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2019-2020 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog


Master of Social Work

Website: www.gvsu.edu/grad/msw

Grand Valley State University's Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) is offered through the School of Social Work and prepares students for advanced professional practice by laying the foundation for students to assume leadership roles in society's institutions, organizations, and communities.

The program emphasizes human behavior, interface between people and their social environment and institutions, and client strengths. Advanced Generalist social workers are also concerned with societal conditions in their efforts to improve the quality of life and social and economic justice.

The mission of the GVSU M.S.W. program is to prepare advanced generalist social workers who enhance and sustain the welfare and wellbeing of the individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities of West Michigan, the state, the nation, and the world; and who further the goals of the university and of the social work profession in this region and beyond. This is accomplished through professional leadership, advancement of the social work field's knowledge through research and evaluation, and a focus on diversity, social justice, and human rights.

The M.S.W. program's goals are derived directly from its mission statement and are designed to meet the social service needs of its program locations and beyond. The program goals are:

  • To provide a foundational M.S.W. curriculum and an advanced generalist social work curriculum that prepares M.S.W. graduates for autonomous social work practice that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and endeavors to address poverty and other social problems within individual, organizational and community contexts within, but not limited to, West and Northern Michigan and the State of Michigan.
  • To award the graduate degree to individuals who are skilled practitioners who adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics, incorporating diversity into their practice and are capable of assuming leadership and scholarly professional roles in the community, region, state, national, and global communities.
  • To contribute to the ongoing development of professional social work knowledge and practice through research and scholarly inquiry that employ state-of-the-art technology.
  • To prepare students for continued professional development opportunities throughout their careers, including doctoral education.

The Advanced Generalist Model

This Advanced Generalist model is built on a liberal education foundation that promotes critical thinking and the conscientious application of advanced practice social work knowledge, skills, values, ethics, and cognitive and affective processes. The features of this model are designed to

  • enhance the depth and breadth of practice in a multi-method, multi-level, and theoretically grounded perspective;
  • refine and shape advanced practitioners through acquisition of professional competencies to assess, intervene, and evaluate within all systems and within all practice environment;
  • affirm that human problems derive from a complex interplay of psychological, social, cultural, economic, political, biological and physical forces;
  • prepare students to effectively intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;
  • expand, extend and enhance the foundation of generalist social work core competencies with advanced knowledge and practice behaviors; and
  • promote the development of advanced knowledge, skills, values and affective and cognitive processes in leadership, collaboration, administration, advocacy, assessment, problem solving, intervention, cultural competency, communication, collaboration, community building, program evaluation, organizational management, policy analysis, and scientific inquiry.

The integration of professional practice skills within the advanced generalist curriculum model culminates in the mastery of social work's core competencies, so that M.S.W. graduates are proficient in a wide range of settings, with a broad diversity of populations at all levels of professional practice in any geographic location.

Accreditation

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Accreditor's website: https://cswe.org/.

Regular Standing M.S.W. Degree

The School of Social Work offers a 60 credit hour Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree program on both a full-time (two years) and part-time basis (three or four years).

Advanced Standing M.S.W. Degree

The School of Social Work recognizes strong academic and professional performance by students who have graduated from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate social work program within five years prior to enrollment in the MSW program. Advanced standing students are exempt from the 19 hours of foundation courses and may accelerate their graduate study by completing the remaining 41 credit hours of MSW course requirements. The Advanced Standing M.S.W. program can be completed full-time (three semesters) or part-time (five semesters).

M.S.W. and M.P.A. Degree Programs

The School of Social Work and the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration offer prospective students the option to pursue both graduate degrees offered by these units (M.S.W. and M.P.A.). This entails taking coursework in both disciplines in order to be well prepared to seek middle- and upper-level management positions in either public or private human service organizations. Those earning the two degrees will attain the knowledge, skills, values, and cognitive and affective processes of the social work profession with the advanced administrative and technical expertise developed through the study of public administration to become leaders in their organizations and communities.

For additional information about admission and curriculum regarding this combination of degrees, please visit our website online at https://www.gvsu.edu/ssw/msw-mpa-program-111.htm/.

