Master of Social Work (MSW)
The MSW curriculum consists of 60 hours of graduate study, including field internship that can be completed in 2 calendar years of full-time study. The School offers full-time, part-time, distance education, or advanced standing program options. Students with a Bachelor of Social Work may be eligible for the advanced standing program, which consists of 33 hours of graduate study including three required hours taken in the summer term on the main campus. The first year of the program is structured to provide the knowledge, skills, and values required for all social work practice. This includes environment, and field instruction. The advanced year provides instruction in advanced direct practice, advanced social policy, program evaluation, 12 hours of electives, and advanced field internship. The field education office places students in an internship in the Baton Rouge area or an agency near the student’s home that will provide a good educational experience in a supervised setting.
Professional social work education has a strong tradition of interweaving theory and practice through a field internship program. In addition to classroom studies, students in the MSW program at LSU normally spend about 240 hours each semester in a social service agency. All placements are arranged by the field office within the school. The school has a large number of field placements in a wide variety of settings, including family and children’s services, hospitals, counseling centers, mental health agencies, community centers, legislative offices, and advocacy groups. The internship program allows students to develop their practice skills and to apply theory and knowledge in real-life settings.
The degree requires successful completion of a thesis or non-thesis option. Sixty hours of credit at the graduate level must be earned including a minimum of six hours of credit for the thesis. Candidates for the MSW degree will be required to pass a final examination during the semester in which they intend to graduate. This examination will consist of either a defense of a thesis or completion of the non-thesis option. The non-thesis option is an integrative and reflective capstone experience composed of three major components, all of which must be satisfactorily completed by students:
- Comprehensive Exam
- Portfolio of Representative Work
- Integrative Seminar
The curricular requirements include:
- Successfully complete at least 60 hours at the graduate level with the exception of advanced standing students, who must complete at least 33 hours at the graduate level;
- A minimum core requirement of 48 credit hours and 12 hours of elective credit;
- Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.00, with no grade less than “C” in any course offered for the degree. No more than six hours of credit received with a grade of “C” can be counted toward the MSW degree; and
- Successfully complete the exit requirement: a thesis or a non-thesis option.