Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

MSW Program

    School of Social Work
    Thayer Hall

    (404) 880-8311


Master of Social Work Program (MSW Program)

The mission of the Master of Social Work Program is to provide a quality graduate education to prepare students to be excellent direct service social work practitioners. The Program prepares students to demonstrate a heightened sense of social consciousness and to become culturally competent social workers capable of addressing and resolving complex social problems and issues affecting diverse groups in a variety of settings. However, the emphasis is to prepare graduates to be creative and responsible social work professionals who, in pursuit of social justice within a global context, demonstrate commitment to the search for solutions to problems affecting the African-American community, with a focus on children, families, and males within the context of family and community. The mission is built upon a liberal arts base and an Afrocentric, autonomous social work practice model heavily guided by humanistic values that enable students to engage in competent practice.

The MSW Program seeks to advance the aims of the profession through education for excellence in advanced clinical social work practice. The program offers two specializations: Child and Family and Health/Mental Health. The Child and Family Specialization has a Sub-specialty in School Social Work. Both specializations utilize ecological and systems theories as a base though they draw upon other theories including developmental and life-stage theories. Three major integrative themes undergird the curriculum: Afrocentric Perspective, Humanistic Values, and Autonomous Social Work Practice Roles. The MSW Program is offered in three plans of study:

The two-year, full-time Plan of Study (59 Semester Credit Hours)
The three-year, part-time Plan of Study (59 Semester Credit Hours)
The Advanced Standing Plan of Study (38 Semester Credit Hours)

The MSW Program aims are institutionalized through the following five program goals and nine program objectives:

MSW Program Goals

Goal 1: Prepare graduate students for employment as competent advanced direct social work practitioners.

Goal 2: Prepare graduates to apply multiple theoretical frameworks and practice models, including an Afrocentric perspective, humanistic values, and the Autonomous Social Work Practice model, focusing on a strengths-based approach, to resolve complex social problems at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

Goal 3: Prepare students to become culturally competent in advanced direct practice with diverse client systems, as well as to serve as advocates for social justice.

Goal 4: Prepare students to critically evaluate and apply research to practice, as well as disseminate research findings that contribute to professional development and enhanced practice with, and on behalf of, diverse populations.

Goal 5: Prepare graduate social work students for advanced direct practice with foci in Child and Family, Health/Mental Health, and School Social Work.

MSW Program Objectives

1. Apply at the MSW level the foundation knowledge, skills, values and ethics of generalist social work practice in the assessment and treatment of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

2. Develop a professional identity as a social worker by applying professional values and ethics to advanced direct social work practice.

3. Apply empirically based theoretical frameworks to develop an understanding of the dynamic interactions that exist between human and environmental systems and how this interaction can manifest adaptive and maladaptive behaviors at all stages of development across the lifespan.

4. Demonstrate proficiency in the use of effective communication skills and a variety of intervention and practice models, including an Afrocentric perspective, humanistic values, and the Autonomous Social Work Practice model that builds on clients' strengths to address and resolve global complex social problems.

5. Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for human diversity as evidenced by a heightened sense of social consciousness, involving the ability to understand one's own and others' racial, ethnic, and cultural background, to engage in nondiscriminatory culturally sensitive practice that seeks social and economic justice for clients, without regard to age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

6. Demonstrate the ability to understand how racism, discrimination, oppression, and social policies differentially affect different ethnic and cultural groups in order to influence social policies for the enhancement of social functioning and improvement of service delivery systems.

7. Use critical thinking skills to analyze, evaluate, and apply research findings to practice, including evaluating one's own practice, to effectively practice with, and on behalf of, diverse populations.

8. Use appropriate supervision and consultation to conduct research and disseminate
research findings that contribute to enhancement of students' personal and
professional development.

9. Practice with a high degree of autonomy and proficiency at the advanced level by synthesizing and applying knowledge and skills acquired in the Child and Family, Health/Mental Health or School Social Work foci.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the two-year, full-time Plan of Study or the three-year, part-time Plan of Study must:

  • Be a graduate of an accredited four-year college or university;
  • Have a baccalaureate degree that reflects a broad liberal arts base to include:
    • Fifteen (15) semester credit hours in the social, behavioral or psychological sciences;
    • Three (3) semester credit hours in human biology;
  • Have a GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale based on official college or university transcript;
  • Submit an application to the University Office of Admissions for enrollment in the two-year, full-time or three-year, part-time Plan of Study, both of which start in August;
  • Submit three letters of recommendation;
  • Submit resume and/or fill out the Pertinent Social Work Experience form;
  • Submit an autobiographical statement; and
  • Pay a nonrefundable application fee.
  • Effective Academic Year Fall 2011: Please note that the GRE requirement has been removed from admissions criteria, therefore, the applicant does NOT have to take the GRE exam.

Applicants seeking admission to the Advanced Standing Plan of Study must:

  • Have a BSW degree from a school of social work accredited by CSWE;
  • Have a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale;
  • Submit an application to the University Office of Admissions for enrollment in the Advanced Standing Program which starts in June;
  • Submit three letters of recommendation;
  • Submit resume and/or fill out the Pertinent Social Work Experience form;
  • Submit an autobiographical statement; and
  • Pay a nonrefundable application fee.
  • Effective Academic Year Fall 2011: Please note that the GRE requirement has been removed from admissions criteria, therefore, the applicant does NOT have to take the GRE exam.

The MSW program does not give credit for life experiences or previous work experiences.

MSW Catalog