Jun 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED PUBLICATION]

Master of Social Work (MSW)

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Graduate Studies  >> College of Liberal Arts  


Program Objectives

The mission of the University of Southern Indiana MSW program is to prepare students with the knowledge, values, and skills for clinical social work practice with diverse populations and emerging social issues. The MSW program prepares students for competency-based practice utilizing the systems model for planned change through generalist and advanced social work practice. In response to evolving community needs, the department has developed a solid clinical concentration and an optional Post-Master’s Certificate in Addiction Science .

Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Social Work department offers both full-time and part-time graduate programs leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The program offers admission to both advanced standing and nonsocial work majors. Applicants for the advanced standing programs must have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. All other applicants, including non-social work majors, must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a field other than social work.

Graduate Studies Admission Criteria and Application Process

Refer to the Admission  section of the bulletin for information about Graduate Studies admission criteria and the online application process.

MSW Program Admission Requirements

All requests concerning admission to the MSW program should be addressed to the Social Work department, University of Southern Indiana, 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, Indiana 47712. Send a message to USIMSW@usi.edu or phone 812-464-1843 to request information. Students may find instructions and application materials at www.usi.edu/socialwork. Each student must apply to both Graduate Studies and the Social Work department. Admission decisions for the MSW program are based on a review of past academic performance, relevant work and/or volunteer experience, academic and professional references, a personal statement, written academic or professional work, and an admission interview when required. Each year, the application deadline for advanced standing applicants (i.e. those with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree) occurs on the second Friday of January; the application deadline for non-BSW applicants occurs on the second Friday of February. Applications will be reviewed when all materials have been received by the Social Work department MSW Admissions Committee. Students should note the MSW program admits advance standing full-time students to begin coursework in the summer semester, while advance standing part-time and non-BSW students begin coursework in the fall semester. The minimum criteria for admission to the MSW program are:

  1. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate coursework attempted or a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 semester hours;
  2. Evidence of writing skills compatible with graduate-level standards;
  3. Evidence of potential to develop into a solid graduate-level professional social worker.  A personal interview and/or additional evaluative data may be required of applicants;
  4. Prerequisites:  Applicants must complete prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better.  Minimum of 24 hours (eight courses) of social/behavioral sciences:
    • Introduction to psychology course or its equivalent;
    • Introduction to sociology course or its equivalent;
    • Social Work, psychology, sociology or other social science research methods course;
    • Social Work, psychology, sociology or other social science statistics course;
    • Four courses from any of the following disciplines:  social work, psychology, anthropology, sociology, criminal justice, gender studies, political science or economics.

Prerequisite course content older than 10 years must be validated with a course description from a University Bulletin or Course Catalogue, submitted by the applicant, from the year the course was taken.

The MSW Program does not grant academic credit for life or work experience in lieu of social work course or field content.

Students transferring from other graduate programs must submit an Evidence of Good Standing Verification Form, available from the Social Work department.  Students may transfer, with approval, up to 12 graduate credit hours.

Note:  It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide all required materials to Graduate Studies and the Social Work department by the application deadline.

Advanced Standing Requirements

Students with an earned BSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited (or admitted to candidacy) program may be eligible to apply for advanced standing.  Students must meet the requirements listed above as well as the following:

  • Graduation within the last five years, longer periods considered on a case-by-case basis;
  • Satisfactory completion of a 400-hour generalist field placement in direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities under appropriate social work supervision, submitting a copy of their final field internship evaluation.
  • Advanced standing students will have transcripts and/or program content evaluated to determine if the foundation content requirement has been met. Students may be required to present copies of course descriptions, course syllabi, and/or assignments in order to document that appropriate content has been covered in the previous course of study.

Indiana Public Law 11-1994 and MSW Admission

In order to fully comply with Indiana Public Law 11-1994 (conviction of sexual offenses against children), the Social Work department conducts a criminal history check of students requesting admission to the Master of Social Work program. This check ocurs at the point of admission and upon entering the field placement. Any applicant convicted of a sex offense against children as identified in P. L. 11-1994 will not be granted admission to or allowed to continue in the Master of Social Work program.

Individuals convicted of such crimes outside of the state of Indiana are required to report their intent to reside more than seven days in the area within Indiana to local law enforcement authorities having jurisdiction in the area of intended residence.

Application Review

Admission decisions for the MSW program are based on evidence of:

  • Demonstrated academic competency through previous academic work;
  • A commitment to social work values and ethics;
  • Basic understanding of the social work profession;
  • Emotional maturity, stable mental/emotional processes;
  • Good writing skills (the written materials submitted are evaluated on punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, organization, and the ability to clearly express ideas);
  • Critical thinking and analytic ability, including evidence of good judgment;
  • Relevant work and/or volunteer experience;
  • Successful completion of required course prerequisites;
  • Potential to develop into a sound professional social worker (a personal interview and/or additional evaluative data may be required of applicants); and
  • References (students are encouraged to review the reference form and select individuals who will be able to answer a majority of the questions asked. References from faculty, supervisors in employment or volunteer positions, and individuals with professional knowledge of social work or human services are preferred).

Applications are reviewed when all supporting documents have been received by the MSW Admission Committee. An applicant may be granted conditional or probationary status while completing prerequisites for admission. A student who is denied admission may appeal in writing to the MSW Admission Committee.

SOCW Electives (6 hours)

Two electives chose from 500-600 level courses within social work. Students may opt for non-social work graduate electives with prior approval of the MSW Program Director.

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