Retention and Dismissal Procedure

Master of Social Work

Program Administrators:

MSW Program Coordinator 
Amanda Keys
Pummill Hall, room 105
417-836-4213
AmandaKeys@MissouriState.edu

Field Education Coordinators:

Tiffany Havlin
Pummill Hall, Room 105
417-836-6314

Program Description

The MSW program prepares students for advanced generalist social work practice.  It is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  

The School of Social Work offers the MSW program in two options:  Advanced Standing and Regular Standing.  The Advanced Standing program option is designed for students who have a baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited program and who meet the Advanced Standing program admission requirements.  Those who have substantial work experience in the social work field and/or have completed course work in social work (even a minor) but have not graduated with a BSW, are not eligible for Advanced Standing.   The Advanced Standing program involves 34 credit hours and can be completed in full-time status (three semesters) or part-time status (six semesters). Advanced Standing students begin their studies during the summer semester of the admission year.

The Regular Standing MSW program option is designed for students who do not have a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, or who do not meet the other admission requirements for the Advanced Standing program.  The Regular Standing program requires 62 credit hours to earn the MSW degree.  The Regular Standing student can complete the program in full-time status (two calendar years) or part-time status (four calendar years).  Students accepted for admission into the Regular Standing MSW program option begin their studies in the fall.

Master of Social Work Admission Objectives

Admission to the Master of Social Work program is competitive and selective. All applicants applying on time and meeting the minimum standards will be considered for admission. However, merely meeting these standards does not guarantee admission. Only those students showing significant promise for a career in social work will be admitted to the program. The MSW program is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to all students regardless of their economic or social status, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, political orientation, disability, age, veterans’ status, or marital or parental status.

Admission Requirements for the Regular Standing MSW Program

Regular Standing MSW program applicants will apply using the centralized application service for social work known as SocialWork CAS. To begin this process, the applicant will create an account through the SocialWorkCAS website (socialworkcas.liaisoncas.org). SocialWorkCAS will verify the application for accuracy, calculate the GPA, and send materials to all specified Master of Social Work programs.

All documents required for the Missouri State University MSW application will all be submitted through SocialWorkCAS. Items submitted directly to SocialWorkCas include: an application, all official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a resume, personal statement essays, and three letters of reference.

The GRE exam is not required for admission.

Students are eligible to apply for admission into the Regular Standing MSW program when the following conditions are met:

  1. Applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by a regional agency recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.
  2. Applicants must have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for all undergraduate course work taken.
    • The GPA for upper-division course work (last 60 hours) in undergraduate classes may be used if higher than the overall GPA and if this GPA is calculated by the Graduate College or a referring college office.
  3. Applicants must also have taken at least 3 credits in research design and/or statistics with a grade of “C” or better, preferably in the social sciences, as evidenced in the departmental application and student transcript.
  4. Prerequisites: Applicants must show evidence of a bachelor’s degree that encompasses a liberal arts perspective with at least 9 credits of social science, child, family or aging studies preferred.
    • A liberal arts perspective is considered a program of study that involves classes from the following areas: economics, history or geography; natural, applied or life science; humanities, philosophy or literature; writing or other communication studies; mathematics or statistics; and social or human sciences.

Admission Requirements for the Advanced Standing Program

Advanced Standing MSW program applicants will apply using the centralized application service for social work known as SocialWork CAS. To begin this process, the applicant will create an account through the SocialWorkCAS website (socialworkcas.liaisoncas.org). SocialWorkCAS will verify the application for accuracy, calculate the GPA, and send materials to all specified Master of Social Work programs.

All documents required for the Missouri State University MSW application will all be submitted through SocialWorkCAS. Items submitted directly to SocialWorkCas include: an application, all official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a resume, verification of CSWE accredited BSW degree, personal statement essays, and three letters of reference.

The GRE exam is not required for admission.

