Social work has been a part of the University’s curriculum since the first course was taught in the Department of Sociology in 1936. The first full-time faculty member with an MSW was hired in 1962. In 1969, the Department launched a complete baccalaureate social work program to prepare students for the beginning level of social work practice. A feasibility study conducted during the academic year 1997-98 documented the significant needs which Baylor University could address in its graduate social work program. Based on that study, the Baylor Board of Regents approved a Master of Social Work degree, and the School of Social Work was established in January 1999. The program was moved from within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Gerontology to become a separate department in the College of Arts and Sciences. In September 2004, the School of Social Work was granted independent status, effective June 2005. In June 2013, the Ph.D. in Social Work was launched with the first cohort of students. In May 2015, the name of Baylor University’s School of Social Work was changed to the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work in honor of the School’s first dean. That same year an extension campus of the Garland School of Social Work was opened in Houston, TX. In May 2019, the School began to offer a fully online campus for students seeking to gain their MSW through Baylor from across the United States.
The Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University gives shape and direction to the faith-based social services not only of Baptists but, more broadly, other denominations and religious organizations. Through its baccalaureate and graduate programs, the Garland School of Social Work prepares professional social workers for building healthy communities and provides effective leadership in social service, social action, and advocacy for social justice in many settings, including religious organizations and faith communities.
The mission of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University is to prepare social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership.
- To produce Alumni who are
- influencing (through service and leadership) the social welfare of people, families, and communities globally;
- ethically integrating religious faith with social work practice;
- culturally responsive and competent; and
- effective in creating healthy organizations
- To produce Research by the School and its alumni that
- provides resources and models for excellence in professional social work practice that contributes to social justice and the wellbeing of persons, families, and communities; and
- provides resources and models that are respectful, faithful, and effective for communities of faith and religiously-affiliated organizations.
MSW Mission Statement
The mission of the Baylor University Garland School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work Program is to prepare advanced social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership.
MSW Program Goals
Students completing the MSW Foundation year programs will be able, at an advanced level, to
- apply generalist social work knowledge and skills in practice using a strengths-oriented, ecological systems perspective that demonstrates respect for human diversity and cultures;
- use critical thinking skills in applying knowledge and ethical principles to social work practice and in evaluating scientific inquiry including practice-based research;
- demonstrate a developing social work identity that includes self-awareness, professional use of self, use of supervision and consultation, and an appreciation of the profession's values and history;
- use conceptual frameworks to understand development and behavior across the life course, and the interactions among individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and larger systems;
- understand the forms and mechanisms of privilege and oppression, and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice globally; and
- demonstrate skills and knowledge for social work practice that are spiritually informed and that recognize religious contexts.
Students completing the specialized year will be able to practice the Foundation Goals at an advanced level and, in addition, within one's area of specialization, they will be able to
- discover, compare, apply and evaluate conceptual perspectives, models, and research that guide advanced practice;
- demonstrate competence in advanced practice skills and the evaluation of advanced practice skills;
- demonstrate competence in both working autonomously and working collaboratively; and
- know, evaluate, integrate and use literature in decision-making in advanced practice.