Sep 23, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Social Work, M.S.W.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Business, Health, and Human Services

** See Addendum for update to this program.**


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.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university.
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 is required.
  • 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.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships may be available.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 should be attached.

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.

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.

Program Requirements


Internships are an integral part of the curriculum design. Through contact with clients, students develop the requisite skills for social work practice. Foundation students must be enrolled in or have completed all foundation requirements while enrolled in their foundation internship placement. Concentration students must be enrolled in their concentration year courses while enrolled in concentration year internship. All internships and agencies are selected by the internship coordinators; students are not expected to find their own internships.

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 and/or coordinate services for individuals, families, and groups. Agencies may provide services to people affected by abuse, physical or learning disabilities, long-term or terminal illness, drug or alcohol abuse, psychological disorders, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, economic distress, or challenges.

Curriculum Overview

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 provide opportunities to apply classroom learning to direct practice with clients..

Foundation Year

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.

Concentration Year

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.  This concentration is not open to students enrolled in the online program. Online students who want to enroll in this concentration must request a change of campus from the MSW Program Coordinator. 

Program Options

There are several different options available to students pursuing an MSW degree.

Main Campus program

Students who enroll at the Main campus are expected to take classes in a synchronous format and attend classes on campus. Students who attend the Main campus may complete the program as either part-time students who complete the program in three years or as full-time students who complete the program in two years. Students who enroll in the Main Campus program may pursue either the Advanced Direct Practice (clinical) or Management and Community Practice (macro) concentration.  

Online campus program

Students who enroll in the Online campus program are expected to take classes online; most classes are offered in an asynchronous format although some classes may be offered synchronously. Students who attend the Online campus may complete the program as either part-time students who complete the program in three years or as full-time students who complete the program in two years. Although the foundation year curriculum is the same as the Main campus curriculum, Online campus students may only pursue the Advanced Direct Practice concentration. Online students who wish to pursue the Management and Community Practice concentration must request a move to the Main campus from the MSW Program Coordinator. Online students must complete their internships in-person in settings that have been selected by the internship coordinator. 

Advanced Standing Program

This program allows qualified students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work(BSW) 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. Students may complete the program on the Main or Online campus, however Online campus students may only pursue the Advanced Direct Practice concentration.

Graduation Requirements

  • Satisfactory completion of approved program of study.
  • At least 3.0 GPA in all courses and a grade of CR in all internship courses.
  • Faculty recommendation for degree.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Business, Health, and Human Services