Students are eligible to apply for admission into the Advanced Standing MSW program when the following conditions are met:

  1. Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) no longer than seven years prior to admission to the MSW program.
    • It is the responsibility of the applicant to verify their Bachelor of Social work meets CSWE's accreditation standards before applying to the advanced standing program.
    • Verification is to be submitted with the application by a notation of CSWE accreditation on the official transcript, or a copy of accreditation status of BSW degree awarding university listed on CSWE Accreditation page.
  2. Applicants must have no more than one grade of "C" and not grades below "C" in all social work prefixed courses.
  3. Applicants must also have taken at least 3 credits in research design and/or statistics, preferably in the social sciences, with a grade of “C” or better in both, as evidenced in the departmental application and student transcript.
  4. Applicants must have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for all undergraduate course work taken.
    • The GPA for upper-division course work (last 60 hours) in undergraduate classes may be used if higher than the overall GPA and if this GPA is calculated by the Graduate College or a referring college office.
  5. International students can apply for advanced standing program by completing the following procedures:
    • CSWE's International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service (ISWDRES) recognizes academic credentials in social work that are comparable to accredited baccalaureate and master's degrees in social work in the United States. Recognition is necessary to establish qualifications for employment, graduate school admission, membership in the National Association of Social Workers, state licensing, and/or certification.
    • An International applicant is required to complete the ISWDRES screening form through Council on Social Work Education to determine if a social work degree has been obtained before applying to advanced standing program.
    • Verification is to be submitted with the application through notation of CSWE accredited program on the official transcript or other forms of official CSWE document.

Application Deadlines

Application and all additional materials must be submitted by the due date on the application for the year of desired admission for both Advanced and Regular Standing MSW program options. Deadlines will be strictly enforced so applicants are encouraged to apply early. Applicants must have all application materials submitted by the application deadline for consideration. It is recommended that all transcripts be received by SocialWorkCAS no later than two weeks before the due date in order to meet the admission deadline.

Admission to the MSW program involves the “whole person” concept. As such, the admission process considers a person’s character and personal fitness to the social work profession, academic preparedness for graduate study, and a student’s potential to conduct applied social work. Evidence of this includes: previous employment or significant volunteer experience in human services, the student’s statement of purpose, letters of reference, and other information relevant to the admission decision.

Early Admission for Regular and Advanced Standing Students

Early admission will only be available to students from academic programs with whom MSU has a Memorandum of Understanding. Students are eligible for early admission after completing 60 credit hours. Early admission students will be required to complete the same application through SocialWorkCAS. The application deadline will remain the same as Advanced Standing and Regular Standing MSW program students. The admission requirements are the same. The only difference will be that students’ transcripts will not show undergraduate course completion. Upon undergraduate graduation, accepted early admission students will be required to send final transcripts to the MSW program. The MSW program will review students’ transcripts to verify that they still meet all the minimal requirements for MSW admission. If students no longer meet these requirements, they will not be able to start the MSW program. Student admission is contingent upon successfully completing all admission requirements.

Transfer Students

The MSW program will consider transfer credits for core courses only from accredited graduate social work programs. No credit will be given for life or work experience. A maximum of 12 graduate hours from such programs may be accepted if taken at the generalist level. No transfer course work will be accepted for classes taken at the specialist level. Elective credit may be transferred from other social work programs or from programs related to social work (i.e., psychology, counseling, public health, etc.). Elective courses must have been taken within 5 years of entering the MSW program in order to count toward the degree requirements.

After a prospective student has been accepted for admission, the MSW Coordinator will determine the amount of acceptable transfer credit (up to the maximum credit allowed) following a review of official transcripts, catalog descriptions, and course syllabi. Primary emphasis is on assessing whether the objectives and content of transfer courses matches those of required Missouri State University courses. No transfer credits for core courses or electives will be accepted if the student earned less than a "B" or took the class more than 5 years prior to enrolling in the MSW program.

Academic Standards

Students are expected to meet graduate school requirements for good academic standing of a 3.0 GPA for all graduate course work transferred in or earned at Missouri State University. Students will be dismissed from the program for any of the following academic reasons:

  1. Two grades of “C” in any graduate coursework.
  2. A grade of “no pass” or “C” in any field practicum (i.e., SWK 740 and SWK 780).
  3. A grade below “C” in any graduate coursework.

Social Work Policies and Procedures for Review of Academic Performance and Grievances

All social work graduate students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics. All policies concerning student academic performance and personal conduct are delineated by University Policies. All related or other departmental policies and procedures can be found in the MSW Student Handbook.

