Social Work, M.S.W.
Graduate Degree
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Program Overview

Designed for working professionals who have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as counseling and psychology.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at Marshall consists of two different tracks:

MSW Generalist Curriculum – This two-year curriculum promotes a generalist perspective in which the simultaneous impact of many systemic levels (individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities) on clients’ lives is critically analyzed and recognized.

MSW Advanced Curriculum – Advanced Social Work Practice: The advanced practice curriculum seeks to develop the use and application of critical thinking, relative to behavioral health, on all levels: in reading professional writing and research; in students’ practice; in the classroom and in the students’ own thinking.

The Area of Specialized Practice program option for the MSW is Behavioral Health. The program is available at Marshall’s main campus in Huntington, WV, via in-person classes.

The Behavioral Health specialization prepares students to conduct clinical social work practice in assessing, treating and evaluating mental health, substance abuse and physical health in relation to one another across practice settings. A focus throughout the specialization is on understanding the multiple factors that influence health disparities and best practices to increase health equity, particularly for marginalized populations. There is a special emphasis on effectively serving vulnerable populations with multiple needs.

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Featured Courses
SWK 551 - Foundations of Field Practicum
This course is part of the field practicum experience where students are supervised in a social welfare agency for 400 clock hours. Building on foundation practice skills, students will apply knowledge, values, and skills to the generalist practice experience under the supervision of a licensed social worker.
SWK 615 - Psychopathology
The purpose of this course is to provide students with a solid foundation for understanding psychopathology and provides the knowledge for psychological diagnosis in clinical social work practice.
SWK 673 - Family & Community Violence
This course provides content covering various types of violence through the lifespan. Specifically, child abuse, school violence, juvenille violence, family violence, workplace violence, and elder abuse will be analyzed and discussed. The course will consider the risk factors, current policies, practices and interventions with vulnerable populations.
Program Highlights
Flexibility

Regular full-time students can expect to graduate within two years, and advanced standing students will be able to complete the program in one calendar year. Part-time options are available to master’s in Social Work students who cannot attend full-time classes.

Accreditation

Marshall’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.

Social Justice Focus

The Marshall University Department of Social Work affirms its strong commitment to human rights and social justice. The MSW degree program represents Marshall’s unflinching commitment to the values of pluralism that have been crucial in weaving the strong fabric of our civil society.

Career Opportunities
Graduates from the Marshall University Department of Social Work have an excellent track record in finding employment in the Social Work field. Marshall’s Social Work MSW alumni work in hospitals, mental health centers, shelters for battered women and numerous other human service agencies. There continues to be a growing need for social workers in the tri-state area and nationwide.
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Schools
  • Prisons & Other Criminal Justice Facilities
  • Child Welfare
  • Medical Settings
Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

All M.S.W. program options are offered utilizing a cohort model and those admitted begin the M.S.W. program in the Fall Semester of each academic year. Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website: http://www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission. Applications are received in the Marshall University Office of Graduate Admissions via the online application www.marshall.edu/admissions/graduate/ and cc’d to Leslie Lucas beginning in October of the year prior to the applicant’s desired admission date. It is recommended that applications be submitted as soon as possible so that they are forwarded by the Office of Graduate Admissions to the M.S.W. Admissions Committee to be reviewed for priority admission by January 30th. Applications will be received and reviewed after the priority date, but it is highly recommended that applications be submitted as early as possible. Applicants are encouraged to check with the Office of Graduate Admissions regarding the completion of their applications. Applications need to be completed prior to being sent to the MSW Admissions Committee and need to include: Two professional references, resume, personal statement, all transcripts (from all colleges and universities attended) sent directly to Graduate Admissions.

Graduate Admissions Application Procedures and Performance Standards

The receipt of a bachelor’s degree from an accepted, accredited college or university is the basic requirement for admission as a graduate student to Marshall University and cannot be waived. Applicants must fulfill all admission requirements as specified in the Graduate Catalog. Students enrolled in the last semester of an undergraduate program may be admitted to some programs conditionally for one term subject to completion of the bachelor’s degree program and subject to departmental approval.

  • Complete and return all pages of the Graduate Application for Admission form to the Graduate Admissions Office.
  • When you submit the application, request the Registrar at the institution which awarded your bachelor’s degree (except Marshall University) to send an official transcript directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. The transcript from the institution that awarded your bachelor’s degree must contain the name of the degree earned and the date the degree was conferred. The Graduate Admissions Office cannot accept unofficial transcripts, including transcripts that are faxed or stamped “Issued to Student,” or transcripts mailed or delivered by the student or a third party. Individual schools and programs may require additional credentials or documentation.
  • Provide all other admission materials and letters of recommendation that may be required by the program to which you are applying. NOTE: If your program requires letters of reference, the letters must be original, must be signed and be sent directly to Graduate Admissions. These may be emailed from an identifiable email account of the person providing the reference. Reference letters sent via email need to have the signature of the person providing the reference (signed and scanned). These may be sent to services@marshall.edu and cc’d to Leslie Lucas. 
  • Note: Applicants may apply online at www.marshall.edu/admissions/graduate/.

