Social Work

School of Social Work


Graduate Programs

Imagine what it feels like to locate a great foster home for a four-year-old girl whose parents are in prison. Think about how it would feel to help a 15-year-old boy who's been arrested for stealing a car get back on track or to help an elderly couple remain in their own home or to advocate for a change of social policy.

There are numerous situations, such as these, which are resolved by social workers. Individuals in the social work profession find challenges and fulfillment daily. Missouri State's Bachelor's of Social Work (BSW) and Master's of Social Work (MSW) programs prepare students for careers in this interesting and demanding profession.

Program graduates accept direct service as well as management positions to a variety of social and human service agencies and organizations. These include the Division of Family Services, the Division of Youth Services, nursing homes, home health care agencies, hospitals, juvenile courts, child welfare, schools, policy and advocacy organizations and programs that work with high risk youth, domestic violence, substance abuse and other social issues.

Opportunities for Education

What is the difference between empathy and sympathy? Why do victims of domestic violence return to their violent spouses? What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare? When is eye contact not appropriate in an interview situation? Is there a difference between family preservation-oriented and traditional child welfare programs? What is the difference between a professional human service provider and a volunteer?

Answers to the questions above are just a part of the vast repertoire of knowledge and skills required by social workers. Social Work students undertake a rigorous curriculum which draws knowledge from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, political science, economics and English. BSW students complete a minimum of 54 hours of social work classes (MSW students, 62 hours for regular program, 37 hours for advanced standing) covering such areas as human diversity, social work values and ethics, social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, research and social policy and issues related to social justice and populations-at-risk.

Opportunities for Involvement

The culminating experience for BSW and MSW students is placement in an internship site where the student works under the supervision of an experienced social worker. During the placement, students have the opportunity to help clients cope with problems, learn about available resources to the community and apply their social work intervention skills.

The combination of academic classes, coupled with real world experience in a social service setting provides Missouri State students with an exceptional preparation for employment or graduate school.