Capstone Requirements for Regular and Advanced Standing MSW Programs

There are two additional requirements that all MSW students must do to graduate. First, is completing a comprehensive examination. Second, is the successful completion of all field education hours. Field education hours are completed in-person in an agency approved by the School of Social Work. There are 400 hours in the field practicum at the generalist level and 500 hours at the advanced generalist level. Advanced Standing students are in the field only at the advanced generalist level. Both capstone requirements must be finished before an MSW degree will be granted.

Degree Requirements for Regular Standing MSW Program

The Regular Standing MSW program requires a minimum of 62 hours of graduate credit plus any prerequisite courses.  The required courses by curriculum level are listed as follows for both full-time and part-time options.  The first phase in the program is the generalist level and involves courses taken in the first year (if full-time status) or first and second years (if part-time).  These courses must be completed before enrolling in the second level of classes.  The second phase of course work is the specialist level and involves courses taken in the second year (if full-time status) or third and fourth year (if part-time).  

Required Courses for Regular Standing MSW Program:

Generalist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 705 Human Behavior in the Social Environment 3 hrs
SWK 710 Generalist Practice with Individuals 3 hrs
SWK 715 Social Welfare Policy and Services 3 hrs
SWK 725 Generalist Practice with Individuals with Families and Groups 3 hrs
SWK 726 Generalist Practice with Individuals with Communities and Organizations 3 hrs
SWK 730 Diversity and Social Justice  3 hrs
SWK 740 Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar I (400 hours) 10 hrs
  Total Hours for Generalist Level 28 hrs

Specialist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 746 Advanced Generalist Social Work Research 3 hrs
SWK 750 Social Work Practice I:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Individuals 3 hrs
SWK 754 Advanced Clinical Social Work Assessment 3 hrs
SWK 755 Social Work Practice II:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Families 3 hrs
SWK 756 Social Work Practice III:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Groups 3 hrs
SWK 757 Social Work Practice IV:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Communities & Organizations 3 hrs
SWK 760 Advanced Policy and Social Justice 3 hrs
SWK 780 Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar II (500 hours) 10 hrs
  Social Work Elective 3 hrs
  Total Hours for Specialist Level  34 hrs
  Total Hours for MSW Regular Standing Program Option 62 hrs

Degree Requirements for Advanced Standing Program

The Advanced Standing MSW program requires a minimum of 34 hours of graduate courses. The required courses are listed as follows for both full-time and part-time options. The full-time option can be completed in three semesters and the part-time option can be completed in six semesters.

Required Courses for Advanced Standing Program

Specialist Level Courses:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 746 Advanced Generalist Social Work Research 3 hrs
SWK 750 Social Work Practice I: Advanced Generalist Practice with Individuals 3 hrs
SWK 754 Advanced Clinical Social Work Assessment 3 hrs
SWK 755 Social Work Practice II:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Families 3 hrs
SWK 756 Social Work Practice III:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Groups 3 hrs
SWK 757 Social Work Practice IV:  Advanced Generalist Practice with Communities & Organizations 3 hrs
SWK 760 Advanced Policy and Social Justice 3 hrs
SWK 780 Social Work Field Practicum II (500 hours) 10 hrs
  Social Work Elective 3 hrs
Total Hours for the MSW Advanced Standing Program Option 34 hrs

Current Elective Courses in the MSW Program:

Course Code Course Title Credit Hours
SWK 602 Rural Health (online) 3 hrs
SWK 643 Non-Profit Management in Health and Human Services 3 hrs
SWK 696 Health Literacy in the Human Services (online) 3 hrs
SWK 699 Special Topics in Social Work Practice 3 hrs
SWK 742 Substance Use and Social Work Practice 3 hrs

Intent

The School of Social Work program faculty endeavor to admit qualified students and to foster their development, with the hope and encouragement that all admitted students will become high performing students and eventually ethical social workers. Occasionally students demonstrate difficulties with skills and dispositions or ethical concerns that are not resolved in a timely fashion, and questions arise regarding the fitness of that student for the program and profession. Grade-related appeals should follow the University policies.

If a student is struggling with ethical, non-academic development and/or behavior that impedes professional performance, the following procedures are intended to provide due process so that student evaluations (and faculty decisions regarding students) balance the professional gate-keeping responsibility and the program faculty’s commitment to student development, and are not arbitrary, discriminatory, personally biased or otherwise unfair.

