Nov 30, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Social Work


 

The Department of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver offers both a Bachelor of Science in Social Work degree and a Master of Social Work degree.

MSW Program

msudenver.edu/socialwork

MSU Denver's Master of Social Work program combines academic, research, and field experiences into an intense, demanding program that teaches: clinical assessment and intervention skills, evidence-based practice, ethical decision making, scientific inquiry, cultural sensitivity, global awareness, leadership, and teamwork, as well as personal reflection and self-correction.

The MSW program at MSU Denver offers the Regular Program and the Advanced Standing program. If the student holds an undergraduate degree in any discipline other than social work, the student may apply to the Regular Program. If the student holds an undergraduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) within the last six years, the student may apply to the Advanced Standing program.

Practice Model

The strength of social work is in its versatility and roots in social justice. This program will equip students to fulfill a variety of professional roles such as clinician, therapist, leader, organizer, and activist. This Integrative Practice approach to our advanced curriculum prepares students to be leaders that understand how to work effectively across multiple systems. Social workers need a holistic approach and intersectional perspective in working with client and client systems; and understand the reciprocal connections among individuals, the social environment, and policies. Social workers as leaders is a fundamental concept that requires students to engage as agents of change and develop a clinical lens that applies to all levels of practice. Students must be skilled in their use of multi-dimensional assessments and interventions in work with individuals and at the organizational and community level. In Integrative Practice, students may select to further focus their practice in one of the many pathways offered in the program.  

Mission Statement and Goals

The mission of the MSW program is to educate social work leaders committed to enhancing individual and community well-being and advancing social justice. The program promotes the values and work of the profession, through teaching, service, research and collaboration.

Goals

  • Prepare students to uphold social work core values.
  • Prepare students to be ethical and competent practitioners.
  • Prepare students to be scientifically-informed and ethical leaders in clinical and community practice.
  • Prepare students for evidence-based, systems-oriented, culturally-responsive, social justice-oriented practice.

Accreditation

The MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body for social work programs in the U.S. Accreditation assures that professional standards are met in curriculum content and delivery. Accredited programs periodically undergo rigorous review by CSWE in order to ensure compliance with educational standards.

Program Options

Regular MSW Program

Students who have a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than social work from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program must apply for the Regular MSW Program. Graduate students accepted into this program must complete 30 credit hours of graduate foundation coursework before starting 30 credit hours of graduate concentration coursework (for a total of 60 credits). All students accepted into the Regular Program must complete certain prerequisites prior to the fall semester in which they begin the program.

All students must complete the Regular MSW Program courses in a specified sequence. See "Advising Snapshots" on the MSW website for examples.

Required Coursework

Advanced Standing MSW Program

Graduate students who have completed a bachelor's degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program may apply to the Advanced Standing MSW Program at MSU Denver. Graduate students accepted into the Advanced Standing Program must complete 36 credit hours of graduate coursework and are not required to complete any additional foundation coursework.

All students must complete the Advanced Standing MSW Program in a specified sequence. See "Advising Snapshots" on the MSW website for examples.

Required Coursework

Degree Completion Options

Students may complete the MSW Program full-time or part-time.  Full-time students will take a total of 15 credits per semester. Part-time students will take between 6 and 9 credits per semester.  Students must be accepted into the part-time or full-time option at admissions. Any changes to this status must be initiated through the Change of Status form and approved by the Office of Social Work Student Services. 

Students who reside in Colorado may complete the MSW degree fully online or in the mixed delivery program, which consists of a variety of options including on campus, hybrid and online.* Fully online students may be required to participate in online seminars. Online courses may also require synchronous activity. Students must be accepted into the fully online or mixed delivery program at admissions. Any changes to this status must be initiated through the Change of Academic Plan form and approved by the Office of Social Work Student Services.

Advanced Standing students and students entering the Concentration Year may select a pathway to focus their area of practice on a particular population or subfield of practice.  Information on pathways can be found on the program webpages.  

*A limited number of fully online seats are available each year to out of state students. Applicants should inquire with the Office of Social Work Student Services.

Regular MSW Program Admissions

If the student holds an undergraduate degree in any discipline other than social work, the student must complete the Regular (60 semester hours) Master of Social Work Program, including the undergraduate course prerequisites listed on the MSW Program website. The Regular MSW Program only begins during the fall semester.

Application Deadlines

Please check the MSW website for current application deadlines.

Program Eligibility and Admissions Requirements

  • Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 may still apply for admissions. If accepted, additional requirements will be part of the admission decision.  
  • Have completed, or will complete, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university prior to the fall semester in which the student begins the MSW program. 
  • Undergraduate course prerequisites as indicated on the MSW Program website.
  • Completion of all required application materials. The application materials for Regular Program applicants consist of several components. These components are updated each admissions cycle on the MSW Program website.

