Master of Science in Social Work
Degree Awarded: MSSW
Program Webpage: http://louisville.edu/kent
Accreditation of the M.S.S.W.
The Master of Science in Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Master of Science in Social Work with a Specialization in Couple and Family Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Education.
The Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work prepares students to work in a society with complex social problems and needs. Rapidly becoming one of the top research social work programs in the country, the School is able to provide current research information in the preparation of its students for work with individuals, families and communities.
Social work is a profession concerned with the prevention and amelioration of social problems and the enhancement of the quality of human life. Social workers achieve these goals through direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and community organizations; advocacy; social planning; social policy analysis and formulation; research; and administration. Social work practice helps people mobilize their resources to deal with present circumstances and to enlarge their prospects for the future. Since problems of the individual cannot be seen in any meaningful way in isolation from the broad social and community context in which they occur, social work also takes a leadership role in bringing about institutional and social change.
Persons interested in admission to the Kent School should visit http://www.louisville.edu/kent, or attend a prospective student session. Please consult the Kent School website for a list of scheduled prospective student sessions.
Kent School seeks mature students with a demonstrated ability to work with people, emotional stability, good interpersonal skills, good health, and the ability to perform well academically. To ensure that entering students meet these standards, the faculty has set the following requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning;
- A minimum of 27 credit hours in the social sciences, i.e. communications (6), natural sciences (3), humanities (9), and social sciences (9);
- A minimum of three (3) credit hours in each of the following courses: statistics, research methodology, and human biology.
Additionally, an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 is recommended to be considered for admission to Kent School. While we consider applicants whose undergraduate GPA does not meet this standard, applicants with a GPA less than 2.75 must take the Miller Analogies Test or the Graduate Record Exam.
The application file is complete when all of the following are received by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292:
- Completed Graduate Admission application. Application forms are available on-line at http://louisville.edu/graduate/apply$60 non-refundable application processing fee.
- An official academic transcript is required from each college/university you have attended, including those at which you were enrolled for academic credit as a non-degree student and/or credits which you transferred to another college. All transcripts must bear the official seal and signature of the institution attended. You must request these transcripts directly from the Registrar or appropriate officer of each institution and ask that they send them directly to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville, 2211 South Brooks St., Houchens Building, Suite 105, Louisville, KY 40292. If you are a University of Louisville graduate, your U of L transcript will be provided automatically, with no request needed from you. Applicants with a cumulative grade point average less than 2.75 are required to submit an acceptable Miller Analogies Test (MAT) score or an acceptable Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score with their application. Dates of M.A.T. tests and test links to the GRE are available at louisville.edu/testing.
- Advanced Standing Admissions: Applicants who obtained a B.S.W. within the last seven years from an undergraduate social work program accredited or in candidacy by CSWE with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and a social work GPA of 3.25 may be eligible to apply to the Advanced Standing 30 credit hour program. B.S.W. applicants with less than a cumulative 3.0 GPA and a social work GPA of less than 3.25 will rarely be considered for the 30 credit hour program and will rarely be allowed to transfer social work coursework from their undergraduate degree toward their M.S.S.W. degree. Additionally, if an Advanced Standing applicant received a grade of “C” or lower in any social work foundation courses as a B.S.W., they may be asked to re-take these courses by the Admissions Committee as a condition of admission. Applicants who wish to be considered for 30 credit hour Advanced Standing program must submit their B.S.W. Practicum Field Evaluation and one of their three letters of recommendation must be from their Director of Field Education.
- Personal statement - Please see the M.S.S.W. Admissions section of Kent's website to find detailed information about Kent's personal statement requirements at www.louisville.edu/kent
- Agreements Packet--Please read, complete and sign all agreements in the Agreements packet found in the M.S.S.W. Application Checklist on Kent's website www.louisville.edu/kent (M.S.S.W .Admissions). Please include any required Addendums if relevant and emailed the completed packet to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org The Agreements in the packet are as follows:
- Academic Dishonesty Statement
- Release and Waiver
- Ethical Standards of Behavior Agreement
- Personal Commitment Contract
- Technology Agreement
- Title IX Agreement
- Practicum Agreement
- Advanced Standing Practicum Hour Inquiry
- Resume: Please include current/past employment as well as volunteer and service roles served. This can be emailed to email@example.com after you have submitted your online application.
