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Master Of Science in Social Work Program

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Prospective Students

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program benefits the residents of the state of Tennessee, the nation, and the world. The MSSW program is offered at the Knoxville and Nashville campuses, as well as Online. The program’s mission is to educate students for culturally relevant and ethically sound social work practice within a changing global context affecting social work practice. Sensitivity to the personal, social, economic and political needs of vulnerable, high-risk populations is emphasized within a person and environment context. In accordance with professional social work’s ethical code and values, importance is placed on client empowerment, individual and political advocacy for greater social and economic justice and challenging the oppression of diverse and vulnerable populations.

Curriculum

Are you looking for a flexible Master’s program that allows students to choose a program of study that best fits with the reality of your busy life? The College of Social Work MSSW Program is for you!
The MSSW program offers a comprehensive and vigorous curriculum that prepares students to address pressing individual, family, community, and societal needs through use of cutting-edge knowledge and skills. The program combines state-of the art coursework with in-depth internship experiences. It’s important to note that whether you take classes on campus or online, the MSSW program is taught by the same professors, is held to the same high standards, and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

A Flexible MSSW Program To Fit Your Needs

Three Campus Options

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Knoxville

Nashville

Online

Choose Your Path

MSSW students may choose to take classes in a traditional classroom environment, online, or in a hybrid environment.

The MSSW Advanced Standing Program can be completed on a full-time (twelve months) or part-time (twenty-four months) basis for a total of thirty-six semester hours. Applicants must have a BSW or BSSW degree from a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), have graduated within five years of entry to the MSSW program, and have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 to be considered. Advanced Standing students begin classes in the summer term. Students will have one field placement (600 hours).

MSSW Full-time students begin classes in the fall semester and complete the program (60 semester hours) in two years (four semesters). Students must complete 15 credit hours per semester. Year one (generalist year) includes 400 hours of field placement over two semesters. In year two, students complete the concentration curriculum (see section below on the concentrations available), including 600 hours of field placement over two semesters. Applicants must have a 2.7 GPA or higher to be considered for this program.


The MSSW Extended Study Program is a part-time program that begins in the fall semester, in which students take six credit hours per (60 credit hours total) in three or four years. Extended Study students complete two field placements. The generalist placement (400 hours) is during the second year of study and the concentration placement (600 hours) can either be in the third or fourth year, depending on course of study. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 or higher.

Please note: All classes for Extended Study students in Nashville and Knoxville are scheduled during regular day time hours (unless attending the Nashville campus Hybrid program, referenced below). Online Extended Study classes meet in the evenings online.

Beginning Fall 2023. The MSSW Hybrid Evening Class Program is geared toward working professionals who are seeking an MSSW degree. This program allows students a flexible schedule and the ability to earn your MSSW while working.

What is Hybrid?
The class will meet every other week, with in-between weeks being time for students to work on their own. The in-person portion of the class will be at our Nashville campus and take place in the evenings.

Please note that MOST field placement opportunities are only available during business hours, with evening and weekend field placements being more limited. If you work in a social service agency, you may be eligible for an employment-based placement.

two female students standing in front of wooden doors at their field placement

Concentrations

At the time of their application, MSSW students choose to complete either a clinical concentration or a macro concentration in order to focus their education to meet their professional goals. While there are some required courses that all MSSW students must take, the chosen concentration determines other courses a student will take while in the program. MSSW students can choose between an Evidenced-Based Interpersonal Practice (EBIP) clinical concentration or an Organizational Leadership (OL) macro concentration.

The Clinical Practice (CP) concentration is based on the underlying principles of social justice, anti-racism, interprofessional practice, and trauma informed care. Students in the CP concentration develop skills in interpersonal evidence-based treatments and interventions for use in individual and group settings. 
 
The goal of the CP concentration is to produce empathetic and culturally responsive social work clinicians who are critical thinkers in using evidence-based practices for diverse clients and client systems. Knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired by students in this concentration produce practitioners who are prepared to work as professionals on interdisciplinary teams and in interdisciplinary settings. These concepts are all taught through a social justice and trauma-informed lens with a special concern for those living in poverty and that have been marginalized. 

The Organizational Leadership (OL) concentration is based on the underlying principles of social justice, anti-racism, interprofessional practice, and trauma informed leadership. The concentration equips students with management, social-economic development, and policy practice skills that enable them to lead non-profit and governmental agencies, and engage with communities to build strong organizations that address pressing needs. 
 
The goal of this concentration is to produce social workers who are critical thinkers in skill-based, evidence-based practices, including social and economic development, planning, organizing, coordinating, developing, and evaluating services and policies for at-risk clients and client systems. The knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired by students in this concentration produce practitioners who are prepared to work as professionals on interdisciplinary teams and in interdisciplinary settings. These concepts are all taught through a social justice lens with a special concern for the poor and marginalized. Students will be prepared to deliver, develop, manage, and evaluate programs; acquire funding; write grants; as well as analyze and advocate for policy change in political systems, organizations, and communities. 

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Field Practicum (Internship)

The field practicum is the critical and required internship portion of the MSSW program component of each student’s educational experience. Students work with experienced social work professionals in a variety of settings to complement classroom theory and research. The College offers field practicum opportunities with more than 400 agencies. These settings include schools, courts, hospitals, nursing homes, state agencies, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and mental health centers. 

The College of Social Work has a strong relationship with social services agencies throughout the state and surrounding areas. In an effort to meet students’ unique educational goals, we also offer the opportunity for students to explore practicum prospects in other parts of the nation, as well as internationally. (Much more detailed information about the field practicum may be found here.) 

An important note is that the College Field Coordinator for your program will secure the field placement for you. You as a student do not have to go out and find your own placement – in fact, that’s highly discouraged due to CSWE field practicum requirements. 

MSSW Program Certificates

In addition to the generalist curriculum that challenges the students in the MSSW program, the college has developed a series of additional program certificates that allow students to specialize in four diverse practice areas if they choose to do so. 

The certificates programs are:

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Student Testimonial

“I absolutely love UT College of Social Work. They have really opened my eyes to other possibilities that I didn’t know that I had and they really pushed me to chase my dreams, chase my new interests, get out there and try something new. And I really love that about UT College of Social Work. I absolutely couldn’t think of a better place to be.

Krista Johnston ‘21

Program Contacts

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Current Students

Helpful Links and Resources

MSSW Faculty and Staff

Knoxville

Ragan Schriver

Program Director
Ragan Schriver
rschriv1@utk.edu

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Program Assistant
Sara Hughes
shughe48@utk.edu

Nashville

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Program Director
Mary Held
mheld@utk.edu

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Program Assistant
Stephanie Frierson
sfrierso@utk.edu

Online

Carmen Reese Foster

Program Director
Carmen Reese Foster cfoste22@utk.edu

LaChetis Osborne-Brown

Program Assistant
LaChetis Osborne
losborn6@utk.edu