15.1 MASTER OF SOCIAL
MSW Program Director: Professor Tyrone C. Cheng,
Office: 118 Little Hall
Admission requirements of the School of Social
Work are consistent with those of the Graduate School (see
section of this catalog). To be considered for admission
to the Master of Social Work Program, a person must meet the following
requirements prior to enrollment in the MSW Program:
degree from an accredited institution, including completion of a
minimum of four courses in the humanities and/or fine arts, four
courses in behavioral science and/or social science, one course
in natural science, one course in college mathematics, and two
courses in English composition (or the equivalent)
admission. A grade point average of at least 3.0 overall (based
on a 4.0 system) or 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours of
undergraduate work based on transcripts from all institutions
For conditional admission. A GPA of at least 2.5 overall (based
on a 4.0 system) for undergraduate work, and score at the 40th
percentile on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or a combined
score of 900 or higher on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) on the
general test verbal and quantitative sections.
written statement of purpose satisfactory to the MSW
of recommendation are required by the School of Social Work. The
references should be able to objectively speak to your ability
for graduate study and potential for social work. Letters from
former professors are preferred, and at least one must be from a
professor in your undergraduate major. If you have been employed
in human services for one or more years, letters will be
accepted from an employment supervisor. Letters from family
members and friends are not appropriate.
admissions, transfers, and intermitting students will be
evaluated according to admission policies and procedures for the
academic year in which admission is requested.
students must meet the Graduate School's requirements for
admission including the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's
degree from an accredited institution. A student whose first
language is not English must submit an official score report for
the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the
International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or must
have earned a degree from an accredited U.S. college or
university within the last three years. The minimum score for
conditional admission to the Graduate School on the paper-based TOEFL
550 or 79 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT), and 6.5 on the IELTS.
No academic credit, course
waivers, or credit for field practicum shall be granted for life experience
or previous work experience.
Admission with Advanced Standing. Students who hold the bachelor of
social work degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Social
Work Education may be admitted to the MSW program with advanced standing.
Advanced-standing students enroll in MSW study for one full summer or
spring session and one full academic year. In addition to the satisfaction
of all admission requirements of the School, admission with advanced
standing also requires a "B" average or better in all professional
foundation courses, with no more than one "C" in professional courses and
grades of "B" or better in field education courses.
The admissions committee reserves the right to make exceptions to admissions
requirements in highly unusual situations and to determine the number of
students that can be admitted to each program. In addition, the committee
will seek to admit a cohort of students that is diverse in sex, racial and
ethnic background, and geographic origin. The committee reserves the right
to interview applicants.
Application Procedure. Applicants must provide the following:
for admission to The University of Alabama, including
nonrefundable $50 fee for domestic applications and $60 for
applications (payment of the fee must be in the form of a check
or money order payable to The University of Alabama or payment
online by credit card when applying online)
materials for admission to the Graduate School
application materials or online application for admission to the
School of Social Work
for the Graduate Record Examination or Miller Analogies Test, if
application to be ready for review by the admissions committee of the School
of Social Work, the Graduate School file must be completed and forwarded to
the School of Social Work. Applicants must specify on the application
whether they are applying for the two-year weekday program, the first-year
Saturday program, or the advanced-standing program. Applications to the
School of Social Work should be completed by February 1 for priority
consideration for admission in the summer or fall term and for financial aid
awards and by September 1 for the spring advanced-standing program. However, the
Graduate School requests that their components of the application be
received in their office six weeks prior to the February 1 and September 1
deadlines. Applications may be accepted on a space-available basis until
April 1 for admission with advanced standing for summer term or the
first-year Saturday program; until July 1 for admission in the fall term;
and until November 1 for admission with advanced standing for spring
Additional information is in the
section of this catalog.
Applicants interested in
transferring graduate credit to the MSW
another institution or graduate program must make a formal request
admission to the program.
The request is initiated
in the Graduate School with the form for
for Transfer of Graduate Credit.
Decisions regarding transfer of graduate credits
be made by the MSW Program Chair and the graduate school after the applicant is admitted.
Application forms and other information may be obtained by writing to The
University of Alabama, School of Social Work, Student Services Office, Box
870314, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314. Applicants may also obtain application
materials at the School of Social Work
through stipends, grants, and scholarships is available through the School
of Social Work. Some stipends are available directly from the School; others
are related to traineeships, with specified field education placements
and/or curriculum requirements. Stipends and traineeships that may be
available include Alabama Department of Human Resources stipends; an Alabama
Disabilities Advocacy Program stipend; child welfare traineeships; Sparks
Clinics traineeships; Pediatric Pulmonary Health Care traineeships; Taylor
Hardin Secure Medical Facility stipends; Bryce State Psychiatric stipends;
Alabama Department of Youth Services traineeships; and Veterans
Administration traineeships. Additional traineeships become available on a
Contact The University of Alabama, School of Social
Work, Student Services Office, Box 870314, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314, or telephone (205) 348-5020,
for application forms and further information. Students may also contact the
UA Office of Student Financial Aid, Box 870162, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0162,
or telephone (205) 348-6756, for applications for University-sponsored and
other financial aid such as federal loans.
