Master of Social Work | Spalding University Catalog

Master of Social Work

Spalding University's Master of Social Work (MSW) curriculum is designed to develop practitioners committed to an integrative approach to social work practice. The integrative practice concentration prepares advanced practitioners who sustain--throughout a career and regardless of job title, agency setting, or preferred practice method--a consistent focus on both of social work's inherently interconnected purposes: human and community well-being. MSW graduates are eligible to sit for the licensure exam in Kentucky--and other states--at the first graduate level (CSW). After two years of supervised post-master's experience, graduates are eligible to sit for the licensure exam for the Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) credential.

Consistent with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines, content for the MSW degree may be completed in two ways. The regular program is for learners entering without an undergraduate degree in social work from an accredited school. These learners earn 60 semester hours.

Applicants who have already successfully completed a BSW/BSSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program and achieved a suitable grade point average may be admitted to the MSW program with Advanced Standing. These learners complete 31 credit hours.

Full- or part-time options are available. Both the full- and part-time options consist of predetermined series of classes designed to facilitate the scaffolding of knowledge. Students seeking a part time degree program must meet with the MSW Director to create an academic plan. Part time academic plans must then be approved by the Chair.

The curriculum is offered in hybrid fashion, featuring face to face class meetings on Thursday and Friday evenings that comprise 50% of instruction time. The remaining 50% is facilitated through on-line and in vivo experiences as directed and facilitated by the instructor. (see course calendar at

Practica Agencies
MSW students complete field placements during their course of study. Field placements are arranged at social service agencies in the learner's home community. These placements require the supervision of an approved MSW field agency supervisor. A faculty field liaison facilitates a required seminar to ensure that students integrate practice experience with classroom learning. Neither prior life experience nor employment may count for practicum credit.

Admission Requirements
Application procedures are obtained from the University's Admissions Office or the School of Social Work office. With the exception of electives, acceptance into the MSW program is required before any student may enroll in social work practice courses.

MSW Admissions
Admissions decisions are based on a constellation of criteria, including completed application forms and three professional/academic references. Also, applicants submit a personal essay, which is assessed for both content and writing ability. It is strongly preferred that applicants to the regular program have a cumulative GPA of 2.80 or higher on a 4.00 scale. Those with a GPA below a 2.80 may be considered, given extenuating circumstances (e.g., significant improvement is shown in upper level grades). Applicants for the advanced standing program must have a 3.00 GPA in social work courses and an overall GPA of 2.80. BSW applicants who do not meet those standards may be considered for a modified course of study. As a final step in the application process, applicants interview with a MSW faculty member. Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Transfer of Credits
Graduate students from other accredited two-year MSW programs may transfer to Spalding's advanced standing program if they have completed the foundation content with a 3.20 GPA and have positive recommendations from the first year practicum instructor. Also, up to 5 graduate credits earned in other graduate programs may be accepted in place of Spalding MSW electives. A student in the Master of Social Work program who has completed social work foundation courses in another accredited social work program may transfer up to 18 credit hours of course work plus practicum hours. Academic credit is not awarded for previous work or life experiences in lieu of any course-work in the social work program.

Student learning is assessed through a variety of measures, including self-assessment and peer assessment by the students. The range of assignments include small and large system role plays, critical analysis of practice situations and ethical dilemmas, written narratives, videotaped skill demonstrations, experiential exercises, professional presentations, research projects, group projects, and examinations. MSW students in both years of their program are in a field practicum enabling them to integrate theory and practice in a learning environment. In practicum, assessment is a mutually supportive process between the agency field instructor, the faculty field liaison, and the student.

Degree Requirements
(see program sheets for specifics of the MSW degree)
Regular MSW students complete 60 credit hours of graduate course work.
Advanced Standing MSW students complete 31 credit hours of graduate course work.

Program Sheets
Master of Social Work
Master of Social Work (Advanced Standing)