How Much Will I Pay?
Tuition & Aid
Additional costs may include practicum insurance and NASW annual membership.
Scholarship Application Deadlines: January 31 - May 15
- Develop the critical thinking, self-discipline and time management skills needed to succeed in our evolving social environment.
- Skip the GRE – not required for admission.
- Two degree completion tracks:
- Complete the Advanced Standing (30 hours) program within 2-5 semesters.
- Complete the Regular (60 hours) program within 4-8 semesters.
- Learn from award-winning, nationally renowned and highly experienced faculty.
- Gain hands-on experience; complete a practicum (900 hours of supervised practice) in a social service organization of your choice, within your state of residence.
- Students from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) can take advantage of the Kent School's HBCU Cardinal Express to Success initiative.
- Join one of the best schools for social work, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
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100% ONLINE COURSES
Complete this degree on your own time through fully online coursework and learning resources.
30/60 CREDIT HOURS
Advanced Standing (30 credits) program requires a BSW; Regular program (60 credits) requires a bachelor’s in any discipline.
#1 SOCIAL WORK
PROGRAM IN KY
Rated the No.1 social work program in Kentucky by US News and World Report.
"The social work profession is important to make sure that those who don't have a voice can be heard. It's a daunting task, however I feel like the University of Louisville has prepared me for it."
ONLINE MSSW STUDENT
Employment of social workers is expected to increase by 16% during the 2016-2026 decade (bls.gov
)—and graduating with an advanced social work degree can open the door to new professional opportunities.
With UofL’s online master’s in social work, you’ll be eligible to become a Certified Social Worker (CSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). View the licensing requirements for the state(s) in which you want to practice.
As an MSSW graduate, you’ll also be qualified to pursue careers across a variety of fields including but not limited to:
- Children and Family Advocacy
- APS Investigation
- Community Action
- Oncology Social Work
- Volunteer Coordination
- Substance Abuse
- Mental Health
- International practice
- Case Management
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"Social workers can have very versatile careers. You can work in a one-on-one context as a counselor or as a private clinician. I personally do marketing, but you can also do communications, PR… You can do any sort of policy or government type job or work as a social worker for a corporation. There’s a plurality of career pathways that social work can prepare you for."
UofL Online MSSW Graduate '17
You can join the MSSW online in either Advanced or Regular Standing program, depending on previous academic career. If you earned your Bachelor of Social Work within the last seven years, you qualify for the 30-hour Advanced Standing program. Otherwise, you should apply for the Regular 60-hour program.
|Preferred Application Deadline
*30-hour applicants, please note that eligibility to select a concentration may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis
Steps to Apply
- Complete application for admission
- Submit $65 non-refundable application fee
- Submit all official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work from all previous
- Check for Scholarships
Note: Electronic transcripts are only accepted directly from the institution(s). Please have electronic transcripts sent directly to UofL Graduate Admissions Office.
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Is Social Work Right For You?
Because the social work profession requires full commitment and life-long dedication to the wellbeing and advancement of others, we strongly encourage you to review the NASW Code of Ethics before applying to a master’s in social work online degree program.
Ensure your beliefs and behaviors align with the social work profession's mission, ethical principles and core values.
Use the MSSW Application Checklist for specific instructions on everything you must submit with your MSSW application. This checklist helps you review requirements, keep track of the documentation you have and identify the documentation you still need to obtain.
Note: If applying to a specialization, you must submit a separate essay per published instructions. See the Specializations tab for more information.
Send all materials to:
University of Louisville
2211 S. Brook Street
Louisville, KY 40292
Do Not Wait!
Because our CSWE-accredited online master of social work program is highly competitive, we encourage you to submit your online application as soon as possible. You can continue to gather the other required materials and submit before the deadline. Spaces are limited and the online program often fills up before the deadline. Strong applications submitted after the deadline may be considered by the Admissions Committee on a case-by-case basis, only as space allows.