Rationale

In addition to meeting academic standards as described in the Missouri State University Graduate Catalog, Missouri State Undergraduate Catalog, and the Missouri State Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, social work students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner consistent with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics (2017).

All students are to meet with their advisor on a yearly basis to discuss performance and are given feedback on personal and professional development relative to specific course work and to the student’s professional development on the whole. Students in specific skill and disposition courses (practice courses and field instruction) are evaluated using a standardized evaluation form. A student in the program who fails to demonstrate appropriate communication, interpersonal or professional skills as identified by a faculty member will be asked to meet with the faculty member and/or advisor and may be required by the department to seek remediation including, but not limited to, repeating pre-practicum courses, taking specially arranged remedial classes and/or receiving counseling. In addition, a student who demonstrates behavior that impedes professional performance, who is harmful to clients or who demonstrates unprofessional conduct, thereby violating ethical standards outlined by the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics, may be required to seek remediation or may be dismissed from the program, depending on the severity of the violation.

Retention, remediation and dismissal related to ethical violations

If a faculty member(s) has (or have) ethical concerns about the behavior of a student:

  1. The ethical concern(s) are discussed with the student by the faculty member and/or advisor, and an attempt is made to resolve the concern. The concern and any remediation efforts will be documented in the student’s file and/or advising notes.
  2. If informal efforts by the faculty member or advisor are viewed as unsuccessful, the ethical/professional concerns are expressed in writing to the BSW, MSW or field education coordinator by the faculty member(s), including specific concern(s), documentation of related event(s) and any attempts to resolve with the student. The coordinator will notify the student and the School director of this concern within 5 business days of receiving the written complaint. The student may then respond to the complaint within 10 business days following receipt of the letter/email.
  3. The program coordinator will meet with the student (his/her academic advisor may attend) in an attempt to resolve or remediate the issue no later than 30 business days following the faculty member’s written complaint. An attempt to resolve or remediate the matter will be made before advancing the matter to the director.
  4. If the concern is unresolved, the student has not shown significant improvement after remediation or if the faculty member or program coordinator is recommending suspension or dismissal, the director will appoint a three-person Admissions and Retention Committee (see details on committee composition below) to review the complaint and student response, if submitted, and provide a recommendation to the director within 30 calendar days of the committee’s review date. The review committee may seek additional information from the student, faculty or other sources as needed to give the most fair and accurate representation of the issue(s) described in the complaint. If suspension or dismissal of the student from the program is being considered, the student shall be given an opportunity to meet with the committee. The student may bring a faculty observer to the meeting, but the student is responsible for presenting his or her own information to the committee. The disposition of the review may include:
    1. Dismissal of the complaint
    2. Remediation plan
    3. Recommendation for suspension or dismissal of the student from the program
  5. A copy of the disposition of the committee’s review will be provided to the student in writing, and a copy signed by the student (if possible) within 10 business days will be retained as part of the file. The final decision regarding suspension or dismissal of the student from the program will be made by the director.
  6. If the student is provided a remediation plan, the student’s advisor and/or program coordinator will meet with the student at least once per semester (or more, if necessary) to monitor the student’s progress and to offer support for successful completion of the remediation plan. A remediation plan will address goals, objectives, a timeline and outcome measure(s) in order to change problematic issue(s).

If the student disagrees with the director’s program decision, the student may follow present the appeal:

  1. To the college dean
  2. Next to the associate provost of the Graduate College, if the appeal is related to MSW education, or the associate provost for undergraduate education, if the appeal is related to BSW education
  3. Then to the provost, who may refer the appeal to his/her designee for a hearing and recommendation
  4. Finally, to the president of the University

School Ethics Review Committee constituency

The Admissions and Retention Committee is comprised of three social work faculty appointed by the director. Recusal from serving on the committee in a situation involving a conflict of interest or other ethical matter may occur upon decision of the faculty member and/or may be requested by the retention committee, student and/or faculty member. In the event of a recusal, the director will appoint another faculty member to serve instead on a case-by-case basis.

If deemed appropriate by a majority vote of the Admissions and Retention Committee in concurrence with the director, a faculty member from another department may be asked to sit in on committee proceedings as an unbiased observer. Notes of all committee meetings and hearings will be kept and placed in the student’s file upon completion of the process.