- Addendum to Personal Statement: Submit an Addendum if you fulfill any of the following categories: ALL applicants: If there are gaps or deficiencies in your academic record or if you have ever had an academic review, please explain (recommended for all applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or less)
- Three recommendations - each submitted on a University of Louisville Recommendation of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies form in a sealed, signed envelope or by selecting the “online” option when completing the online graduate admission application. Applicants are encouraged to submit at least one academic recommendation. If the applicant has not enrolled in classes within the past five years, this requirement may be waived and an additional work reference substituted. Evaluations should be submitted from persons who have been directly responsible for assessing and supervising your human service related work/volunteer experience and academic performance. Avoid personal references (co-workers, mentors, advisors, friends, clergy, personal therapists, etc.). The Kent School requires three recommendation forms, however letters accompanying the forms are welcomed and strongly encouraged. Applicants who wish to be considered for the 30 credit hour Advanced Standing program must submit their B.S.W. Practicum Evaluation and one of their three letters of recommendation must be from their Director of Field Education, on-site Practicum Supervisor, or Practicum/Practice Instructor. The school reserves the right to request additional supportive material from persons acquainted with the applicant's academic and/or practice capabilities.
- Specializations: If you wish to be considered for any specializations, please check the M.S.S.W. Academics page of at our website http://www.louisville.edu/kent for any additional admission procedures, documents and deadlines necessary for consideration for admission to a particular specialization. Admission to these programs follows admission to Kent School but is not automatic. The deadline for all specializations is 1/30. Students accepted into the ONLINE M.S.S.W. program are not eligible for the Couple and Family Therapy or School Social Work specializations, as they are not offered online.
- Dual Degrees: If you wish to be considered for any of the dual degree programs, you must also complete the other unit's application process. Students accepted into the ONLINE M.S.S.W. program are not eligible for dual degrees.
- International students for whom English is not their primary language must show English proficiency by demonstration of a specified level of proficiency on the TOEFL exam or by successfully completing the exit examination for the advanced level of the Intensive English as a Second Language Program at the University of Louisville or by demonstration of a degree award from an acceptable English language institution. A score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL or a score of 79-80 on TOEFL is required. Scores must be submitted before a decision will be made on an application. More information at http://louisville.edu/graduate/futurestudents/international-applicants. A minimum score of 6.5 is required if taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). More information at www.ielts.org and www.ets.org/toefl International applicants may be required to be interviewed by the Admissions Committee for admission consideration. International students may be required to have their transcripts evaluated by a credential evaluation service in the U.S.Two possible services include: World Education Services, Inc., at www.wes.org and Educational Credential Evaluators at www.ece.org. Students may be required to participate in a brief telephone interview as part of the admissions process. When completing the I-20, students should note that they will be placed in a practicum as part of their education. Admitted students should contact the University of Louisville's International Center to determine if any other immigration documentation is necessary to begin practicum at http://louisville.edu/internationalcenter .
- M.S.S.W. Online U.S. Citizens Living Abroad and Outside of Kentucky: Applicants who live outside of the U.S. will need to consult with Kent's Director of Field Education, Lynetta Mathis, in advance of applying to the M.S.S.W. program to ensure the feasibility of meeting the practicum placement requirements in accordance with CSWE policies at firstname.lastname@example.org. A qualified practicum supervisor must be readily available (eg, the supervisor has an M.S.S.W./M.S.W. degree from a CSWE accredited institution or similar CSWE type accreditation) and/or the applicant must participate in identifying a qualified practicum supervisor with the support of the Field Education Office. Both applicants outside of the U.S. and outside of Kentucky must be willing to participate in the process of identifying a qualified practicum supervisor with the support of the Field Education Office. M.S.S.W. Online applicants in rural areas must consider that they may be required to travel to their practicum placements if no qualifying practicums are available in their local area. All of the above materials must be received in the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions by one of the deadlines listed below in the year in which you hope to begin coursework.
