Master of Social Work

The mission of the UAA Master of Social Work (MSW) program is to prepare advanced generalist social workers who address health and social issues in Alaska. Alaska’s unique and rich multicultural populations, geographic remoteness, and frontier status allow the real potential for skilled social work professionals to make a profound impact on social, economic and environmental injustice in our state. The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program is reviewed by CSWE for reaffirmation on a regular basis.

The MSW is structured to allow students to participate in full-time, part-time or distance education plans requiring from one to four years of study, dependent upon prior academic preparation for graduate studies in social work. The MSW curriculum has two components: the foundation curriculum and the concentration curriculum. The foundation curriculum is composed of 31 semester credits and is completed in the first year of the full-time program, and the first two years of the part-time curriculum. The foundation curriculum is sequenced to provide professional preparation for advanced generalist social work education. Students must successfully test out or complete all courses in the foundation curriculum before proceeding to the concentration curriculum. The concentration curriculum is composed of 28 credits and completed in the second year of the full-time program and the second two years of the part-time program. All students must successfully complete all courses in the concentration curriculum. Students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program within the past five years and who are judged to be ready for advanced graduate studies may be admitted with advanced placement to the concentration curriculum. Students admitted into the advanced placement option are required to take 3 credits of MSW electives and SWK A624 in the summer semester and must earn a grade of C or better to proceed to the concentration curriculum in the fall. The MSW program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Admission Requirements

The MSW program reserves the right to request additional materials and/or interviews pertaining to program admission. Admission to the MSW program is based on the professional judgment of the social work faculty. Only students eligible to be licensed in the state of Alaska will be admitted to the MSW program. Please contact the department for further information.

Criteria for Admission to the MSW Program:

  • Bachelor’s degree with a sound liberal arts foundation from an accredited college or university (or the equivalent if degree was earned outside of the U.S.). The liberal arts baccalaureate should include a minimum of 45 semester credits or 68 quarter credits which reflect the following liberal arts classes:
  • Two university courses in the humanities (history, philosophy, languages, literature or similar disciplines);
  • Two university courses in the social sciences (political sciences, sociology, anthropology, psychology or similar disciplines; see note below concerning human development);
  • One university course in the fine arts (music, theater, art appreciation or similar disciplines);
  • One university course in oral communication;
  • One university course in written communication;
  • Two university courses in the natural sciences and/or mathematics (biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy or similar disciplines; algebra, calculus, trigonometry, statistics or similar disciplines; see notes below concerning human biology and statistics); and
  • 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA (The MSW Admissions Committee may make exceptions, taking into account special circumstances based on a review of the entire application packet)
  • Three prerequisite courses (completed with a grade of “C” or better): human biology, lifespan development, and statistics.

Criteria for Admission to the MSW Program with Advanced Placement: All applicants must meet the following criteria for advanced placement without exception. Applicants who do not meet the criteria for Advanced Placement may apply to the full MSW program.

  • BSW degree completed within the past five years from a degree program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA
  • 3.50 GPA in BSW program core courses (course work in human behavior, policy, research, practice, and practicum)
  • Grade of “A” or equivalent in each field placement course
  • Three prerequisite courses (completed with a grade of “C” or better): human biology, lifespan development, and statistics.

Academic Requirements

To maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree, a student in the MSW program is expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Students who are unable to earn a grade of C or better in a required MSW course during their initial enrollment may attempt to earn a satisfactory grade one additional time if approved by their advisor and the MSW program coordinator. Students must earn a grade of B or better in all field practicum courses: SWK A639, SWK A644, SWK A645, SWK A646 and SWK A647.

Field placements may become competitive if the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces. The program and agencies also reserve the right to refuse and/or terminate students who do not meet a minimum standard of performance. Thus, while the School of Social Work makes every effort to find appropriate field placements for students, admittance to the MSW program does not guarantee acceptance by cooperating social services agencies.

Transfer Credits

Up to 9 semester credits from an MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) may be transferred to UAA and counted toward degree completion. Quarter credits will be converted to semester credits by multiplying quarter credits by two-thirds.

Candidacy for a Master of Social Work

  1. Refer to Advancement to Candidacy criteria.
  2. Submit the Application for Advancement to Candidacy packet available through the School of Social Work.
  3. Successfully complete MSW comprehensive examination, given in SWK A635 during spring semester of the concentration year of the program.

Graduation Requirements

Program Requirements

Students admitted to the program on a part-time basis take from 2 to 7 credits each semester, including summer, for two to four years dependent upon prior academic preparation. A copy of the part-time program plan is available from the School of Social Work.

Students admitted to the program on a full-time basis may take up to 7 credits each summer, and 12 to 16 credits in fall and spring semesters for one to two years dependent upon prior academic preparation. A copy of the full-time program plan is available from the School of Social Work.

Foundation Curriculum: Complete, test out of or waive the following required courses in the foundation sequence*:

FallCredits
SWK A630Practice I: Individuals 3
SWK A631Introduction to Social Work Practice 3
SWK A632Practice II: Families and Groups 3
SWK A642Human Behavior in the Social Environment 3
SWK A643Human Diversity in Social Work Practice 3
SWK A644Social Work Practicum I 3
Spring
SWK A607Social Welfare Policy and Services 3
SWK A624Foundation Research Methods 4
SWK A636Practice III: Organizations and Communities 3
SWK A645Social Work Practicum II 3
 Total Credits: 31
*

Advanced placement students are waived from taking SWK A607, SWK A630, SWK A631, SWK A632, SWK A636, SWK A642, SWK A643, SWK A644 and SWK A645. Advanced placement students take 3 credits of MSW electives and SWK A624 in the summer prior to enrolling in the concentration curriculum.

Concentration Curriculum: All MSW students are required to complete the courses in the concentration curriculum. SWK A635 and SWK A698 are selectives; students choose only one.

FallCredits
SWK A628
   or HS A628
Program Evaluation
   or Program Evaluation
3
SWK A629Advanced Generalist Practice I: Individuals 3
SWK A633Advanced Generalist Practice II: Families and Groups 3
SWK A634Advanced Generalist Practice III: Organizations and Communities 3
SWK A638Practice Evaluation Lab 1
SWK A646Advanced Generalist Practicum I 3
Spring
SWK A608Social Policy for Advanced Generalist Practice 3
SWK A635
   or SWK A698
Advanced Generalist Integrative Seminar
   or MSW Research Seminar
3
SWK A647Advanced Generalist Practicum II 3
Graduate-level social work electives  6
 Total Credits: 31

A total of 6 credits of electives to pursue professional emphasis may be selected from outside the School of Social Work offerings. Only 600-level courses approved by the MSW faculty advisor and program coordinator may count toward graduate program requirements. Contact the School of Social Work for a full list of available electives and scheduled class offerings.

A minimum of 38 credits and a maximum of 62 credits is required for the degree.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The Master of Social Work program prepares advanced generalist social workers who:

  • Are leaders who assume multiple practice roles to address health and social issues in Alaska.
  • Engage in practice consistent with the values and ethics of the social work profession.
  • Demonstrate attunement, sensitivity and respect for people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Intervene differentially with, and on behalf of, populations at risk or who experience discrimination, economic deprivation, and/or oppression.
  • Develop and conduct research to inform practice.
  • Develop and evaluate social policies that promote social, economic and environmental justice. 
  • Engage in planned change using theory and evidence-based practice processes to provide competent and effective services across system sizes.
  • Integrate contextual knowledge into the development, implementation and evaluation of social work services in Alaska.