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Estimated Completion

30 credit hours (B.S.W. with Advanced Standing)

60 credit hours (Foundation)

Application Process


Locations Available


Master's of Social Work (MSW) Degree Program

At Tarleton, we provide graduate students with experience and tools that will help you evolve into a leader in the profession of social work in the global society of the 21st century.

You’ll benefit from an accredited master’s degree program that is designed for working adults, with a flexible cohort model offering face-to-face courses with peers in the evening, synchronous and asynchronous online courses and courses that are a hybrid of the two. You have full- and part-time options, including summer classes, to earn your MSW degree in as quickly as eight months.
Our accredited social work master’s program qualifies you to sit for the state licensing exam to become an LMSW, which will help advance your social work career as you continue to make an impact in the quality of life for individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Choose from two concentrations:

  • The Advanced Direct Practice concentration prepares you to provide social services and assistance to children, youth, adults and families through clinical practice in agencies. This concentration assumes a strengths-based and person in environment-centered approach to incorporate the biopsychosocial, spiritual and political dimensions of clinical social work practice.
  • The Administration and Leadership Practice concentration prepares you for advanced practice in settings focusing on social problems, research and societal change at community and organizational levels. You will develop social work skills and values necessary for leadership and supervisory roles in nonprofit organizations and social service agencies.

What is Social Work?

With an emphasis on social and economic justice, human rights and serving diverse communities, our accredited Master of Social Work degree program prepares advanced practitioners and community agency leaders who serve as agents of change to promote personal and social well-being.

The student-centered approach to our graduate degree program develops and advances your social work skills while staying current and active in our profession and how we deliver services to clients. We leverage additional resources to provide a complete and full experience for our graduate students.

What Degree do You Need for Social Work?

The MSW is a graduate degree that provides a broader and more advanced level of knowledge, clinical skills and internship experiences, preparing you to comprehensively deal with multi-problem situations and issues, incorporating varied aspects of the client circumstances.

What Can You Do With Your Master's Degree in Social Work?

An MSW can be a terminal degree if you want to be a clinical social worker, or it can prepare you for doctoral degree programs in schools for social work if you want to become a researcher or professor.

With an accredited Master of Social Work degree, you may qualify for a wide variety of job opportunities, particularly clinician or administrator roles in private practice, government agencies, education, insurance, hospitals, clinical settings and more. These are just a few examples of jobs for LMSWs:

  • Child Welfare Case Supervisor
  • Clinical Mental Health Social Worker
  • Community Agency Director
  • Family Counselor
  • Lobbyist
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Nonprofit Executive Director
  • Policy Advocate
  • School Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor

Careers in Social Work

In 2018, 100% of MSW graduate students who took the state licensing exam passed on their first try.

How Much do Social Work Graduates Make?

The median annual salary for social workers was over $50,000 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Why Study Social Work?

Our accredited Master of Social Work degree program is a fusion of academic, classroom learning and practical, real-world experiences for application of theoretical perspectives in actual social work practice settings.

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Earn an MSW from an accredited program

Accreditation helps us maintain the highest standards in social work education and practice while fulfilling eligibility requirements that allow graduate students take the state licensing exam. A professional social work license is necessary to call yourself a social worker in Texas, and you can only get that license by graduating with a social work degree.

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Receive practical instruction online and in the classroom

More than just lectures, classroom learning provides a variety of opportunities to apply your skills to real-world examples, from case studies and presentations to group work and practice.

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Gain hands-on experience through internships

More than just lectures, classroom learning provides a variety of opportunities to apply your skills to real-world examples, from case studies and presentations to group work and practice.

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Gain a global perspective in social work through study abroad

Learn about social service in other countries while completing program coursework. International travel and study abroad contribute to personal and career development. Most recently, MSW graduate students traveled to Costa Rica.

Conduct and present graduate research

With our own diverse research interests, we encourage graduate students to get involved. You may be invited to present research to the National Association of Social Workers and at other research symposiums, as well as submit scholarly articles to professional journals, such as the Journal of Social Work or New Social Worker Magazine.

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Get help paying for graduate school

Graduate students may qualify for social work program scholarships, such as the Herbert H. Jarrett Social Work Scholarship and the Donald Cawley Social Work Endowed Scholarship. You may also be eligible for federal financial aid.



What Classes Will You Take as a Social Work Graduate Student?

The accredited degree program curriculum in social work focuses on community-based and service-learning to develop practitioners who will be leaders in their communities and the profession. Study topics in social justice and disparities, community organization and practice, multicultural practice, clinical supervision, grant writing and more. Depending on your educational and professional background, you’ll enter one of two tracks:

  • The advanced track is for graduate students who have already earned a BSW degree within the last 10 years. This program can be completed in 30 hours — or two semesters.
  • The foundational track is for graduate students who don’t hold a BSW degree or their BSW was conferred more than 10 years ago. They may have earned a bachelor’s degree in a different field, such as psychology, criminal justice or business. This program can be completed in 60 hours — or two years.

Coursework includes social worker education requirements to sit for the state licensing exam, which is necessary for clinical practice in Texas. With no thesis, the MSW degree program culminates in an integrative capstone project that captures cumulative learning experiences through the MSW program, with a focus on specific competencies and practice behaviors.

View all required classes for the social work master’s degree.


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Learn from faculty who practice what they teach

With small class sizes, our faculty engage with students through dialogue, advising and mentoring. We are approachable and caring, and we share our passion for social work with students, challenging you to think outside of your comfort zone to become better professionals. We have extensive experience in a variety of areas of social work, such as direct practice, social justice issues, research and community organizing. Our research and interests include policy and gerontology, social media and technology in education, mental health, substance abuse, community development and organizing, study abroad and child welfare.

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Want to know more?

Come visit us at a College of Graduate Studies Open House or attend a Gateway to Goals webinar series on the MSW degree program. We’ll share details about application and admissions requirements and answer any questions you have.

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Technology and Resources

We use Zoom for online classes and meetings, and we offer virtual office hours to accommodate busy schedules of our graduate students.

Professional Development

Connect with peers, faculty and professionals as a student member of professional organizations, such as the Student Social Work Association, National Association of Social Work, Council on Social Work Education, Phi Alpha, Gerontological Society of America, National Council of Family Relations, Society of Social Work and Research, National Organization of Social Workers and The New Social Worker.

What Master's Degree Programs are Related to Social Work?