The mission of the graduate program of the School of Social Work, building on a strong generalist foundation, is to prepare graduates for leadership roles in clinical practice and in management and community practice within the social welfare system in Arkansas. Our commitment is to discover and disseminate knowledge, to embrace diversity, to serve our communities and organizations, and to eliminate the barriers that oppressed and vulnerable people face.
The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program is offered at UA Little Rock for main campus students and online for those enrolled in the online program. After completion of the foundation year, students enrolled in the main campus program choose one of two concentrations for their second academic year of study: advanced direct practice (ADP) or management and community practice (MCP) while students enrolled in the online campus program must choose the advanced direct practice concentration.. The M.S.W. curriculum consists of 60 hours of graduate work, including 32 foundation hours, 22 concentration hours, and six elective hours. Internships are an integral part of the curriculum. The foundation year internship consists of approximately two days per week for the duration of the academic year while the concentration year internship consists of approximately three days per week during the academic year. Night and weekend internships are NOT available. Advanced-standing students are given credit for 17 hours of graduate work and need 43 hours to graduate. For more information about the program, visit the following website.
- Baccalaureate degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university.
- Overall GPA of 3.0 is required.
- Satisfactory scores on either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT) taken within the last five years. Test scores must be received before an admission decision can be made. (See Catalog Addendum)
- Narrative statement of professional orientation. (format included in the application packet)
- Three form letters of reference from professional, academic, or volunteer associates. (forms included in the application packet) Volunteer, employment, and other life experiences relevant to the career choice of social work.
- Official transcripts with degree posted prior to the student’s enrolling in a graduate level course.
Advanced Standing Applicants ONLY
- Must have a bachelor ‘s degree in social work (B.S.W.) from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program with a cumulative GPA of 3.5.
- Must have a 3.5 GPA in last 60 hours of undergraduate studies.
- Degree must have been awarded within the last five years.
- Must submit a recommendation by the BSW level internship instructor.
- Must submit a recommendation written by a faculty member of the applicant’s undergraduate social work program.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Contact the admissions coordinator for information. Information on graduate assistantships can be located on the UALR Graduate School website.
Transfer of Credit
Only applicants from other Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited graduate social work programs will be considered for transfer admission. The applicant must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 in graduate work. No grade lower than a B will be accepted for credit. An official statement from the former school indicating the student is in good standing is required. The concentration year (28 hours) of graduate study must be completed at UALR.
Only one graduate-level course from the UALR MSW program, other departments at UALR, or other universities taken prior to the student’s beginning of core MSW courses at UALR may be considered for transfer as an elective course. Students must submit a request of transfer of credit at or before the time of their enrollment. The request should include a cover letter, which discusses the content of the course (other than UALR MSW courses) and its relevance to social work. A copy of the course outline shall be attached. This request should be addressed to the chair of the curriculum committee.
In the event that the curriculum committee accepts requests for transfer of credit, the application is forwarded to the Graduate School dean who then reviews the transfer of credit. Transfer grades are not computed as part of a student’s UALR cumulative GPA.
A number of stipends are available to students in the School of Social Work. Contact the field coordinator for information.
Academic Credit for Life/Professional Experience
Academic credit is not given for life experience and/or previous work experience, in whole or in part, in lieu of the field internship or of courses in the professional foundation areas specified in the Curriculum Policy Statement.
Internships are an integral part of the curriculum design. Students will have acquired a total of 1200 practice hours by graduation (1000 hours for advanced standing students). Through contact with clients and client systems in a helping relationship, students develop the requisite skills for social work practice. Full-time students are expected to complete the internship concurrently with other course work. Part-time students are expected to complete field work in the fall and spring of their 2nd part time year. Students must have completed or be in the process of completing all foundation requirements when doing internship placement. Students must petition the MSW Practice Committee in order to complete a summer block internship or other internship time periods outside of the standard time period allotted in the degree plan. All internships are under the supervision of field faculty, and all field agencies are approved in advance by the MSW Internship Coordinator and the appropriate curriculum committees.
