Social Work (MSSW)

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The Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) prepares graduates for advanced practice with Latino individuals and families, and groups or advanced practice with organizations and communities. Distance Education classes are available in Laredo.

This program is offered in both a traditional (face-to-face) format, as well as, a completely online accelerated format.  

If you are interested in the traditional (face-to-face) format, be sure to know that the Regular (63 credit hour) MSSW program will start in the Fall semester and the Advanced (33 credit hour) program will start in the Summer II semester. 

If you are interested in the online accelerated format, you can click on the concentration of your interest, below, for further information.  Please note that you must have a bachelors in social work to apply for the online accelerated options.

  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
    • Experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among natinal universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
  • Admission Requirements

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. The university application fee of $50 ($100 for International Applicants) can be paid online by credit card or electronic check (in the online application). All application fees are nonrefundable.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

     
    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent in a similar or related field.
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Personal  statement  detailing  professional  goals  and  reasons  for pursuing the graduate degree.(Instructions)
    • Writing Sample.
    • Three  letters  of  recommendation  from  professional  or  academic sources using the following Reference Form. (Reference Form)
    • Verified successful completion of a course in basic statistics.
    • Cleared Criminal Background Check

    Advanced (33-hour program):

    • Clear admission to the UTRGV Graduate College.
    • BSW from a CSWE accredited program.
    • 3.2 GPA or higher, in social work core undergraduate courses.
    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Personal statement detailing professional goals and reasons for pursuing the graduate degree. (Instructions)
    • Writing sample.
    • Three letters of recommendation from professional or academic sources using the following Reference Form.  (Reference Form)
    • Verified successful completion of a course in basic statistics. 
    • Cleared Criminal Background Check

    Application Review

    The evaluation process for admission to the program begins after the Spring deadline for receipt of all materials. At least two reviewers, of the departmental graduate faculty, independently review completed applications. Reviewers assign points based on accomplishments in four categories: GPA, three letters of reference, professional experience, and a personal narrative.

    Offers of Admission to The Graduate College

    Official admission offers will be made only by The Graduate College and are valid only for the semester requested on the application. Through the online application web site, you will be able to view the status of your application. Students who are accepted but do not attend the semester requested on the application must submit an application for readmission to enroll for a later semester. An additional fee will be charged if the student applies more than one year from the semester originally requested.

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

    UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

  • Program Contact

    Traditional (Face-to-Face) MSSW Program

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Janis Feldman

    Phone: (956) 665-3575

    Office: Edinburg Campus, ESWOT 1.216

    E‐Mail: janis.feldman@utrgv.edu

    Online Accelerated MSSW Program

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Sudershan Pasupuleti

    Phone: (956) 665-2413

    Office: Edinburg Campus, ESWOT 1.222

    E‐Mail: sudershan.pasupuleti@utrgv.edu 

  • Deadlines

    Deadlines:

    Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

    Regular 63-hour Program 

    This program only admits applicants during Fall semester.

     

    Advanced 33-hour Program

    This program only admits applicants during Spring and Summer II semesters.

  • Course Requirements

    63 Hour Program
     
    Required Courses 33
    SOCW 6300: Human Behavior and the Social Environment : Individuals, Families and Small Groups 3
    SOCW 6301: Human Behavior and the Social Environment II: Social Institutions, Communities and Organizations 3
    SOCW 6302: Social Welfare Policy 3
    SOCW 6311: Social Work as a Profession 3
    SOCW 6315: Social Work with Diverse Populations 3
    SOCW 6321: Generalist Social Work Practice I 3
    SOCW 6322: Generalist Social Work Practice II 3
    SOCW 6323: Generalist Social Work Practice III 3
    SOCW 6381: Social Work Research Designs and Applications 3
    SOCW 6370: Field Practicum I 3
    SOCW 6371: Field Practicum II 3
     
    Choose one of the following concentrations:
     
    Administration and Community Practice Concentration:
     
    Required Courses 24
    SOCW 6332: Social Work Practice with Latinos 3
    SOCW 6336: Advanced Macro Assessment 3
    SOCW 6340: Advanced Social Work Practice with Organizations 3
    SOCW 6341: Advanced Social Work Practice with Communities 3
    SOCW 6342: Advanced Policy Analysis and Development 3
    SOCW 6378: Macro Practicum I (250 hours) 3
    SOCW 6379: Macro Practicum II (250 hours) 3
    SOCW 6380: Accountability and Evaluation in Macro Practice 3
     
    Free Electives 6
    SOCW 6360: Child Welfare 3
    SOCW 6397: Spirituality and Social Work 3
     
    Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families and Groups Concentration:
     
