Master of Science in Social Work

The Kent School of Social Work offers a graduate program of study leading to the Master of Science in Social Work degree. The MSSW program is designed to help students achieve their maximum potential through a carefully structured curriculum of foundation and specialized courses.

The MSSW program offers a variety of both 60-hour and Advanced Standing 30-hour (for qualified BSW applicants) curriculum plans, including options for full-time, part-time, weekend and online classes. Both Foundation and Advanced years include an approximate 16 hour/week field practicum. There are opportunities to specialize in:  Military Social Work, School Social Work, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Gerontology, Mental Health, Psychosocial Oncology, and Leadership, Management and Supervision Specialization.

There are opportunities for Dual Degrees in Couple & Family TherapyPan-African Studies, Women & Gender Studies, Law, Divinity, and Healthcare Ethics (available to 60-hour on campus students only).

Looking for an international component? Click here to learn about our Social Work Exchange Program.

Are you a student currently attending a Historical Black College or University (HBCU)? Click here to learn more about our HBCU Cardinal Express to Success Program

The Kent School also offers a 100% online MSSW program through UofL Online Learning. Click here to learn about our online program


Cognitive Flexibility Theory as developed by Spiro (1990) guides the underlying curriculum philosophy. The main premise of the curriculum is to provide students strategies to learn challenging materials, to encourage flexibility in the use of knowledge, and to change the underlying ways of thinking. At the end of their studies students will achieve a deeper, more complex understanding of social work, they will be able to critically evaluate and contemplate the material while experimenting with the flexible application of the knowledge in a variety of contexts. This higher order of thinking that will be developed and promoted with the curriculum is referred to as critical thinking.

The curriculum is designed to enhance students’ ability to enable the diverse client systems they work with to make decisions that contribute to the quality and health of these clients systems. The focus will also be on decisions that promote social justice. The curriculum is designed to deliver graduate social workers who think critically about what they do, why they do it, and what outcomes they hope will results from the social work practice they do.

Instructions for selecting a curriculum plan

When registering for classes each semester, students should refer to their curriculum plan. The curriculum plans are used to ensure that students proceed through the MSSW program as quickly and successfully as possible. Students are required to follow their chosen curriculum plan every semester when registering for courses.

Please note: All students initial an agreement when admitted that they will follow their chosen curriculum plan while at the Kent School.  Before making any changes to their chosen curriculum plan, students must contact the MSSW advising team at .

Adding/Dropping classes not indicated on the curriculum plan may delay the students’ graduation date and/or affect their financial aid award.

Regular Program 60-hour students will have a curriculum plan with a single letter. Advanced Standing or 30-hour students will have a curriculum plan with double letters. Plans are available to for students who would like to begin their graduate studies in Fall, Spring, or Summer. During the Fall and Spring semesters, full-time status equals 9 or more hours, and part-time status equals 6 credit hours. During the Summer semester, full-time status equals 4.5  or more credit hours, and part-time status equals 3 credit hours.

2020-21 MSSW Student Handbook

Program Contact Information


Dr. Shawnise Miller, MSSW Program Director

Jennifer Foreman ,  MSSW Academic Affairs Program Manager

Connie Cox Uzzell , MSSW Academic Advising Coordinator

Chellie Giese , MSSW Academic Advising Coordinator