M.S.S.W. Entry Date
New 60 credit hour program students enroll in the fall semester only (except for those students applying to the Couple and Family Therapy specialization which has a summer start option). New 30 credit hour program students may enroll in the fall or summer semesters.
M.S.S.W. Admission Application Date
Consideration of applications begins in November. The final deadline varies as explained below, but because entry into the program is highly competitive, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early to ensure a space. All admissions materials must be received in the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions by the listed date in order for an applicant to be considered for admission by a particular deadline. Earlier applicants have more options and enjoy clear advantages. Kent School deadlines for admission are classified as follows:
January 30th Special Circumstances Deadline
Applicants who must meet this deadline:
- 81 credit hour M.S.S.W.-CFT specialization applicants (not available to online students)
- 30 credit hour applicants who wish to apply to any specialization (CFT and School social work are not available to Online students)
- All applicants who want a practicum placement the first year that is notalready established on Kent's Agency Roster. See Kent's website in the Field Education section for a list of agency rosters.
February 28th Early Bird
Applicants who must meet this deadline:
- 30 credit hour applicants who wish to start in the Summer
May 15 Traditional Deadline
*EXCEPTIONS TO DEADLINES
- Applications after January 30th for 30 credit hour Specializations (on campus and online) and the 81 credit hour M.S.S.W.-CFT specialization (on campus only) will only be considered if space in the specialization is available AND if an appropriate practicum site is readily available.
- Applications submitted after May 30th will be considered on a case by case basis if space allows and ONLY if the applicant is willing to choose a curriculum plan that delays practicum until the following year. (Plans C-D for 60 credit hour, and Plan EE for 30 credit hour; 30 credit hour applicants at this stage must also be working at a social service agency throughout the entire academic year to be eligible for these plans in order to execute the year-long research project that is required in the first year of this plan.
*Complete means all materials are received in the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions by deadline date.
M.S.S.W. Admission Status
The graduate curriculum is organized into a four (4) semester, sixty (60) credit hour sequence of classroom courses and field education over a 16 month period, progressing from a generalist base to advanced practice. Students who are admitted and do not have a Council on Social Work Education accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree enter the REGULAR PROGRAM [sixty (60) credit hour program]. Students who have graduated within the previous seven years from an undergraduate social work program accredited or in candidacy by CSWE with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, cumulative 3.25 in all social work foundation courses, and who have demonstrated good academic performance in their social work courses may be enrolled in ADVANCED STANDING and complete the thirty (30) credit hour advanced portion of the program. No academic credit is given for life or work experience.
Classes are available on campus during the day, evening and on Saturdays. Part-time students must enroll for a minimum of six (6) credit hours each semester. All part-time students enrolled in Kent School must complete the program within four years. For more information about all of the possible curriculum plans, please refer to the Kent School’s Website in the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the website, http://www.louisville.edu/kent
M.S.S.W. Dual Degree Programs (not available to online students or to 30 credit hour Advanced Standing students)
The Kent School also offers joint degrees with the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville (M.S.S.W./J.D.), the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary (M.S.S.W./M.Div.), the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville (M.S.S.W./M.A.) and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Louisville (M.S.S.W./M.A.) and the Department of Philosophy/Medical Humanities and Bioethics (M.S.S.W./M.A.). Applications must be submitted independently to each academic unit/institution. Additionally, the Kent School offers the opportunity to earn a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT), School Social Work, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Gerontology, Mental Health, Psychosocial Oncology or Military Social Work while obtaining the M.S.S.W. degree. In general, these programs require the student to take prescribed electives in a particular concentration, take a targeted advanced practicum, and participate in integrative seminars and/or supervision with the specialization cohort. Dual degree programs require additional coursework, while the specializations may require extra integrative seminars or supervision, as well as specified coursework. For more complete descriptions of these programs, please refer to the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the Kent School website: http://www.louisville.edu/kent
M.S.S.W./Master in Divinity
The joint M.S.S.W./M.Div. program recognizes the value of professional education in two interrelated fields and encourages students who have an interest in both ministry and social work to pursue these degrees simultaneously. A student may enter the dual degree program from social work or theology.
