Stephen F. Austin State University

MSW Students

Admissions Policy

In order to be considered for admission to the MSW program, applicants must submit: 1) an SFA graduate school application, 2) official transcripts, 3) MSW Application. Application forms may be obtained online from the School of Social Work, or the SFA Graduate Office and 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 over the last 60 hours. Applicants who demonstrate outstanding qualifications other admission criteria may be admitted on a probationary basis with an overall GPA of 2.5 and 2.8 GPA over the last 60 hours.

Advanced Standing

A limited number of students may be admitted to the advanced standing program. 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. The advanced standing program consists of 39 credit hours that are completed in about 10 months of full-time study (one summer session and two semesters) or two years of part-time study. 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 course work and a 2.5 overall GPA. 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 MSW Admissions Committee and the MSW Program Director. Advanced placement credit may be awarded for SWK 500, SWK 501, SWK 502, SWK 505, SWK 507, SWK 512, SWK 515, SWK 519, and SWK 529. Advanced standing credit is not automatic, and students may be required to submit course equivalency information or successfully complete a competency examination before receiving credit for a course. All students who receive advanced standing must complete a minimum of 39 credit hours in order to receive the MSW. Part-time advanced standing students must complete the program in two years.

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 MSW Program Director. 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, and 3) have an earned grade of A or B. Field Instruction and social work practice credit cannot be transferred. The program does not grant social work course credit for life experience, volunteer or previous work experience. Graduate courses from other discipline will not be considered for transfer credit as electives.

Curriculum Design

The MSW program admits both advanced standing and non-advanced standing students. Both types of students may choose from either a full-time or part-time option to complete the requirements of the program. A total of 64 credit hours are required for graduation. All students must complete a field instruction component(s), which is included in the 64 credit hours.

Non-Advanced Standing Full-time (2 year plan)

First Semester
SWK 501 Introduction to the Social Work Profession (3 credits)
SWK 502 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3 credits)
SWK 504 Introduction to Rurality (3 credits)
SWK 505 Generalist Practice I (3 credits)
SWK 519 Field Instruction I (4 credits)

Second Semester
SWK 500 Applied Research Methods (3 credits)
SWK 507 Social Welfare Policy & Services (3 credits)
SWK 512 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3 credits)
SWK 515 Generalist Practice II (3 credits)
SWK 529 Field Instruction II (4 credits)

Third Semester
SWK 517 Rural Social Policy Analysis (3 credits)
SWK 520 Social Work Research Process (3 credits)
SWK 525 Advanced Generalist Practice (3 credits)
SWK 535 Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)
SWK 558 Advanced Practice with Groups (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
SWK 530 Research Practicum (3 credits)
SWK 539 Field Instruction III (3 credits)
SWK 540 Field Instruction IV (4 credits)
SWK 541 Field Instruction V (4 credits)

Non-Advanced Standing Part-time (3 year plan)

First Semester
SWK 501 Introduction to the Social Work Profession (3 credits)
SWK 502 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3 credits)
SWK 504 Introduction to Rurality (3 credits)
SWK 505 Generalist Practice I (3 credits)SWK 519 Field Instruction I (4 credits)

Second Semester
SWK 500 Applied Research Methods (3 credits)
SWK 507 Social Welfare Policy & Services (3 credits)
SWK 512 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3 credits)
SWK 515 Generalist Practice II (3 credits)
SWK 529 Field Instruction II (4 credits)

Third Semester
SWK 517 Rural Social Policy Analysis (3 credits)
SWK 520 Social Work Research Process (3 credits)
SWK 558 Advanced Practice with Groups (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
SWK 525 Advanced Generalist Practice (3 credits)
SWK 530 Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)

Fifth Semester
SWK 535 Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Sixth Semester
SWK 539 Field Instruction III (3 credits)
SWK 540 Field Instruction IV (4 credits)
SWK 541 Field Instruction V (4 credits)

Advanced Standing Full-Time (One summer session and two semesters; Total Credits 39)

Summer Session
SWK 504 Introduction to Rurality ( 3 credits)
SWK 514 Advanced Standing Seminar (4 credits)

First Semester
SWK 517 Rural Social Policy Analysis (3 credits)
SWK 520 Social Work Research Process (3 credits)
SWK 525 Advanced Generalist Practice (3 credits)
SWK 535 Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)
SWK 558 Advanced Practice with Groups (3 credits)

Second Semester
SWK 530 Research Practicum (3 credits)
SWK 539 Field Instruction III (3 credits)
SWK 540 Field Instruction IV (4 credits)
SWK 541 Field Instruction V (4 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Advanced Standing Part-Time (2 year plan)

Summer Session
SWK 504 Introduction to Rurality ( 3 credits)
SWK 514 Advanced Standing Seminar (4 credits)

First Semester
SWK 517 Rural Social Policy Analysis (3 credits)
SWK 520 Social Work Process (3 credits)
SWK 525 Advanced Generalist Practice (3 credits)

Second Semester
SWK 530 Research Practicum (3 credits)
SWK 535 Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)
SWK 558 Advanced Social Work with Groups (3 credits)

Third Semester
SWK 549 Field Instruction III (5 credits)
Elective (3 credits)

Fourth Semester
SWK 559 Field Instruction III (6 credits)

Course Descriptions

Unless otherwise indicated, courses are three semester credit hours each.

