Social Work, M.S.W.
Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the Mid-Tennessee Collaborative Master of Social Work (MTC-MSW) program is the first of its kind in the nation. It is a collaborative among three institutions: Middle Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University, and Tennessee State University. The program promotes excellence in advanced generalist social work education, research, and practice. Students take online courses, attend in-person courses one or two evenings a week, and participate in community internships. The master’s candidates receive training to work in either administration or clinical practice. Graduates are eligible for social work licensure in all states. The program aims for enhancement of human well-being, diversity, and social justice through developing and improving systems of public social services, especially for children and families.
Behavioral Health deputy director finds added value with M.S.W.
Shawn Smith (’17 M.S.W., ’96 B.S.W.) returned to MTSU part time in 2014 to pursue his Social Work master’s degree after becoming TennCare’s deputy director for Behavioral Health Operations. He got much more out of the M.S.W. program than he expected. “This program has given me a greater appreciation and understanding of social work theories and how to apply those theories in practice,” he says. Smith is responsible for oversight and monitoring the state division’s managed care organizations as it relates to behavioral health care benefits. He recalls a former undergraduate social work professor telling him: “Sometimes you may be the only source of support that clients have, so you have to be good enough.” Smith says that advice makes even more sense in his current role “where I may not work directly with clients but what I do can still have a lasting impact on the lives of so many men, women, and children throughout Tennessee from a systems level.”
Current grad student discusses benefits for collaborative approach
By bringing together the campuses of MTSU, Austin Peay State University, and Tennessee State University, the Mid-Tennessee Collaborative Master of Social Work program has allowed current graduate student Lisa Hattaway the opportunity to work with peers from different backgrounds and professors with diverse career experiences. The M.S.W. program is designed for the working professional, with classes offered online jointly with the other universities and also during the evenings on the student’s home campus. Hattaway originally became interested in social work because of the holistic approach social workers have and how their knowledge is incorporated into different disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, and criminal justice, to better understand and serve clients. She also appreciates the valuable work experience she has gotten through volunteering in the community and the sincere care that professors take in aiding their academic success and building competent, master-level social workers.
The demand for social workers has been projected to grow 19% overall in the decade through 2022 and varies by specialty area of employment. Social workers are employed in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, residential treatment programs, and private practices. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are one of the two hottest careers in the state requiring a master’s degree, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor. Some possible professional paths for those with the Master of Social Work include
- Child and family social worker
- Clinical social worker
- Clinical therapist
- Geriatric social worker
- Healthcare social worker
- Hospice and palliative care social worker
- Medical social worker
- Mental health and substance abuse social worker
- School social worker
Employers of MTSU alumni include
- ACLU of Tennessee
- Alzheimer's Association
- Behavioral Health Services
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters
- Catholic Charities
- Child Advocacy Center
- Domestic Violence Program
- Drug Court
- Greenhouse Ministries
- Mental Health Court
- MTSU Disabled Student Services
- Murfreesboro City Schools
- Nashville Vet Center
- Planned Parenthood
- Probation and Parole
- Project Help
- Rutherford County Schools
- Sunnington Assisted Living
- Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth
- Tennessee Department of Children's Services
Vet Success Center of MTSU
The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree at MTSU is offered through collaboration with Austin Peay State University and Tennessee State University. Students enrolled in online courses will interact with students from all three locations.
- need an overall GPA of 2.75 from undergraduate classes
- must take the Graduate Record Exam (no minimum required, but score is among many factors considered)
- should have completed basic liberal arts coursework as an undergraduate, which is usually fulfilled by meeting general education requirements
- are required to submit an essay and three letters of recommendation along with the application and the signed contract
Applications are due by Feb. 1.
Field education is an essential element of the graduate-level social work program. Master's candidates gain intensive experience from a 400-hour foundation placement (for those who enter the program without advanced standing) and a 500-hour concentration placement (for all M.S.W. students).