The dual M.S.S.W./J.D. program recognizes the value of interdisciplinary study and encourages students having an interest in both social work and law to pursue these degrees simultaneously. Social workers and lawyers often seek to address identical or related societal concerns, albeit from different perspectives; understanding both disciplines enhances one’s effectiveness in both professional capacities. Law courses strengthen the social worker’s understanding of legal doctrine and structures that have an impact on social institutions and human conditions; social work courses help lawyers to better understand human behavior, conflict resolution and social welfare institutions.
M.S.S.W./M.A. in Pan-African Studies
The dual M.S.S.W./M.A. program recognizes the value of professional education in two interrelated fields and encourages students who have an interest in both Pan-African Studies and Social Work to pursue these degrees simultaneously. Social workers and Pan-African studies scholars often seek to address identical or related societal concerns, albeit from different perspectives; understanding both disciplines enhances one’s effectiveness in both the analysis of and engagement with contemporary social and cultural issues. Pan-African Studies courses strengthen the social worker’s understanding of the historical foundations for policies and structures that have an impact on social institutions and human conditions; social work courses help Pan-African scholars or activists to better understand human behavior, conflict resolution and social welfare institutions. A Pan-African Studies and Social Work combination provides the tools of social change for an historic problem of racial injustice.
M.S.S.W./M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies
The dual M.S.S.W./M.A. program recognizes the value of professional education in two interrelated fields and encourages students who have an interest in both Women’s and Gender Studies and Social Work to pursue these degrees simultaneously. Social workers and Women’s and Gender Studies scholars often seek to address identical or related societal concerns, albeit from different perspectives; understanding both disciplines enhances one’s effectiveness in both the analysis of and engagement with contemporary social and cultural issues. Women’s and Gender Studies courses strengthen the social worker’s understanding of the historical foundations for policies and structures that have an impact on social institutions and human conditions; social work courses help Women’s and Gender Studies scholars or activists to better understand human behavior, conflict resolution and social welfare institutions. A Women’s and Gender Studies and Social Work combination provides the tools of social change for an historic problem of gender inequality and injustice.
M.S.S.W./M.A. in Bioethics and Medical Humanities
The dual M.S.S.W./M.A. degree program focuses on providing our social work graduates a contextual experience within the interdisciplinary fields that comprise bioethics in addition to the development of social work skills. Bioethics is an inherently interdisciplinary field, located principally at the intersection of philosophy, the law, and the health care professions, such as clinical medicine and nursing, but drawing as well from social science disciplines as diverse as sociology, clinical psychology, and social work. In addition to any career options presented by the M.S.S.W., degree holders may then participate in hospital ethics committees, teach medical ethics and humanities, or be prepared for future doctoral-level work in medical ethics and humanities.
For more complete descriptions of the following specializations, please refer to the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the Kent School website:http://www.louisville.edu/kent
Couple and Family Therapy Specialization (CFT)--not available to online students
Students may complete the Specialization in Couple and Family Therapy program as part of the M.S.S.W. degree. The program prepares students for clinical practice with families in the context of their communities, particularly those families who are disadvantaged and/or typically underserved. Completion of the program prepares students for licensure as a couple and family therapist in Kentucky and for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The M.S.S.W./CFT specialization requires 21 graduate credit hours in addition to the 60 credit hours required for the M.S.S.W. Only a limited amount of students can be admitted to this specialization; for more information on application specifics, prospective students should access the program's website at http://louisville.edu/kent/academics/
School Social Work Specialization--not available to online students
M.S.S.W. students who want to practice social work in a school setting can earn a school social work specialization within the Kent School master’s curriculum. Students who select this specialization learn how to help children and families overcome barriers to learning through home intervention. Those who complete the specialization meet the Kentucky Council on Teacher Education’s requirements for certification as a school social worker.
