Master of Social Work

Help those in need through advanced social work practice, serving individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

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Park University’s Master of Social Work program is designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge, values and skills needed to deliver effective and efficient advanced, generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. This rigorous program is one of the nation’s few accredited programs with an advanced concentration in behavioral health.

Within this concentration, students are given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in one of three areas of emphasis: gerontological social work, military social work or social work with children and families. We do not offer administrative or clinical tracks; instead, all MSW students take required curriculum focusing on clinical practice, assessment and diagnosis, leadership, supervision, program evaluation, business techniques, grant development, and more. Created by PhDs and experienced clinicians also working in the public and private sector, course content focuses on areas needed by new social workers to keep up in an ever-changing practice environment.

Park University is known for small class sizes, accessible full-time instructors, license preparation/support, and flexible coursework to aid adult learners in career development.

The MSW Program requires a capstone project during the last semester prior to graduation. This project integrates all social work competencies (per CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards) through a research project where students must demonstrate planning, development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of their findings. This project relates directly to the field practicum experience.

Mission: The mission of the MSW program at Park University is to prepare graduates for effective and efficient advanced social work practice in behavioral health. Guided by the purpose of the profession, the program promotes social and economic justice, equal access to community resources, equal opportunity, and the attainment of individual and community well-being.

Vision: The MSW program will be committed to enhancing the physical, social, psychological, and spiritual well-being of all people, particularly those who have experienced oppression, exclusion and discrimination, and who have experienced the impact of poverty upon their health, well-being and sense of fulfillment.

Locations & Learning Options

At the present time, we offer a face-to-face program at the Park University campus in Parkville, MO.  We currently offer classes every day of the week including weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays. Generalist, 500-level courses are offered in the evenings to offer accessibility to adult learners who are also employed. In Fall 2023, Park University will launch an online MSW degree, in addition to our traditional flagship face-to-face program.

Park University offers two different tracks for a MSW degree:

  • For students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program, we offer an Advanced Standing track where students can earn an MSW by taking 33 graduate credit hours. The advanced standing program is offered full time across 13 months (June-May) or part-time over a 2-year period. Advanced standing students complete 720 hours of internship across two semesters. Please note: the Advanced Standing MSW Program also requires a 3-credit hour bridging course that is held during the month of June prior to beginning the program in August.  Students may not start internships or any other coursework until this bridging course is complete.
  • For students with a traditional bachelor’s degree (not BSW), we offer a traditional, generalist track where students can earn an MSW by taking 60 credit hours. The generalist program is offered full-time over a 2-year period, part-time over a 4-year period, or combinations in between. Generalist students are required to complete 4 semesters of internship. Please see Curriculum for additional coursework information.

Contact

For more information about the MSW program, curriculum, schedules, and admissions, please contact socialwork@park.edu or 816-584-6518.

We would love to give you a personalized tour of campus or meet with you via zoom, phone, or in person to share what we do!

How to Apply

Park University is now utilizing Social Work CAS to streamline applications.

Apply Now

Admission Application

Applications for full-time and part-time admission for Fall 2022 are now open.

The priority deadline for applications to the MSW program is December 15, 2021 and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Submit your application and supporting materials as early as possible. 

We are extending the deadline for full-time applications to the MSW Program until March 1, 2022.

Applications for part-time admission will close on April 15, 2022.

MSW Program Admission Application

Students interested in part-time admission (traditional MSW program only) may apply to start coursework in Spring 2022, although this is optional and not required. Spring 2022 applications are due November 15, 2021. Internships are required and will be arranged through the Field Education office after acceptance into the MSW program.

Students who are admitted to the program and accept Park University’s offer to attend graduate school will be required to submit to a background check through Verified Credentials. This background check may also be used for the internship experience as well during the same calendar year. The Advanced Standing MSW Program (33 Graduate credit hours) also requires a 3 credit hour bridging course that is held during the month of June prior to beginning the program in August.  Students may not start internships or other coursework until this bridging course is complete.

Interested in MSW-specific scholarships or serving as a Graduate Research Assistant?  Visit Scholarships for more information or email scholarships@park.edu. Make sure to request information for MSW-specific scholarships (e.g. the Ricki Moran Endowed Scholarship).

