Master of Social Work — Advanced Standing Program

Purpose

The Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program offers a 32-semester-hour course of study, and 500+ hours of field internship work. The School of Social Work seeks to integrate Christian scholarship within the discipline of social work. Upon completion of the prescribed curriculum, the student should be able to demonstrate mastery of the theories, methods, techniques, and values of the social work profession as prescribed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The student should be able to integrate their personal faith within the program’s curriculum and understand how this impacts them both personally and professionally. It is the program’s goal that students graduate with the ability to differentiate personal belief systems from their client’s beliefs and conduct themselves ethically as advanced practice social workers, working with diverse and vulnerable populations in a variety of settings.

Within the context of a Christian university, this program is dedicated to providing a community environment where each individual is viewed as unique and valuable with varied gifts and abilities to use in service to others.

Mission Statement

The mission of George Fox University’s School of Social Work Masters Program is to prepare graduates for worldwide leadership and service as social work professionals who integrate the values, knowledge, and skills of social work with the highest competence and ethical integrity within public and private human service organizations, faith communities, and religiously affiliated agencies.

Degree Outcomes

Students completing the MSW program will be able at an advanced level to:

  • Exhibit competence in generalist and advanced social work practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills in applying knowledge and ethical principles to social work practice and in evaluating scientific inquiry including practice-based research.
  • Consider and apply the values and ethics of the profession in every aspect of practice and understand the ethical integration of Christian faith in practice, including nondiscrimination in the areas of age, class, culture, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
  • Enhance the well-being of people and communities locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world.
  • Apply an ecological systems perspective, empirically supported theoretical frameworks, and evidence-based social work practice methods to all levels of practice.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program (MSW)

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program is conducted by formal application. Qualified students will be admitted regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, age, or disability. The applicant's packet will be considered complete when the following parts have been received:

  1. A completed online application and application fee; An official transcript from each junior college, college, or university in which baccalaureate coursework was taken.
  2. A written response to questions related to the applicant’s reason for applying, professional goals and interest, work and/or volunteer experiences, and reflection on case-related materials.
  3. Recommendations: Three strong professional references who can attest to the applicant’s ability in these areas: intellectual competence; potential for academic success; the ability to work with people around sensitive issues, including people from diverse backgrounds; possession of critical thinking and communication skills; a sense of values and ethics; and potential as a professional social worker. At least one of the recommenders must be an academic reference having been the instructor of the applicant in a classroom setting. Recommenders must submit these directly to the School of Social Work graduate program using the online link provided. If a letter is included, the letters must be written on institutional or business letterhead.
  4. Current resume.

Admission Requirements

Students who have a baccalaureate degree in social work from George Fox University, as well as students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in social work from another program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, may apply for admission into the Advanced Standing at George Fox University. If admitted, full-time students can complete their MSW at GFU in 32 semester credit hours of graduate work.

Applicants to the GFU Advanced Standing Program with a degree from an international social work program must provide evidence through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service that the program from which they have graduated or anticipate graduating is certified by CSWE.

Preference will be given to admitting to Advanced Standing those students who completed their baccalaureate degrees no more than five years prior to application. If students completed their baccalaureate degree in social work more than five years before applying to the MSW program, they must demonstrate that they have engaged in continuing education and professional social work practice during a majority of the years since their baccalaureate education. Decisions about their admission to Advanced Standing will be based on the following, in addition to the standard graduate social work application:

  • An overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all social work coursework, to include a minimum grade of B in all practice and field courses.
  • A copy of the student’s Field Evaluation from baccalaureate social work field experience(s) documenting satisfactory generalist practice experience and skills in the internship is required. (While prospective students may be admitted conditionally based on their performance in the field, full admission is contingent upon receipt of final field evaluation. When the final field evaluation is not available, a positive reference from a social work supervisor familiar with the applicant’s skills in social work practice is necessary.)

Transfer Credit

For matriculating students who wish to transfer from another CSWE accredited graduate social work program, the MSW program has a written policy stipulating the transfer of credits as follows.