Students can be considered for advanced standing if they have an undergraduate degree in Social Work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Both the M.S.W. and B.S.W. programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and qualify the graduates for state licensure as a social worker.
The Department of Social Work also offers the undergraduate Bachelor of Social Work degree. An undergraduate minor is available in Social Welfare, and the department participates in an interdisciplinary minor in Health Care Services.
Social Work, Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice Concentration, M.S.W.
The purpose of the Master of Social Work program is to prepare students for advanced generalist social work practice with systems of all types and sizes in both rural and urban areas, to prepare knowledgeable and competent professionals, and to provide leadership in the development of social delivery services, especially public social services. The M.S.W. program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.
Candidates must be admitted to the graduate college of their home campus (MTSU, APSU, or TSU) and must also be admitted to the Mid-Tennessee Collaborative Master of Social Work program. Admission requirements include an earned undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Applicants interested in obtaining advanced standing must have completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited program and attained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in their undergraduate coursework. Students who hold a baccalaureate degree from a social work program outside the United States must have their transcript reviewed by CSWE for a determination of equivalency.
All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.
Admission to the M.S.W. program is limited and granted for Fall entry only. Review of applications for Fall admission begins on February 1 of each year and continues until capacity is reached. Applicants are encouraged to submit all required documents as early as possible.
- submit application with appropriate fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
- submit official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE);
- submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
- submit a supplementary application that requires the application form, the student contract, an essay, and three letters of recommendation from professionals who can address the applicant's interest in social work, potential for successfully completing a master's program, and potential for professional social work practice (available at www.mtsu.edu/socialwork/msw.php).
The M.S.W. degree is a 60-hour program as outlined below, including 30 hours of foundation courses and 30 hours of concentration courses. There are 9 hours of electives (3 from foundation courses and 6 from concentration courses). This is a non-thesis program with a capstone course culminating in a written comprehensive examination.
Curriculum: Social Work, Advanced Generalist Social Work Practice
Candidate must complete 60 hours in the following course of study:
Foundation Courses (27 hours)
- SW 6000 - MSW Practice I 3 credit hours
SW 6000 - MSW Practice I
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program. A social work methods course designed to enable the student to understand and apply social work methods within the context of the generalist perspective with individuals and families.
- SW 6010 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3 credit hours (online)
SW 6010 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program. An introduction to the theories and knowledge of the human bio-psycho-social development including theories and knowledge about the range of social systems in which individuals live (families, groups, organizations, agencies, and communities).
- SW 6020 - Research I 3 credit hours
SW 6020 - Research I
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program. This is a basic research and statistical methods course utilizing research in general inquiry and practice evaluation in social work with the generalist perspective.
- SW 6030 - Social Welfare Policy and Services 3 credit hours (online)
SW 6030 - Social Welfare Policy and Services
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program. The historical development, philosophical orientation, and analysis of U.S. social welfare policy and services including the global context. online delivery
- SW 6100 - MSW Practice II 3 credit hours
SW 6100 - MSW Practice II
Prerequisite: SW 6000 and SW 6010. A social work methods course designed to enable the student to understand and apply social work methods within the context of the generalist perspective with groups, agencies, and communities.
- SW 6110 - Social Justice and Equity for Multicultural Populations 3 credit hours (online)
SW 6110 - Social Justice and Equity for Multicultural Populations
Prerequisite: SW 6010. An overview of the professional commitment of social work to oppressed peoples. online delivery
- SW 6120 - Research II 3 credit hours
SW 6120 - Research II
Prerequisite: SW 6020. An advanced discussion of program evaluation strategies and single-system design issues. The student will conduct a research project.
- SW 6130 - Practicum IA 3 credit hours
SW 6130 - Practicum IA
Prerequisites: SW 6000, SW 6010, SW 6020, and SW 6030. May be taken concurrently with SW 6140. A 200-hour field practicum experience within the generalist perspective.
