice courses in the concentration are designed to provide expert competencies in interpersonal practice.  Such competencies include the ability to assess situations, carry out appropriate interventions, and evaluate one’s own practice framework, strategies, and results when working with clients.

The Policy, Planning, and Administration concentration has four essential components:   Organizational leadership and management, program planning, analytic tools and technology, and policy practice.  The desired outcome of the Policy, Planning, and Administration concentration is the empowerment of practitioners to facilitate changes in organizational, community, and societal structures and processes that contribute to a just distribution of opportunities and resources.

In addition, graduate social work students have an opportunity to participate in social work-related graduate certificate programs.  Included are Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SPADA), Holistic Health Care, and Nonprofit Leadership and Administration.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for graduate study in social work must complete two applications—one for the Office of Admissions and Orientation (the Graduate Self-Managed Application) and one for the School of Social Work.  Both applications can be obtained either from the Office of Admissions and Orientation or the School of Social Work. Admission is granted for the Summer I session only for applicants to the Kalamazoo full-time advanced standing program; for Summer II session only for applicants to the Grand Rapids part-time advanced standing program; and for the Fall semester only for applicants to the full-time and extended study programs. The deadline for filing applications is January 15th for advanced standing and March 15th for full-time or extended-study programs each year.  In addition to The Graduate College’s requirements for admission to a master’s degree program, the following criteria will be considered:

  1. Evidence of adequate academic preparation for graduate study in social work.  This includes consideration of both undergraduate performance and area of study, and liberal arts academic background. 
  2. Evidence of personal qualifications considered desirable for successful social work practice.  These include motivation for a human service profession, social work related volunteer or employment experience, personal maturity, and leadership ability.
  3. Students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program within six years of application may apply to the 39-hour, 12-month Advanced Standing Program. Applicants must meet the following criteria:   
    • B.S.W. degree from a CSWE accredited program that is not more than six years old
    • Overall grade point average of 3.0
    • No more than one B.S.W. course below a “B.” Any B.S.W. course below a “B” will require retaking an equivalent course in the M.S.W. curriculum
    • One year of full-time post-B.S.W. human service work experience is recommended
    • One of the three letters of recommendation must address the applicant’s B.S.W. field or work experience and potential for success in an advanced standing program

Students will be admitted each spring into the Interpersonal Practice concentration and the Policy, Planning, and Administration concentration. Applicants may seek admission to either the campus program or the Grand Rapids Regional Center (off-campus) program. The application deadline for the Kalamazoo full-time, advanced standing program and the part-time Grand Rapids program is January 15. Full-time Kalamazoo students begin their program in the Summer I session and proceed for one full year. Part-time Grand Rapids students begin their program in the Summer II session and proceed for two calendar years. All classes at the Grand Rapids campus convene during evening hours. Due to the rigorous demands of this program, those who plan to be employed full-time should apply to the Grand Rapids part-time, advanced standing program.

Program Requirements


  1. The successful completion of sixty hours of credit is required for the conventional master’s degree in social work.  The degree program includes the following course credits:
    • Required Foundation Courses in the School of Social Work (21 hours)
    • Required Concentration Courses in the School of Social Work (15 hours)
    • Elective Courses in Social Work or in other University departments (6 to 9 hours)
    • Field Education (12 hours:  6 in the Foundation and 6 in the Concentration)
    • Advanced Social Work Research (SWRK 6420 for 3 hours or SWRK 6860 for 6 hours)
  2. Field Education:   Students are required to complete two years of field education. The student’s first-year field assignment is a Foundation placement encompassing a wide range of social welfare practice situations. The student’s second-year field assignment is a Concentration placement, selected relative to the student’s career interests. Field education requires two days per week in the agency setting, averaging 16 hours per week throughout fall and spring semesters. Full-time students begin field education the first semester, taking foundation courses concurrently. Extended-study students begin field education in the second fall semester of the program, taking foundation courses both in the first year and concurrent with field education in the second year. Advanced-standing students begin the concentration placement in the summer II session. First-year placement requires 428 hours; second year, 472 hours; and advanced-standing, 596 hours.
  3. First-year students with a B.S.W. may elect to take proficiency exams in SWRK 6100, 6300, 6310, 6330 and 6400 during the summer prior to the start of the graduate program.  Students have the option of receiving full credit for those courses in which proficiency exams are passed. To obtain information regarding exam eligibility criteria, contact the Director of Admissions and Student Services in the School of Social Work.
  4. Students admitted to the M.S.W. Advanced Standing Program complete a minimum of 39 credit hours of required graduate courses.
  5. One academic year of full-time study (up to 30 credit hours), including first-year field education, may be accepted for transfer from other accredited graduate schools of social work if the credits were earned with degree status. Anyone seeking admission as a second-year student should request an application packet and complete all application procedures. Transfer credit and equivalency will be reviewed by the student’s advisor and the School’s curriculum committee upon the student’s request.
  6. Students may take up to 9 hours of credit under Non-degree Guest status before admission is offered.  An additional 3 hours of credit under Guest status (up to a maximum total of 12 Guest hours) may be taken and transferred in after the student receives an offer of admission.  Please contact the Director of Admissions and Student Services in the School of Social Work for information regarding available classes for Guest Students.

In addition to the full-time program and the Advanced Standing Programs, the School of Social Work offers an extended-study program on campus in Kalamazoo and off-campus in Grand Rapids.  Persons interested in extended-study programming should contact the Director of Admissions and Student Services in the School of Social Work.

Financial aid is available to a limited number of qualified students.  Information regarding the various types of available assistance may be obtained by contacting the Office of Student Financial Aid or the Director of Admissions and Student Services in the School of Social Work.