MSW Features

USF’s MSW program is designed for working professionals because it offers convenient evening, weekend and online classes. Full-time students can expect to complete the degree in two years or four semesters. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program may be eligible for advanced standing and should anticipate one academic year for completion. Part-time options are also available.

Benefits

Now more than ever, a Master of Social Work degree is critical to professional success in the social work field. Those earning an MSW degree have increased professional competency and job satisfaction, along with opportunities for career advancement. The field has shown an increased demand for individuals with the MSW degree, making it a must in today’s competitive market.

Graduates of the MSW degree program will be able to:

  • Engage in micro, mezzo, and macro level practice.
  • Exhibit the necessary leadership skills to meet the needs
    of multicultural communities.
  • Act as leaders focused on empowering historically, socially and economically disadvantaged and oppressed groups.
  • Exhibit critical thinking and evaluation skills.
  • Increase analytical and self-reflective skills.
  • Engage ethically and professionally with clients and colleagues, as well as within practice settings and broader society.
  • Integrate advanced treatment modalities into their practice.
  • Synthesize and apply, with a high degree of competency and autonomy, a broad range of knowledge into their practice skills.

Concentrations

The Advanced Generalist concentration allows students to choose from a variety of specialties in the field of Social Work that are developed through research, practicum and elective coursework.

These specialties include:

  • Aging/Gerontology
  • Child Welfare
  • Criminal Justice
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Domestic Violence
  • Forensics
  • Health Care
  • Immigration
  • International Concerns
  • Legal Systems
  • Mental Health
  • Schools
  • Substance Use

The University of St. Francis is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to offer a Professional Educators License (PEL) School of Social Work Endorsement through the MSW’s School Social Work concentration.

School social work is an essential part of the K-12, public-school environment in the State of Illinois. It is a specialized area of practice where students are trained as mental health professionals who provide social and emotional support to students and their families, while serving as a liaison to the community. School social workers also partner and support administration and school personnel for the betterment of students. If you have a passion for working with children, adolescents, and/or young adults from a social, emotional, and personal development perspective, then the School Social Work concentration will prepare you to obtain this licensure.

Professional Educators License (PEL) School Social Work Endorsement Requirements 

  • Successful complete the MSW degree and PEL School Social Work required courses (see attached) at USF, which is a CSWE-accredited program
  • Pass the School Social Worker Content Test (184)
  • Internship experience of at least 600 contact hours in a school setting
  • ISBE Specialized Requirement:
  • 400 hours of field experience supervised by a field instructor holding a master’s or higher degree in social work (Typically completed in accredited BSW program or during MSW foundation year)

Click here to view required courses with sequence.

Questions?

Audrey R. Davis, Ed.D., MSW, LCSW, PEL

Assistant Professor of Social Work, Department Chair and School Social Work Program Coordinator

Office: 815-740-5031 
Email: adavis@stfrancis.edu

Accreditation

The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (cswe.org).

The MSW program is ranked 5th [out of 150 surveyed by CSWE] Best Value American Christian Colleges with Council on Social Work Education-CSWE-accredited Programs in 2015.

Designed for You

USF’s program is designed for working professionals and offers convenient evening, weekend and online classes. Full-time students can expect to complete the degree in two years (or four semesters). Advanced standing students who have a BSW from an accredited program should anticipate completion in one academic year.

To find out if this program is available in your area, click here to access our “Your Right to Know” page, then click “Program Availability by State” under Academics. Part-time students are welcome.

MSW Admission Requirements

Online MSW

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of St. Francis is available nationwide and provides graduates with the advanced social work knowledge and skills necessary to meet the needs of diverse individuals, families, and communities. Online MSW students take classes with faculty members who have rich and varied clinical and policy expertise, and students obtain real world experience by interning within their local community. Come find your passion within our online MSW program!

MSW Student Learning Outcomes

Degree Requirements

The Master of Social Work degree requires students to complete 62 semester credit hours of course work. This includes specified credit hours per week of supervised field work in the first year, followed by specified credit hours per week of supervised field work in the second year, plus related integrated seminars. These practicum experiences will provide the required total hours of supervised practice experience in selected social service agencies. Two-year, full-time students can expect to complete the requirements for the degree over four continuous semesters. Advance standing students should anticipate one (1) academic year for completion. Change in status (from part-time to full-time or vice versa) is permitted. The maximum number of credit hours transferable is six.

Advanced Standing

Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program may be eligible for advanced standing. The advanced standing program currently consists of 32 credit hours of course work. Only select students are required to take 6 hours of bridging courses. The bridge courses are only required of advanced standing students with a GPA of less than 2.75. There are also 4 semester hours of field work per semester with related integrated seminars required. This program requires one academic year of study for advanced standing students and two years for students from non-accredited programs. Transfer students will not be admitted to advanced standing program.

Faculty Expertise

Learn more about our faculty and what they are doing in the classroom by watching these videos, or reading the latest USF Social Work Department Newsletter!

