Master of Social Work

Description of the Discipline

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at The College of St. Scholastica prepares graduates for careers as clinical social workers through a specialized clinical concentration, Mental Health across the Life-span. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), clinical social workers are the largest group of behavioral health practitioners in the US. These clinicians assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illness and other behavioral disturbances with individuals, families, groups, and the community. Clinical social workers practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals and community mental health programs, social service agencies, and in private practice.

Program Mission
It is the mission of The College of St. Scholastica Master of Social Work Program to prepare advanced practitioners who demonstrate social work competence, practice ethical behavior, promote social and economic justice, and serve diverse communities in the Benedictine tradition, which includes the values of community, hospitality, respect, stewardship, and love of learning.

Program Goals
GOAL ONE
Foundation Sequence: To prepare students for competent advanced social work practice, including the knowledge based on scientific inquiry, values that foster respect for diversity, a global perspective, and skills for promoting individual and community well-being.

GOAL TWO
Advanced Sequence: To prepare students for advanced social work practice in an area of specialization, in ways that foster social and economic justice, prevent conditions that limit human rights, help eliminate poverty, and enhance the quality of life for all persons.

Social Work Competency
The MSW curriculum prepares graduates for advanced practice through mastery of a set of core competencies. These competencies are measurable practice behaviors comprised of the knowledge, values, and skills of the profession. CSS Social Work students are prepared to meet the educational goals of the Social Work Program and for advanced social work practice through demonstration of these competencies.
The MSW specialization builds on professional values, ethics, principles, practice methods, and the Person-and-Environment construct of the profession. It reflects the profession's mission to promote human and social well-being. Advanced practitioners use a range of prevention and intervention methods in their practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The advanced practitioner identifies with the social work profession and applies ethical principles and critical thinking in practice; incorporates diversity into their practice; and advocates for human rights, and social and economic justice. They recognize, support, and build on the strengths and resiliency of all human beings.

Program
The MSW Program has two primary tracks for delivery of social work graduate programming - an Advanced Standing track comprised of 36 credits and a Regular Standing track with a total of 60 credits (24 preliminary credits and then the same 36 credits taken by the Advanced Standing students). Students are eligible for the Advanced Standing Track if they have a Baccalaureate social work degree from a CSWE accredited program and meet CSS graduate and program admission criteria. Having previously successfully completed an undergraduate degree through a CSWE accredited program, these students may only need one calendar year of study in the program to complete the advanced clinical concentration and receive their degrees. This Advanced Standing track includes at least 450 hours of supervised field practicum instruction.

Students without a social work degree who may be coming to the program from a variety of liberal arts and science undergraduate educational backgrounds follow the Regular Sequence Track which involves a foundation year of course work built around core professional competencies. This is followed by a second year within the program in an advanced clinical concentration. The Regular Sequence Master of Social Work track includes a minimum of 900 hours of supervised field practicum instruction, consistent with CSWE accreditation standards. Delivery through a part-time program, should that option be approved for a student, may take as many as three years for completion.

Students who have an undergraduate social work degree from a CSWE accredited institution may apply for the Advanced Standing sequence, which will lessen the hours, needed for graduation. Essentially, the Advanced Standing Track is based on the specialized concentration of clinical social work, with students in the second year of study of the Regular Sequence having the same concentration options. This means students in the second year of the Regular Sequence Track are able to attend the same concentration classes as students in the Advanced Standing Track.

Admsssion and Retention Procedure and Policies
The College of St. Scholastica Social Work Program has clearly defined policies and procedures that determine both the admission to and retention in the program, once admitted. The admission procedures and policies include:

Regular Sequence Track
(60 Credits: Full-time - 2 years or Part-time - 3 years)

Required qualifications for admission:
1. Prior Degree: Students accepted for the MSW Program must have completed a baccalaureate (e.g. BA, BS) degree reflecting a liberal arts foundation from an accredited college or university.
2. GPA: Applicants should have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) or better on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
3. Course Prerequisites. Applicants must have one college-level course in each of the following: human biology, statistics, and general or developmental psychology before registering for the first semester in the MSW Program.
4. References. Applicants must submit two professional and/or academic reference forms from people who can address the applicant's abilities and interpersonal skills, potential for graduate education and potential for professional social work practice.
5. Professional Statement. Applicants must submit a well-written professional statement that addresses the following:
     a. What motivated you to decide to pursue an MSW?
     b. What are strengths and weaknesses with respect to the ten core social work competencies that will impact the way you practice as a social worker?
     c. Discuss any significant volunteer and/or work experiences related to social work or human services.
     d. What are your professional goals and plans in social work?
6. Resume: Applicants will submit a current resume or vitae with their application.
7. Interview: Applicants may be asked to interview with the Admissions Committee before a final decision is reached.
Possible actions include:
     a. Acceptance of application.
     b. Provisional acceptance of application with specified conditions and time lines.
     c. Denial of application.