    Required Courses 27
    SOCW 6330: Advanced Family Practice I 3
    SOCW 6331: Advanced Family Practice II 3
    SOCW 6332: Social Work Practice with Latinos 3
    SOCW 6335: Advanced Clinical Assessment 3
    SOCW 6342: Advanced Policy Analysis and Development 3
    SOCW 6350: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals 3
    SOCW 6351: Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups 3
    SOCW 6376: Clinical Practicum I 3
    SOCW 6377: Clinical Practicum II 3
     
    Free Electives 3
    Choose from the following:
    SOCW 6360: Child Welfare 3
    SOCW 6397: Spirituality and Social Work 3
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Completion of Practicum Hours
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 63
     
    33 Hour Advanced Standing Program
     
    Administration and Community Practice Concentration:
    Required Courses 27
    SOCW 6315: Social Work with Diverse Populations 3
    SOCW 6332: Social Work Practice with Latinos 3
    SOCW 6336: Advanced Macro Assessment 3
    SOCW 6340: Advanced Social Work Practice with Organizations 3
    SOCW 6341: Advanced Social Work Practice with Communities 3
    SOCW 6342: Advanced Policy Analysis and Development 3
    SOCW 6378: Macro Practicum I (250 hours) 3
    SOCW 6379: Macro Practicum II (250 hours) 3
    SOCW 6380: Accountability and Evaluation in MacroPractice 3
     
    Free Electives 6
    SOCW 6360: Child Welfare 3
    SOCW 6397: Spirituality and Social Work 3
    3
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Completion of Practicum Hours
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 33
     
    Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families and Groups Concentration
    Required Courses 30
    SOCW 6315: Social Work with Diverse Populations 3
    SOCW 6330: Advanced Family Practice I 3
    SOCW 6331: Advanced Family Practice II 3
    SOCW 6332: Social Work Practice with Latinos 3
    SOCW 6335: Advanced Clinical Assessment 3
    SOCW 6342: Advanced Policy Analysis and Development 3
    SOCW 6350: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals 3
    SOCW 6351: Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups 3
    SOCW 6376: Clinical Practicum I 3
    SOCW 6377: Clinical Practicum II 3
     
    Free Electives 3
    Choose from the following:
    SOCW 6360: Child Welfare 3
    SOCW 6397: Spirituality and Social Work
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Completion of Practicum Hours
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 33

    Course Descriptions:

    SOCW 6300: Human Behavior and the Social Environment I:Individuals, Families and Small Groups               [3‐0]

    This course focuses on the reciprocal relationships between social environments and human behavior with an emphasis on individuals, families and small groups. Multiple theoretical and empirical perspectives are used to analyze the biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions of human development across the life span among diverse groups with an emphasis on at‐risk and vulnerable populations. Attention is given to factors that contribute to risk and resilience and the role of social and economic justice in promoting human well‐being.

    SOCW 6301: Human Behavior and the Social Environment II: Social Institutions, Communities and Organizations              [3‐0]

    This course focuses on the reciprocal relationships between social environments and human behavior within large social systems. Theoretical and empirical perspectives are used to analyze the impact of the natural and physical environments, social structure, social institutions, communities and formal organizations on the well‐being of diverse, at‐ risk and vulnerable populations. The course emphasizes processes of social change to challenge the inequitable distribution of power and resources.

    SOCW 6302: Social Welfare Policy              [3‐0]

    Examination of the dimensions of social welfare policy, including conceptual frameworks for understanding policy formulation and the analysis of social policies. Special emphasis on policy issues that affect service delivery to families.

    SOCW 6311: Social Work as a Profession              [3‐0]

    This course traces the philosophy and historical development of social work and presents a general overview of the social work profession. The basic knowledge, values, ethics, necessary for generalist social work practice, along with the many and varied roles and competencies in which social workers function across different fields of practice, will be presented. Students are introduced to social work’s commitment to understand and appreciate human diversity; to understand and combat the dynamics and consequences of social and economic injustice; to achieve individual and collective social and economic justice for populations‐at‐risk.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing with admission to the MSSW Program.

    SOCW 6315: Social Work with Diverse Populations              [3‐0]

    This course prepares students for effective professional intervention in a diverse world, and provides an understanding of how discrimination and oppression operate to limit the life opportunities of members of minority, vulnerable, at risk, and disenfranchised groups. A conceptual framework for understanding diversity, discrimination and oppression is presented and used to understand discrimination based on factors such as race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexual orientation. Selected theoretical perspectives are used to critically analyze the manifestations of discrimination and oppression and their impact on affected populations. Social world’s responses to discrimination and inequality, including strategies for intervention, are also examined.