Testimonials

Certificates

The Advanced Generalist Forensic Social Work Certificate Program (“AGFSW Certificate”) is designed to meet the rapidly growing need throughout Illinois and the Midwest for graduate level trained social workers with a specific level of expertise and experience with law and the legal system. View more information about USF’s Forensic Social Work certificate.

The Professional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology provides students the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of elderly individuals and their families.

USF’s professional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology allows students who already have a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline or experience to obtain a greater understanding of gerontology theory and research. View more information about USF’s Gerontology certificate.

Child Welfare Courses

The University of St. Francis, Department of Social Work has a partnership with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to train social work students how to practice child welfare in Illinois. Social work students who complete the child welfare courses will gain comprehensive knowledge on child welfare to immediately enter employment in DCFS and private child welfare agencies upon graduation.

To complete these courses, social work students must take two electives: Child Welfare I (offered each fall semester) and Child Welfare II (offered each spring semester).

Child Welfare I
In the Child Welfare I course, students will learn about the structure and functions of the child welfare system with a focus on the problems and issues in service delivery in areas of dependency, neglect, abuse, foster care, group care and delinquency. In this course, students will take the Child Welfare Employee Licensure (CWEL) Exam and the Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Exam. These exams are required by the State of Illinois to provide child welfare services to families with children placed in substitute care.

Child Welfare II
Child Welfare II is the second sequenced course. In this course, students learn specifically about child abuse and neglect to identify child maltreatment and domestic violence on the micro and macro level. Students learn the extent of the problem, treatment issues, the social worker’s role in a multidisciplinary team approach, and how to advocate for individuals and families. Students will take two professional employment exams that are required for direct child welfare work in the State of Illinois: the Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP) and the Placement Specialty Exam.

Field Education

Educationally directed field practicum is an essential part of undergraduate and graduate level social work programs, which prepare students for beginning generalist and advanced generalist professional social work practice. The national accrediting agency for social work education, The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), views the field practicum as the signature pedagogy and an integral component of the social work curriculum. According to the CSWE, the field practicum engages the student in supervised direct service activities, providing practical experience in all foundation and advanced practice areas. The overall objective of the practicum is to produce a professionally reflecting, self-evaluating, knowledgeable, and developing social worker. Field education lies at the core of the MSW program curriculum.  It is in the field that students integrate their generalist practice knowledge, solidify and strengthen their skills, and give evidence of these capabilities in their work with clients, professionals, and community members.

Generalist Practice

MSW students in the two-year degree program complete a generalist practice level internship. This internship requires students to complete 480 hours in a social work setting under the supervision of an MSW social worker with at least two years of practice experience. Throughout the two semester internship students are enrolled in Field Seminar I and II (SWRK 504, SWRK 515) where they develop knowledge, skills, values, and cognitive and affective behavior skills needed to work with client systems at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

Generalist social work practice is a holistic approach that provides the practitioner with the knowledge, ethical values, and skills necessary to engage in a planned change process in order to improve the quality of life in individuals, families, groups, communities and to promote socio-economic justice for the at-risk populations.

Specialty Practice Areas:

Throughout the two-semester Field Practicum and Seminar III and IV, (SWRK 604, SWRK 614) students develop advanced generalist practice skills in diverse social service agency settings and receive personalized in-classroom supervision via Field Seminar course. These advanced courses deepen and enhance the student’s previous skill set while allowing the student to concentrate on particular areas of practice through an advanced practicum placement.

All of the advanced generalist competencies are assessed within the constructs of the advanced field practicum year, and students must give evidence of performance at an acceptable level in all nine competencies to successfully complete the requirements.

  1. Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
  2. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  3. Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
  4. Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
  5. Engage in policy practice.
  6. Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  7. Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  8. Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  9. Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Choice of field practicum sites is based on determination of a site’s ability to provide students with sufficient and relevant opportunities to demonstrate accomplishment around these objective outcomes.

Students will complete a 600-hour internship over the course of two consecutive semesters or in a summer block placement.

School Social work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession.  School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student’s services team. School social workers are trained in mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents, and administrators as well as with individual and group counseling techniques. School social workers are instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools, which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence. School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district’s ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school, and community collaboration is the key to achieving student success. Their unique knowledge of the interdisciplinary approach to teamwork has been an effective tool in assessing the individual group and organizational needs in primary and secondary settings. The school social worker contributes extensively to the development of programs that address the needs of students defined as high risk and experiencing a variety of problems including emotional disorders, abuse, neglect, discrimination, and other factors that contribute to poor attendance and limited academic success. The School Social Work concentration at the University of St. Francis, per the Illinois State Board of Education guidelines, prepares students for school social work practice in the state of Illinois only.

Professional Educators License (PEL) School Social Work Endorsement Requirements  

  • Successful complete the MSW degree and PEL School Social Work required courses (see attached) at USF, which is a CSWE-accredited program
  • Pass the School Social Worker Content Test (184)
  • Internship experience of at least 600 contact hours in a school setting
  • ISBE Specialized Requirement:
  • 400 hours of field experience supervised by a field instructor holding a master’s or higher degree in social work (Typically completed in accredited BSW program or during MSW foundation year)

Students will complete a 600 hour internship in an approved school setting over the fall and spring semesters.

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