Required Classes:
SWK 6100, 6101, 6102, 6103, 6201, 6202, 6205, 6255, 6300, 6302, 6400, 6402, 6403, 6404, 6405, 6501,6502, 6555

Advanced Standing Sequence
(36 Credits: Full-time - 1 year or Part-time - 2 years)

Required qualifications for admission:
1. Prior Degree: Applicants to the Advanced Standing option must hold a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW, BSSW) or other Bachelor's degree (BS or BA) with a major in social work from a program accredited by CSWE at the time of enrollment.
2. GPA: The Department prefers applicants with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) or better on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
3. Course Prerequisites. Applicants must have one college-level course in each of the following: human biology, statistics, and psychology before registering for the first semester in the MSW Program.
4. References. Applicants must submit two professional and/or academic reference forms from individuals who can address the applicant's abilities and interpersonal skills, potential for graduate education and potential for professional social work practice. It is preferred that one of these references be from a field instructor or supervisor.
5. Professional Statement. Applicants must submit a well-written professional statement that addresses the following:
     a. What motivated you to decide to pursue an MSW?
     b. What are strengths and weaknesses with respect to the ten core competencies that will impact you as a social worker?
     c. Discuss any significant volunteer and/or work experiences related to social work.
     d. What are your professional goals and plans in social work?
6. Resume: Applicants will submit a current resume or vitae with their application.
7. Fieldwork Evaluation: Advanced standing applicants are asked to provide a copy of their senior field evaluation. Students that have not completed their senior field placement at the time of application may submit a copy of their junior field evaluation. Advanced Standing applicants who are unable to provide a Field Performance Plan that assesses performance of the ten core competencies will be asked to complete an evaluation of their current work performance in cooperation with their supervisor and then provide that assessment to the MSW Program. Please contact the Social Work Department for a copy of this form. Applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree in social work more than seven years from the date of application may be asked to provide additional documentation of continuing education efforts, continuous licensure as a LSW, or other examples of currency with the profession.
8. Interview: Applicants may be asked to interview with the Admissions Committee before a final decision is reached.
Possible actions include:
     a. Acceptance of application.
     b. Provisional acceptance of application with specified conditions and time lines.
     c. Denial of application.

Reequired Classes:
SWK 6300, 6302, 6400, 6402, 6403, 6404, 6405, 6501, 6502, 6555
The CSS MSW Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience, consistent with accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. 


Background Study
Students entering the Social Work program are required to submit an annual Minnesota background study. The study must be completed and returned with a "clear" status before the student may participate in fieldwork or continue in the Social Work Program. Students will have one month after notification to submit the online application for the Minnesota background study and/or materials for a background study in the student's home state, if other than Minnesota. The cost of the Minnesota background study is paid through course fees.
Additional requirements for participation in fieldwork may include a drug test/screen, finger printing, additional immunizations or titers, etc. These requirements are site-specific. Some students also may be subject to a federal criminal background study. Students will be notified on how to submit the appropriate material for these additional requirements. NOTE: Students should be aware that if they have a criminal record, they might not be able to participate in fieldwork or become licensed by individual states to practice as a social worker.

Retention Policy
Because of the responsible positions of authority that social workers hold, and the potential to do harm in those positions, academic requirements in the MSW Program are by necessity comprehensive. In addition to student scholastic requirements for completion of courses at certain grade levels, social work students are expected to behave in a manner that is consistent with the values, ethics, and conduct requirements of the profession of social work in their three primary roles in the program: as learners, as students in a professional program, and as future professional helpers. Comprehensive academic performance standards in the social work program include cognitive, skill, scholastic, behavioral, and professional components and are primary indicators of professional readiness for practice in the field of social work. Graduation from the Program requires successful demonstration of all ten competencies and through meeting all guidelines established in the program's Essential Student Behavior section of the MSW Student Handbook.