    SOCW 6321: Generalist Social Work Practice I              [3‐0]

    The course is an introductory course in direct practice methods and skills of social work intervention with individuals. Attention is given to the historic development of social work practice, the nature and application of social work values and ethical principles in practice, the theoretical frameworks of helping methods and the helping process of assessment, planning, intervention, termination and evaluation. Emphasis is on a generalist and ecosystems approach.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing with admission to the MSSW Program and/or permission of the instructor.

    SOCW 6322: Generalist Social Work Practice II              [3‐0]

    This course presents a systems‐ecological perspective on social work practice with families and small groups. The course emphasizes using both identified strengths and evidence‐based approaches to working with clients. Students will have the opportunity to learn skills and apply knowledge and ethics to case material. Prerequisite: SOCW 6321.

    SOCW 6323: Generalist Social Work Practice III              [3‐0]

    This course is designed to help students understand communities and the knowledge bases of social work generalist practice for interventions at this level. It provides an opportunity to explore selected macro models of practice and learn about human service organizations, which often serve as an immediate context for community practice.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing with admission to the MSSW Program and SOCW 6321 taken concurrently with SOCW 6371.

    SOCW 6330: Advanced Family Practice I              [3‐0]

    This course, which is the first of two family practice courses, focuses on theories and evidence‐based practice models for working with populations‐at‐risk. Family practice models are critiqued with respect to their efficacy for work with Latinos. The course builds on a generalist foundation which includes a theoretical framework for working with families.

    Prerequisites: SOCW 6322, completion of MSSW foundation curriculum or admission into the 33‐hour program (advanced standing).

    SOCW 6331: Advanced Family Practice II              [3‐0]

    This course is taken concurrently with the concentration internship (SOCW 6375 or SOCW 6975) and focuses on the application of evidence‐based family practice models with populations‐at‐risk. This entails formulating family assessments, developing treatment plans, establishing therapeutic relationships, applying intervention strategies and evaluating outcomes using relevant family therapy approaches that can also be adapted for work with couples and individual clients.

    Prerequisites: SOCW 6330 Advanced Family Practice I.

    SOCW 6332: Social Work Practice with Latinos              [3‐0]

    Social work practice implications of the characteristics of the Latino population of the Southwest. The course will analyze distinctive practice in engagement, communication, and service with Latino clients, differential modalities and helping processes for clinical and macro practice with this population.

    SOCW 6335: Advanced Clinical Assessment              [3‐0]

    This course examines diverse ways to assess mental health functioning with an emphasis on understanding, analyzing and assessing mental disorders and formulating treatment plans according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (latest edition). Attention is given to the significance of gender, race and ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and culture in assessing mental health and mental disorders. Assessment models are analyzed in terms of their consideration of biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of human behavior. Coping strategies, adaptation and resiliency are addressed in the assessment process and a strengths‐based perspective is used in formulating treatment plans. Attention is also given to the role of psychopharmacology in treatment. Criticisms and debates regarding the DSM are addressed. Prerequisites: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing program.

    SOCW 6336: Advanced Macro Assessment              [3‐0]

    A variety of methods to assess macro social systems are studied and experiences are provided to develop macro assessment skills. This includes the logic frameworks for assessment, organizational assessment and use of standardized measures for documenting organizational functioning. The course teaches community asset mapping and traditional community needs assessment methods.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission and advanced standing

    SOCW 6340: Advanced Social Work Practice with Organizations              [3‐0]

    Students gain advanced skills in organizational administration and management. Organizational assessment, human resources development, financial and board management, fund raising, policy planning and development, project management, and program evaluation are addressed. Students explore "use of self" as they develop leadership skills and a commitment to excellence necessary for strengthening agencies and improving human services critically needed in the Border Region of South Texas and beyond.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing.

    SOCW 6341: Advanced Social Work Practice with Communities              [3‐0]

    Students gain advanced skills in community organizing and social advocacy. Community assessment, volunteer management, fund raising, campaign management, networking and project management are addressed. Students will continue to explore their "use of self" as they further develop the leadership skills necessary to strengthen at‐risk Latino community groups in the Border Region of South Texas and beyond. SOCW 6341 taken concurrently with SOCW 6379.

    SOCW 6342: Advanced Policy Analysis and Development              [3‐0]

    This course provides advanced skills in policy formulation, analysis, evaluation, advocacy, social marketing, lobbying, international development policy, and social action mobilization.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing.

    SOCW 6350: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals              [3‐0]

    This course focuses on knowledge and skills needed for advanced clinical social work practice with individual clients. Emphasis is given to the therapeutic process, empowerment and strengths perspectives, and clinical strategies for change. A variety of therapeutic models are examined with attention given to their efficacy for work with Latinos and vulnerable and at‐risk populations.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing.

