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Department of Social Work

Mission Statement

Educating transformative culturally competent social workers.

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree prepares students for advanced social work practice. Graduates work in professional positions serving diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students graduating from the program will demonstrate a commitment to cultural competence, multidimensional contextual practice, social responsibility, and transformative social work. The UTSA MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Program Admission Requirements.Applicants must satisfy University-wide graduate admission requirements. All applicants who apply for unconditional admission must possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or have proof of equivalent training at a foreign institution, must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester credit hours of college-level coursework, must be in good standing at the last institution attended, and based on review of documents including applicant narrative and reference forms, must be recommended for admission by the Department of Social Work Graduate Program Committee.

Admission requirements for all students include:

  • a completed graduate application form submitted to the UTSA Graduate School, including official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended;

  • a narrative statement addressing interest in and the fit with the UTSA MSW program not to exceed 1,250 words (approximately five pages);

  • three completed department recommendation forms from professionals familiar with applicant preparation for graduate social work education;

  • department forms documenting prior professional and volunteer experiences and academic preparation in the liberal arts;

  • for international students, results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; not more than five years old and a score of not less than 550 on the paper version, 79 on the internet version), or results of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS; not more than five years old and a score of not less than 6.5).

Only students with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree may qualify for advanced standing if they graduated from a baccalaureate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the advanced standing degree is 36. For students receiving other than unconditional admission, BSW degree deficiencies may require additional coursework.

For advanced standing admission, the applicant must meet program admission requirements, and in addition:

  • hold a BSW degree received from a CSWE-accredited BSW program within ten years from the date of application to the UTSA MSW program (students with appropriate rationale, such as post-BSW practice experience, may apply and request an exception to this requirement in their application);

  • have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester credit hours of coursework for the BSW, as well as in any graduate-level work previously completed;

  • provide one additional reference letter from the BSW field director/coordinator or BSW program director;

  • provide a copy of the BSW field evaluation form which indicates number of clock hours completed, final grade, description of practicum setting (including community and clientele served), and accomplishments as a practicum student;

  • be in good standing at the last institution attended; and

  • be recommended for admission by the Department of Social Work Graduate Program Committee.

An applicant who has successfully completed a minimum of 18 graduate semester credit hours in a CSWE-accredited master of social work program may be considered for admission as a transfer student. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the modified MSW degree transfer option is 36. For transfer students receiving other than unconditional admission, MSW course deficiencies may require additional coursework.

For admission as a transfer student from a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work Program, the applicant must meet program admission requirements and:

  • have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester credit hours of college-level coursework as well as any graduate-level MSW coursework previously completed;

  • provide a reference letter from the MSW program director/chair attesting to good standing status in the MSW program;

  • when transferring field practicum courses, the applicant must also provide one additional reference letter from the MSW field director/coordinator or MSW program director, and provide a copy of the MSW field evaluation form which indicates number of clock hours completed, final grade, description of practicum setting (including community and clientele served), and accomplishments as a practicum student; and

  • be recommended for admission by the Department of Social Work Graduate Program Committee.

Applicants for the non-BSW, advanced standing, or modified MSW program may also be admitted as unconditional, conditional, probationary, special graduate, or non-degree-seeking students. Students admitted as conditional or probationary students must satisfy specified conditions their first semester in the program for their admission status to be changed to that of an unconditional student. Admission as a special graduate or non-degree-seeking student does not guarantee subsequent admission as a degree-seeking student; such students must reapply for degree-seeking status. Applicants with misdemeanor or felony charges or convictions may have difficulty being accepted by an agency to complete their field practicum, obtaining a social work license, and/or gaining employment as a social worker in some settings. See the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners Web site at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/socialwork/ for additional information.

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 36 for the BSW (advanced standing) student, 36 for the modified MSW degree option for transfer students from CSWE-accredited graduate social work programs, and 60 for the non-BSW student. Academic course credit cannot be granted for life or previous work experience.

Please refer to department Web site for further information: http://copp.utsa.edu/social-work/home/.

  1. 24 semester credit hours of foundation courses. Non-BSW students must complete the following courses:

    SWK 5013   Human Behavior and Social Environment: Dynamics of Individuals and Families
    SWK 5103   Social Problems and Social Welfare Policy Analysis
    SWK 5113   Generalist Social Work Practice
    SWK 5203   Social Work Research
    SWK 5303   Foundations of Social Work I
    SWK 5313   Foundations of Social Work II
    SWK 5403   Foundation Field Practicum I and Integrative Seminar
    SWK 5413   Foundation Field Practicum II and Integrative Seminar

  2. 6 semester credit hours of courses particular to program mission and goals. All students must complete the following courses:

    SWK 5233   Global Context of Social Work
    SWK 5513   Culturally Competent Practice with Diverse Populations

  3. 18 semester credit hours in Advanced Culturally Competent Practice. All students must complete the following courses:

    SWK 5423   Advanced Field Practicum III and Integrative Seminar
    SWK 5433   Advanced Field Practicum IV and Integrative Seminar
    SWK 5443   Advanced Social Work Methods: Individuals
    SWK 5463   Advanced Social Work Methods: Groups
    SWK 5493   Advanced Social Work Methods: Community Practice
    SWK 5523   Advanced Social Work Methods: Children and Families

  4. 6 semester credit hours in Advanced Research and Policy. All students must complete the following courses:

    SWK 5243   Advanced Social Work Research: Practice and Program Evaluation
    SWK 5473   Advanced Social Work Methods: Policy Practice and Advocacy

  5. 3 semester credit hours from the following electives. All students must complete one of the following courses:

    SWK 5483   Multidimensional Assessment
    SWK 5633   Transformational Leadership in Social Work

  6. 3 semester credit hours of electives. All students must complete one of the following courses:

    3 semester credit hours of free elective graduate coursework chosen in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor, or

    SWK 6953   Independent Study
    or
    SWK 6973   Special Topics in Culturally Competent Practice

Comprehensive Examination. Students who successfully complete SWK 5433 Advanced Field Practicum IV and Integrative Seminar with a grade of “B” or better satisfy the comprehensive examination requirement for master’s degree graduates. (Students must earn a minimum grade of “B” in SWK 5433 as a degree requirement.)

Field Practicum. Students in the 60-semester-credit-hour program are expected to complete 900 clock hours of field experience under the supervision of an MSW social worker while in the program. Students complete a minimum of 450 clock hours over two semesters as part of their foundation coursework and an additional 450 clock hours over one or two semesters as part of their advanced coursework. Advanced standing students complete 450 clock hours of field practicum as part of their advanced coursework. The program’s field office arranges the placement and oversees the placement process. Although a limited number of placements are available for students who work full-time, students are expected to be as flexible as possible to ensure successful placement.

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