Alcohol and Drug Counselor Specialization
Substance abuse is widely recognized as one of the top health problems in the USA and is attracting increasing attention and funding. However, there is an identified shortage of qualified addiction counselors--and students who prepare themselves for a career in chemical dependency can hope to gain immediate employment after graduation, and possibly before. In this regard, students should be aware of a professional certification, the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification, that is valued by addiction treatment agencies with comparable respect and compensation as the Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) qualification. For those who are interested in initiating their careers in a clinical substance abuse treatment setting, they can begin to fulfill specialized requirements of the CADC certification while completing normal requirements of the M.S.S.W. program. The Kent School ’s ADCS program will (1) satisfy many of the requirements of the CADC program; (2) teach specialized knowledge and skills; (3) provide formal recognition of students' specialized knowledge; (4) position students for employment and advancement in a broad array of specialized substance abuse roles; and (5) include specialized faculty mentoring and suggestions on finding employment.
The nation's burgeoning aging population is increasing the demand for well-trained and competent social workers to respond to the needs of older adults and their families. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that geriatric social work is one of the most rapidly growing occupations, with the promise of job security. Start-up funding for this specialization was provided by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine and Social Work Leadership Institute, through a nationally known Practicum Partnership Program centered on competency-focused leadership education and rotation field practicums with community experts. Kent School was one of a handful of programs nationwide selected to be a part of this exciting initiative.
Mental Health Specialization
The mental health specialization prepares students to enter into the mental health field by focusing on theoretical perspectives regarding the course and etiology of mental illness, diagnostic and assessment skills, evidence-based approaches, knowledge of mental health services, policies, and programs in the context of social work practice and values. Students complete their advance practicum rotation in a mental health setting providing the opportunity to build collaborative and interdisciplinary skills and professional identity by integrating knowledge with an intricate understanding of mental health practice, policy and service delivery.
Psychosocial Oncology Specialization
The Kent School of Social Work offers the first specialization in psychosocial oncology in the nation. The high rate of cancer on local, national, and global levels and the potential shortage of oncology social workers are creating the demand for skilled practitioners. Responding to the growing need for social workers who are trained in cancer care, this program will prepare students with the knowledge and skills for meeting the psychosocial health needs of persons with cancer and their families. Students will learn how to apply skills such as assessment, counseling, palliative care, program planning and evaluation in cancer care settings. Our students work in a variety of health settings in the full range of care for cancer patients.
The Master of Science in Social Work –Military Social Work Specialization program is designed to prepare students to provide services to persons who have served or are serving in the military and their families. The specialization focuses on theoretical perspectives, and policy implications concerning problems facing service members and their families as well as programs and application of interventions to ameliorate them. It is recognized that those seeking assistance from problems associated with military service may be seen in a myriad of programs both inside and outside the frame of the more traditionally recognized military service delivery systems. Thus students can complete an advanced practicum rotation from one of the many settings which provide the opportunity to work with military members their families or retirees. During their practicum students will be able to hone their skills and collaborate with other professions in the provision of services for this population by integrating knowledge learned with practice.
For a complete description of possible 30 and 60 credit hour curriculum plans, please refer to the Kent School website: http://www.louisville.edu/kent
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.
This curriculum philosophy responds well to social work as an ever changing and evolving profession which responds to the radically changing needs and demands of society. It is impossible for any curriculum to address each problem or case example social work graduates may face in their practice. Cognitive flexibility theory provides avenues and tools for students to integrate their learning experiences in such a way as to maximize their potential to meet the demands of the profession upon graduation. 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.
Critical thinking is defined as "the intellectual disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief or action" (Scriven & Paul, 2004). Critical thinking includes specific skills such as problem-solving and the ability to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines and theories of human behavior. Throughout the curriculum, there is an emphasis on critical reflection, or appraisal of various points of view no matter what the source. The curriculum draws heavily on social science knowledge and integrates this with problem-solving phases such as assessment, intervention, and evaluation. In this respect, the curriculum is designed to teach students to access, integrate, and assess practice and policy related research to solve social problems and to work towards social justice. When critical thinking skills are used effectively, it leads to transparency and promotes social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people.