Admission criteria

  • BSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program is required for Advanced Standing applications, or bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an acceptable accredited institution may be used for generalist applications.
  • The GRE is not required for Park University.
  • 3.0 GPA (undergraduate cumulative GPA OR graduate GPA from a different program/area). Please note, lower GPA’s will be considered for probationary admission.
  • Current resume with applicable work and volunteer experience.
  • Each applicant completes 3 narratives including:
    1. Ethical Critique (2-3 pages utilizing APA format).  Describe an ethical dilemma that you have encountered in your personal or professional life. Using appropriate confidentiality, define the parties involved, the ethical dilemma, the values that informed your decisions and how the dilemma was addressed and/ or resolved. Discuss how the experience and outcome affected you, in particular any lessons you learned.
    2. Personal Statement (2-3 pages utilizing APA format): What are the significant experiences that influenced your decision to enter social work? What are your short-term (3-5 years) and long term goals (10+ years), and how does a MSW prepare you to meet those goals? How will you meet the demands of graduate academic responsibilities (20+ hours per week in class and task completion for coursework and 15-24 practicum hours per week). Do you anticipate any barriers to meeting these expectations and how do you plan to address these barriers?
    3. Professional Statement (2-3 pages utilizing APA format): What is your concept of social work as a profession? Discuss a current societal concern, including contributing/ causal factors and why this concern warrants public attention and resources from the social work community. What intervention do you believe will successfully address this situation (direct practice/ policy change, etc.)? What positive or negative results may occur following this intervention? Discuss your rationale and what role you might be involved in if such an intervention were to be employed?
  • Three recommendation forms: Using a link in the CAS system, have three references complete a recommendation form regarding your capacity for graduate education.

Admission Notification process

The review process is time intensive. Because we do not want to rush the process arbitrarily or unfairly, we cannot guarantee a specific date for a decision on applications. Students will be notified by email with the results of applications as well as providing information about next steps regarding potential acceptance into the program. A follow-up letter will be mailed.

Questions?

We are here to help!  Please contact us at socialwork@park.edu or 816-584-6518. Interested students may also reach out to faculty listed in the Faculty section.

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Q:        Why should I pursue a Master of Social Work degree?

A:         Social work is an amazing profession! Numerous career opportunities make the social work degree, particularly the MSW, highly rewarding. MSWs practice in a wide variety of public and private settings, including but not limited to:

  • Human and social service agencies
  • Children and youth services
  • Hospitals, rehabilitation programs, and long-term care facilities
  • Child welfare and adoption services
  • Mental and behavioral health clinics
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Veteran’s services
  • Programs that support older adults

Social workers interact with diverse client populations, engaging, assessing, and intervening with evidence-based tools and approaches to improve the quality of life of people, especially for those who live on the margins of society.

Social work career opportunities are abundant since the job market is expanding locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Master of Social Work degree opens pathways to upward career mobility within the profession. More and more often, employers require the MSW degree for supervisory, management, and leadership positions. The MSW degree often affords social workers with higher salaries and incredible opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Q:        How much does the MSW program cost?

A:        See Tuition and Fees > Graduate Certificate & Degree Programs.

Q:        How many credits do I need to take to earn the MSW?

A:         Sixty (60) credit hours are required for the regular standing program; that is two (2) years full-time or three to four (3-4) years part-time. Thirty-three (33) credits are required for those granted advanced standing; namely, three (3) semesters or one (1) year—summer, fall, and spring for full-time or two to four (2-4) years part-time. Most advanced standing students complete the program in one to two (1-2) years.

Q:        I have a bachelor’s degree in social work. Do I qualify for advanced standing?

A:         To qualify for advanced standing you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program.
  • Demonstrate consistent adherence to professional social work values and ethics.
  • Attain an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0. We will accept applicants with lower CGPAs; however, they must start the program as a part-time graduate student and complete at least six (6) graduate credit hours; that is, the equivalent of two (2) three (3) credit hour classes in the MSW program with a “B” or better in each course before they can transition to full-time status.
  • Applicants who have completed graduate coursework should have achieved at least a 3.0 CGPA.

Q:        I have a master’s degree from a related field. Do I qualify for advanced standing?

A:         No. Advanced standing is only offered to those applicants who have graduated in good standing from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate social work program.

Q:        I hold a graduate degree in a related field. Can I receive any credit toward my MSW based on my previous coursework?

A:         Applicants may be able to transfer up to nine (9) hours of graduate credit from their former program to the MSW program at Park University. For more information, please contact the Director of the MSW Program.  Transfer credits are granted on case-by-case basis.

Q:        I have been attending an MSW program at another university but would like to transfer to the MSW program at Park University. What are the requirements?

A:         Anyone requesting a transfer to the Park University MSW program must follow the MSW Program Admission Requirements. One of the three required recommendation forms must be completed by the MSW program director, department chair, or social work school/college dean—whichever is applicable. If the student has completed a social work field practicum (i.e., internship), then they should obtain a second recommendation from the Director of the Field Education Program where they have been enrolled in graduate social work courses. Once the transfer has been approved by Park University, the student may be able to transfer up to but no more than 27 graduate credit hours.

