Jul 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, MSW


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Program Coordinator: Kelley Reinsmith-Jones (108 Rivers; 252-328-4193; reinsmithjonesk@ecu.edu)

The Social Work, MSW is a program of classroom study and fieldwork. The curriculum leading to the degree is built upon a liberal arts perspective. The MSW  program has been developed in accordance with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

The program consists of generalist and specialized courses. The generalist practice curriculum focuses on developing the knowledge, skills, values, and cognitive and affective processes necessary to become a professional social worker. This foundation is applicable across different practice settings, problem areas, and population groups. The generalist practice curriculum includes material on populations-at-risk; diversity, equity, and inclusion; social, economic, racial, and environmental justice; human behavior and the social environment; social welfare policy and services; engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and practice-informed research and research-informed practice. In addition, a generalist field practice placement provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate in a supervised field setting the knowledge, skills, values, and cognitive and affective processes taught in the generalist practice courses.

The specialized practice curriculum is based on a relational perspective for advanced professional practice, leadership, and innovation in service delivery. Clinical-community social work elective courses are selected by the student in conjunction with their faculty advisor and provide a deeper knowledge of complex policies, practice skills, evaluation skills, research, human behavior and the social environment, and field education. While the generalist curriculum introduces clinical-community social work, the specialized practice curriculum enhances the students’ understanding of the perspective and further develops their skills for practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.

The Social Work, MSW has two pathways – advanced standing and regular pathway. Each is offered in full-time and part-time programs of study. The full-time programs are delivered face-to-face (in-person) on ECU’s campus. The part-time programs are delivered 100% online.  

Mission and Goals


The mission of the Social Work, MSW program and the School of Social Work align to educate competent, ethical social workers who can: serve and practice effectively at all system levels, in rural and metropolitan areas, to assist, collaborate with, and empower diverse individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities, locally and globally, and to reach and maintain well-being.

The MSW program is guided by a generalist practice and a specialized clinical-community social work practice from a relational perspective practice, emphasizing an enhanced person-in-environment framework to produce practitioner leaders who practice with upmost integrity to

  • provide services promoting client healing, ongoing wellness, and the enhancement of quality of life through the combination of clinical and community practice, recognizing that relational networks can assist to empower individuals in deciding and acting for themselves;
  • advocate for, and in collaboration with, clients to create relational solutions that promote social, economic, and environmental justice by intervening with and preventing conditions, including poverty, that limit human rights; 
  • appreciate and respect human diversity and cultural significance believing in the dignity, worth and integrity of all individuals and honoring relational inter-dependence and associated responsibilities of caring for self and others; and
  • lead in the discovery of novel and creative ways of seeing, understanding, and addressing problems using community and individual resources in tandem with technology and research. 

MSW Program Goals

The program will

  • prepare students for advanced professional clinical-community practice from a relational perspective based on a social work foundation;
  • prepare professionals who apply critical thinking and innovation to service delivery;
  • prepare students for practice that demonstrates a commitment to economic and social justice, the advancement of human well-being, and the celebration of human differences;
  • prepare professional practitioners to use and develop knowledge relative to the social work profession;
  • assess, formulate, and advocate for social policies from a relational perspective in the context of clinical community practice; and
  • apply strategies of advocacy and social change to confront oppression and to mitigate the effects of social and economic injustice from local to global settings. 

Admission


Applicants for admission as degree candidates in social work must fulfill general admission requirements of the Graduate School and the School of Social Work.

Admission Requirements


Admission to the Social Work, MSW program is selective and determined by academic preparation and applicant qualifications. Prospective students seeking admission must have a bachelor’s degree from an institutionally accredited college or university, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale), and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in their final 30 semester hours.

All applicants to the program must have completed undergraduate coursework in each of the following areas: natural sciences; social sciences; humanities; and mathematics with a minimum grade of C (2.0). 

  • In the natural sciences, completion of a minimum of 3 semester hours of coursework in human biology. Courses that meet the human biology requirement include general biology (with a health emphasis), anatomy, physiology, reproduction, biology of aging, etc.
  • In the humanities, completion of a minimum of 6 semester hours of coursework in English, a foreign language, philosophy, religion, music, art, communications, theater, government, etc.
  • In the social sciences, completion of a minimum of 6 semester hours in psychology, economics, political science, or sociology.
  • In mathematics, completion of a minimum of 3 semester hours in basic college mathematics, college algebra, or statistics.
  • The applicant must also have completed 3 semester hours in a social science research course with a significant statistics component or 3 semester hours of statistics.

The capacity to work with people is essential to successful social work practice. Applicants’ strengths and weaknesses in this capacity will be assessed through the application essay and references.

In addition to the ECU Graduate School application, applicants shall provide:

  • School of Social Work MSW application;
  • Three completed references;
  • Official copies of transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended;
  • Official copy of transcript from institution noting the conferral of undergraduate degree;
  • Personal response to essay question presented on the MSW application; and,
  • A complete resume.

Additional requirements for admission into the Advanced Standing program include conferral of a bachelor of science, MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program.