SWK 500: Applied Research Methods (3 credits)- Application of research methods in social work settings. Quasi-experimental research, evaluation research, single subject design, and epistemology are presented. Prerequisite - Graduate standing. Demonstrated competence in social research methods.

SWK 501: Introduction to the Social Work Profession (3 credits)- Introduction to the social work profession. Topics include: philosophy and history of the profession, social work values and ethics, social work organizations and licenser, and contexts for social work content. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 502: Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3 credits)- The person-in-environment model for generalist social work. The course uses a strengths perspective and a problem solving focus to understand human behavior in individual, family, and naturally occurring group contexts. Prerequisite - Graduate standing. Demonstrated knowledge of human biology.

SWK 504: Introduction to Rurality (3 credits)- This course introduces students to social work in the rural context. Issues related to social work practice, rural communities, rural behavior, and social welfare policy are presented. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 505: Generalist Practice I (3 credits)- Generalist model of social work practice with individuals, families, and naturally occurring groups. Topics include engagement, data collection, assessment, planning, intervention, termination and evaluation. Prerequisite - Graduate standing. Demonstrated knowledge of human biology and multicultural content.

SWK 507: Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services (3 credits)- Foundation content related to the history, philosophy, structure, and function of social welfare policy and services is presented in this course. A survey of social welfare services and current issues related to these services is also presented. Concepts related to social and economic justice are emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisites - Graduate standing.

SWK 512: Rural Behavior and Environments II (3 credits)- The person-in-environment model for generalist practice. The course uses a strengths perspective and a problem solving focus to explain task groups, organizations and communities. - Graduate standing. SWK 502, SWK 504, SWK 505, and SWK 507 or equivalents. Co-requisite - SWK 515.

SWK 514: Advanced Standing Seminar (4 credits) - This seminar is required for Advanced Standing students and is designed to strengthen and enhance the transition of BSW's into the MSW program. This course derives content from the Professional Foundation and the Advanced Rural Generalist concentration. Prerequisite - Advanced Standing.

SWK 515: Generalist Practice II (3 credits)- Generalist model of social work practice with task groups, organizations, and communities. Prerequisites - Graduate standing. SWK 502, SWK 504, SWK 505, and SWK 507 or equivalents. Co-requisite - SWK 512

SWK 517: Rural Social Policy Analysis (3 credits)- Advanced content in analysis of social policy in a rural context. Concepts related to the promotion of social and economic justice by social workers are emphasized. Prerequisites - Graduate standing. SWK 500, SWK 502, SWK 504, SWK 505, and SWK 507 or equivalents.

SWK 518: Child Welfare Services (3 credits) - An overview of theory, policy, services and practice issues related to social work in the child and family field of practice. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 519: Field Instruction I (4 credits) - Educationally supervised practice in a social welfare setting under the direct supervision of a professional social worker. Two hundred forty (240) hours of agency experience and one (1) hour weekly integrative seminar are required for the semester. Prerequisite - Graduate standing. Co-requisite - SWK 505.

SWK 520: Social Work Research Process (3 credits) - Social work research content on an advanced level. Coverage includes research methodology, research proposal writing, the process of social work research, data collection and analysis, and presentation of results. The purpose of the course is the development of knowledge related to the different steps in the research process. Prerequisite: Graduate standing and completion of the foundation in the MSW program.

SWK 525: Advanced Generalist Practice (3 credits)- Advanced application of the generalist model in working with individuals, families, and naturally occurring groups. Prerequisites- SWK 512, SWK 515, SWK 517, and SWK 519 or Advanced Standing.

SWK 528: Social Work in Mental Health (2 credits) - An overview of theory, policy, services, and practice issues related to social work in the mental health field. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 529: Field Instruction II (4 credits) - Continuation of supervised agency practice begun in SWK 519. Two hundred forty (240) hours of agency experience and one (1) hour weekly integrative seminar are required. Prerequisites - SWK 519, SWK 502, SWK 505, SWK 507. Co-requisite - SWK 512, SWK 515.

SWK 530: Research Practicum (3 credits)- Individual student research performed under the direction of social work faculty. Final report should contribute to social work knowledge. Prerequisites - SWK 500, SWK 520, SWK 512, SWK 517, and SWK 519.

SWK 531: International Social Work (3 credits) - The study of international social work and how it is influenced by policies, developed and developing world contexts and different perceptions of social problems. The course will also provide an overview of the service delivery systems in other countries.