Q:        How is the program offered?

A:         MSW students may attend the program either part- or full-time. For regular standing (i.e., “generalist”) students, first or foundation year courses are offered in the evenings, Monday through Thursday from 5:30-8:30 pm CT. Advanced standing students begin the MSW program by attending a mandatory “bridge” course two evenings a week during the summer term for the entire month of July. After that, second year (i.e., “specialist”) students have two options. First, they may attend all classes on Mondays from 8:30 am to 7:15 pm CT. Second, MSW students may attend one evening class, which is usually offered on Tuesday from 5:30-8:00 pm CT, as well as classes offered on Saturday. These weekend classes typically run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, but the schedule may vary somewhat.

Q:        Is there an online MSW program at Park?

A:         No, not yet. However, we are planning to implement a fully online MSW program starting in the fall of 2025. Initially, we will offer the online program to students in a targeted region of the country that is served by other Park University programs. Once we have some experience doing this, we are hoping to open the online program to other applicants in other locations.

Q:        Is the MSW program accredited?

A:         Yes. Both the BSW and MSW programs at Park University are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Both programs are slated for reaffirmation in 2025.

Q:        Do I need to have a certain undergraduate major to be admitted to the program? Are there any prerequisites?

A:         No particular undergraduate major is required nor are there any special prerequisites. All applicants should have a strong background in the liberal arts. In addition, applicants who have completed course work in statistics, biology, human development, and the social sciences tend to do well in the MSW program.

Q:        Will I be able to complete my practicum (i.e., internship) at my place of employment?

A:         It may be possible for you to complete your practicum hours with your current employer. You would need to be assigned to a completely different program or service with a different supervisor. Many agencies are willing to work with students to help them meet these requirements. You are encouraged to explore this issue with the Director of the Field Education program (listed under the Faculty tab on this page). Once you have permission to proceed, you should then talk with your employer.

Q:        Do you require the GRE or other entrance exam?

A:         No.

Q:        I have been working in the field as a social worker for many years. Surely this should count for something.

A:         The short answer is “no.” The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits our MSW program, expressly prohibits undergraduate and graduate social work programs from granting credit for life and/or employment experience.

Q:        What are the requirements for the MSW degree?

A:         Students are responsible for completing all requirements for the MSW degree:

  • Completing required and elective courses
  • Meeting all the standards for competency in coursework and in field
  • Maintaining good standing in the MSW program
  • Successfully completing all coursework and field placements
  • Achieving a 3.0 CGPA with no more than two “Cs” in graduate coursework.

Q:        What if I earn a C in a graduate course?

A:         You must maintain a 3.0 CGPA. You will be allowed to make only two “Cs” while in the MSW program. A third “C” will result in dismissal from the MSW program and the graduate school at Park University. If your CGPA falls below a 3.0 you will be placed on academic probation. Please see the Park University MSW Student Handbook and/or the current Park University Graduate Catalog regarding academic probation and grades that fall below the expected “B” level of performance.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Park University earned full initial accreditation at the February, 2016 meetings of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COA).

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies which comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education.

These competencies are dimensions of social work practice which all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

The MSW program at Park University sets its benchmark at 80%, therefore, the data illustrates the percentage of students that met this benchmark.

Tami Radohl

Dr. Tami Radohl, PhD, LSCSW

Chair
Associate Professor of Social Work
tami.radohl@park.edu

Kari Lamer

Kari Lamer, MSW


Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor
kari.lamer@park.edu

Dr. Jay L. Memmott, PhD, LSCSW


MSW Director, Associate Professor
Jay.Memmott@park.edu

Aisha Hall

Dr. Aisha Hall


Assistant Professor
aihall@park.edu

The core of Park University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) includes field education, as well as courses in grant writing, behavioral health, diagnostic trends and leadership. If you have a bachelor’s degree from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program, you can apply for advanced standing in our program and earn your degree on an accelerated basis.

MSW Career opportunities

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Non-Profit or For-Profit Agency Supervisor, Manager or Director
  • Policy Advocate
  • Psychotherapist
student at laptop
student on tablet looking at park site

MSW Program Highlights

Accredited

Our Master of Social Work program was granted full initial accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COA) in February 2016.


Class work, field work

Graduates who complete the social work master’s degree demonstrate the 9 Core Competencies of Advanced Social Work Practice set by the Council on Social Work Education. Mastery of these competencies is assessed through coursework as well as field education.


Capstone experience

As a capstone experience, you’ll plan, implement, evaluate and disseminate the results of an individualized Integrative Seminar Project (ISP), which you’ll develop in collaboration with faculty and community agency partners.

Related programs

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.