- SW 6140 - Practicum IB 3 credit hours
SW 6140 - Practicum IB
Prerequisites: SW 6000, SW 6010, SW 6020, and SW 6030. May be taken concurrently with SW 6130. A 200-hour field practicum experience within the generalist perspective.
Concentration Courses (24 hours)
- SW 6200 - Advanced Direct Practice with Individuals 3 credit hours
SW 6200 - Advanced Direct Practice with Individuals
Prerequisites: Practicum IA (SW 6130) and IB (SW 6140) or advanced standing admission. An advanced social work methods course that prepares students for practice with individuals including client assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
- SW 6210 - Advanced Practice with Families 3 credit hours ** OR
SW 6210 - Advanced Practice with Families
Prerequisites: Practicum IA (SW 6130) and IB (SW 6140) or advanced standing admission. Advanced practice with families including client system assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
- SW 6220 - Advanced Group Practice 3 credit hours **
SW 6220 - Advanced Group Practice
Prerequisites: Practicum IA (SW 6130) and IB (SW 6140) or advanced standing admission. Advanced practice with groups including client system assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
- SW 6230 - Advanced Macro Practice 3 credit hours
SW 6230 - Advanced Macro Practice
Prerequisites: Practicum IA (SW 6130) and IB (SW 6140) or advanced standing admission. The advanced generalist practice social work course designed to enable the student to understand and apply social work methods at the advanced generalist level.
- SW 6240 - Social Policy Analysis 3 credit hours (online)
SW 6240 - Social Policy Analysis
Prerequisites: Practicum IA (SW 6130) and IB (SW 6140) or advanced standing admission. A study of the design, implementation, and analysis of social policies and their impact on social work practice. online delivery
- SW 6300 - Empirical Social Work Practice 4 credit hours
SW 6300 - Empirical Social Work Practice
Prerequisites: Advanced Direct Practice with Individuals (SW 6200) and Advanced Practice with Families (SW 6210), or Advanced Practice with Individuals (SW 6220) Advanced Macro Practice (SW 6230), and Social Policy Analysis (SW 6240). A seminar in the integration of theoretical perspectives and the application of research findings and empirical outcome evaluation techniques to advanced generalist social work practice.
- SW 6310 - Practicum IIA 4 credit hours
SW 6310 - Practicum IIA
Prerequisites: Advanced Practice with Individuals (SW 6200) and Advanced Practice with Families (SW 6210) or Advanced Group Practice (SW 6220), Advanced Macro Practice (SW 6230), and Social Policy Analysis (SW 6240). May be taken concurrently with Practicum IIB (SW 6320). A 250-hour field practicum experience. Must be taken concurrently with Empirical Social Work Practice (SW 6300).
- SW 6320 - Practicum IIB 4 credit hours
SW 6320 - Practicum IIB
Prerequisites: If taken concurrently with SW 6130, prerequisites are the same. If not taken concurrently, SW 6310 is the prerequisite. May be taken concurrently with Practicum IIA (SW 6310) and Empirical Social Work Practice (SW 6300).
**Either course meets requirement; the other one may be taken as an elective.
Electives (6-9 hours)
- 9 credit hours of electives are required for the full program; 6 credit hours are required for the advanced standing program.
Future course topics will include children's mental health, trauma and recovery, neuroscience in social work, grant writing, domestic violence, school social work, child abuse and neglect treatment, community health, evidence-based substance abuse treatment, supervision in social work practice, military social work, and child welfare.
All M.S.W. students will be reviewed for candidacy by the social work faculty prior to beginning their second practicum. Students must obtain a favorable candidacy recommendation to remain in the program.
- file a degree plan with the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
- file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which they intend to graduate.
- MSW Student Handbook
- MSW Field Handbook
- MSW Program Application for Admission
- Apply to the College of Graduate Studies
Contact and Student Information
College of Graduate Studies
Department of Social Work
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 139
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
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