Applicants with questions may contact the Office of Social Work Student Services at socialwork@msudenver.edu or 303-615-0555.

Additional Admissions Requirements for International Students

  • Complete all of the same requirements as domestic students.
  • International students must achieve a minimum score of 76 on the Internet based TOEFL. For more information on testing options and support for international students, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.
  • Submit the required immigration documents for issuance of an I-20. 
  • Complete the Office of Graduate Studies affidavit for financial support form located on the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Deadlines for international student admission are available on individual program websites. A non-refundable $50 application fee applies.

Advanced Standing MSW Program Admissions

If the student holds an undergraduate degree in social work, acquired within the last 6 years, from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the student may qualify for the advanced standing, three semester (36 semester hours) Master of Social Work Program. The MSW Advanced Standing Program begins in the summer semester.  Please check the MSW web site for current application deadlines.

Program Eligibility

Advanced Standing eligibility is considered only for applicants who:

  • Hold a degree from a baccalaureate, social work program accredited by CSWE, hold a degree recognized through CSWE's International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service,* or hold a degree from a program that is covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.* The degree must have been completed within the last 6 years from the intended start semester in the MSW Program.
  • Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 may still apply for admissions. If accepted, additional requirements will be part of the admission decision.  
  • Completion of all required application materials. The application materials for Advanced Standing applicants consist of several components. These components are updated each admissions cycle on the MSW Program website.

*Applicants who have received degrees from outside of the United States should contact the department to determine eligibility.

Applicants with questions may contact the Office of Social Work Student Services at socialwork@msudenver.edu or 303-615-0555.

Additional Admissions Requirements for International Applicants

International students must:

  • Complete all of the same requirements as domestic students.
  • Achieve a minimum score of 76 on the Internet based TOEFL. For more information on testing options and support for international students, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website for more information.
  • Submit the required immigration documents for issuance of an I-20.
  • Complete the Office of Graduate Studies affidavit for financial support form.  

Deadlines for international student admission are available on individual program websites. A non-refundable $50 application fee applies.

Admissions Decisions

Applicants may be accepted, accepted with requirements, waitlisted, or denied admissions to the MSW Program. Applicants accepted with additional requirements typically have additional obligations to fulfill either before the start of the MSW Program and/or within the first 6 credit hours of enrollment. Waitlist status may be extended to eligible applicants in the case where program capacity has been reached. In these cases, applicants will be notified if space becomes available. Applicants who are denied from the Program are encouraged to apply again for future semesters. 

For further information about each admission decision visit the MSW Program website.

Confirmation of Enrollment

Accepted students must confirm their acceptance and program criteria at the time of admissions with the MSW Program. The process by which to confirm enrollment will be articulated in the admission decision notification. 

Admissions Deferral

Applicants who are accepted or accepted with requirements into the MSW Program may defer their start semester up to one academic year from the term that acceptance was originally offered. The full departmental application is not required, however the following items are required to confirm the new start semester:

  • Readmission After Deferral form.
  • The MSU Denver general graduate application and fee.

Applicants who defer their start semester will be held to the policies and curriculum of the later term in which they officially start the MSW Program. The deferral process is only valid for one academic year from the original acceptance semester.

Applicants with questions may contact the Office of Social Work Student Services at socialwork@msudenver.edu.

Important University Policies for MSW Students

The following policies are university level, meaning they apply to all graduate students, however they address common questions from MSW applicants. As a graduate student, you should also be familiar with the rest of the University level policies outlined in the Graduate Catalog. Please see the policies below and information on how to find the related MSW Program policy and process.

Non-degree-seeking Admission Guidelines

Students may be admitted to any of the graduate degree programs with a non-degree-seeking status. For detailed information, refer to the non-degree admissions policies and procedures located on the program's website and/or specific program's section of the catalog. Non-degree-seeking students do not qualify for financial aid and must re-apply and pay a new application fee in order to become degree-seeking. Completing coursework as a non-degree-seeking student does not guarantee admission into a degree-seeking program.

Students who wish to apply for non-degree seeking status and take MSW Program coursework should follow the procedures and time line outlined on the MSW Program website.  Accepted students may take up to 12 credits of MSW coursework as non-degree seeking students.  The coursework that accepted non-degree seeking students may take will be denoted in the admissions letter.

