The MSW program, established in 1974 and the oldest graduate social work program in the state of Mississippi, is a 60-credit-hour master's program. A 32-credit-hour advanced standing MSW degree program is available to highly qualified students who meet eligibility requirements.
Career opportunities for well-prepared master’s-level social workers are extensive. Social workers provide social services to more people in Mississippi and across the United States than any other professional group. Social work professionals use a wide variety of empirically based methods to help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities solve a broad range of problems. Social work professionals are in demand in many human service arenas, including
||Home Health and Hospice
||Child and Family Welfare
||Corrections and Court Systems
Quality hands-on field instruction experiences (practica) are vital to graduate social work education. Students in the 60-credit-hour MSW program complete a minimum of 900 hours of field instruction. Students admitted to the advanced standing program complete a minimum of 450 hours of field instruction. Field placements are available to students in more than 130 social service agencies, located primarily in South Mississippi. While in field placement, students receive direct guidance and supervision from experienced field instructors who hold the MSW degree. Field placement courses include a required weekly seminar, and are graded on a pass/fail basis.
Special Program Requirements
Program Options. The school offers a number of MSW program models for qualified applicants: 1) a two-year, 60-credit-hour model, 2) extended models (10 or 11 semesters), 3) advanced standing models.
Semester of Admission. Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast applicants are admitted in the fall or spring semester.
Application Deadline. Applications are accepted at any time.
However, all admission requirements must be completed by March 15 to ensure application consideration for the following fall semester.
Applicants to the School of Social Work are evaluated and admitted without discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, color, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political, or sexual orientation.
All applicants to the MSW program are evaluated and admitted on the basis of the following criteria:
- a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- a minimum of 12 semester hours of liberal arts coursework
- the grade point average (GPA) on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework required by the Graduate School
- official scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (all sections)
- a written personal statement
- a written response to a case situation
- three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study
- International applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores.
Applications to the advanced standing program are evaluated on the basis of the additional criteria below:
Advanced Standing. Qualified applicants to the MSW program who hold a BSW from an accredited program, or who have completed equivalent foundation curriculum coursework at an accredited school of social work, may be exempted from up to 30 credit hours of MSW foundation coursework.
Applicants holding the BSW degree and applying for advanced standing must meet the following criteria:
- BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program. (less than five years since graduation)
- minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of baccalaureate education
- minimum GPA of 3.5 in the undergraduate social work program overall, with a grade of B or better in all required social work courses
- GRE scores
- a passing score on a comprehensive examination given by the School of Social Work
Eligibility of an applicant for advanced standing admission based on MSW foundation coursework completed at an accredited program other than Southern Miss is determined by the following:
- assessment of curriculum comparability by the MSW admissions committee
- a grade of B or better in all courses considered toward advanced standing
- a recommendation of the admissions committee and approval of the director
- compliance with other standard criteria for admission to the MSW program
- a passing score on the appropriate sections of a qualifying examination based on foundation curriculum content
Grade Point Average. For applicants to either the 60-credit-hour full-time or extended MSW programs, the GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework must be at least 3.0. For applicants to the 32-credit-hour advanced standing program, the GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework must be at least 3.0 and the GPA for the undergraduate social work program must be at least 3.5.
Graduate Record Examination. The official scores of the GRE (all sections) is required for admission. Applicants should schedule the exam so as to allow sufficient time for submission of exam scores by March 15; call 1-(800)-473-2255, or access the GRE Web site at http://www.gre.org for details.
Conditional Admission. The school adheres to university policies with regard to admission of graduate students on a conditional basis. The university regulations concerning conditional admission for full-time or part-time students are stated in this Bulletin under Admission Requirements and Procedures .
Continuous Enrollment Requirement: Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.
Plan of Study. Students must submit their signed, official Plan of Study Form to the Graduate School by the end of the second semester they are enrolled. The Plan of Study Forms are available at www.usm.edu/graduateschool/planofstudy.php - click on the "Plan of Study" link.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training
All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status, must complete RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments. All graduate students must complete the RCR training modules required by the Graduate School and their departments the first or second semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The RCR policy and training information are found on the Graduate School web page – www.usm.edu/graduateschool. Contact the Dean of the Graduate School if you have any questions regarding the policy or training information.