Appalachian's Master of Social Work (MSW) program educates social workers who contribute to the well-being of others through skills in advanced clinical practice, leadership and supervision, community development and advocacy, and innovative program planning and administration. Graduates will be qualified to engage in advanced social work practice to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. They are eligible to apply for their clinical social work license and/or social work manager license. The MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
MSW Program Overview
The Department of Social Work is housed within the Beaver College of Health Sciences. Graduates are connected to a network of professionals and are prepared for professional partnerships and collaborations with individuals from nutrition, health care management, nursing, communication sciences and disorders, recreation management, physical education, exercise science, health administration, athletic training, health promotion, and more.
The Regular Program option is awarded to graduates who do not have a degree from a baccalaureate social work program, but who have a last-earned degree from a variety of disciplines.
The regular program has a full-time (2 year) and part-time (4 years) option and is available on-campus only.
Advanced Standing is awarded only to graduates holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.
Curriculum & Concentrations
The MSW Program offers two concentrations:
- Community and Organizational Practice – Prepares students for advanced practice in the range of settings that focus on social problems and social change at the community, organizational and societal levels. The emphasis is on developing and implementing services, social programs and social policies based within the social work value system while providing leadership within communities and organizations. Coursework in this concentration focuses on community organizing and development, social planning, political and social action, government and nonprofit agency administration, and resource development.
- Individuals and Families – Designed for students who intend to go into advanced direct and clinical practice upon graduation. This concentration prepares students for agency-based practice with diverse children, adolescents, adults and families. Coursework in this concentration integrates social work values and ethics, and focuses on the development of the professional relationship, theoretical perspectives, advanced clinical assessment, evidence-based practice and intervention.
The Field Education Program at the Department of Social Work provides an opportunity for students to integrate their curriculum knowledge with real-life experiences in a variety of field practice settings. Students are supervised by experienced social work field instructors at human services agencies where they refine their social work skills and begin their lives as social work professionals.
The field placement is a vital part of the professional development of the student. Through our collaborative efforts the Social Work Department and human service organizations will continue to offer field education of the highest quality to enhance human well-being and meet the basic human needs of all people. Master of Social (MSW) work students complete concurrent field placements two semesters per year.
Coursework requires two graduate electives (5000 level courses and above) that can be selected from any department or program.
The MSW program's two concentrations have a crossover design, in which students specializing in one concentration gain vital exposure to content from the other concentration.
The MSW Program's mission is to prepare advanced professional social workers who possess a strong generalist foundation. Our students benefit from our unique crossover design that enables them to select one concentration area, Individuals and Families (I&F) or Community and Organizational (C&O) Practice, while integrating courses from the complementary practice area. Our students partner with Appalachian and global communities and engage in interprofessional collaboration to advance the health and well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities. Our graduates are leaders in addressing the complexities of social problems, challenging systems of oppression and advancing social, economic, and environmental justice.
- Provide graduate students with social work education that is grounded in the profession’s history, purposes, and philosophy, and based on a body of knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes.
- Provide graduate students with an integrated professional social work foundation curriculum that is based in the liberal arts, and an advanced curriculum that is built from the professional foundation.
- Prepare graduates who can function with a high degree of autonomy and effectiveness within diverse social work settings.
- Prepare graduates who contribute to the quality of services in their organizations and communities with an emphasis on the service region.
- Prepare graduates to fill leadership roles in the agencies and communities they serve with emphasis on the service region.
- Prepare graduates with the knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes, and methods of innovative advanced social work practice with individuals and families with an emphasis on the service region.
- Prepare graduates with the knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes, and methods of innovative advanced social work practice with communities and organizations, with an emphasis on the service region.
Students will complete a curriculum including foundation and concentration courses, including face-to-face field work. With full-time and part-time options you can find a program schedule to fit your life.
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
- complete application to the Graduate School
- official general GRE exam scores, unless waived
- an undergraduate liberal arts background, including knowledge from a variety of disciplines
- 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores from the appropriate admission test(s), OR 2.5 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores at the 25th percentile level from the appropriate admission test(s).
Advanced Standing option - Applicants who earned a BSW Degree from a CSWE-accredited University within the past 7 years and have a 3.2 grade point average in their BSW courses may apply for the Advanced Standing program.
- Three professional letters of recommendation, college-level or beyond, with at least one academic and one human service experience (paid or volunteer).
- Personal Statement
- Reviewed to evaluate suitability for the MSW Program and the social work profession, writing skills, and English proficiency
- Required format: 12 point font, double-spaced, one inch margins, 3-4 pages maximum
- Required content:
- Discuss the development of your interest in and commitment to a career in social work. Include the particular aspects of social work that most interest you. Describe the personal and professional experiences you have had that influenced your choice to pursue the profession of social work.
- Discuss your commitment to social justice and diversity, both personally and professionally, and how you see these issues related to your future practice in social work.
- Explain what makes Appalachian State University's MSW Program stand apart from other programs and how it will help you to achieve your personal and professional goals.
- NOTE: If you are interested in the Advanced Standing program you should indicate this by including a statement of readiness for entry into the advanced standing program within your personal statement. The statement of readiness should include information about how your BSW studies and field experience prepared you for the Advanced Standing Program.
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