Feb 25, 2021  
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin 
2012-2013 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Social Work, M.S.W.

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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

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 Public Health
  Child and Family Welfare School Systems
  Mental Health Early Childhood
  Substance Abuse Youth Services
  Family Violence Armed Forces
  Vocational Rehabilitation Gerontology
  Public Welfare Hospitals
  Corrections and Court Systems Employee Assistance
    Public Policy

Field Instruction

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.

Admission Criteria

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:

  1. a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  2. a minimum of 12 semester hours of liberal arts coursework
  3. the grade point average (GPA) on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework required by the Graduate School
  4. official scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (all sections)
  5. a written personal statement
  6. a written response to a case situation
  7. three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study
  8. 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:

  1. BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program. (less than five years since graduation)
  2. minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of baccalaureate education
  3. 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
  4. GRE scores
  5. 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:

  1. assessment of curriculum comparability by the MSW admissions committee
  2. a grade of B or better in all courses considered toward advanced standing
  3. a recommendation of the admissions committee and approval of the director
  4. compliance with other standard criteria for admission to the MSW program
  5. 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.

Degree Progression Requirements

There are two basic curriculum models available to students matriculated in the graduate social work program. Courses included as part of any of the following curriculum models must be taken in accordance with respective progression plans. The MSW degree can be earned through a 60 or 32-hour model. New cohorts of students begin every fall and are available at both the Hattiesburg and Coast campuses. All students must complete a comprehensive exam and have a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

The 60-Hour Model is the traditional graduate social work degree. This model requires students to complete the degree requirements in either a full time or extended model. The full time model is generally a four- semester program. The extended model is a 9–10 semester program in which students enroll for two or three courses each semester.


* Prerequisite: USM GPA of 3.0 or higher required.

32- Hour Model

The 32- Hour Model is considered the Advanced Standing  program.

Students accepted into the Advanced Standing program can elect to be a part of the full time or extended models.

32- Hour MSW Program (Advanced Standing Full and Extended Models)

Specific Social Work courses will be determined by the School of Social Work for students entering the 32-hour Advanced Standing MSW program.

Either curriculum plan requires students to successfully complete field internships. Students enrolled in the 60-Hour Model are required to complete 900 hours at two different supervised internships. The internships may be completed as either a concurrent (2 days per week) or block (4 days per week) experience. The prerequisite to all field courses (SWK 641 , SWK 642 , SWK 673 ) requires a USM GPA of 3.0 or higher. The 30-Hour Model (Advanced Standing) requires students to complete one 450-hour concurrent or block internship. All field experiences must be coordinated through the School’s Coordinator of Field Education to assure compliance with School and CSWE standards.

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