The Director of the School of Social Work may approve up to 15 hours of coursework for inclusion into the MSW standard two-year degree requirements or up to 9 hours of coursework in the advanced standing program. Students may only transfer a maximum of 15 semester credits for the 2-year program or 9 semester credits for the advanced standing program in order to preserve the integrity of his/her education at the degree granting institution; field practicum credits will not be transferred.

The Director, in consultation with MSW faculty, will make decisions about acceptance of transfer of credit.

No credit will be given toward required MSW courses unless the following conditions apply:

  • The courses were taken in a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social work Education.
  • A course description and syllabus is available and the Director judges the courses to be an appropriate substitution for a specific course in the graduate program.
  • Once the Director has advised the student concerning which courses are approved for transfer credit, the student prepares a letter of petition specifying how the courses will be applied to the degree plan.

A petition for transfer credit must fulfill the conditions listed below:

  • Students who wish to transfer credits must make the request and present relevant syllabi and transcripts six (6) weeks prior to the beginning of the first semester of matriculation.
  • The work must have been done while the student was enrolled in good standing as a graduate student.
  • The work must have been done within five years prior to the award of the master‘s degree from George Fox University.
  • The school from which the credits are transferred must be accredited by a regional accreditation agency.
  • No earned grade for transfer credit is less than a B.
  • None of the transfer coursework consists of extension or workshop courses.
  • Petition for transfer of credit occurs after enrollment in the School of Social Work graduate program.

Residence Requirements

Of the 32 credit hours required for the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work program, a minimum of 23 credit hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. All work leading to the degree must meet the requirements stated in the program transfer policy.

Leave of Absence

If a student must take a leave of absence from the program due to an illness, accident, or other substantial reason that impair their ability to continue coursework or field internship they must submit a written request explaining reasons for requesting a leave. All incomplete coursework or fieldwork must be completed within two years from the date of his or her original start. If they are unable to complete the program in that time frame, they will be dismissed from the program.

The director of the School of Social Work must approve leaves of absence for the Master of Social Work program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the Master of Social Work degree in the Advanced Standing Program students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 32 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Maintenance of a minimum average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all academic courses taken and a minimum grade of C for all academic courses taken.
  • Earn a grade of B or higher in all Field Internship courses.
  • Earn no more than two "C" grades in the program.
  • Complete a 600-hour supervised internship in an agency setting approved by the School of Social Work.
  • Completion of all degree requirements within four (4) years of matriculation.
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Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

