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Academics > Online Graduate Programs > Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work program (MSW) was accredited in June 2015. The MSW program is completely online and prepares graduates for advanced generalist social work practice with a specialization in rural practice. Using a conceptual framework to identify advanced knowledge and skills, the program builds an advanced curriculum from the generalist content. In the advanced curriculum, the generalist content is focused in the context of rural practice and is addressed in all four dimensions - knowledge, values, skills, and cognitives and affective reaction - and supports the Program's advanced generalist social work practice with rural specialization (CSWE, 2017)

The Mission of the master program is "to prepare graduates for advanced generalist social work practice with a specialized area in rural practice.  The MSW Program is built upon a systems approach and the strengths perspective, delivered in a manner that meets the needs of students that live and/or work primarily in rural areas."

The Master of Social Work program's goals are derived from the programs mission statement. They are identified as follows:

Students will demonstrate the ability to:
  • Conduct advanced social work practice, with a rural concentration, which operates from a systems and strengths perspective with the ability to respond to varying rural contexts, including diversity and difference and to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate at all levels including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Think critically and examine issues within the rural context while applying knowledge from both a person-in-environment and human behavior perspective to determine appropriate methods of intervention and to communicate these in an ethical manner utilizing the strengths of rural settings.
  • Utilize an advanced reflective and developmental approach to practice.
  • Apply an advanced critical and analytical approach to practice that incorporates the unique culture and systems within rural settings and includes engaging in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  • Use advanced knowledge and skills in analyzing rural social policies and promoting change in rural settings through the development of more just and humane policies as they affect clients, social workers, and service systems.
  • Address the uniqueness of issues of human rights, mechanisms of oppression, discrimination, and social, economic, and environmental justice in order to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of clients within rural settings across all levels of practice (micro, mezzo, and macro).
Standard Generalist Two Year Program

Applicants must:

  • have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university;
  • submit all official transcripts from institutions attended and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4-point scale;
  • have a 2.75 grade point average in the last 60 hours (provisional acceptance for applicants with lower GPA’s will be considered on an individual basis);
  • submit three letters of reference (two from the student’s academic program and the third from someone who knows the candidate well, preferably in a work or volunteer setting and is/was in a supervisory role with the candidate);
  • Please provide us with a personal statement addressing the areas identified below. Preparation of this material will help you to reflect and better define your plans for professional social work education. It will also help us to know something about you and assist us in assessing you potental and readiness for graduate education and the social work profession. Be mindful of your grammar, spelling, and syntax. 
    • The personal statement should be double-spaced and typed, be 4-6 pages in length, include your name on each page, and number your answers (e.g. 1., 2., etc). Your personal statement should address the following:
      1. What key life experiences have led you to select social work as a profession? In what ways do you think your experiences have prepared you for this profession?
      2. Describe briefly some of the major soical issues and problems that you are particularly concerned with in your community and country. Include your perception of the role of social workers in dealing with these issues and problems.
      3. What, if any, are your long-range professional goals? What work do you see yourself doing and where do you see yourself practicing after graduation? (What community? What agency/service? What population? What issues?)
      4. Have you worked or volunteered in a human service agency? How would you describe that experience? If you have not had any work experience in the area of human services, describe your interest and participation in activities in the community or in college that illustrate how you have been personally involved with people. Specify your duties and responsibilities. 
      5. Why is the Concord University MSW online program of particular interest to you?
      6. A fully online graduate program can create unique challenges and opportunities for students. Describe the prior experience you have with online learning. Additionally, briefly describe your strategies for academic success, to include personal time-management, interactions with faculty and other students, and faculty advisment. 
  • provide payment of the application fee; and
  • although not required, applicants may submit a résumé of work and related volunteer experience.
Preference given:
  • to applicants with a background in liberal arts with courses in the social, behavioral, biological, and social sciences. Applicants with other backgrounds may be asked to take additional coursework prior to admission to the Program or prior to matriculation from the Program;
  • to applicants with work experience, especially in the human services field. While work experience is recognized for the admission process, CSWE does not allow academic credits to be given for previous life and/or work experience.
Other information:
  • The GRE is not required.
Advanced Standing MSW Program

Applicants must:

  • have a conferred baccalaureate degree in social work from an accredited CSWE BSW program at a four-year institution no more than seven years before initial enrollment in the MSW program;
  • submit an official transcript with a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher on a 4-point scale;
  • have a 3.0 grade point average in the social work classes (in rare cases a conditional status may be granted, this will be determined on a case by case basis by recommendation of reviewing faculty and consequently the program director);
  • indicate application to the Advanced Standing Program on the application;
  • submit three letters of reference (two from the student’s academic program including one from a social work faculty member and one from the undergraduate faculty field supervisor; the third reference from either the agency field instructor or an employer/supervisor);
  • Please provide us with a personal statement addressing the areas identified below. Preparation of this material will help you to reflect and better define your plans for professional social work education. It will also help us to know something about you and assist us in assessing you potental and readiness for graduate education and the social work profession. Be mindful of your grammar, spelling, and syntax. 
    • The personal statement should be double-spaced and typed, be 4-6 pages in length, include your name on each page, and number your answers (e.g. 1., 2., etc). Your personal statement should address the following:
      1. What key life experiences have led you to select social work as a profession? In what ways do you think your experiences have prepared you for this profession?
      2. Describe briefly some of the major soical issues and problems that you are particularly concerned with in your community and country. Include your perception of the role of social workers in dealing with these issues and problems.
      3. What, if any, are your long-range professional goals? What work do you see yourself doing and where do you see yourself practicing after graduation? (What community? What agency/service? What population? What issues?)
      4. Have you worked or volunteered in a human service agency? How would you describe that experience? If you have not had any work experience in the area of human services, describe your interest and participation in activities in the community or in college that illustrate how you have been personally involved with people. Specify your duties and responsibilities. 
      5. Why is the Concord University MSW online program of particular interest to you?
      6. A fully online graduate program can create unique challenges and opportunities for students. Describe the prior experience you have with online learning. Additionally, briefly describe your strategies for academic success, to include personal time-management, interactions with faculty and other students, and faculty advisment. 
  • provide payment of the application fee; and
  • Although not required, applicants may submit a résumé of work and related volunteer experience. Preference given to applicants with work experience in the social work profession (While work experience is recognized for the admission process, CSWE does not allow academic credits to be given for previous life and/or work experience).
Other information:
  • The GRE is not required.
Degree Requirements

Students without a BSW are required to complete the Standard Generalist Curriculum and then the student may enter the Advanced Generalist Curriculum.

Students with a CSWE accredited BSW granted within the past seven years (with a 3.0 GPA in Social Work classes and a 2.75 overall GPA) may apply directly to the Advanced Year (Advanced Standing).

Sixty (60) semester credit hours are required for graduation from the generalist program and thirty six (36) semester credit hours are required for graduation from the advanced program. There are two start dates fall and spring. If entering in the Generalist Year, the Master of Social Work can be completed in two (2) calendar years of full-time study. A part-time schedule is available which can be completed within three (3) years or in a maximum of four (4) calendar years of structured part-time professional education. If entering in the Advanced Year, the Master of Social Work can be completed in one (1) calendar year of full-time study. A part-time schedule is available which can be completed within one-and-one-half (1 ½) years or in a maximum of three (three) calendar years of structured part-time professional education.

The Concord University MSW Program cannot grant social work course credit for any life experience and/or work experience.

Students transferring from another CSWE accredited MSW Program may request to have a maximum of six (6) credits from the generalist year transferred. In order to be considered, the course description must match the MSW courses offered at Concord University, and the courses must have been completed within the last two years previous to applying to Concord University’s MSW Program.

Transcripts and course descriptions will be reviewed by the faculty as to appropriateness on an individual basis. Only courses with a grade of a “B” or “A” are considered. Credits are generally not accepted for the advanced generalist year of course work, given the program’s specialization in rural practice.
Standard Generalist Curriculum (24 Credit Hours):

  • SOWK 501 Intro to Generalist Practice (3)
  • SOWK 511 Generalist of Human Behavior and Social Environment (3)
  • SOWK 521 Generalist of Policy (3)
  • SOWK 531 Generalist of Practice (3)
  • SOWK 541 Generalist of Research (3)
  • SOWK 551 Generalist Field Practicum (6)
  • SOWK 660 Special Topics (3)
Advanced Generalist Curriculum (36 Credit Hours):
(To be completed by students in both the Standard Generalist Program and the Advanced Generalist Program)
  • SOWK 613 Advanced Human Behavior and the Social Environment in Rural Settings (3)
  • SOWK 622 Advanced Policy in Rural Practice (3)
  • SOWK 633 Advanced Rural Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups (3)
  • SOWK 634 Advanced Rural Practice with Communities and Organizations (3)
  • SOWK 642 Advanced Rural Research (3)
  • SOWK 653 Advanced Field (A, B, and C) (9)
  • SOWK 661 Appalachian Culture, Structures, and Environment (3)
  • SOWK 660 Special Topics (9)

 

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Ranked #2 in Best Online MSW Degree Programs


Programs of Studies

Graduate

Course Description

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact us. 

Dr. Scott Inghram
MSW Program Director
Professor of Social Work

304-384-5215
Email
Vanessa Howell
Administrative
Associate

304-384-6260
Email
Department of Social Work & Sociology
Marsh Hall 107
PO Box 1000, F42
Athens, WV 24712

Application Deadlines

Fall Deadlines - April 15
Spring Deadline - November 15

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