Bruner's spiral curriculum format (1991) is used to implement the above mentioned cognitive flexibility philosophy in the development of higher order critical thinking skills. With this format, topics are revisited throughout the curriculum, while increasing the level of difficulty, complexity and depth of the area and linking new knowledge or information to previous levels of learning on the same topic to increase the competency of the students. Students will be introduced in the foundation curriculum to different strategies on how to develop critical thinking. In the advanced curriculum, students will move towards a higher level of complexity in their thinking because they will be required to analyze problems from multiple perspectives, evaluate multiple sources of evidence, and address complex issues and problems incorporating multiple level forces on client systems.
M.S.S.W. Foundation Curriculum
The foundation curriculum promotes a generalist perspective in which the simultaneous impact of many systemic levels (individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities) on clients' lives is critically analyzed and recognized. The foundation builds upon a liberal arts base that fosters an understanding of society as a complex organization of diverse people and ideas. Social problems are understood as occurring within the nexus of culture, conflict, development, ecology, and systems and as such, efforts to help or intervene must include consideration of these forces. Students will be able to critically identify and assess social problems, specifically attending to 1) how such problems are maintained, 2) how they impact the quality of people's life, 3) cultural sensitivity and appreciation of marginalized people, and 4) how to actively promote social and economic justice. In the foundation year, the focus is on the development of critical thinking skills in all the areas mentioned.
M.S.S.W. Advanced Curriculum - Advanced Social Work Practice
The advanced curriculum seeks to develop the utilization and application of critical thinking on all levels - in reading professional writing and research, in students' practica, in the classroom, and in the students' own thinking. Consistently monitoring practice ethically, evaluating theoretical principles and epistemologies, and utilizing technological advances become basic practice patterns. Specific skill sets developed include: 1) Creating, organizing and integrating ideas and action on engaging diverse client systems effectively in change; 2) Assessing, conceptualizing and analyzing theoretical, practice and research problems from multiple perspectives and utilize critical thinking skills to formulate impressions based upon the data; 3) Analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating the evidence available to guide advanced social work practice; 4) Synthesizing, formulating and implementing a plan of action for social work practice that addresses complex issues and problems, builds consensus and incorporates multiple-level forces on client systems; 5) Analyzing and evaluating data of client progress and outcomes and assess implications and consequences of this progress and outcomes; 6) Synthesizing, creating, and organizing ideas from theory, research and practice for social justice; and 7) Demonstrating the ability to integrate culturally competent skills into all aspects of social work practice.
These skills will be used to actively pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed client systems. Students will learn how to become leaders in social change efforts focused primarily on issues of poverty, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice.
To assist graduates in their future professional careers, these skills are organized around three practice foci: 1) children and families, 2) health and mental health, and 3) community and international practice. These domains give opportunity for students to focus on clustered learning within the context of these fields of practice. Recognizing that the employment of students after graduation is often a function of geography and personal circumstance, the school allows students the programmatic option of combining interests among focus areas.
While curricular options do exist for students to develop a certain subject-matter expertise, the recognition of the School that it needs to prepare students more broadly places the principal focus of the concentration work on a high-level critical thinking about social work engagement and also on the translational knowledge and skills that support the graduates' movement from one field of practice to another. Once students learn how to learn and how to think about social work practices, and they understand the components of ethical practice and the responsibility to increase specific field-of-practice expertise, they will be better equipped to practice in a world where knowledge changes and transforms what we do on a rapidly accelerating curve.