For applicants considering transferring into the program, it is possible to be accepted from another graduate social work program under certain conditions.

  • Social work transfer credit must be graduate-level coursework taken after earning a baccalaureate degree.
  • Coursework must have been completed at a graduate school of social work accredited by the CSWE.
  • Coursework must have been completed within five (5) years of making application to ECU’s MSW program.
  • Student must have received a minimum grade of B (3.0 on 4.0 scale) on transferred coursework.

Transfer students must meet any generalist practice requirements not already completed by taking the required courses or passing proficiency examinations. Transfer students must take a minimum of 80 percent of their required semester hours in residence at East Carolina University.

Courses applied toward another degree cannot be used for credit toward the Social Work, MSW. Applicants may request up to 12 semester hours be transferred from another eligible graduate degree program.

Degree Requirements


1. Regular Pathway - 60 s.h.


The regular pathway program is designed as a two year course of study that requires the completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours.

The initial year, referred to as the foundation year, is comprised of 30 semester hours focusing on developing the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become professional social workers. This foundation is applicable across different practice settings, problem areas, and population groups. The foundation curriculum includes material on populations-at-risk, human diversity, and social and economic justice, and is provided in courses addressing the areas of human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and social work research. In addition, a foundation practicum provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and values taught in the first year in a supervised practice setting.

The second year, generally referred to as the advanced year, builds upon the foundation year, and provides more thorough knowledge of complex policies, practice skills, evaluation skills, human behavior and the social environment, and field education. While the foundation curriculum introduces clinical-community social work, the advanced curriculum enhances the students’ understanding of the perspective and further develops their skills for practice.

The regular pathway program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours as follows:

2. Advanced Standing Pathway - 42 s.h.


Students who have graduated from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) program may apply for admission to the advanced standing MSW program of study. Those accepted into this program attain the MSW degree after the completion of a minimum of forty-two semester hours over the course of one calendar year. Full time advanced students enroll in the summer, completing 12 semester hours (SOCW 6008 , SOCW 6701 , SOCW 6711 , and one elective). The remaining 30 semester hours are completed within the context of the advanced year curriculum. A field practicum is required for both semesters of the advanced year.

The pathway allows a maximum of 12 semester hours of transfer credit. 

The advanced pathway program requires a minimum of 42 semester hours as follows:

Academic Performance (Progression Requirements)


Progression of Courses

All generalist practice courses must be completed before students take courses at the specialized practice level. If students obtain an Incomplete in or Withdraw from a generalist practice course, they may not continue in the Social Work, MSW program until the Incomplete or Withdraw course(s) are satisfied. Program courses are not offered every semester. If a student earns a Withdraw, they may need to re-apply to the Graduate School and retake the course a year or more later depending on the semester.

Academic Retention and Suspension

Social work majors must pass all required social work courses with a minimum grade of C (2.0) and may earn no more than one (1) C during the program. Field courses are 6 credits; therefore, earning a C in a field course is the equivalent of earning 2 Cs. Minimum semester hours required for the Social Work, MSW are dependent upon the program option to which a student is admitted. This is outlined under “Program Options”. Maintaining an overall 3.0 GPA is required by the Graduate School to continue or graduate. Students who fall below a 3.0 GPA may be removed from the program or may be placed on academic probation and terminated after the second semester if the 3.0 GPA is not achieved. This decision is at the discretion of the Social Work, MSW program coordinator and the Graduate School. A student who earns an F in any course will be immediately dismissed from the program.

All requirements of the degree must be completed within no more than 2 years for fulltime programs and 4 years for extended-time programs, from the date of the student’s first enrollment.

Comprehensive Assessment


All graduate programs at ECU require students to successfully complete a comprehensive assessment. Social Work, MSW students are expected to demonstrate proficiency through the successful completion of a comprehensive assessment. The successful completion of SOCW 6960  serves as the comprehensive assessment for the degree. 

Field Experience


Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education. Each regular pathway student is required to complete 1032 hours of field education. Advanced standing students are required to complete 672 hours of field education. It may be permissible to complete field education hours at one’s place of employment.

Professional Performance (Ethics)


The Social Work, MSW program fully subscribes to and is guided by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics. Social work program applicants and students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior which reflects a commitment to the values and ethics of the social work profession as exemplified in the Code of Ethics. Behavior and statements contrary to these ethics may be cause for denial of the applicant’s admission or a student’s continuance in the School of Social Work’s programs.

Program Options


In-Person, On-Campus Program Options

  1. Full-Time Regular Pathway: This program option is designed as a two-year course of study and requires the completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours.
  2. Full-Time Advanced Standing Pathway: Students who have earned a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited program may apply for admission. This option is designed as a one calendar year course of study and requires the completion of a minimum of 42 semester hours.  

Online Program Options

  1. Part-Time Regular Pathway - This program option is designed as a three-year fully online course of study. Courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. This option requires the completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours.
  2. Part-Time Advanced Standing Pathway - Students who have earned a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited program may apply for admission. This option is designed as a three-year fully online course of study. Courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. This option requires the completion of a minimum of 42 semester hours.

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