1. Social Work as a Profession:
Social work is a profession in which practitioners work to enhance the functioning of individuals, families, groups, and communities as well as work for positive change in societal conditions. Social workers are employed in all levels of government as well as community and private organizations and individual therapeutic agencies. Social Workers are the largest providers of mental health services in the country.
2. The Social Work Master’s Program at VSU:
The Department of Social Work at Valdosta State University has a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program that focuses on multi-level, advanced generalist practice. Students learn about both clinical and community practice and are able to develop the requisite skills to practice in many settings such as schools, hospitals, mental health, residential treatment, child welfare, forensic, geriatric, hospice, and many others.
The program is 60 credit hours completed in two years (full-time) or 3-4 years (part-time). Students with a BSW degree from an accredited school can apply for Advanced Standing Status and complete the MSW program in one academic year. We offer an optional concentration in School Social Work.
3. Accreditation and State Licensure:
The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national social work accrediting body. Accreditation by CSWE ensures students that they will be a part of a high quality instructional environment, and also enables students to fulfill the educational requirements that prepare them for eligibility to take state licensure exams (Licensed Master Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker).
4. Web-Based and On-Campus Cohorts:
The MSW program offers both a traditional on-campus cohort and an innovative web-based program. The on-campus cohort attends classes after 5:00 pm during the week. The web-based cohort meets face-to-face for 5 weekends per semester (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) and completes the remainder of coursework online using Desire to Learn.
5. Field Practicum:
MSW students complete 2 separate year-long practicum placements while enrolled in the program. The Department of Social Work Field Office has contractual agreements with 125-150 human service agencies in Georgia. Eighty to ninety students are placed in these agencies and supervised by the Field Office each academic year. The most common placements are in Mental Health, School Social Work, Hospice, Inpatient Psychiatry, VA Hospitals, and Department of Children and Family Services.
6. MSW Student Body:
The total number of MSW students ranges between 110 to 140 annually. Admissions applications and student enrollment have almost doubled in the last 8 years. Students come from a variety of educational and career backgrounds. Some students enroll directly after finishing an undergraduate degree and others have extensive experience in a human service field. The following is data on current enrollees: Average Age: 31; Percentage Female: 92%; Percentage Minority: 42%; Completing a 2nd master’s degree: 15%; On-Campus: 47%; Web-Based: 53%
7. Social Work Faculty & Staff:
The Department of Social Work includes 20 people including 8 tenure track faculty, a Department Chair, a Director of Field Education, and an Assistant Director of Field. The faculty members are quite productive in terms of their scholarship. Additionally, they are active in all levels of campus, community, regional, state, national, and international service activities, and make numerous professional presentations each year. All faculty members place a high value on providing individual attention and mentoring to students.
8. Grant Support & Community Service:
The Division received $752,000 in external funding in 2005-2006. The Division of Social Work operates My Friend’s House, an Alzheimer’s Day Care Program funded by the state. My Friend’s House serves approximately 12 Alzheimer’s patients each day while their caretakers work.
9. Stability of the Program:
The program was originally qualified as a Division within the Valdosta State University academic organization structure in 1995 and was originally accredited in 1998. Over the years, it has been remarkably stable. We graduated over 500 students and have practitioners across the state of Georgia and throughout the country. The recent organizational restructuring, which resulted in the creation of the Department of Social Work within the College of Education and Human Services, will help in sustaining the stability and will afford us the opportunity for future growth.
10: Contacting Us:
If you are interested in applying to the program, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to communicate with you by email, phone or in person. We can also arrange campus visits and the opportunity to meet with the admissions director, social work faculty and/or the program director. We organize Visiting Days in the fall and spring to give prospective students a chance to learn more about the program. Prospective students can contact the MSW Admissions Director (email or 229-219-1392).