Summary of Admissions Policy and Procedures for Notifying Applicants of Admission or Contingency Conditions

  • Applicant submits application and all required credentials (as published by program) to Marshall University Graduate Admissions;
  • Graduate admissions will review the application and request any additional credentials needed or other items needed to make the application complete;
  • When the application is complete, graduate admissions determines if applicants meets basic university admission requirements (baccalaureate degree from accredited school and English proficiency requirement);
  • The file is sent to the MSW Program Director, Department of Social Work, via share point, for review and for admission decision;
  • Department of Social Work notifies graduate admissions of their decision, via decision sheet with signature (two week turnaround required, unless there is a program deadline that has not yet passed);
  • Graduate admissions enters the decision in Banner, sends official, standard Marshall University decision letter with all needed info (901, residency, admission status, etc.);
  • Program should then (after Marshall University letter is sent) send the accepted applicant a follow-up letter welcoming them to the program and explaining next steps.

Specialist/Advanced Standing Program

An applicant for admission to the Master of Social Work program who holds a baccalaureate degree from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education may be admitted to with advanced standing. The social work baccalaureate degree from a CSWE accredited institution fulfills the requirements for the MSW foundation year.

The Marshall University Department of Social Work seeks mature students with a demonstrated ability to work with people, emotional stability, good interpersonal skills and the ability to perform well academically. To ensure that entering students meet these standards, the faculty has set the following requirements for Specialist/Advanced Standing applicants holding a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accepted, accredited institution of higher learning;
  • A minimum of 27 credit hours in the social sciences, i.e. communications (6), natural sciences (3), humanities (9), and social sciences (9);
  • A minimum of three credit hours in each of the following courses: research methodology, and human biology.

Additionally, an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is recommended to be considered for admission to the Marshall University Master of Social Work program. While we consider applicants whose undergraduate GPA does not meet this standard, applicants with GPAs less than 2.75 will be considered on a case by case basis.

The application file is complete when all of the following are received by Graduate Admissions:

  1. Completed Graduate Admission application. Application forms are available online.
  2. An official academic transcript is required from each college/university you have attended, including those at which you were enrolled for academic credit as a non-degree student and/or credits which you transferred to another college. All transcripts must bear the official seal and signature of the institution attended. You must request these transcripts directly from the Registrar or appropriate officer of each institution and ask that they send them directly to Graduate Admissions at Marshall University.
  3. Advanced Standing Admissions:  Applicants who obtained a BSW within the last 7 years from an undergraduate social work program accredited or in candidacy by CSWE with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a social work GPA of 3.25 may be eligible to apply to the Advanced Standing 36-hour program.  BSW applicants with less than a cumulative 3.0 GPA and a social work GPA of less than 3.25 will rarely be considered for the 30-hour program and will rarely be allowed to transfer social work coursework from their undergraduate degree toward their MSW degree.  Additionally, if an Advanced Standing applicant received a grade of “C” or lower in any social work foundation courses as a BSW, they may be asked to re-take these courses by the Admissions Committee as a condition of admission.  Applicants who wish to be considered for the 36 hour Advanced Standing program should submit their field evaluations if available, or one of their three letters of recommendation should be from their Director of Field Education, on-site Practicum Supervisor, or Practicum/Practice Instructor if the field evaluation is not accessible.
  4. Admissions Statement: This statement must be submitted with the application for admission. Submit a carefully written personal statement that addressing the following four topics:
  • Describe a social problem or problem strategy that is of greatest interest to you.
  • Describe your commitment to engage in social work roles that involve social welfare institutions and systems most likely to have an effect on major social problems.
  • Describe in detail how you would insure that your work is relevant to the most economically and socially disadvantaged groups in our society.
  • Describe the intellectual and personal qualifications that will enable you to practice social work successfully.

Note: If there are gaps or deficiencies in your academic record of if you have ever had an academic review, please address these in an addendum to your statement (recommended for all applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or less).

  1. Resume: Please include current/past employment as well as volunteer and service roles served. This can be emailed to Dr. Peggy Proudfoot Harman at harman@marshall.edu after you have submitted your online application.
  2. All Applicants:  If there are gaps or deficiencies in your academic record or if you have ever had an academic review, please explain (recommended for all applicants with a GPA  of 3.0 or less)
  3. Two Recommendations: Provide all admission materials and letters of recommendation. The letters must be original, must be signed and be sent directly to Graduate Admissions. These may be emailed from an identifiable email account of the person providing the reference. Reference letters sent via email need to have the signature of the person providing the reference (signed and scanned). These may be sent to services@marshall.edu and cc’d to Leslie Lucas. Click to access the Letter of Recommendation Request Form.
  4. Note: Applicants may apply online at www.marshall.edu/admissions/graduate/.
  5. Applicants are encouraged to submit at least one academic recommendation. If the applicant has not enrolled in classes within the past 5 years, this requirement may be waived and an additional work reference substituted. Evaluations should be submitted from persons who have been directly responsible for assessing and supervising your human service related work/volunteer experience and academic performance.  Avoid personal references (coworkers, advisors, friends, clergy, personal therapists, etc.). The Marshall University Department of Social Work MSW program requires three recommendation forms, however letters accompanying the forms are welcomed and strongly encouraged. It is highly recommended that applicants who wish to be considered for the 30-hour Specialist/Advanced Standing program should submit their field evaluations if available, or one of their three letters of recommendation should be from their Director of Field Education, on-site Practicum Supervisor, or Practicum/Practice Instructor if the field evaluation is not accessible. The school reserves the right to request additional supportive material from persons acquainted with the applicant’s academic and/or practice capabilities.

Specialist/Advanced Standing Online Program

Admission requirements for the Advanced Standing online program are the same as those for the Advanced Standing hybrid/face-to-face program.