The Mission of the USJ M.S.W. program is to prepare students for clinical practice in community-based settings. The program will produce graduates who are guided by professional ethics and standards and who use culturally responsive research and practice to promote individual and social change. Through the use of an innovative field education model in partnership with community-based organizations, students and faculty develop, test, implement and disseminate evidence-informed practice to advance clinical Social Work. The program promotes services to diverse populations that improve individual functioning, strengthen families and communities, and promote a civil society based on human rights, social and economic justice, and peace.
Social Work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States and includes diverse and varied fields of practice. Social Work students prepare for careers in community-based clinical practice in fields such as child welfare, elder services, health and mental/behavioral health, veterans’ services, immigrant and refugee services, school social work and many other fields.
Graduate Social Work students enjoy small classes and caring faculty who offer personal attention, academic advising and guidance in career development. Students gain professional experience while they complete two separate year-long placements in an innovative student unit model.
USJ graduates in the M.S.W. program possess the knowledge and skills to improve the health and well-being of persons and their communities by assessing needs, planning interventions, strengthening resources, coordinating care, delivering services and evaluating outcomes. In addition, the graduates are prepared to promote community mental health by collaborating with community members and with health and human services providers in developing person-centered, evidence-based, integrative clinical services that are culturally responsive, trauma-informed, recovery-oriented and delivered in the person’s community setting. Through its collaborations with community-based agencies, the M.S.W. program works to improve access to high-quality health and human services for all populations, especially high-need populations such as abused and neglected children, senior citizens and veterans. To this end, the program prepares community-based clinical social workers for emerging fields of practice and labor force shortage areas.
The program features a student unit model of field education in which university-employed clinical preceptors supervise students in select partnering organizations. This model of field education provides multidisciplinary opportunities for student learning and community-engaged research. Students, faculty and clinical preceptors contribute to the professional knowledge base by community-engaged research and practice that develops promising practices, demonstrates best practices, and facilitates communication among multidisciplinary providers and the communities that they serve.
The M.S.W. program does not grant Social Work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.
Please note: There is an option to extend the required Field Practice courses into three semesters rather than the traditional two. Please speak with an advisor for additional information.
SOCW 510/511 may be replaced with a three term option of SOCW 512 (fall), SOCW 513 (spring), SOCW 514 (summer) .
SOCW 610/611 may be replaced with a three term option of SOCW 612 (fall), SOCW 613 (spring), SOCW 614 (summer).
The USJ Masters of Social Work program will:
- Produce ethically strong graduates prepared for community-based practice as licensed clinical social workers in areas where there is the greatest need
- Provide access to graduate social work education for employed health and human services personnel
- Improve client outcomes and access to high quality clinical social work services for underserved populations through student and faculty involvement in applied, community-engaged research
- Collaborate with other disciplines to develop evidence-informed practices and strategies for delivering integrative care to diverse populations
- Enhance the relationship between Social Work education and practice through mutually beneficial partnerships with community-based organizations
- Implement and evaluate the student unit model of field education and disseminate outcomes to the Social Work education community
- Graduate school application and non-refundable $50 application fee
- M.S.W. supplemental application
- Official transcript of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Transcripts from all additional colleges or institutions attended
- Minimum GPA of 2.75 (expected GPA of 3.0 or higher)
- Successful completion of a prerequisite course (Statistics) with a grade of “C” or better (May be completed after admission to the program)
- Three professional letters of recommendation with cover sheet
- Social Work Essay: personal statement explaining interest and pursuit of the M.S.W. program
- Copy of an updated resume
- Proof of immunizations
- No GRE or other exams required
Admission requirements for Advanced Standing applicants
- Bachelor’s degree in Social Work within the last six years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (or an international degree program recognized by CSWE)
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- Grades of “B-” or better in all Social Work courses. Applicants with a B.S.W. foundation course grade below the required minimum grade will be required to repeat the course at the graduate level to demonstrate competency in the relevant foundation area. A maximum of six (6) foundation year credits may be repeated at the graduate level for advanced standing applicants. These courses must either be completed in the first year of the student course plan or prior to enrollment. Applicants with more than 6 credits of BSW foundation courses below the minimum B- grade are not eligible for advanced standing but may apply to the regular 61 credit program.
