Graduate Catalog
Social Work

Steven Soifer, PhD
Chair and Professor
Room 230, McCord Hall
(901) 678-2616

Susan Neely-Barnes, PhD
MSW Program Coordinator and Associate Professor
Room 232, McCord Hall
(901) 678-3438

www.memphis.edu/socialwork/

I. The Department of Social Work offers a program of study leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The purpose of the program is to educate students for careers as professional social workers by combining quality evidence-based academic preparation with field practice experience.

The mission of the MSW program is to educate advanced professional social workers for practice with at-risk populations, particularly children and families. Housed within the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, the Department of Social Work is dedicated to (a) educating social workers with knowledge, values, and skills for evidence-based practice with children and families, (b) advancing the knowledge base of the social work profession and (c) providing regional leadership in the development and implementation of policies, programs and services for at-risk populations, particularly children and families.

Students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements), the requirements of the MSW program and must exhibit high integrity and moral character consistent with the standards of ethical practice set forth by the National Association of Social Workers.

II. MSW Degree Program

A. Program Admission and Prerequisites

A faculty committee of no less than three members will determine admission to the Master of Social Work program. Admission will require a majority vote in favor of the candidate from members of the committee. The following is necessary for application:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Admission is competitive. Generally a grade point average of at least 3.0 or better (A=4.0) for the final 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate study is necessary for consideration.
  3. Submission of GRE test scores; admission is competitive.
  4. Experience in a Social Work related field as a paid employee, volunteer or researcher is desirable.
  5. A Professional Goal Statement (see the Department’s website for specific instructions).
  6. Provide a professional resume.
  7. Provide three professional references.
    a.) At least one must be from a former faculty member.
    b.) Two of the three must be from sources familiar with your volunteer, internship, or paid work experience

B. Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of sixty (60) semester hours; thirty (30) hours are taken in the foundation curriculum and thirty (30) hours are required in the concentration curriculum.

Thesis Option

    • 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), 24 semester hours of concentration-level coursework (18 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), and a minimum of 6 semester hours of SWRK 7996 (Thesis).
    • All courses in the 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours) are required and must be taken with a passing grade before concentration-level coursework, elective semester hours, independent study semester hours, or thesis hours may be undertaken.
    • 15 hours of concentration-level coursework and 6 hours of concentration-level field are required courses.
    • The 6 semester hours of SWRK replace 2 electives and must be taken in two consecutive semesters.
    • A maximum of one elective or independent study must be taken with the thesis option.
    • A passing score on the capstone Comprehensive Examination. The comprehensive examination for the Master of Social Work program consists of three components: 1) an evaluation of the student's ability to meet MSW program competencies in field placement; 2) a student self-assessment of her/his ability to meet all MSW program competencies; and 3) completion of a social work licensure practice examination with a score of 75 or higher.