Accreditation: The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Accreditor's website: https://cswe.org

Organizations

Master of Social Work Student Organization

This organization is committed to providing both volunteer opportunities as well as social activities for all social work students. The organization's goals include:

  • Enrichment of professional identity
  • Advocacy for M.S.W. students
  • Becoming a viable source for GVSU
  • Increase positive recognition of GVSU in the surrounding area
  • Enhancement of organizational skills through participation in group process
  • Encouragement of awareness of the various social issues that impact our profession and communities.

National Honor Society for Social Work Students

  • Phi Alpha Honor Society is a national social work academic honor society that is dedicated to high standards of scholarship and distinctive achievements within social work.
  • The purposes of Phi Alpha Honor Society are to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Find out more information at the National website, http://phialpha.org. Phi Alpha Chi Epsilon, the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) chapter, offers membership to B.S.W. and M.S.W. students to be inducted based on your academic achievement and credit hours spent within the social work program.

Requirements for the M.S.W.

The M.S.W. degree consists of a minimum of 60 credit hours.

Primary Foundation (all required)

*See your advisor: Not required for students with CSWE accredited B.S.W. undergraduate degrees or child welfare grantees. If waived, students take an SW elective in place of SW 601.

** Test-out exam available.

Advanced Generalist Concentration (all required)

Advanced Policy

Choose one of four:

Field Education Practice (all required)

Advanced Micro-core

Choose one of two:

Advanced Macro-core

Choose two of five:

Electives (choose one course of at least three credits)

Any course from previous list not taken to satisfy requirements or from the following:

M.S.W. and M.P.A. Degree Programs

The Schools of Social Work and Public and Nonprofit Administration offer prospective students the option to pursue both graduate degrees offered by these units (M.S.W and M.P.A). This entails taking coursework in both disciplines in order to be well prepared to seek middle and upper-level management positions in either public or private human service organizations. Those earning the two degrees will attain the knowledge, skills, and values of the social work profession with the advanced administrative and technical expertise developed through the study of public administration to become leaders in their organizations and communities. Currently, Grand Valley State University policies enable a student to pursue the M.S.W degree as the first master's degree and the M.P.A degree as a second master's degree by completing 21 credits in the M.P.A program.

Applicants must submit the following items to the Grand Valley State University Admissions Office in Allendale, Michigan:

  • Completed graduate application for admission to both the M.S.W program and M.P.A program
  • $30 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official copies of transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended, other than Grand Valley
  • Three recommendation forms from individuals able to attest to the candidate's qualifications for graduate work and professional practice
  • Current resume detailing work and volunteer experience
  • Graduate admissions statement responding to the five questions detailed in the M.S.W. admissions packet
  • Coursework Requirement Form

No further action on candidacy will be taken until all requested materials have been received by the Admissions Office. Applications may be obtained through the university or either school. Completed application files will be reviewed by members of the M.S.W program and the M.P.A program. Students must meet the basic requirements for graduate study as defined by each school. Either program may also request additional information from an applicant before granting full admissions status and a personal interview may be required.

M.S.W. and M.P.A. Requirements

For students who are not seeking or do not qualify for Advanced Standing, 78 credit hours of study are required. For Advanced Standing students, 59 credits are required. Students must be willing to take a minimum of two courses per semester, including spring/summer, and are expected to complete coursework within four calendar years. A three-semester field education practice is required (two-semesters for advanced standing); students will spend a major portion of the time applying the knowledge learned in the classroom regarding macro practice. Students must complete a minimum of 21 credits of public administration courses along with the courses necessary to earn the M.S.W. degree.

Foundation Core (all required*)

*See your Advisor - Not required for students with CSWE accredited BSW undergraduate degrees or Child Welfare Grantees. If waived, students take a SW elective in place of SW 601.

** Test-out exam available.

( SW 600, 601, 603, 610, and SW 620 are waived for students with Advanced Standing status.)

Advanced Generalist Concentration (all required with 2 noted PA/SW options)

Public Administration Core (all required):

Field Education Practice (all required):

(* SW 650 and SW 651 are waived for students with Advanced standing status.)

Advanced macro (all required with 2 noted PA/SW):

Social Work Electives (choose 1 of 4):

Public Administration Electives (choose 1 of 4):

Social Work Program Description

Click here for the program description.



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