DEADLINE TO APPLY: January 31 - May 15
In addition to the financial aid opportunities offered by the University, the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science also offers various scholarships available to students who plan to practice in rural Kentucky and students with an interest in working in gerontology, policy or legislative areas. View the scholarship application document for more information.
For more information on the admission and application process, please contact our Online Learning Enrollment Counselor at 800.871.8635 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help you proceed through the MSSW program as quickly and successfully as possible, follow your chosen curriculum plan when registering for courses each semester. Should you choose a concentration, please refer to the Advanced Standing 30-hour curriculum plans for more information regarding concentration electives.
Foundation Level Courses
(Regular 60-hour program students start here.)
SW 601 – Human Behavior & the Social Environment I (3)
SW 602 – Social Welfare Policy I (3)
SW 603 – Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice Practice (3)
SW 604 – Micro Social Work Practice (3)
SW 605 – Macro Social Work Practice (3)
SW 619 – Human Behavior & the Social Environment II (3)
SW 622 – Social Welfare Policy II (3)
SW 626 – Research Methodology & Design (3)
SW 670 – Foundation SW Practicum I (3)
SW 671 – Foundation SW Practicum II (3)
Advanced Level Courses
(Advanced standing 30-hour program students begin here, or with electives.)
SW 640 – EBP Indvidls Fams Groups (3)
SW 641 – Social Justice Policy (3)
SW 642 – Psychopathology (3)
SW 668 – Program Evaluation in SW (3)
SW 672 – Specialized Social Work Practicum I (3)
SW 673 – Specialized Social Work Practicum II (3)
SW 677 – Mezzo and Integrates SW (3)
|Advanced Level Electives
(Choose 3 courses)
||Minimum Total for MS in Social Work (Standard 60-hour program)
||Minimum Total for MS in Social Work (Advanced Standing 30-hour program ONLY)
1All Regular 60-hour program MSSW students must begin with the Foundation Level Courses
2All Advanced Standing 30-hour program MSSW students begin with the Advanced Level Courses and/or Advanced Level Electives
* Must be taken with SW 640 Adv SW Practice II and SW 672 Adv Practicum I
** Must be taken with SW 677 Adv SW Practice III and SW 673 Adv Practicum II
In order to graduate from the MSSW program, you will be required to complete supervised practice at a social service organization in your state of residence prior to graduation (check state authorization info for requirements in your state).
- Foundation Practicum requires 16 hours/week or 450 hours/year.
- Advanced Practicum requires 18 hours/week or 500 hours/year.
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Sample Course Descriptions
The set of questions and answers outlined below can help you learn more about our program, delivery method, application and admission process, financial aid options and how to succeed as an online student at UofL.
MSSW Program FAQ
Can you get a degree in social work online?
Absolutely! At UofL, we strive to deliver the same quality of excellence through our online programs as we do in our on-campus programs. Earning your social work degree online at UofL means you’ll learn all the same things, be taught by the same Kent School faculty, complete the same courses through online classes and gain the same UofL experience as traditional MSSW students. UofL’s online accredited social work degree is 100% equivalent to earning your degree on-campus.
If you have questions about how feasible an online graduate degree in social work is for your life, contact an enrollment counselor today!
Do I need a BSW to enter this program?
No, the Regular 60-hour MSSW program is designed for those who have not yet attained a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW). If you currently hold a BSW from a CSWE accredited institution, earned within the last seven years, you may be able to enroll into the Advanced Standing 30-hour program. Preferred applicants for the Advanced Standing 30-hour program have a preferred undergraduate coursework GPA of 3.0 and a preferred Social Work coursework GPA of 3.25.
What does MSSW stand for? What does MSW stand for?
MSSW is the acronym for Master of Science in Social Work. Alternatively, MSW is the acronym for Master of Social Work.
Is there a difference between MSW and MSSW degrees?
Not really. A Master of Social Work (MSW degree) and a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW degree) have similar required coursework as mandated by the accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Are specializations available to MSSW Online students?