Transfer Student Admission Guidelines

  • No more than 9, graduate-level, transfer credits (semester hours or equivalent) will be accepted for any program. These credits must have been completed no longer than six years prior to the admission term and must be from a regionally accredited, U.S. institution or equivalent. 
  • Programs have discretion over acceptance of transfer courses. A minimum grade of "B" is required for each transfer course. Applicants should check the program website and/or contact a program advisor for details.

Refer to the MSW Program website for more information on how to request the transfer of credits into the MSW Program.

Residency Requirement

The University residency requirement for master's programs is the total number of semester hours required for the program minus 9.

Course Load

Students may enroll in no more than 15 credits per semester for fall and spring semesters without department approval. The maximum load for a two-week Winterim or Maymester term is 3 semester hours, excluding short-term study abroad courses.

Duplicative Coursework

No course may count toward both the master's degree and the bachelor's degree.

Departmental Policies

Credit for Life Experience

No credit is given for learning gained through life experience, and no life experience credit may be used toward the MSW degree.

Testing Out Policy

The Master of Social Work program does not provide an option to test out of any social work coursework at the graduate or undergraduate level.

Minimum Grade and GPA Requirements

MSW students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in any academic term. Any student falling below a 3.0 in any given term will be placed on academic probation and be required to develop a plan for raising the GPA above 3.0. Students who fail to raise their GPA over 3.0 after 15 units will be dismissed from the program. No grade lower than a "B-" counts toward degree completion. Students receiving a "C+" or below will be required to repeat the course. Students must be aware that the sequential coursework policy will often require students to take time off to repeat the course work. Students who do not successfully complete a social work course with a "B-" or better after the second attempt will be dismissed from the program.

Please note, all grades and notations remain on the graduate transcript. There is no Best Grade Stands policy at the graduate level.

Graduate Course Registration Eligibility

Only students who are formally accepted into the MSW Program or non-degree-seeking status may register for any graduate-level social work course.

Time Limit on Completion of Degree

Students must complete the master's degree within six calendar years from the term they initially enroll. Students should check the program website and/or specific program section of the catalog to determine specific degree requirements.

MSW Program students should refer to the MSW Program website for more information regarding the process for requesting an exception to this policy, www.msudenver.edu/socialwork.

Sequential Coursework Policy

All MSW coursework, including electives, must be completed and passed in the required sequential order as listed in the Advising Snapshots/Plan of Completion and student must maintain continuous enrollment. Students who fall out of sequence are no longer in good academic standing and must seek advising immediately with the Office of Social Work Student Services to continue in the program. A plan of completion will be determined in advising and the revised plan could delay graduation by a year or more. Students who fall out of sequence and do not seek advising for a new plan of completion will receive an automatic performance review. 

Change of Program Criteria Policy

At the time of admission to the Master of Social Work Program, the student will receive a comprehensive acceptance summary that includes the following criteria: acceptance status (regular or with requirements), program (Regular/Advanced Standing), course delivery method (fully online/mixed traditional), and enrollment status (full-time/part-time). Students will also receive a link to the relevant advising snapshots that outlines a clear path to graduation. Students have an opportunity to request a change of any of the criteria at the Confirmation of Enrollment stage. After that, students may request changes via the Request for Change of Academic Plan form. Students may obtain the Change of Academic Plan form on the MSW Program website.

Readmission Policy

Students who have not been in attendance for three consecutive semesters, including summer, must reapply to the University. Students requesting readmission must be in good academic standing and must submit their application for readmission to the master's program in which they have been enrolled.

MSW Program students who are eligible for readmission should submit the following materials to the Office of Social Work Student Services:

  • Readmission After Leave of Absence Form (located on the MSW Program website).
  • The MSU Denver general graduate application and fee

Students who readmit into the MSW Program will be held to the policies and curriculum of the later term in which they officially restart the MSW Program.  An approved readmit application is valid for one academic year from the readmit semester. 

Students who are not in good academic standing are not eligible for the readmit application process and must fully apply to the MSW Program.

Grades and Notations

MSW Program students should refer to the Academic Policies and Procedures section of the Graduate Catalog for a listing of all grades and notations including incompletes and withdrawals.

Departmental Policy Incomplete Notation

 In addition to adhering to the University requirement for Incomplete eligibility, MSW students who have any outstanding incompletes at the start of the following semester will receive an automatic performance review and this could result in an altered academic plan.  Refer to the Sequential Coursework Policy and consult with Office of Social Work Student Services advisors to see how this may impact you.

MSW Foundation Coursework (First Year)


Graduate students accepted into the regular, two-year MSW program must complete the following 30 credits of foundation coursework:

MSW Concentration Coursework (Second Year)


Advanced Standing Summer Bridge


Advanced Standing students will take two courses in the summer to begin the program.