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Masters of Social Work

The APSU Masters of Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The accreditation is through October 2029.

Visit CSWE's website to learn more


Application Review Begins February 2024

Follow the steps below to apply for admission to the Masters of Social Work Program. Use the links to learn more about what is required or access important forms and documents.

  1. Apply to the College of Graduate Studies

    How to Apply to the College of Graduate Studies

    College of Graduate Studies Online Application
  2. Submit MSW Application and Program Reference Letters by email to Graduate Admissions. Your references must use the program reference letter provided below. 

    MSW Program Application

    MSW Program Letter of Reference for Applicants

Additional Info


Some of the courses will be 100% online. Some of the courses will be split between in-class hours once per week and online hours. For example, you might take one three-hour course from 5:30-7:15 p.m. and another three-hour course from 7:30-9:15 p.m. Although each class meets only 1.5 hours, the remainder of the coursework will be online. This allows the student to attend one evening per week and complete two courses.

The entire course will be online. You will need to log onto the course several times each week. There will be content information posted which takes the place of lecture notes. You will be required to read the lecture notes and the assigned chapter(s) each week and participate in discussions boards. In the discussion boards, you will answer the questions for discussion and you will also respond to the answers of your classmates. Exams will be online. Papers written for the course will be submitted by you through the dropbox. The instructor will grade the paper and return it to you. You will communicate with your instructor through email or by phone. Instructors are available to meet with students by appointment. The advantage of online courses is that the student determines the time period which they will devote to learning the required material. The disadvantage is that communication is in a different environment than the traditional classroom.

The Advanced Generalist Concentration prepares the student to work at all levels of practice: micro (individuals), mezzo (families and groups), and macro (agencies and communities). Concentration courses focus on all levels of practice, not just clinical or administration.

No. The social work master's degree qualifies you for advanced social work. There are students with an administration concentration whose first job is clinical. There are students with a clinical concentration whose first job is administrative. The concentration is only your area of interest and does not limit your practice. The advanced generalist concentration provides you with flexibility in your professional training.

It doesn't. With the new licensure process in Tennessee, you can be licensed as a master's level social worker by completing the master's degree and taking the advanced exam. You can be licensed at the clinical level by working in a supervised clinical environment for a specified period and passing the clinical exam. You can be licensed at the administration level by working in a supervised administration environment for a specified period and passing the administration exam. You choose your employment arena and decide which license is best for you and your career. The concentration of your master's in social work does not impact your decision on which license you wish to pursue.

Part-time enrollment is generally recommended for individuals who are working full time while they attend school. Six credit hours per semester is the usual part-time course load. For each 3 credit hours, you will need to schedule your calendar for 3 hours of classtime and 3-6 hours of study. So, if you are part-time and taking 6 credit hours, you will need 12-18 hours per week in order to meet the requirements of the courses. The 12-18 hours per week include class time, time for required reading, and time for required assignments such as papers. This is just an average, as some weeks there will be more or less reading, and some weeks will have assignments and some will not.

Applications are available online in October on this web page. Applications are due on February 1. Applicants will be notified of admission decisions prior to April 27.

Yes, applications are accepted until all positions are filled. Then, a waiting list is maintained. If an applicant that was admitted decides not to attend, we will go to the waiting list to fill that position.

Two application processes must be completed before you can be formally considered for admissions. First, you must apply to the College of Graduate Studies at the link above. Second, you must complete the MSW application in the link above and mail it to the department. Three letters of reference are also required to complete the application.

All complete applications received by February 1st will be reviewed and a decision will be made on admission. If all of the openings of the program are not filled, the admission committee may review applications for conditional admission. However, if all of the openings are filled, no conditional admissions will be made.

They are crucial. Your letters of recommendation should be submitted from professionals. Although your pastor or other community leader may be able to address your character and your willingness to work, they do not have a basis of assessing your writing skills or potential employment in social work.

Even though you already have a college degree, the program wants an example of your writing. We are looking for essays that are clear and concise. Utilization of professional literature will also enhance your essay. Always proofread your essay to ensure that you have used proper grammar and spelling. If you are careless with your essay, the admissions committee will wonder if you are really committed to pursuing higher education. Since the admissions committee does not meet you, it is the essay that reflects you to the committee members.

No. There are no specific prerequisites for admission. However, you should have completed basic University Studies coursework as an undergraduate. Typically, the courses you took to fulfill the general education requirements for your undergraduate degree provide you with a University Studies base.

Yes. The College of Graduate Studies and the Department of Social Work require an overall GPA of 2.75 for regular admission. However, on rare occasions an individual who has a cumulative GPA below 2.75 will be considered for admission on a conditional basis.

Yes, you would be considered for admission. There is not a requirement that your undergraduate degree be in any particular discipline or field, however, you are expected to have completed basic University Studies coursework. When we review your application we look not just at your GPA, but also at your essay, letters of recommendation, and work and volunteer experiences. Career change is not unusual among MSW students.

To be eligible for advanced standing you must: have an undergraduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. An undergraduate degree in a related field, such as Counseling or Human Services, does not qualify you for advanced standing.

We don't want students to repeat foundation content that they already know. Therefore, the APSU MSW Program offers exemption examinations for three of the first-semester foundation courses: Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SW 6010), Research I (SW 6020), and Social Welfare Policy and Services (SW 6030). If you believe your preparation is particularly strong in one or more of these areas, you can take an exemption examination, which is offered at the beginning of each Fall Semester. You would be exempt for the course if you pass the examination. However, passing an exemption exam does not reduce the number of credits needed for graduation, and you would need to complete additional elective coursework to fulfill these credits.

You may be able to transfer graduate credits if the conditions of the university policy on graduate transfer credits are met and the courses are deemed appropriate for transfer after review by MSW faculty. Coursework used to satisfy the requirements of a prior master's degree will not be eligible for transfer. Transfer credits for coursework taken in another field can be used to fulfill the MSW Program's elective requirements, not the required courses. Internships completed as part of some other, non-social work graduate program will not be considered for transfer credit.

If you have taken graduate-level social work courses at an MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the APSU MSW Program faculty will evaluate your MSW transcript to determine the equivalency of the courses you've taken with those offered by this MSW program. Transfer credit decisions will be based on the evaluation of your transcript.

No. Consistent with the requirements of our accrediting body, the APSU MSW Program does not award academic credit for life, volunteer, or employment experience. However, although you will not get academic credit, you have a rich base of experience to draw upon in your classes and this will be of benefit to you as well as the other in your classes.