M.S.S.W. Practicum Education
For additional information, please go to: http://www.louisville.edu/kent. All students admitted to the 60 credit hour program are required to satisfactorily complete SW 670, SW 671, SW 672 and SW 673 (900 clock hours) in approved practicum sites. Students admitted to the 30 credit hour program are required to satisfactorily complete SW 672 and SW 673 (450 clock hours) practicum in an approved site. A growing number of students face the necessity of having to be employed full-time while undertaking their M.S.S.W. degree requirements. The Kent School faculty understands this and tries to address such circumstances through both the evening and weekend classroom course schedules, but it is important to note there are no evening and weekend practicum options. The school’s present policies about on-job field placements are explained below and in The Field Education Handbook which can be found in the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the Kent School website, http://www.louisville.edu/kent. If employed in a human services agency meeting the Kent school’s criteria as a placement site, the student may apply to undertake the practicum at her/his place of employment. This may be accomplished when the agency is willing to shift the student’s work role and supervision in such a manner as necessary to meet the school’s educational objectives for practicum instruction.
Practicum education is offered in a concurrent format so that students enrolled in a practicum course must be enrolled simultaneously in a practice course, i.e.; SW 670 with SW 604 (Foundation Practice I), SW 671 with SW 605 (Foundation Practice II), SW 672 with SW 640 (Adv Prac II), and SW 673 with SW 677 (Adv Prac III).
The Kent School of Social Work provides electives as enrichment to the specialized learning in the advanced year. Social work jobs call for skills and knowledge that are broader than any narrowly defined specialization. For example, mental health workers are asked to know psychopathology, substance abuse, managed care, AIDS, and a range of other substantive areas. Many school social workers share the need for the same content. In addition, it is noted that social workers frequently change jobs, often to another field of practice. Social work education seeks to teach students to think critically, analyze systematically, and know where to find information and resources within the context of social work history, development and values. It is this type of education that best prepares students to function in a rapidly changing society.
In this curriculum paradigm, electives are considered enrichment. Some of this enrichment is in the form of very specific course content that aligns with a specific focus area or specialization. For example, a person interested in the health and mental health focus area, may elect to take a course in psychopathology to prepare for work in private practice or a mental health center. In another case, the enrichment may take the form of a complementary course such as a student focused on children and families taking a management course to prepare for career possibilities or the student interested in community and international practice, taking a course in family intervention to understand the complexities of family practice. Or, the enrichment may take the form of exploration as in the case of the student taking an aging or child welfare course to better understand those fields of practice and to prepare for various job prospects. Finally, the enrichment may include a course of general interest such as a women’s issues course which crosses numerous focus areas, but may not correspond specifically to the direct focus of the student.
Students are eligible to take electives anytime following completion of the foundation curriculum, or at a minimum, after completing 2 human behavior courses, 2 social policy courses and the social justice practice course OR with a curriculum plan that has concurrent enrollment with the final sequence of these courses. This coursework forms the basis of understanding social work concepts sufficiently to generate enrichment interest. Students are discouraged from taking practice-focused electives until completing generalist practice courses or at least taking such coursework concurrently. The program leading to the degree of Master of Science in Social Work focuses on developing professional leaders in social work practice. The program connects an intensive academic component with a practicum, allowing the student to learn and immediately apply theory.