Non-Thesis Option

    • 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), 24 semester hours of concentration-level coursework (18 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours).
    • All courses in the 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours) are required and must be taken with a passing grade before concentration-level coursework, elective semester hours, or independent study semester hours may be undertaken.
    • 15 hours of concentration-level coursework and 6 hours of concentration-level field are required courses.
    • 9 semester hours of electives or independent study must be taken with the non-thesis option.
    • A passing score on the capstone Comprehensive Examination. The comprehensive examination for the Master of Social Work program consists of three components: 1) an evaluation of the student’s ability to meet MSW program competencies in field placement; 2) a student self-assessment of her/his ability to meet all MSW program competencies; and 3) completion of a social work licensure practice examination with a score of 75 or higher.
  1. The foundation curriculum provides evidence-based knowledge, behaviors and skills for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The concentration curriculum allows students to extend the basic knowledge gained in the foundation to a more focused advanced evidence-based practice with families and children. Both the foundation and concentration portions of the program emphasize evidence-based practice and critical thinking skills.
  2. To accommodate a wide range of student needs, the MSW program of study offers options for full-time (4 semesters of study; 60 credit hours) and extended study (6 to 8 semesters of study; 60 credit hours). Regardless of progression through the program, the educational components of each sequencing option are the same. The concentration curriculum is generally full-time (2 semesters), although students may choose to extend (3 to 5 semesters). All MSW students follow the same learning expectations for field education, take the same comprehensive exam at the conclusion of the program, and meet the same requirements for graduation. Courses are offered in the traditional classroom settings, on-line and in a hybrid format (combination of traditional classroom and on-line).
  3. Students must follow a structured program of study that includes all of the following foundation courses (30 credit hours):
    7001 Skills for Professional Social Work Practice (3)
    7002 Foundation Practice with Individuals and Families (3)
    7003 Foundation Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities (3)
    7005 Assessment, Diagnosis and Psychopathology (3)
    7021 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3)
    7022 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3)
    7025 Scientific Methods in Social Work (3)
    7030 Social Welfare Policy and Services (3)
    7051 Foundation Field Placement I (3)
    7052 Foundation Field Placement II (3)
  4. Upon successful completion of at least 8 of the 10 foundation courses students move to the concentration curriculum, which includes all the following courses (30 credit hours).
    7004 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (3)
    7009 Child Welfare Best Practices (3)
    7010 Violence and the Family (3)
    7011 Mental Health and Disabilities in Childhood (3)
    7026 Program and Policy Evaluation (3)
    7053 Concentration Field Placement I (3)
    7054 Concentration Field Placement II (3)
    Elective (3)
    Elective (3)
    Elective (3)

C. Retention Requirements

  1. Students in the MSW program must comply with all retention standards of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis.
  2. All students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Should the student’s cumulative GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester will be allowed to correct the deficiency. At the discretion of the chair, the coordinator of graduate studies in the student’s college, and the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, this period may be extended one additional semester. Students failing to improve their GPA to an acceptable level in that time will be dismissed from the program.
  3. No more than 6 hours of "C-," "C" or "C+" will be applied toward meeting degree requirements. No grade of a D+ or lower will count toward the degree.
  4. All degree requirements for the Master of Social Work must be completed within 6 years of initial enrollment.

D. Program Requirements

All students seeking the Master of Social Work degree must:

  1. Successfully complete all courses required in the program of study
  2. Abide by the honor’s statement which includes a commitment to engage in professional conduct appropriate for a Social Worker at all times in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
  3. Adhere to all graduate and University requirements as stated in The University of Memphis Graduate Catalog (available from the Graduate School).
  4. Satisfactorily pass a written comprehensive examination in the final semester of study.

III. Advanced Standing Program

The Advanced Standing Program allows outstanding graduates of undergraduate social work programs to complete the MSW in a 37 credit hour accelerated program. Students seeking admission into the Advanced Standing Program must: 1) meet all admissions requirements for the 60 credit hour program; 2) have obtained a BA/BSW degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) within five years of making application to the MSW; 3) have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher; and 4) have a GPA of 3.3 or higher in their undergraduate social work courses.

Students in the Advanced Standing Program complete seven credit hours of foundation content and all concentration content. Required coursework is as follows:

  1. All of the following foundation courses:
    • 7005 Assessment, Diagnosis, and Psychopathology (3)
    • 7025 Scientific Methods in Social Work (3)
    • 7050 Advanced Standing Field (1)
  2. The concentration curriculum, which includes all the following courses (30 credit hours).
    • 7004 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (3)
    • 7009 Child Welfare Best Practices (3)
    • 7010 Violence and the Family (3)
    • 7011 Mental Health and Disabilities in Childhood (3)
    • 7026 Program and Policy Evaluation (3)
    • 7053 Concentration Field Placement I (3)
    • 7054 Concentration Field Placement II (3)
    • Elective (3)
    • Elective (3)
    • Elective (3) 


SOCIAL WORK (SWRK)

In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
SWRK 7060-65. Special Topics in Social Work. (1-3). Topics are varied and announced in the class schedule; may be repeated with different topics. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7021, SWRK 7022, SWRK 7002, SWRK 7003.