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Estimated Completion

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

60 credit hours (Foundation)

Application Process

Cost

Locations Available

College

Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree

At Tarleton State University, our Master of Social Work degree (MSW) provides the experience and tools to help you evolve into a leader in the social work profession in our 21st century, global society.

Tarleton’s accredited social work program is designed for working adults and offered at our Stephenville, Fort Worth, and Waco campuses. Our flexible cohort model offers 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 master’s degree in social work qualifies you to sit for the Texas licensing exam to become an Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). In 2018, 100% of Tarleton’s MSW graduate students who took the state licensing exam passed on their first try. Beyond licensure requirements, experiencing a rigorous MSW program equips you with the skills to improve lives for individuals, families, 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 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?

At its core, being a social worker is a dedication to connecting clients with community resources and support services to promote well-being. With an emphasis on social and economic justice, human rights, and serving diverse communities, our accredited social work program prepares advanced practitioners and agency leaders to serve as agents of change.

The student-centered approach to our program develops and advances your social work skills while exploring the most current research and models in our profession for delivering services.

What degree do you need for Social Work?

The Master of Social Work, commonly abbreviated as MSW, is a graduate degree that provides a broader and more advanced level of knowledge, clinical skills, and internship experiences. 

Having a master’s degree in social work prepares you to comprehensively deal with complex situations and incorporate aspects of the client's circumstances. In addition, to become a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Texas, you must fulfill educational requirements which include an MSW degree.

What can you do with your master's degree in Social Work?

Completing an accredited master’s in social work program can be a terminal degree if you want to be a clinical social worker. It can also prepare you for doctoral degree programs if you want to become a researcher or professor.

With an MSW degree, you are equipped for a variety of opportunities, particularly clinician or administrator roles in private practice, government agencies, education, insurance, healthcare settings, and more. 

These are just a few examples of career paths 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

How much do Social Workers make?

The median annual salary for social workers was over $51,000 in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The predicted 2019-2029 job growth for social workers is 13%, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

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Why study Social Work at Tarleton?

Tarleton’s social work faculty engage with students through dialogue, advising, and mentoring in small, personable classes. Approachable and passionate about the social work profession, they challenge you to think outside of your comfort zone to become better professionals. 

We have extensive experience in a variety of areas, 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.

group of MSW students in Costa Rica

Practical Instruction and Off-campus Experiences

More than just lectures, our master’s degree in social work provides opportunities to apply your skills to real-world examples, from case studies and presentations to group work and practice. Our graduate program also connects you to community involvement through internships.

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

student presenting graduate research

Conduct and Present Graduate Research

We encourage graduate students to get involved in the research process. You may be invited to present research to the National Association of Social Workers and at other symposiums, as well as submit scholarly articles to journals, such as the Journal of Social Work or New Social Worker Magazine.

financial aid and scholarship money

Earn an Affordable MSW Degree

Graduate social work students may qualify for program-specific 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 and Tarleton’s graduate scholarships.

What classes will you take as a Social Work graduate student?

As an accredited social work program, our curriculum focuses on community-based and service-learning to develop practitioners who will be leaders in their communities and the profession. 

The coursework covers topics in social justice and disparities, community organization and practice, multicultural practice, clinical supervision, grant writing, and more.The social worker education requirements to sit for the state licensing exam are woven into the MSW coursework, so you are prepared for clinical practice in Texas. With no thesis, the MSW program culminates in an integrative capstone project that captures cumulative learning experiences, with a focus on specific competencies and practice behaviors.

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

MSW Program Tracks

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 Bachelor of Social Work (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.

Accreditation

The MSW degree is accredited by the following associations:

Our social work program’s CSWE accreditation helps us maintain the highest standards in social work education and practice while fulfilling eligibility requirements that allow graduate students to take the state licensing exam. A professional social work license is necessary to call yourself a social worker in Texas, and you can only obtain that license by graduating with an accredited MSW degree.

Student Resources and Admissions

student participating in zoom lecture

Technology and Resources

We strive to make our social work graduate program accessible as possible for working adults. We use Zoom for online classes and meetings, and we offer virtual office hours to accommodate busy schedules of our graduate students.

career services and professional development

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.

student at an admissions event

Attend an Admissions Event

Visit us at a College of Graduate Studies Open House or attend an online Admissions 101 Information Session. We’ll share details about application and admissions requirements, as well as answer questions about earning a master’s degree in social work.

What master's programs are related to Social Work?

Tarleton offers a variety of master’s degrees that share aspects with the profession of social work, including:

Learn more about Tarleton's MSW Degree

Tarleton State University’s Master of Social Work prepares you to become a licensed social worker in Texas. Earning an MSW from an accredited program prepares you to serve clients and communities as part of a rewarding career path in social services. 

Request information to learn more about earning your master’s degree in social work.