MSW Curriculum and Degree Plans

Standard Program

The MSW curriculum for the Standard degree option consists of 58 credit hours, which includes credit for generalist practice and specialized internships. The first year of study provides the student with knowledge, skills, and values for generalist social work practice as well as the foundation for advanced or specialized social work practice. Students enroll in internships in the fall and spring of the first (Generalist) year of the standard program and must complete the practicum education application process according to a designated timeline prior to the fall semester. In the second year, the students choose one of two areas of specialized practice, community practice, and clinical practice. The clinical specialization is the best fit for those who are interested in direct practice with individuals, families, and groups. The community specialization best fits those interested in practice with groups, organizations, and communities. After completing a second internship during the final semester, students participate in a one-week capstone seminar before graduating.

Advanced Standing Degree Option

The Advanced Standing degree option may be selected if a student has earned a baccalaureate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and meets other admission criteria. If admitted, the full-time student can complete the MSW degree in 10 months or 30 credit hours of graduate work. 

M.Div./MSW Dual Degree Option

The Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work (M.Div./MSW) Dual Degree option prepares students to provide leadership and service through congregations, religiously affiliated organizations, and faith communities. For admission to the dual degree option, students must apply and be accepted by the George W. Truett Theological Seminary as well as the Waco campus of the  Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.

MTS/MSW Dual Degree Option

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) and the Master of Social Work (MSW) dual degree provides an interdisciplinary option for students to develop competency in Christian scriptures and theology, global missions, and Baptist identity, as well as in advanced social work practice in congregations and religiously-affiliated organizations. For admission to the dual degree option, students must apply and be accepted by the George W. Truett Theological Seminary as well as the Waco campus of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.

MSW/MBA Dual Degree Option

The MSW/MBA dual degree is designed to educate leaders who are prepared to effectively implement financial strategies, transform organizational behavior, and activate marketing strategies to sustain and improve human services organizations. Prospective students will be required to fulfill admission and application procedures separately for the Waco campus of the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and the Master of Business Administration programs.

MSW Degree: Part-Time Degree Option

Students may choose to take fewer courses each semester because of life circumstances and extend their time in the program accordingly. Since courses are designed to build on one another, and all courses are not offered every semester, students should seek consultation from the MSW Program Manager in planning their individual program of study. All Internship courses must be completed in the standard fall-spring sequence.

Curriculum Areas

MSW students come to the program with an undergraduate degree based on a strong liberal arts education providing preparation for graduate education that produces social workers who can think critically, analyze alternatives skillfully, communicate well verbally and in writing, appreciate their own culture and of others, and dedicate themselves to lifelong learning that empowers and equips them to make a difference. Social workers share a common set of professional values and ethics and a common set of basic or generalist skills that enable them to work with diverse populations and fill diverse roles in diverse settings. The transmission of these values and ethics to students is a critical aspect of professional socialization. Upon entering the program, MSW students are informed of their responsibility to perform as social work professionals according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics guidelines, including advocacy for human rights and justice. Professional values and ethics are infused throughout the entire MSW curriculum. Before any academic work in the community that involves using social work knowledge, values, and skills, students are required to study the entire NASW Code of Ethics and the applicable state code and commit to practice congruent with those codes. Due to the unique mission of the GSSW program, attention is also given to areas of congruence and conflict with students’ own personal values and ethics, as well as those of various faith groups.