Master of Social Work
The Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares students to offer a broad array of skills and knowledge critical to helping others. If you are passionate about social justice, policy, clinical practice, and developing or improving services, the MSW gives you the skills you need. This degree sets you on a path to becoming a leader capable of contributing to solutions for the challenges facing our society.
Our program provides a blend of online, face-to-face and evening courses tailored to meet the needs of working professionals and newly graduated students. A low student-to-teacher ratio provides opportunities for quality connections between students and faculty, and small cohorts mean students receive personalized attention. Classes emphasize experiential learning through the application of concepts and skills in agency or community settings, and our curriculum offers a specialization in gerontological social work. We offer a highly professional and supportive learning environment designed to ensure student success as highly competent social work practitioners.
The mission of the MSW program at Bowling Green State University is to prepare social workers for professional leadership, service and advanced practice. Our advanced curriculum offers a specialization in social work practice with older adults and their families, whereby gerontological training is infused throughout the curriculum. The program aims to educate social workers who empower a community’s capacity to help its vulnerable, disenfranchised and poverty-stricken members. We strive to graduate students who exemplify professionalism and engage in practice consistent with social work’s values and ethics. Enhancing people’s lives and relationships is a cornerstone of our mission. We endeavor to instill in students the importance of resiliency and strengths as the building blocks of change. Students graduate competent in using scientific evidence to guide the change process. The program shares its resources with communities and organizations State-wide to promote well-being and growth.
The goals for our students are as follows:
- Graduate social workers who have the knowledge, skills, and values to enhance the well-being of individuals, small groups, and communities.
- Graduate social workers who engage in advanced social work for transformative practice with older adults, their families, communities, and service providers.
- Graduate social workers who engage in collaborative, empowering relationships with people and groups representing diversity (e.g. age, class, color, disability, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc.) and advance social justice and equity for individuals who are oppressed and marginalized.
- Graduate social workers who operationalize the profession’s core value and ethical standards.
- Graduate social workers who promote the just and equitable operation of institutions and policies.
- Graduate social workers who use critical thinking and scientific evidence to guide their decisions and change efforts.
Program Strengths and Uniqueness
- Meets the needs of working professionals by providing quality and flexibility in social work graduate education
- Taught by faculty who are actively involved in practice and scholarship
- Offers a specialization in gerontological social work with courses in the Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Gerontology
- Degree completion in as little as one year for full-time students admitted to advanced standing
- Low faculty to student ratio provides opportunities to work closely with faculty on practice and research projects
- Experiential learning is infused throughout the curriculum
The program is currently in candidacy with the Council on Social Work Education which is a three-year process.
The admission process begins in the Graduate College. Just as students in the undergraduate program apply to a university and select a major, graduate students apply to the Graduate College and select social work as the area of study.
The MSW is a two-year degree. There are full- and part-time options. The first year is called the “Generalist” year and the curriculum focuses on establishing a strong foundation of knowledge, values, and skills. The second year is called the “Specialization” year. The curriculum in this year allows students to build on previous knowledge and skill development, and obtain advanced knowledge in an area of specialty. The current specialization for the MSW program is Gerontology. Students will learn not only about working with older adult clients, but will also discover the impact older adults have on other systems in society such as child welfare, mental health, addictions, corrections, healthcare, and social policy. The curriculum includes a practicum during which students spend a minimum of 920 hours over three semesters working in a social service agency. Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for licensure as a Licensed Social Worker and begin supervision towards obtaining their independent license.
There are two options for admission: Regular Standing and Advanced Standing.
- Regular Standing (Two-year Program, 56 credit hours)
A bachelor’s degree in social work is NOT required for admission. Students who have undergraduate degrees in other areas are welcome to apply, although degrees in human service fields are preferred.
To gain regular admission status, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate cumulative GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants below a 3.0 may be considered for conditional admission status. Applicants are required to submit scanned copies of official or unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended. Upon admission, final official or notarized copies of transcripts from all institutions where degrees were earned and diplomas from international institutions must be submitted. The GRE is not required.
All applicants must submit a 3-5 page typewritten essay which addresses (a) why the applicant wishes to be/is a social worker; (b) why a graduate degree is felt to be necessary to fulfill personal or professional objectives; (c) the applicant’s views regarding diversity in society; (d) a situation in which the applicant was the recipient/provider of help, emotionally, socially, or economically; and (e) a description of previous social work/human service work experience. Two letters of recommendation from individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications and ability to successfully complete graduate study are also required. Reference letters need to be written on letterhead.
Applicants must have completed courses in research methods and statistics, with a minimum grade of C, during their undergraduate education. If the courses were not included as part of the undergraduate degree, the applicant will need to complete them prior to or during the first semester in the program.
- Advanced Standing (One-year program, 33 credit hours)
In addition to meeting the criteria for Regular Standing, Advanced Standing candidates must:
1. Hold a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited baccalaureate program with a minimum GPA of 3.2 in major coursework and have graduated within the past three years, or
Hold a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited baccalaureate program and be a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with a minimum of three years of experience in the field, and
2. One of the two required recommendations must come from the applicant’s undergraduate field instructor or field director. If the field instructor is not available, a letter from the applicant’s current employment supervisor is required.
The curriculum is set up in a cohort model which assists students in socialization to the Program and provides a network of support. Regular Standing students begin courses in the fall semester, and Advanced Standing students begin courses in the summer semester. Full and part-time options are available in both program options.
Upon completion of the graduate degree, students in Social Work are expected to be able to:
- Students will be able to demonstrate competence in all phases of the helping process in social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
- Students will be able to analyze the impact of social policy on client well-being and service delivery systems.
- Students will be able to advocate for human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
- Students will be able to integrate research, policy, and theory into social work practice.