The master of social work (MSW) degree will be awarded to the student who
has met the following requirements:
completion of 60 hours of approved courses including field
education or 42 hours for students admitted with advanced
the capacity to perform in all aspects of the student's
educational program at a satisfactory and responsible level, as
judged by the faculty, and promise of further professional
development (see the Master's Degree Program Student Handbook
for further details)
expected to demonstrate writing proficiency at a graduate level.
Writing skills may be evaluated through specialized assignments
in foundation or advanced-standing courses, or through a
proficiency examination. The student may be required to attend
tutorial sessions until proficiency is demonstrated.
Time Limit Requirement.
Work toward the MSW degree must be completed within four calendar years
from the time the first class is taken.
concerning transfer of credit, time limit and all other
Graduate School degree requirements is in the
Degree Requirements section of this
The goal of the master of social work program of the University of Alabama
School of Social Work is to educate social workers for advanced practice
with an emphasis on public and non-profit social services and on community
advocacy. The goal encompasses education for advanced practice in specific
types of direct practice and in program assessment and administration,
advocacy, and policy and reform roles. The program emphasizes preparation
for practice specifically intended to benefit disadvantaged or oppressed
people at the state and regional levels, and the program provides
opportunities for students to prepare for practice based on this commitment
at the national and international levels.
Building on the professional social work foundation, and within a focused
area of study, the program prepares graduates
social work practice in an area of concentration
provide leadership in planning, administering, delivering, and
evaluating social services
advocate for social causes and justice, and work on reform
demonstrate a commitment to practice and service to benefit
poor, oppressed, and other socially disadvantaged people, and to
work toward the elimination of poverty, oppression, and
human diversity and display sensitivity to the uniqueness,
commonalities, and richness of cultures and their constituents
committed to the values and ethics of social work
who engage in
a continuous process of professional development through
systematic inquiry, analysis, reflection, and participation in
organized professional educational opportunities
contribute to the development of the profession of social work
within the state, region, and nation and/or international
MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
The curriculum follows the curriculum policy requirements of the Council on
Social Work Education and provides a balanced, integrated approach that
includes a professional foundation and a choice of concentrations. The
professional foundation curriculum taken the first year consists of
coursework in the following:
practice. This area of the curriculum is designed to provide
practice knowledge and competencies in working with individuals,
groups, families, communities, and organizations.
behavior and the social environment. This area of the
curriculum helps the student to understand the whole person and
the process of growth, change, adaptation, social functioning,
and dysfunctioning in the environmental context, including
family, groups, formal organizations, and communities. Courses
in this area cover prenatal stages through the process of aging.
welfare policy and services. This area of the curriculum is
designed to help the student identify, appraise, analyze, and
understand social change in its dynamic perspectives; the role
and responsibility of social work as a profession in influencing
social policy; and the delivery of service to individuals and
methods. This area of the curriculum is designed to help the
student understand social work and related research and the use
of research for the improvement of services to individuals,
groups, organizations, and communities.
education. This area of the curriculum provides
opportunities for students to integrate and apply knowledge,
skills, and values in a social work practice context.
MSW Curriculum Themes
The MSW program emphasizes the following five themes underpinning the
foundation and the concentration year objectives:
Perspective: Social workers understand that the growth and
development of individuals, families, groups, organizations and
communities are influenced by a range of psychological, social,
historical, political and economic factors. The interaction of
these factors with life events and life transitions contribute
to the subsequent outcomes. This theme also serves as the
conceptual framework for the entire MSW curriculum.
Diversity: Social workers value and work respectfully with
people who are different from themselves.
and Reflective Thinking: Critical and reflective thinking
that challenges assumptions, and that is based on evidence to
arrive at creative solutions, is the basis for competent social
Evidence-Based Practice: Social workers favor interventions
with demonstrated effectiveness. They are prepared to carefully
evaluate practice and program outcomes.
the Poor and Underserved: Alabama ’s poor and underserved
receive social services primarily from public and non-profit
social service agencies. Social workers must be prepared to
practice in these contexts and to challenge social injustice.
MSW Program Foundation Objectives
Foundation Year MSW students will demonstrate the ability to:
thinking skills within the context of professional social work
value base of the profession and its ethical standards and
principles, and practice accordingly.
without discrimination and with respect, knowledge, and skills
related to clients’ age, class, color, culture, disability,
ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national
origin, race religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and apply
strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and
interpret the history of the social work profession and its
contemporary structures and issues.
knowledge and skills of generalist social work perspective to
practice with systems of all sizes.
theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to
understand individual development and behavior across the life
span and the interactions among individuals and between
individual and families, groups, organizations, and communities.
formulate, and influence social policies.
research studies, apply research findings to practice, and
evaluate their own practice interventions.
communications skills differentially across client populations,
colleagues, and communities.
supervision and consultation appropriate to social work
within the structure of organizations and service delivery
systems and seek necessary organizational change.
In professional social work intervention with children, youth, and their
families, or adults
and their families, students will demonstrate:
The ability to
effectively apply selected models and methods of advanced social
work practice, consistent with social work values and ethics,
with an emphasis in public and non-profit social services.
The ability to
use reflectively the theoretical approaches and knowledge bases
underlying their practice with particular attention to the life
The ability to
evaluate their own practice.
The ability to
analyze the impact of social welfare policies on clients and
The ability to
practice in ways that are culturally and gender appropriate with
low income persons and with those who have experienced social
and economic injustice.