MSSW online students may select a concentration in: Psychosocial Oncology, Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Military Social Work or Gerontology. There are also many other electives offered online and most Kent MSSW students do not select a concentration.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages to choosing a concentration?
The majority of Kent MSSW students do not choose a concentration; instead choosing a variety of MSSW electives. Some students have a very specific interest in gaining a knowledge base and practice skills with a particular population due to a desire to work with that population post-graduation. In this scenario, having specialized coursework and a practicum that provides experience working with that population can be an asset in making the graduate a stronger applicant in the job market in that particular area. Whether or not a graduate chooses to acknowledge their concentration on their resume is entirely optional. Students typically list their practicum placements on their resume, but whether or not to highlight the electives taken (whether specializing or not) is up to the graduate. The only disadvantage would be not having the ability to take a more varied approach to electives, given that most social workers tend to work with several different client populations over the course of their career. However, students can obtain permission from the Program Manager of Academic Affairs to take additional electives on top of their concentration electives if they so desire, or may wish to apply to return to Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science as a post-masters student after graduation to take additional electives whether for professional development or licensure preparation.
Are dual degrees available to online master’s degree in social work students?
At this time, dual degrees are not available to online master’s degree in social work online students.
What can I do with an (msw) Master’s in Social Work?
Advanced social work degrees create new professional opportunities for graduates. You’ll be qualified to become a Certified Social Worker (CSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). You’ll also be prepared to pursue careers in areas including: family advocacy, human services, shelters, community practice, mental health, substance abuse, clinical social work, case management and more. To ensure you’re choosing the right program, review the licensing requirements for the state(s) in which you want to practice.
I work full-time. Can I have a practicum in the evenings and/or weekends?
Think of the social work practicum as you would a medical resident’s internship; you must study under the guidance of someone with the credentials you are seeking. Thus, you must be supervised in your practicum by a social worker with a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program, and a minimum of two years of post-masters experience.
Most social workers work Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. You may need to flex your work schedule to adapt some time for the practicum during the weekdays. On occasion, a social worker may have an evening or weekend program, such as a group counseling session or an educational program, but this may be only once a week or even once a month for maybe two hours.
You may want to explore with your employer the possibilities of moving some of your work activities into the evenings and weekends, so you will have some day hours reserved for the practicum. You may also explore the option of shifting to 80% time, keeping your full employee benefits, but working only four days a week and saving the fifth day for the practicum. Additionally, you may want to consider shifting to part-time work during the period you are taking your practicum. During the foundation practicum, students work 16 hours weekly at the placement site which totals 225 hours each semester. Students are in practicum for two consecutive semesters totaling 450 hours for the academic year. During the advanced practicum, 17 hours weekly at the placement site which totals 250 hours each semester. Students are in practicum for two consecutive semesters which totals 500 hours for the academic year.
I plan on getting a new job. Can my new job count as my practicum?
An employee and a student have two different roles and obligations and expectations. As an employee, you are required to satisfy the work expectations of the employer. As a practicum student, you are in an academic course with requirements to satisfy the educational expectations in the syllabus and those of your practicum faculty.
As a student, you need time to reflect on your practice experiences, perhaps to use some different approaches in your practice than is the custom at the employment site, to challenge some of the accepted practices at your job, and to carry a learner’s size workload. Accreditation also requires that these two roles be clearly separated. If you are employed a minimum of six months or completed your employer’s probation period by the beginning of the semester, then you may also wish to explore the possibility of doing an Employment Approved Practicum. The guidelines for this option are available on the Field Education Program Webpage.
I have several years of social services experience. Can I get credit for that and waive the practicum requirement?
Accreditation standards require that social work programs may not grant course credit for life experience or previous work experience. In a practicum, students will be supervised by someone with a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program and with a minimum of two years of post-master’s experience. This promotes the student’s identity with the profession of social work and encourages the development of values, social work ethics, and the approaches used by this profession.