Internship sites may include federal, state, and local government agencies; private, nonprofit organizations; and hospitals or other in-patient or out-patient facilities that work with or coordinate services for dysfunctional individuals, families, and groups. The agencies might be concerned with spouse or child abuse, physical or learning disabilities, long-term or terminal illness, drug or alcohol abuse, psychological disorders, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, economic distress, or other forms of dysfunction.
Agencies are approved on the basis of their ability to further the educational objectives of the program. Selection criteria include adequacy of the learning environment, availability of client populations, opportunity to work with community resources, and opportunity for participation with staff in the agencies’ organizational processes.
The MSW program requires 60 credit hours and is divided into two academic years, the foundation year and the concentration year. Both years require an internship, which provides opportunities to apply classroom learning.
The first academic year for full-time students or the first two years for part-time students is referred to as the foundation year which grounds students in the common body of knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession transferable among settings, population groups, and problem areas. In the classroom, students are given content on social work values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, populations-at-risk, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and research. In the internship, the student is expected to apply foundation knowledge, skills, values, and ethics to practice.
The second year for full-time students or the third year for part-time students of the program prepares students for advanced practice with a concentration in advanced direct practice or management and community practice. Students gain additional knowledge and skills in their chosen concentration through internships and electives.
Advanced Direct Practice
Students who graduate from the advanced direct practice concentration have advanced skills in working autonomously and ethically with individuals, families, and groups in agency settings.
Management and Community Practice
Students who graduate from the management and community practice concentration are prepared with the conceptual, analytical, technical, and interpersonal skills needed for planning, organizing, coordinating, evaluating, and leadership associated with management and community practice in community-based programs, hospital social services, and state health and human service bureaucracies.
There are four program options available to students pursuing an MSW degree. All programs are offered in Little Rock.
This program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. It is designed to be completed in two years. The UALR MSW program requires students to have a baccalaureate degree or meet the program’s liberal arts requirements (see admission packet) with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university.
The part-time program is designed to be completed in three years, although a student may take up to four calendar years from the initial date of enrollment to complete the degree. A minimum of two courses must be taken each semester, with appropriate sequencing of courses as outlined in the curriculum. One of the goals of the part-time program is to develop opportunities for students who are employed in the human services to be able to complete their internships. Students in this part-time alternative would need support from their employing agencies for completing field work requirements. In an effort to make this equivalent to more traditional options for completing the program, some restrictions may apply to field work. It is important to note that the experiences of the work site internship should differ significantly from the current roles and responsibilities assumed by the student.
Advanced Standing Program
This program allows qualified students who have earned a bachelor of social work degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (during the previous five years) to complete the MSW degree in a shorter, concentrated program. This program may be completed on either a full-time (12 months) or part- time (21 months) basis.
Part-time, Fully On-Line Program
The online program focuses on clinical social work practice, where students will learn contemporary, evidence-informed practice approaches that can be used across a wide range of settings and with diverse groups of individuals, families and groups. The program can be completed in three years, which includes the completion of both course work and field internships. Field placements are determined by the MSW field coordinator, in conjunction with the student, and every attempt is made to find a suitable placement in, or near, your geographical location.
While in the online program, students have the opportunity to experience a rich and highly interactive learning environment. Courses in the online program are delivered utilizing both asynchronous and synchronous technologies. Our asynchronous format includes using Blackboard, where the student will have access to course content, regularly scheduled assignments, due dates, and interaction through threaded discussion. In addition, the program utilizes a synchronous learning format (Adobe Connect), which is a live, online classroom, where students have the opportunity to meet fellow students and their instructors.
The UALR online MSW program’s curriculum is the same as for those attending the campus, and thus is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Special Student Status
Some social work elective courses are open to interested individuals for professional advancement or enrichment. If an individual is later admitted to the social work program, one Social Work elective is transferable toward the MSW degree. Enrollment in these courses does not guarantee admission.
- Satisfactory completion of approved program of study as outlined above
- At least 3.0 GPA in all core courses
- Faculty recommendation for degree