Jun 22, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, M.S.W.

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The Master of Social Work program in the College of Health and Human Services  prepares advanced social work professionals to provide services to at-risk socially and economically diverse children, adults, and families. Graduates are prepared for professional practice in social service agencies serving children, adolescents, adults, and families and communities in the southern urban/suburban/rural region of metropolitan Chicago. The primary goal of the GSU M.S.W. program is to prepare highly qualified, competent advanced social work professionals to engage in critical practice grounded in a social justice ethic.

The Master of Social Work degree has two programs:

1) The Full M.S.W. Program degree consisting of 60 credit-hours in the foundation and advanced curriculum for students who have not earned the baccalaureate social work degree.
2) The Advanced Standing Degree program consisting of 32 credit-hours in the advanced curriculum. This option is available for students who have a baccalaureate social work degree within seven years of the date of application to the M.S.W. program from a Council on Social Work Education accredited program.

Both a full-time and a part-time option are available for the completion of the M.S.W. degree. The full-time program is offered over a two-year period for students employed less than full-time. The part-time programs are designed for students employed full-time and cannot complete their graduate studies on a full-time basis. The part-time programs are offered over three or four years.

Integrated Social Work Practice

After completion of the Social Work foundation curriculum, or upon admission to the Advanced Standing program, students may focus their graduate studies in two areas of specialization:

  1. Social Work Practice with children, adolescents and families; with two sub-specialization courses - a) Mental Health (two 3-credit hour courses) and b) Licensed Child Welfare Practice (two 3-credit hour courses); or
  2. School Social Work practice, leading to a Professional Educators License.

These specializations are grounded in evidence-based and best practices in primary care settings

Program Outcomes

After completing the concentration curriculum at Governors State University the student will:

  1. Analyze the differential effects of cultural, historical, political, globalization, technological changes, and social-economic influences on children, adults, and families.
  2. Integrate knowledge of social work values and ethics into an autonomous practice with children and families.
  3. Demonstrate effective leadership skills in social and human services organizations, including application of leadership theories, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and decision-making techniques.
  4. Conduct multidimensional assessments on complex issues with children and families that include environmental stressors such as cultural, economic, political, spiritual, and social relationship factors.
  5. Analyze, integrate, and differentially apply various treatment models and techniques used in practice with families, children, and adolescents.
  6. Differentially apply theoretical perspectives to child and family practice and to assess the impact of these theoretical views on policy, programs, organizations, practitioners, and clients.
  7. Appropriately conduct, critically analyze, and utilize qualitative and quantitative research to evaluate practice interventions and to inform social welfare policy development with children and families.
  8. Apply knowledge of discrimination and social and economic injustice, and integrate principles of empowerment, advocacy, and a strengths-perspective with vulnerable children and families in multicultural communities.
  9. Integrate knowledge of various policy practitioner roles (including legislative, administrative, and advocacy activities) to improve services to and promote the well-being of children and families.
  10. Develop and expand programs and services for children and families in communities where resources to meet client needs are scarce.
  11. Utilize and provide supervision and consultation in the delivery of advanced practice with vulnerable children and families within organizational and community contexts.


The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Admission to the M.S.W. Program

Applicants to the Master of Social Work degree program must submit an application to the M.S.W. program office, three letters of recommendation, essay responses to questions posed by the M.S.W. program faculty, and transcripts from all post-secondary institutions from which the applicant completed course work. Students are admitted to the Full M.S.W. Program and the Advanced Standing Degree Program in the Fall term.

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to meeting the university admission criteria, the following are required of applicants:

  1. A bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.50 on a 4.0 scale
  2. A liberal arts foundation that includes coursework in the following areas:
    1. behavioral/social sciences (equivalent of nine credit-hours);
    2. science/mathematical reasoning, which must include human biology and statistics (equivalent of six credit-hours); and
    3. humanities/fine arts (equivalent of six credit hours).
  3. Submission of supplementary application packet which includes:
    1. official transcripts of all previous college work;
    2. M.S.W. application form;
    3. prerequisite Evaluation form with required catalog descriptions, if not GSU course work;
    4. three letters of recommendation; and
    5. essay responses.

Prospective students for the Advanced Standing Degree program must satisfy the above requirements in addition to having a 3.0 G.P.A. in baccalaureate social work course work.

Information related to the program for the Master of Social Work program are available from the MSW website. Application to the program is made via the Governors State University website: https://apply.govst.edu/apply/.

Admission occurs once a year. There are set due dates each academic year for the Advanced Standing Application and for the Full Program Application. Please refer to the GSU MSW webpages for details on application due dates for both applications.

Due to accreditation guidelines regarding faculty/student ratio, admission to the program is limited each year. Applicants are ranked for admission on the basis of:

  1. undergraduate grade point average;
  2. commitment to the mission of the M.S.W. program;
  3. personal value system consistent with that of the social work profession;
  4. prior employment and/or volunteer experience serving the needs of vulnerable, at-risk, population groups; and
  5. need for a part-time program due to the inability to leave employment to pursue professional education.

Degree Requirements

The M.S.W. program offers two (2) degree programs: Full Program and the Advanced Standing degree program. The Full Program consists of 60 credit-hours of course work in the foundation and advanced curriculum. The Advanced Standing program consists of 32 credit-hours of course work in the advanced curriculum and is restricted to prospective students who have completed a baccalaureate degree program in a social work education program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) within seven years from the date of application to the M.S.W. program.

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Curriculum - Full Program Degree Requirements

Total - 32 Credit-Hours

Total Advanced Credit-Hours - 28

Total Foundation and Children and Families Specialization - 60 Hours

Total Advanced Credit-Hours - 28

Total Foundation and School Social Work Specialization - 60 Hours

Total Advanced Standing Credit-hours - 32 Hours

Student Candidacy Requirement

Graduate students seeking degrees at Governors State University must apply and be approved for candidacy in the degree program in which they have been admitted. The M.S.W. Full Program students apply for advancement to candidacy in the last term of the foundation curriculum. Advanced Standing students apply for candidacy during the fall term of their first year. Advancement to candidacy occurs when students have demonstrated in their application for candidacy that they are progressing satisfactorily in the M.S.W. program and have maintained a 3.0 G.P.A. Application forms for this purpose are provided to students by the M.S.W. program.

Master’s Final Project

Practice Evaluation (SOCW - 8400 Practice Evaluation (3) ) is a graduate course that provides information about the techniques and procedures involved in the evaluation of practice emphasizing process and outcome evaluation. Students will integrate concepts, frameworks, and practice approaches from previous social work courses, culminating in a final master’s project

This Capstone course provides students with the requisite skills to plan, design, and implement a practice-based evaluation.  In the advanced curriculum, students consolidate learning from all other components of the curriculum. Knowledge, values and skills acquired in the foundation and advanced curriculums are integrated and synthesized in the execution of the Capstone Project in the advanced research curriculum.  Students in their final year of the MSW program complete their master’s capstone project.

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