SWK 532: Sustainable Development (3 credits) - This course examines issues and perspectives on sustainable community development from the local, regional, national, and international perspective. The course prepares students to advocate for policies for a livable world while solving community problems at all levels and promoting positive community change. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

SWK 533: Diversity Appreciation (3 credits) - This course examines various cultures throughout the globe and is designed to allow students the opportunity to understand cultural and social differences locally and globally. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. SWK 535: Seminar in Advanced Rural Practice (3 credits)- This seminar focuses on rural case management, supervision, administration, and community practice in rural agencies and communities. It includes content on planning, services integration, evaluation, resources assessment and acquisition. Prerequisites - SWK 507, SWK 512, SWK 521, SWK 529, or Advanced Standing.

SWK 538: Social Work with the Aged (3 credits) - An overview of theory, policy, services and practice issues related to social work with the elderly. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 539: Field Instruction III (3 credits) - A seminar course meeting weekly and taken concurrently with SWK 540 and SWK 541. Student will integrate advanced knowledge acquired in the classroom with practical experiences in an agency setting. Prerequisites - completion of all foundation courses and SWK 517, SWK 520, SWK 525, SWK 535, SWK 558. Co-requisite - SWK 530.

SWK 540: Field Instruction IV (4 credits) - Placement in a social service agency designed to engage students in a diversified practice using advanced generalist methodologies within a rural context. 250 hours of field work with a focus on working with individuals, families, and groups. Prerequisite - completion of all foundation courses and all concentration courses except SWK 530 and an elective.

SWK 541: Field Instruction V (4 credits) - Placement in a social service agency designed to engage students in a diversified practice using advanced generalist methodologies within a rural context. 250 hours of field work with a focus on working with communities and organizations. Prerequisite - completion of all foundation courses and all concentration courses except SWK 530 and an elective.

SWK 548: Religion, Spirituality and Helping (3 credits) - Examination of religion and spirituality and their intersection with the helping professions, with a special emphasis on policy, practice (at all levels) and research in social work. Reviews beliefs and practices locally, nationally, and globally; the influences of religion and spirituality on health and mental health outcomes; spiritual assessments; spiritual coping, and the development of an ethical spiritual framework for social work practice. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or approval by MSW Director.

SWK 549: Advanced Field Instruction I (5 credits) - Advanced field instruction for part-time students. Sixteen hours per week of agency instruction and a two hour weekly integrative seminar are required. Prerequisites - SWK 529 or equivalent and approval of MSW Director. SWK 558 Advanced Practice with Groups (3 credits) - Theories, models, culturally competent methods, skills, and techniques of effective advanced group work in rural environments. Prerequisite: Completion of the foundation.

SWK 558: Advanced Practice with Groups (3 credits) - Theories, models, culturally competent methods, skills, and techniques of effective advanced group work in rural environments. Prerequisites: Advanced Concentration

SWK 559: Advanced Field Instruction II (6 credits) - Advanced field instruction for part-time students. Sixteen hours per week of agency instruction and a two hour weekly integrative seminar are required. Continuation of SWK 549. Prerequisites - SWK 549 or equivalent and approval of MSW Director.

SWK 568 Chemical Dependency (3 credits) - Examines the prevalence and etiology of chemical dependency and its impact on individuals, families, and society. Utilizes an advanced generalist practice modality for the development of professional social work knowledge, values, and skills in the prevention and treatment of chemical dependency across multiple systems. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

SWK 575: Advanced Graduate Studies (1-3 credits) - Directed independent study in social work: includes in-depth research, reading, and writing about social work issues. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 578: Seminar in Social Work (1-3 credits) - Various topics in social work. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite - Graduate standing.

SWK 589: Thesis Research (2 credits) - Research for preparation of thesis. Grade is withheld until completion of thesis. Prerequisites - SWK 500 and SWK 520.

SWK 590: Thesis Writing (2 credits)- Research for preparation of thesis. Grade is withheld until completion of thesis. Prerequisites - SWK 589.

Student Advisement

Faculty advisement of students is considered essential in the School of Social Work. The professional relationship with a faculty advisor helps each student progress throughout the program, begin socialization in the profession and attain a social work degree. The advisement of students is carried out by full time faculty members. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the availability of their advisors. All faculty maintain regularly scheduled, posted office hours and are often available at other times by appointment.

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor upon admission to the MSW program. The primary duties of the faculty advisor are:

  1. Assist the student to design and file an educational plan, assist with course selection, and registration during the registration periods of the academic year to prepare an application for graduate candidacy, to complete a degree plan, and assist with application for graduation.
  2. Review the student's academic progress and grade standing.
  3. Provide consultation to the student on all matters relevant to his or her progress in the program.
  4. Discuss the students' career interests in social work and development as a professional social worker.

MSW Program Policies

The MSW program policies are outlined in the MSW Student Handbook- MSW_Student_Handbook_2011-2012.pdf.