Work experiences of students may or may not have had such supervision guidance and may not have readily allowed for the student as employee to take time during the work day to reflect on the organization’s practice methods, or to challenge some of the current practices, or to be granted the opportunities to attempt new ways of interventions. All of these are expectations in the practicum when the student can indulge in a learner’s stance to practice under the mentorship of a qualified educational supervisor.
Can I do my practicum in the summer?
The practicum and the practice courses are co-requisites and must be taken concurrently. These courses are offered only during the Fall and Spring semesters and Spring and Summer semesters. The practicum is a two consecutive semesters course.
Can I get paid for my practicum?
It is extremely rare to get paid for a practicum. Very few agencies have extra monies available to pay students and those that do are usually advanced practicum sites. Even then, the funds may not be available in any given year due to the economy and changing funding streams. Students may consult with the UofL Financial Aid office to inquire about financial resources. Students may also consult with the Kent School admissions office to inquire about scholarships.
How do I go about getting a practicum? Am I responsible to find my own placement?
Upon admission, new students - who intend to start practicum in their first semester - must complete and submit a practicum application.
You will collaborate with an assigned Field Coordinator to discuss your areas of interest and to settle on several possible placements. A formal referral letter emailed instructing you to complete an interview with a site and to arrive at a mutual agreement between you and the agency. As students complete their prospective practicum site interviews and a match is confirmed by the student and the agency, then placement spots are filled. Other students must select among the remaining agencies still available for their practicum.
I am a student in the fully online program, how does this practicum work?
The requirements for practicum remain the same for students participating in the fully online program just as for the students in the on-campus program. Students will be placed in a human service organization in a location close to where the student lives. The student will collaborate with a field coordinator in identifying potential practicum settings near the student’s residence.
The student, the agency field instructor, and the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science field faculty will meet for all the same scheduled sessions (initial visit, mid-term and final evaluations for each semester) as for the on-campus students, except the meetings will be conducted via videoconferencing. The student and agency field instructor will need to arrange for use of a computer with a camera, mic, and internet connection for those scheduled videoconferences. The practicum orientation for online students is conducted online by their Kent School field faculty.
Can I meet with my faculty advisor to help me plan my practicum and other classes?
It is always advisable to consult with your faculty advisor about your career plans and your choice of electives and specializations offered within the Kent School curriculum.
Once you have narrowed down your focus area for your studies, then it is most helpful to consult with a field education coordinator for available agency sites specific to your interest. You will meet with your faculty advisor at the new student orientation and will retain that advisor throughout your time at the Kent School. Prior to the new student orientation, you are welcome to explore your interests with any faculty member at the Kent School. You must follow exactly the course listing and sequence of the classes as they are listed on the curriculum plan you chose when you accepted admission to the Kent School.
Can I start the practicum early, during the summer, to spread out my hours and ease my schedule during the semester when I am taking all of the other classes?
The practicum is an academic course, earning academic credit and a grade, just as all the other courses in the curriculum leading to a degree. Thus, the practicum begins with other courses at the start of the semester. Some agencies, particularly medical settings, require students to complete an orientation to their organization prior to beginning the practicum. This usually is 2-4 days long and is routinely scheduled by the organization at set monthly intervals. In such circumstances, students are permitted to attend their agency orientation prior to the start of the semester and can count those hours towards the total hours required for the semester practicum. Students should first inform the Field Office about such required orientations. After completion of the early, required agency orientation, students then wait until the start of the Fall semester to continue in the practicum.
When is the practicum class scheduled? It is listed as “TBA” on the class schedule.
In the master’s program, there is campus-based class for the practicum. Instead, all weekly hours of the practicum are spent in the placement agency. “TBA” represents the assigned placement site.
Are there field seminars for this practicum?
There are no field seminars in the master’s program at the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science. All hours of the practicum are spent in the community at the placement agency. Because the practicum is co-requisite with the practice course, there are opportunities to discuss some activities from the practicum in the practice class, too. Of course, there may be opportunities to share experiences from the practicum in other classes, as well, which help to integrate the theories and the practice of social work.
