Feb 03, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, M.S.W.

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This program is offered fully online.

Degree Information

Priority Admission Application Deadlines: www.grad.usf.edu/majors

Minimum Total Hours:
35 (with B.S.W.)
60 (without B.S.W.)
Level: Masters
CIP Code: 44.0701
Dept Code: SOK
Major/College Codes: SOK BC
Approved 1981

Also offered as as a Concurrent Degree

Contact Information

College: Behavioral & Community Sciences
Department: School of Social Work (SOK)

Contact Information: www.grad.usf.edu/majors

The School of Social Work offers a program leading to a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree. A concurrent degree option is available with Public Health with concentrations in either Maternal and Child Health or Behavioral Health.

The MSW graduate program in social work is a course of study designed to respond to an identified need in the region for skilled clinical social work practitioners. It is built upon a core of information basic to social work practice, followed by advanced scholarly study in preparation for clinical work with individuals, families, and small groups. An intense field practicum gives students the opportunity to apply theory gained in the classroom to the problems of agency clients.

The USF School of Social Work enrolled its first class in 1976. The School has a strong tradition of providing an engaging social work education program to prepare students to serve as practitioners, administrators and scholars around the globe. The School has a strong commitment to promoting social, economic and environmental justice through all of its educational programs.

Our Faculty are actively engaged in teaching, research, service, and social work practice and bring their passion and knowledge of social work to the classroom. Faculty who are teaching on-line have acquired additional skills to provide innovative, engaging on-line courses. Our Faculty are highly accomplished scholars. Several of our Faculty have been selected to serve as Principal Investigators on grants that impact individuals, families and communities from the local to the international level. Our Faculty members collaborate with our students and community partners to provide innovative research opportunities to inform Evidenced-Based Practices to enhance the well-being of those we serve. Our School is also proud of the strong Staff who help support the mission of our School with everything from advising to day-to-day operational support of our students and faculty.

We have nearly 4,000 alums of the School, many of whom are serving as leaders at social service agencies throughout the country. Through our strong connections with Alumni and diverse social work practice settings, the School maintains an excellent Field education for students.

The primary objective of the major is the preparation of the graduate for professional social work practice through the acquisition of specialized knowledge and skills necessary for clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups. The secondary objectives of the M.S.W. are: 

  1. to prepare students academically for the pursuit of doctoral education in social work or related human service disciplines or professions; 
  2. to contribute to the needed supply of professionally educated clinical social workers in the Tampa Bay area, the state, the region, and the nation.


Accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • School of Social Work Application
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores are not required.  However, applicants can submit GRE scores for consideration.  Quantitative 144 (17%) or higher and Verbal 153 (61%) or higher.
  • 500-word personal statement and a 500-word essay describing a social problem
  • Liberal arts pre-requisites; to be eligible for admission to the MSW Major, students must have taken courses with a liberal arts perspective.  Liberal Arts perspective is defined as twelve (12) credits which include three credits of biology with human content and a minimum of three credits of social and behavioral sciences.  The remaining credits may be completed through additional social and/or behavioral sciences, humanities and fine arts classes.  (One statistics course may also be used in completing this requirement.)  Liberal Arts requirements may be waived at the discretion only of the MSW chair in consultation with the Director.
  • All applicants must meet the pre-requisites of an undergraduate Liberal Arts background as defined in the Procedures and Criteria for Admission portion of the MSW application.
  • It is preferred, but not required that all applicants to the Master’s Degree program in Social Work have completed one year of post-undergraduate work in a social service agency (in a service capacity) or its equivalent as determined by the MSW Graduate Admissions Committee. Experiences that might be considered as equivalent to one year’s work include supervised field practicum hours, extensive volunteer experience, or other professional work experiences.
  • An interview may be required; experience in the field preferred.
  • All MSW applicants will have their undergraduate transcripts evaluated in relation to a set of liberal arts course pre-requisites.
  • All Admission materials must be received by the Graduate Admissions Office and by the School of Social Work by the specified deadlines of the year for which admission is being sought.

Curriculum Requirements

BSW Students (Advanced Standing) 
Students entering the major with a BSW have the opportunity of applying for advanced standing from a CSWE accredited BSW (within 5 years).  Students qualify by receiving “B-” or better grades in all the undergraduate social work courses. (Students do not qualify with any grade below “B-” in these courses).

Total Minimum hours: 60 (non-BSW students)
                                      35 (BSW students)

Foundations Courses - 17 Credit Hours (non-BSW)
Core Courses - 5 Credit Hours
Additional required courses - 15 Credit Hours
Field Experience - 13 Credit Hours(non-BSW), 8 Credit Hours(BSW) 
Electives - 9 Credit Hours(non-BSW), 6 Credit Hours(BSW) 
Capstone Project - 1 Credit Hour

Foundations Courses (17 Credit Hours Non-BSW)

Students entering without a BSW are required to complete the following Foundation Courses:

Core Requirements (5 Credit Hours)

Additional Required Courses (15 Credit Hours)

Field Experience (13 Credit Hours non-BSW), (8 Credit Hours BSW)

A minimum of 8 hours is required for BSW students.  For non-BSW students all 13 hours is required.

Electives (9 Credit Hours non-BSW), (6 Credit Hours BSW)

All MSW students with a BSW are required to take a minimum of 6 clinical elective credit hours. Non-BSW students will take an additional elective (3 hours).  All clinical electives must be taken in the School of Social Work. Students may take clinical electives during any semester including summer sessions. However, part-time students should check the program course schedule for the recommended semesters for electives.

Comprehensive Exam

In lieu of the Comprehensive exam, students wil complete a Capstone Project involving the content from across the curriculum. It will be completed in the final semester. It is worth 1 credit hour and meets the requirement for the Comprehensive Exam.

Capstone Project (1 Credit Hour)

Other Requirements

The M.S.W. places great emphasis on standards of professional behavior and ethics in the practice of social work.  Entrance into the M.S.W. does not guarantee graduation from the major. Students admitted to the M.S.W. must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00, in all social work courses, with no grade below “B-” counting toward graduation. Failure to maintain the specified GPA or to exhibit responsible professional behavior determined by the School may result in suspension or dismissal from the major. Courses with grades below “B-” must be repeated before progressing to the next sequence. Students must pass the comprehensive paper during the last semester in order to graduate from themajor.

Students may pursue the M.S.W. on either a full- or part-time basis. The M.S.W. consist of 60 semester hours of study and is offered on campus and online. Students should check directly with the School of Social Work for applications and timelines. The full-time option takes four semesters to complete; the part-time option takes eight (8) consecutive semesters. The major offers graduates from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited BSW program (within 5 years) the option of applying for advanced standing.  The advanced standing program is available on either a full- or part-time basis. The advanced standing program is also offered on campus and online. Students qualify by receiving “B-” or better grades in all the undergraduate social work courses. (Students do not qualify with any grade below “B-” in these courses). Both the full- and part-time options are heavily sequenced and students must stay in sequence.

Concurrent Degree

Also available as a Concurrent Degrees  

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