M.S.S.W. 60 Credit Hour Regular Program
Students who are admitted and do not have a Council on Social Work Education accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree enter the 60 credit hour REGULAR PROGRAM. This program can be completed in different ways of which the shortest period is two years and the longest period is four years. Specific plans are outlined under Curriculum Plans in the Kent School online catalog found in the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the Kent School website, http://www.louisville.edu/kent. The next listing provides a basic description of the courses needed to complete this program (all courses are 3 credit hours each):
Name and Number of Course - Semesters offered
SOC 601 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (HBSE) - Fall
SOC 619 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (HBSE) - Spring
SOC 602 Social Welfare Institutions, Policies and Services - Fall
SOC 622 Issues in Policy & Service Delivery - Spring
SOC 603 Social Justice Practice - Fall and Summer
SOC 604 Social Work Practice I - Fall
SOC 605 Social Work Practice II - Spring
SOC 670 Practicum I (16 clock hours per week) - Fall
SOC 671 Practicum II (16 clock hours per week) - Spring
SOC 626 Research Methodology - Spring (only weekdays and online) and Summer
(Pre-requisite: all Foundation Courses)
Name and Number of Course - Semesters offered
SOC 641 Advanced Social Work Practice I (must be taken in the same semester or in the Summer before 640) - Summer and Fall
SOC 640 Advanced Social Work Practice II - Fall
SOC 677 Advanced Social Work Practice III - Spring
SOC 668 Adv Research Practice I - Fall
SOC 669 Adv Research Practice II -Spring
SOC 672 Adv Practicum I (16 hours per week) - Fall
SOC 673 Adv Practicum II (16 hours per week) - Spring
Electives (3 electives are required - 9 credit hours) - Fall, Summer, Spring and online
M.S.S.W. 30 Credit Hour Advanced Standing Program
Students holding a CSWE accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 and a 3.25 cumulative GPA in all social work foundation courses and who have demonstrated good academic performance in their social work courses may be enrolled in the 30 credit hour ADVANCED STANDING Program. This program equates to completing the 30 credit hour advanced portion of the 60 credit hour program. No academic credit is given for life or work experience. Advanced Standing is limited to applicants who have earned B.S.W. degrees within the last seven years, at the time of enrollment in the Kent School. This program can be completed in different ways of which the shortest period is one year and the longest period is two years. Specific plans are outlined under Curriculum Plans in the Kent School online catalog found in the M.S.S.W. Academics section of the Kent School website, http://www.louisville.edu/kent. The next listing provides a basic description of the courses needed to complete this program (all courses are 3 credit hours each);
(Pre-requisite: B.S.W. from a CSWE accredited college within the last seven years)
Name and Number of Course - Semesters offered
SOC 641 Advanced Social Work Practice I (must be taken in the same semester or in the Summer before 640) - Summer and Fall
SOC 640 Advanced Social Work Practice II - Fall
SOC 677 Advanced Social Work Practice III - Spring
SOC 668 Adv Research Practice I - Fall
SOC 669 Adv Research Practice II - Spring
SOC 672 Adv Practicum I (16 clock hours per week) - Fall
SOC 673 Adv Practicum II (16 clock hours per week) - Spring
Electives (3 electives are required - 9 credit hours) - Fall, Summer and Spring
M.S.S.W. Online Program
There are two options for earning a Master of Social Work degree online:
- Standard 60 credit hour M.S.S.W.--starting every fall (one start per year). Current and future social work professionals who have a bachelor's degree in any area of study other than Social Work can complete a 60 credit hour program and earn a Master in Social Work degree online, from the comfort of their home or office while working and/or taking care of the family.
- Advanced Standing 30-hr M.S.S.W.--starts summer and fall (two starts per year). Social Work professional who have already earned a Bachelor of Social Work within the last seven years may enroll in the M.S.S.W. online degree and complete a 30 credit hour program. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate coursework GPA of 3.0, and a minimum Social Work coursework GPA of 3.25.
Students admitted to the Master of Science in Social Work Online program may choose to apply to a specialization in the areas of: Psychosocial Oncology, Gerontology, Mental Health, Military Social Work or Alcohol and Drug Counseling. 30 credit hour Advanced Standing online applicants must apply by the 1/30 deadline, while 60 credit hour regular program online students will apply while in the program during the January before their advanced year. More information about specializations and the admissions requirements can be found on Kent's website in the M.S.S.W. Academics section http://www.louisville.edu/kent
The online program's structure, quality and rigorous coursework mirror those in the on-campus program. The combination of online learning and real-world practicum (hands-on supervised field instruction, completed in the community of choice) helps our students gain valuable field-related knowledge as well as critical thinking, self-discipline and time management skills.
Coordinator, Mental Health Specialization
Professor & Distinguished University Scholar
Director of Bachelors Program
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Coordinator, School Social Work Specialization
Coordinator, Gerontology Specialization
Coordinator, Psychosocial Oncology Specialization
Coordinator, Military Specialization
Director, Field Education
Director of Doctoral Program
Affiliated Assistant Professor
Director, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization
Associate Dean of Research
Associate Dean of Student Services