I know a really good private therapist with whom I would like to study. Can I do my practicum with this person?
In keeping with the historical mission of social work in serving the needs of a diverse and underserved population, students are placed in public and non-profit agencies for their practicum. We recognize that some students aspire to a career in private therapy and encourage those students to pursue their goal following graduation when their new credentials will better provide for such opportunities.
There are no social workers at the agency I am interested in, but some very good supervisors with degrees in other disciplines. Can one of them supervise me in my practicum?
Accreditation requires that students be supervised by someone with a master’s degree in social work from an accredited program, with a minimum of two years post-master’s experience. This ensures that students are taught using the values and ethics and practices of the social work profession.
It is helpful for students to be in an interdisciplinary practicum as this provides opportunities for input from various disciplines, and highlights in a way that compares the contributions which each professional discipline makes to the services provided.
Think of your doctor and the internship he/she underwent under the guidance of an MD. Would you want your doctor to have been taught by an RN nurse, or a DMD dentist? It is the same for professional social workers whose code of ethics is different than other disciplines; and social work values and approaches to working with people are different than other disciplines.
I have a lot of interests. Can I have a different practicum site for each semester?
The two-semester consecutive placement in the same setting provides for students to complete an orientation within their practicum site during the first part of the first semester. Then, students begin progressively assuming greater responsibilities in their role and developing their skills and stretching their knowledge. Remaining with one agency over the course of eight months also exposes students to a deeper experience in the “life” of an organization. There are different “seasons” in an organization, (i.e. when grant deadlines are looming, special activities around holidays, fund-raising events, fiscal year budget processes, etc.) that are an important component of the student’s learning.
Completing only one semester with 225 or 250 hours in one agency does not allow enough time for students to move significantly past the orientation phase in their skill development. Some specializations within the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science program may involve a component of rotation in the practicum. One example is the advanced substance abuse specialization practicum in which students rotate among programs within a large organization, and work in each program area throughout the two semesters of the practicum.
Money is very tight for me right now. Do I have to buy insurance for my practicum?
We live in a litigious society and the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science wants you to be protected in your practicum. You are free to purchase liability protection from any company you choose. We particularly recommend the Assurance Services Inc. (ASI), which is aligned with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and offers a deeply discounted policy to social work students. You are required to be a member of NASW (student rate is $48 annually) to be eligible to obtain your insurance from the ASI (student rate is $15 annually).
Students who decided not to join the NASW are eligible to purchase liability insurance for the nonmember student rate - $25.
For more information on joining NASW go to: www.socialworkers.org. For more information on insurance from ASI go to: http://www.naswassurance.org/pli/students.php.
You should be aware that if you have a felony conviction in your background you may be denied coverage by the ASI. Should that happen, they will refer you to other companies where you may inquire about purchasing liability protection. Also, if you are employed in a social service capacity, you will have to show proof of liability protection for your work before the ASI will provide you protection as a student. You will need to speak with the Human Resource office at your employment site to obtain a copy of your proof of professional liability protection for your job. Be sure to plan ahead to have time to resolve all possible issues prior to the start of the practicum.
Remember, you must join NASW and you must also apply separately for the malpractice insurance. Just joining NASW is not enough. Membership in NASW does not automatically give you professional liability coverage. These are two separate organizations and require separate applications and separate payments. You must do both.
Students who do not provide proof of malpractice insurance coverage to the practicum office prior to the first day of classes will not be allowed to start their practicum ∧ Back to top
Which level of insurance coverage do you recommend I get?
If you are selecting a medical setting for your practicum, you will be expected to carry the highest level of protection available. Otherwise, you are free to choose any level of coverage that you wish, just as you do for your car insurance, health insurance, etc. You must provide proof of professional malpractice insurance to the practicum office prior to the beginning of the semester you begin the practicum course. You are free to get malpractice protection from any company you want, and we recommend getting it from the NASW Assurance Services Inc. (see contact info in the practicum packet on acceptance from the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science), through membership in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-ASI).