- One of three professional letters of recommendation must come from B.S.W. program director or field practice director
- Copy of most recent field evaluation form
The M.S.W. Admissions Committee invites all qualified applicants to campus for an admissions interview (or provides alternatives for distance interviews when an applicant is not local) and to complete a writing sample.
Completion of each required course in the M.S.W. Program with a grade of “B-” or better is required for continuation in the M.S.W. program. Students earning a grade below the minimum required level of “B-” must meet with the program director to assess their continuation in the program. Students may withdraw from the program, or with the permission of the program director, they may retake the course to improve their grade so that they demonstrate competency in the relevant area of the curriculum. A grade of “C” or below in a field course, or having two or more Social Work course grades below the minimum required grade ordinarily results in a student being dismissed from the program. Students may repeat a course a maximum of one time.
Transfer policy & residency requirement
The M.S.W. program only accepts transfer courses from CSWE-accredited programs to satisfy foundation year requirements. The program will only accept courses taken within six years of the date of matriculation into the M.S.W. program if the earned grade was a B- or higher, demonstrating that the student achieved competency in that subject area. Students requesting transfer credit to satisfy specific foundation year requirements or specialization electives must submit a course description and syllabus (if available) to the program director in addition to submitting the official transcript to Graduate Admissions. The program director in consultation with faculty, determines whether the course is accepted and whether a specific course requirement is waived as a result. Ordinarily the transfer of credits for the advanced year curriculum will not be accepted because this curriculum is specific to each CSWE-accredited program.
While there is no upper limit on the number of graduate credits that can be transferred in to the M.S.W. program, a minimum of 30 credits in graduate Social Work courses or approved electives must be taken at USJ to be eligible to receive the M.S.W. degree from the University.
The master’s program in Social Work can be completed in two calendar years of full-time study. The part-time master’s program in Social Work is completed in a maximum of four calendar years of structured part-time professional education. The four program options are:
- M.S.W. (2-year option): A four-semester program. This option includes two internships in student units (480 hours in year one, 600 hours in year two).
- M.S.W. (3-year option): An eight-semester program. Students will take classes in two summer terms to reduce the course load in other semesters. This option includes two internships in student units (480 hours in year two, 600 hours in year three).
- M.S.W. Advanced Standing (1-year option): A three-semester Advanced Standing program for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Work (B.S.W.). Candidates must have completed that degree within the last six years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (or an international degree program recognized by CSWE). Students are exempt from taking foundation year courses (except where they achieved a grade less than a “B” in an undergraduate Social Work course.) All advanced standing students must take SOCW 596 - Advanced Standing Bridge Course and SOCW 597 - Advanced Standing Skills Lab in the August term. This option includes a single internship in a student unit (600 hours).(ordinarily 33 credits, up to a maximum of 39 credits for students who must retake foundation year courses.)
- M.S.W. Advanced Standing (2-year option): A six-semester Advanced Standing program for qualified applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Work completed within the last six years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (or an international degree program recognized by CSWE). Students are exempt from taking foundation year courses (except where they achieved a grade less than a “B” in an undergraduate Social Work course.) All advanced standing students must take SOCW 596 - Advanced Standing Bridge Course and SOCW 597 - Advanced Standing Skills Lab . This option includes a single internship in a field unit (600 hours).(ordinarily 33 credits, up to a maximum of 39 credits for students who must retake foundation year courses.)
Repeating foundation year courses:
Foundation Year courses in which a student earned a grade lower than a B- must be repeated at the graduate level. Upon admission, the Admissions Committee will detail any foundation year BSW course that must be repeated at the graduate level. The following courses are eligible to meet this requirement:
SOCW 500 - Social Policy I: History and Philosophy SOCW 501 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment I SOCW 502 - Social Work Practice I SOCW 503 - Culture, Diversity and Human Rights SOCW 504 - Social Policy II: Advocacy and Social Justice SOCW 505 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment II SOCW 506 - Social Work Practice II SOCW 507 - Social Work Research I
A grade below B- in the BSW internship course will not be accepted as fulfilling the foundation year internship requirement. Students who receive a B- or lower in field practice courses are not eligible for advanced standing but may apply to the two or three year 61 credit program.
M.S.W. - 2-Year Cohort (61 credits)
M.S.W. - 3-Year Cohort (61 credits)
M.S.W. - Advanced Standing 1-Year Cohort (33 credits)
M.S.W. - Advanced Standing 2-Year Cohort (33 credits)