May 30, 2023  
2020-21 Graduate Bulletin 
2020-21 Graduate Bulletin Archived

Social Work, M.S.W.

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Social Work, M.S.W.

The Master of Social Work is a program with a specialized practice in advanced generalist practice with systems impacted by rural lifestyles and contexts. The M.S.W. includes preparation for services provision for a wide range of problems and systems, such as rural poverty, community development, social and economic justice, family violence, health and mental health, and other fields.

The M.S.W. is designed to prepare graduates for entry into the social work profession at the advanced level. The M.S.W. will provide the basis for the development of autonomous practice skills for leadership roles in rural communities.


The M.S.W. program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


In order to be considered for admission to the M.S.W. program, applicants must submit:

  • an application on the ApplyTexas website to start your application
  • an SFA Office of Research and Graduate Studies application
  • official transcripts
  • three letters of reference
  • a supplemental application for the M.S.W. program
  • and a written statement of interest in social work.

Application forms may be obtained online, from the School of Social Work, or the SFA graduate office. Applications should be returned to the School of Social Work.

To be considered for clear admission, applicants should present an overall GPA of at least 2.5 and a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours. Applicants who demonstrate outstanding qualifications on other admission criteria may be admitted on a probationary basis with an overall GPA of 2.5 and 2.8 GPA for the last 60 hours.

The M.S.W. program admits both advanced standing and non-advanced standing students. Students may choose from either a full-time option or part-time option to complete program requirements. The part-time option must be approved by M.S.W. program director.

Non-Advanced Standing

Students admitted to the non-advanced standing track will complete a 64-credit hour program.  The non-advanced standing track is designed to be completed in two years of full-time or three years of part-time academic study. The program does not require an undergraduate degree in social work for admission, but does require that students who are deficient in the liberal arts perspective complete additional coursework in order to prepare them for the generalist practice. Part-time students must complete the program within four years from the date of enrollment at SFA.

Advanced Standing

A limited number of students may be admitted to the advanced standing program. The advanced standing track consists of 35 credit hours that are completed in a minimum of 10 months of full-time study (one summer session and two semesters) or two years of part-time study. To be considered for advanced standing, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Applicants admitted on probationary status are not eligible for advanced standing.

To receive advanced standing, an applicant must have made a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credits of undergraduate coursework and a 2.5 GPA overall. Advanced placement credit will be given for course equivalents in which the applicant has made a grade of either A or B.

Decisions on course equivalency credit will be made by the School of Social Work M.S.W. program director. Advanced placement credit may be awarded for SOCW 5300   SOCW 5301 , SOCW 5302 , SOCW 5304 , SOCW 5305 , SOCW 5307 , SOCW 5312 , SOCW 5315 , SOCW 5419 , and SOCW 5429 .

Advanced standing credit is not automatic, and students may be required to submit course equivalency information before receiving credit for a course. Only courses from a CSWE-accredited program can be waived. All students who receive advanced standing must complete a minimum of 35 credit hours in order to receive the M.S.W.

The School of Social Work offers an International Certificate in Community Development. The certificate program consists of SOCW 5304 , SOCW 5331 , SOCW 5332  and SOCW 5333 . M.S.W. director approval is needed.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer graduate course credits under the policies of the university. Transfer of courses for social work equivalency will be determined by the M.S.W. program director. Per policy, a maximum of 12 credit hours can be transferred. To be considered for social work equivalency, a course must be:

  1. graduate level
  2. earned from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
  3. no more than six years old
  4. and have an earned grade of A or B.

Field Instruction and practice credit cannot be transferred. Field Instruction credit will not be awarded for prior work experience. Graduate courses from other disciplines will not be considered for transfer credit as electives.


Faculty advising of students is considered essential in the School of Social Work. The personal relationship with a faculty advisor helps each student progress throughout the program, begin socialization to the profession, and earn the M.S.W. Advising focuses on academic planning, progress monitoring and career development. The advisement of students is carried out by full-time faculty members, and students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the availability of their advisors. All faculty members maintain regularly scheduled, posted office hours and are often available at other times by appointment.

On admission, each student is advised by the M.S.W. program director or the director’s designee. After the initial advising meeting, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. The primary duties of the faculty advisor are:

  1. to assist the student to design and file an educational plan, select courses, register for courses, and gain admission to candidacy
  2. to review the student’s academic progress and academic standing
  3. to advise the student on all matters relevant to her/his progress in the program
  4. and to discuss the student’s career interests in social work and development as a professional social worker.

Field Instruction

During the semester prior to the student’s entrance into field instruction, the student must first meet with the director of field or the director’s designee. At this time, the process for application and selection of field instruction sites and other pertinent field policies and procedures will be discussed. Students also review a copy of the graduate field instruction manual, which contains important field-related information and policies. Prior to this meeting, the student should direct questions regarding field instruction to the faculty advisor. The selection of an appropriate field instruction site is made by the school field director in consultation with the student. All prerequisites must be met before enrolling in field instruction. Students must have a 3.0 GPA for final field approval.

M.S.W. students who have been terminated from a field instruction placement or who have made a grade of C or lower must repeat field instruction. Reinstatement in field instruction is not automatic. Students who must repeat field instruction must reapply for admission to field. In order to be reinstated in field, the student must state in writing how each of the problems/issues contributing to the original termination has been corrected. This includes the behaviors and/or skills-related issues that contributed to the original grade or decision to terminate the student. The field director, M.S.W. program director, school director and other faculty members as appropriate, will review and recommend whether or not the student will be readmitted to field instruction and may repeat the course. Students may repeat a field instruction course only once.

Termination from the Program for Behavioral Reasons

Appropriate and ethical conduct is critical for maintaining the integrity of the social work profession. Students in the M.S.W. program are considered members of the social work profession and eligible for membership in professional organizations. Social work students should conduct themselves as professionals and in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers.

The grades that students earn in their courses are not the only indication of the students’ ability to become professional social workers. Occasionally, students may behave in a manner that calls into question their ability to become social workers. School policy provides a mechanism for reviewing students’ academic and professional performance. Students may be terminated from the social work program when there is clear evidence the student’s professional performance is unacceptable. Examples that may require review include, but are not limited to, violation of the NASW Code of Ethics, impairment due to substance abuse or mental illness, and conviction of a felony.

Curriculum Design

The M.S.W. program curriculum consists of generalist practice and specialized practice-level content. The first full-time year of the program is generalist practice and emphasizes a problem-solving method in the helping relationship. The first year provides the social work professional generalist practice similar to that provided in a B.S.W. program and serves as a base upon which the specialized-level content builds knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes.

The M.S.W. program offers one specialized practice, which is completed during the second full-time year of the program. The specialized practice offered is advanced generalist practice with systems impacted by rural lifestyles and contexts. Advanced generalist skills are applied to practice within the rural context and with people having rural lifestyles.

Generalist practice courses include content in the following areas: human behavior and the social environment, social work policy and services, social work research, generalist social work practice, social work values and ethics, rurality, and agency-based field instruction.

Specialized practice (advanced generalist practice) with systems impacted by rural lifestyles and contexts, courses include content in advanced generalist practice methods, policy analysis and evaluation, research, and 500 clock hours of agency-based field instruction.

SP = advanced generalist practice
GP = generalist practice

Coursework Requirements

1. Non-Advanced Track

Total: 64 hours

2. Advanced Track

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