The Master of Social Work Program

Career Options with an MSW

An MSW is one of the most versatile graduate degrees in the professional helping field and provides many career paths after graduation.  Masters-level social workers, in particular, are prepared to become leaders and independent practitioners in their communities in numerous ways.  Typically, graduates of our program eventually take on roles as independent providers, developers or managers of social work and/or human services in a variety of settings. Our coursework and field training also prepares MSWs for eventual licensure as clinical social workers in their respective states.

Masters-level social workers find themselves in working almost any setting within the professional helping field.  Some of these include:

-Community Mental Health                                   -Advocacy, Consulting and Planning Services

-Mental Health Therapy/Clinical Social Work    -International Social Work

-Military Social Work                                               -Development Disabilities

-Crisis Intervention                                                 -Parent Education/Family Planning

-Hospital/Medical Social Work                             -School Alternative Programs

-Hospice and Palliative Care                                -Public Welfare or Housing Assistance

-Domestic or Family Violence                              -In-Home Services

-Child Abuse & Neglect                                         -Adoptive Family Assessment and Placement

-Gerontology or Elderly Services                         -Homeless Family Assistance

-Criminal Justice                                                    -Disaster Relief or Grief/Trauma

MSWs obtain exciting and rewarding careers as they help real people with real problems.  One aspect that sets social workers apart from other helping disciplines is their focus on the influence one’s environment and the context in which their problems occur in, not just their internal psychology; this includes both the impact of social or family systems in their problems.  As such, social workers have the ability to conduct comprehensive assessments and action plans that greatly impact the lives of the clients they serve.

About an MSW and Missouri State

The MSW program at Missouri State University prepares students from an advanced generalist perspective.  This means that it provides the education and training needed for its graduates to enter into a full range of advanced social work roles, including direct practice, assessment and triage, program development and/or management and various administrative positions.  It is fully accredited by Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) through 2018. 

The program also has a family-centered social work focus in its advanced concentration courses with an emphasis on the Family Health Perspective, a model of holistic family wellness that provides a solid foundation for many career paths in the social work field (both at micro and macro levels).  Advanced practice classes provide in depth training on counseling with couples, families and individuals from a family context. The program also provides electives in areas including rural health, legal/forensic social work, substance abuse, domestic violence and child and family play therapy.  Exact offerings vary from year to year but are designed to provide several areas of interests for students in the program.

The full-time and part-time faculty at the School of Social Work are highly skilled and dedicated professionals who care deeply about their students and the quality of the education provided to them.  Most faculty members have worked in actual social work settings and bring a wealth of education and practical experience to their courses.  They represent a broad range of interests and expertise.

MSW classes meet once a week and are mostly offered in the evenings (with a few in the late afternoon), in order to accommodate students who work or commute.  A few courses are also offered on-line or in a mixed (“blended”) format that combines classroom and non-classroom methods and meet less than weekly (most often every other week).

Missouri State University is the second largest university system in Missouri and a premier center of higher education in the southwest Missouri region.  It is a quickly growing institution that is highly respected across the nation.  The Springfield and Joplin areas are also considered very pleasant areas to live and work.

If you would like further program information or an application packet mailed to you, please contact our administrative coordinator at 417-836-6953.

If you have any specific questions about the MSW program or the application process, please contact the program coordinator listed below for your campus of interest:

Springfield campus:  Dr. Michele Day, 417-836-4367 or

Joplin campusJoplin Campus Site Coordinator position currently vacant.  For questions, please contact Dr. Michele Day.

West Plains : WP Campus Site Coordinator position currently vacant.  For questions, please contact Dr. Michele Day.

Program Outcomes

The following link provides a report on student learning outcomes in the Masters of Social Work Program for 2011-2012 academic year.