This one-credit required course is designed for beginning advanced practice students. The purpose of the course is to provide the student with an ability to use the DSM-5 as a tool in mental health field placement settings under guidance from the field instructors. Students will gain an understanding of how to use the manual, and understand the diagnostic language in order to be able to participate in assessment, diagnosis, development, and implementation of mental health service plans. This course will help prepare student to engage in discussions with mental health professionals from various disciplines.
Scientific methods of knowledge development for social work practice; ethical standards for scientific inquiry; quantitative and qualitative research methods; and research designs are applied to critical evaluation of research in your area of concentration and to development of a plan for research project implementation. Students will engage in an advanced research practice experience that enables them to demonstrate the capacity to plan, conduct, and evaluate an agency-based research project. The research proposal is implemented during the Advanced Field Internship and Advanced Research II (SWKG 643).
Concurrent with your enrollment in Advanced Field Internship II (SWKG 677), this course is designed to assist you in completing a major research project related to your concentration internship. You will learn from one another’s work as you help one another refine your work. You will each deliver a professional continuing education presentation to the practice community and faculty, supported by an abstract (brief explanation of presentation topic and content), presentation objectives, a methodology statement, and a vita or resume. Prerequisite: SWKG 642
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to advanced professional social work practice in the area of their chosen concentration, Direct Practice or Community Practice, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 676 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. SWKG 676, Advanced Internship I, is a required course for all students in the concentration year of the MSW program who have successfully completed the Foundation Year sequence of SWKG 576 and 577 or their equivalent. SWKG 676 consists of a minimum of 250 hours of applied learning in an agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. Additional course fee required.
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to advanced professional social work practice in the area of their chosen concentration, Direct Practice or Community Practice, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 677 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. SWKG 677, Advanced Internship II, is a required course for all students of the MSW program who have successfully completed SWKG 676 and are in the final semester of their concentration year. SWKG 677 consists of a minimum of 250 hours of applied learning in the agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. Prerequisite: SWKG 676 Additional course fee required.
These courses are developed to provide social workers with in-depth knowledge on specific topics of interests in fields of practice. Examples of possible courses include: Child Welfare; Play Therapy; Trauma-Informed Practice; International Social Work.
These courses are developed to provide social workers with in-depth knowledge on specific topics of interests in fields of practice. Examples of possible courses include: Child Welfare; Play Therapy; Trauma-Informed Practice; International Social Work.
Social Work Administration prepares students to perform managerial functions in public, nonprofit, and faith-based human service organizations with particular emphasis on those with programs designed to improve family resilience and human wellness. Specific attention is given to the topics of leadership, human resources, fund raising, organizational development, structure and governance, resource management, and efforts to link human service organizations in an integrated community-wide service delivery system. Students analyze and evaluate selected administrative systems, management practices, and programs in their advanced internship agency and design strategies to maximize both their learning and performance in this and other settings. The course emphasizes the school of social work themes of integrating faith and practice, the strengths perspective, and building communities.
The capstone is an integrative seminar at the end of the MSW process intended to provide students the opportunity to help demonstrate their readiness to practice social work at an advanced level in their area of concentration and to contribute to the professional knowledge and development of colleagues. Students will reflect on the major themes, goals, and objectives of the social work program. You will each deliver a professional continuing education presentation to the practice community and faculty, supported by an abstract (brief explanation of presentation topic and content), presentation objectives, a methodology statement, and a vita or resume.

Concentration Courses

Choose one of the following:

Complete the following:
This course provides an overview of theory and models of social work intervention with families, children, individuals and groups. Students learn the philosophy and theoretical constructs of a variety of methods, as well as how to apply those methods with different client systems. Emphasis is placed on both cultural and gender issues, as well as on working with families with both traditional and non-traditional structures.
This theory-based course develops knowledge and skill for the application of research-informed models of direct social work with families, children, individuals and groups. Advanced practice skills are emphasized with particular attention to engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Attention is also given to integrating research in direct social work practice with families, children, individuals and groups. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 600 DSM-5; SWKG 691 Theories for Advanced Practice Families, Children, Individuals and Groups
This course focuses on current clinical issues that families face, allowing students the opportunity to apply advanced practice theories and methods to particular problem areas.
Complete the following:
This course provides an overview of the theory and models of community intervention essential for social work practice with neighborhoods, organizations, and communities. It addresses issues of community organizing, program development, policy practice, and advocacy at the legislative level. This course presents the conceptual and theoretical foundations for understanding the role of advanced social work community practice. Theoretical models for community practice interventions will be reviewed, focusing on models such as development, planning, organizing, and social action. Global issues, values and ethics, work with diverse and at-risk populations, and the appropriate incorporation of spirituality and religion in competent social work community practice are examined.
The course emphasizes community interventions that are sensitive to human diversity in many forms, including community development, social action and organizing/planning. Knowledge, skills, and the application of social work values prepare students to assess and intervene in communities. The course uses practice theory and methods rooted in professional social work literature. Students also will examine the relationship between religious faith and communities, as well as the role of congregations and religiously affiliated organizations in community practice. In order to accomplish this, this advanced community practice will have a class project as its focus for the entire semester. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 600 DSM-5; SWKG 692 Theories for Advanced Practice Community Organizations & Development
This course focuses on current issues in advanced practice with communities and organizations allowing students the opportunity to apply advanced practice theories and methods to particular problem areas.