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 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 (MSW) 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 social & organizational impact (SOI).
The MSW 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.https://ualr.edu/socialwork/
- Baccalaureate degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university.
- An overall GPA of 3.0
- Narrative statement of professional orientation. (the questions are included in the application packet)
- Three letters of reference from professional, academic, or volunteer associates. (the requirements are included in the application packet) Volunteer, employment, and other life experience relevant to the career choice of social work.
- Official transcripts with degree posted prior to the student’s enrolling in a graduate-level course.
A student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock may pursue the MPS and MSW degrees under a concurrent degree program, which allows cross-credit for certain specified courses. The concurrent degree program offers potential savings by allowing some credits earned in the MPS program to count toward the MSW degree and some credits earned in the MSW program to count toward the MPS degree. Please contact the program coordinator for concurrent degree plans.
The Master of Social Work/Juris Doctor concurrent degree program is offered by the UA Little Rock William H Bowen School of Law. Students enrolled in the concurrent MSW/JD program shall use specified courses to earn cross-credits to be applied toward both degrees. Additional information can be found here.
Advanced Standing Applicants ONLY
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 and students may be enrolled in either the Main or Online campus. In order to be eligible for the Advanced Standing Program, students:
- Must have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program within the last five years.
- Must have graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a 3.5 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies.
- 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.
Students with BSW Degrees
Students who have earned a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the last five years and who are not admitted to the Advanced Standing Program may be eligible to have some foundation-level courses waived if they earned an A or B in certain BSW courses. Please ask the admissions coordinator for more information about this.
A limited number of graduate assistantships may be available. Information on graduate assistantships will be sent to all admitted students prior to the start of fall semester.
Transfer of Credit
Only applicants from other Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited graduate social work programs will be considered for transfer admission. All courses must have been taken within the past seven years. 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. The concentration year (28 hours) of graduate study must be completed at UALR. Transfer grades are not computed as part of a student’s UA Little Rock cumulative GPA. Students interested in transferring credits should ask the admissions coordinator for more information about this. If approved, students must have an official copy of their transcript showing the course and grade earned on file with the Graduate School.
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. 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 internships. All internships require students to attend the internship in person. 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.
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 to direct practice with clients.
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.
Social and Organizational Impact
Students who graduate from the social and organizational impact 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.
The MSW program is offered to students on both the Main and Online campuses.
Main Campus program
Students who enroll at the Main campus are expected to take classes in a synchronous format. 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.
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. Online students are required to attend their internship in person.
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.
- Satisfactory completion of an approved program of study.
- At least a 3.0 GPA in all courses and a grade of CR in all internship courses.
- Faculty recommendation for the degree.
The MSW Program offers several degree plans including the Advanced Standing option (43 credits, full-time and part-time); Regular option (60 credits, both full-time and part-time); Concurrent MSW/MPS degree; and Concurrent MSW/JD degree. More information about each of these can be found here.