    SOCW 6351: Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups              [3‐0]

    Emphasis is on the use of group dynamics and techniques to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, conditions and addictions.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing.

    SOCW 6360: Child Welfare              [3‐0]

    Examination of current policies of government‐ sponsored child welfare programs and current issues in the service delivery aspect of practice with cases of child abuse and neglect.

    SOCW 6365: Mexican American Mental Health              [3‐0]

    Course examines cultural and systemic barriers which limit access to mental health services by Mexican Americans. Attention is also given to the development of strategies for improving service delivery.

    SOCW 6370: Field Practicum I              [3‐0]

    This course, which is the first of two foundation internships, requires completion of 200 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares students for generalist social work practice.

    Prerequisite: Approval of the Office of Field Education and completion of SOCW 6321, 6300 and 6311.

    SOCW 6371: Field Practicum II              [3‐0] This course, which is a continuation of the first internship experience (SOCW 6370), requires completion of 200 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares students for generalist social work practice. This course is taken concurrently with SOCW 6323.

    Prerequisites: Approval by the Office of Field Education and completion of SOCW 6321, 6300, 6301, 6302, 6381, 6311 and 6322.

    SOCW 6376: Clinical Practicum I              [3‐0]

    This practicum course requires completion of 250 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares interns for family focused practice with Latino individuals and families. Course may be taken concurrently with SOCW 6377.

    Prerequisites: Approval by the Office of Field Education and completion of SOCW 6330, 6332, 6335, 6338.

    SOCW 6377: Clinical Practicum II              [3‐0]

    This practicum course requires completion of 250 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares interns for family focused practice with Latino individuals and families. SOCW 6376 and 6377 may be taken concurrently or SOCW 6376 can be taken first, followed by SOCW 6377. SOCW 6377 must be taken concurrently with SOCW 6331.

    Prerequisites: Approval by the Office of Field Education and completion of SOCW 6330, 6332, 6335; any outstanding courses must be taken concurrently with this course.

    SOCW 6378: Macro Practicum I              [3‐0]

    This practicum course requires completion of 250 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares interns for community practice and administration. Course may be taken concurrently with the second internship course (SOCW 6379).

    Prerequisites: Approval by the Office of Field Education.

    SOCW 6379: Macro Practicum II              [3‐0]

    This practicum course requires completion of 250 clock hours in an approved field setting which prepares Interns for macro practice. SOCW 6379 may be taken concurrently with SOCW 6378 or after completing SOCW 6378. SOCW 6379 must be taken concurrently with SOCW 6341.

    Prerequisites: SOCW 6315, 6336, & 6340; any outstanding courses which are required for graduation must be taken concurrently with this course.


    SOCW 6380: Accountability and Evaluation in Macro Practice              [3‐0]

    Emphasis on processes for monitoring and evaluating for evidence‐based programming.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing.

    SOCW 6381: Social Work Research Designs and Applications              [3‐0]

    Examination of the various scientific methods for research, with special attention upon survey research methodology, beginning practice assessment and the statistical application of related procedures, including correlations, T‐ test, Chi Square, analysis of variance and the visual presentation of data.

    SOCW 6383: Directed Studies              [3‐0]

    Independent study designed to provide an opportunity for students to pursue directed readings or participate in research or special projects under faculty supervision.

    SOCW 6393: Children’s Mental Health              [3‐0]

    This course presents a systems approach to children’s mental health that includes theory, research, policy and practice perspectives. There is an emphasis on strength‐based assessment and empirically‐based interventions to help children with mental health concerns and their families.

    Prerequisite: Graduate status.

    SOCW 6396: Gerontological Social Work              [3‐0]

    Theory and knowledge for practice with older adults and their families. Content addressing family empowerment, advocacy, networking, accessing of services, family dynamics and caregiving, with special emphasis on the development of practice skills to work with older adults and their families toward fostering maximum independence of the elderly.

    Prerequisite: Completion of foundation curriculum or admission into advanced standing program.

    SOCW 6397: Spirituality and Social Work              [3‐0]

    This course examines perspectives on human well‐being within diverse spiritual and religious traditions; models of spiritual development; the role of spirituality and religion in fostering well‐ being or contributing to the oppression of diverse, at risk, and vulnerable populations; and values and ethics for spiritually sensitive practice. Tools for spiritual assessment and spiritually‐based interventions are explored.

    SOCW 6399: Special Topics in Social Work Practice              [3‐0]

    Examination of special topics in social work practice.

    Prerequisite: Approval of faculty advisor and department chair.