If you are employed in a social service capacity already, you will have to provide proof of your professional liability protection for your employment before you will be granted a student policy for the practicum, so contact your Human Resources office to obtain a copy of that before applying for the student policy. If you have a personal history of felony convictions, you may need to seek coverage from other insurance companies and the ASI can refer you to other resources; be prepared to pay a little higher premium for that protection.
When will I know I have an approved practicum?
When you have completed your interview for your prospective placement, you should confirm with the agency field instructor, you want to do your practicum at that site. If the agency field instructor agrees to accept you as a student, both you and the field instructor should accept the placement. The Field Education Office will confirm the placement with both the student and the agency field instructor.
Is there an orientation for my practicum?
Yes, the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science provides an online practicum orientation the first week of the semester. The orientation is mandatory. Students who do not complete the orientation will not be allowed to proceed in practicum.
How should I dress for my practicum?
Students should dress in business casual attire unless otherwise instructed by your agency field instructor. This means you should not wear denim, or see-through clothing, no mini- skirts or backless shirts, no low-rider slacks that show underclothing, no flip flops, and no jogging suits or tennis shoes.
When can I register for my practicum course?
After you are accepted by the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science, you may register for the practicum course the same as you do for all your other courses. The practice course is a co-requisite class, and you must register for each one separately. Remember, you must re-register each semester for each course as listed on your curriculum plan.
Is the practicum considered part of the practice course?
In the master’s program at the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science, the practicum and the practice class are self-standing courses; each is a separate academic course, with separate faculty, and earning separate academic credit. The curriculum is designed to promote the integration of theories taught in the classroom with real-life practice. The practicum provides the opportunities to do that simultaneously, while learning the various social work theories. Therefore, it is important for students to be sure to register for both their practice class and their practicum course, each semester
I have no prior experience in social work, how do I write my resume?
In social work, all life experiences count. Your resume should reflect the depth and breadth of your paid and volunteer experiences. And remember, you are not limited to one or two pages for the length of your resume as in the business world. Do remember to give a copy of your resume to each agency supervisor with whom you interview for a prospective practicum.
If you have any additional questions not answered on this FAQ, please visit the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science’s practicum page on their website for more information.
How do I start my application to Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science?
Apply online at: http://graduate.louisville.edu. The fee is $65, payable by credit card or check. Paying by check delays your application by 8 days. Note: Recipients of certain government assistance programs may ask to have the fee waived. For details, contact Graduate Admissions at 502-852-3101 or email@example.com
What admissions materials are needed to complete my application?
Refer to the MSSW Application Checklist for specific requirements.
Where do I send my admission materials?
All admission materials may be emailed to Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the following address:
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
What is the deadline to apply?
Application Deadlines are based on the preferred start term. Review the specific deadlines for the Regular 60-hour and the Advanced Standing 30-hour programs on the MSSW Application Checklist
How long does it take for a decision to be made on my application?
When all admission materials have been received at Graduate Admissions, the applicant’s file goes before the Kent Admissions Committee for a decision, starting in January. The applicant is notified of the decision by email. From the time the application is complete, the process usually takes 6-8 weeks. Applications will not be reviewed until all documents have been received.
Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) for admission to Kent?
No, the GRE is not required for admission.
What are the admission requirements for international students to the online program or US students living abroad (including active-duty military stationed overseas)?
- U.S. citizens living abroad and international students will not be accepted except in rare circumstances, specifically:
- When no language barriers exist
- A qualified practicum supervisor is readily available (e.g., the supervisor has a MSSW degree from a CSWE-accredited institution or similar CSWE-type accreditation)
- UofL’s Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work & Family Science has previously established partnerships with practicum sites and faculty liaisons
- Students with International Credentials should refer to the Application Checklist for specific admission requirements.
Financial Aid FAQ
For answers to questions not covered above, please contact the Online Learning office at email@example.com or submit an Information Request Form.