The Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers an advanced generalist concentration that embraces the profession’s commitment to social and economic justice, individual and community well-being, and scientific inquiry. As a reflection of UNC Charlotte’s designation as North Carolina’s urban research university, our curriculum is especially focused on the needs of vulnerable populations in the growing urban and suburban areas of the state. Graduates of the program will be able to synthesize and apply a broad range of knowledge and skills in order to refine and advance the quality of social work practice and the profession in a range of settings.
The following are given consideration in the admission process:
- Undergraduate Preparation, including GPA
- The Graduate School sets a 3.0 as the minimum GPA for admission to master’s programs
- The Graduate School requires students to provide copies of unofficial transcripts for all institutions the applicant has attended
- The School of Social Work seeks applicants with a liberal arts background. Previous courses in biology and statistics are encouraged, but not required.
- Three Recommendations
- Relevant Volunteer and/or Paid Experience
- Personal Statement - See the MSW program website for details
International applicants may be required by The Graduate School to submit additional materials.
Note: Standardized test scores (e.g., GRE) are not required.
Upon acceptance to the program, students are asked to complete an Intent to Enroll Form.
The MSW curriculum promotes its mission and goals through the Foundation curriculum and the Advanced curriculum. The Foundation curriculum prepares students to apply generalist social work knowledge, skills, and values. The Advanced curriculum prepares students for more specialized application of the profession’s knowledge, skills, and values, with special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations. All students must successfully complete SOWK 7651 , which serves as the capstone course for the MSW.
The MSW may be pursued through the One-Year (Advanced Standing), Two-Year, or Three-Year plans of study.
One-Year (Advanced Standing) Plan of Study
The Advanced Standing plan of study is designed for students who have earned a BSW from a social work program from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body within the past seven years and wish to pursue the MSW. Advanced Standing students are not required to complete the Foundation curriculum for the MSW. Under the Advanced Standing plan of study, the MSW can be completed in one calendar year. Students complete 39 graduate credit hours, which includes 33 credit hours in the classroom and 6 credit hours in an approved field placement.
Classes begin during Extended Summer Session, which meets on the main University campus for 10 weeks in the summer months. Advanced Standing students complete 9 credit hours of graduate level coursework designed to bridge the gap between their BSW curriculum and the Advanced MSW curriculum. In the Fall and Spring semesters, students complete the Advanced curriculum along with students completing the Two-Year plan of study.
* Advanced Standing MSW students work with their advisors to choose two elective courses that reflect their individual professional interests and goals. Elective courses may be from any academic discipline but must relate to the School of Social Work’s mission to work with vulnerable populations.
Degree Total = 39 Credit Hours
Two-Year Plan of Study
The Two-Year MSW plan of study is designed for students to complete the MSW through two years of intensive study. The Foundation curriculum is completed during the first year of study and the Advanced curriculum is completed during the second year. Classes meet at the main University campus. Students complete a total of 60 graduate credit hours, which includes 48 credit hours in the classroom and 12 credit hours in an approved field placement.
Year One - Foundation Curriculum
Year Two - Advanced Curriculum
* Two-Year MSW students work with their advisors to choose three elective courses that reflect their individual professional interests and goals. Elective courses may be from any academic discipline but must relate to the School of Social Work’s mission to work with vulnerable populations.
Degree Total = 60 Credit Hours
Year One - Foundation Curriculum
Year Two - Foundation and Advanced Curriculum
Year Three - Advanced Curriculum
* Three-Year MSW students work with their advisors to choose three elective courses that reflect their individual professional interests and goals. Elective courses may be from any academic discipline but must relate to the School of Social Work’s mission to work with vulnerable populations.
Degree Total = 60 Credit Hours
Field placements are assigned from a variety of agencies and practice settings approved by the UNC Charlotte School of Social Work Office of Field Education. Field Instructors, approved by the School of Social Work, guide the student through learning experiences, coordinating field experiences with the concurrent classroom coursework. The Foundation field placement prepares students to apply generalist social work knowledge, skills, and values. The Advanced field placement prepares students for more specialized application, with special attention to the needs of vulnerable populations.
Paid internships and assistantships are limited. Visit socialwork.uncc.edu for more information.
Graduates of the MSW Program may pursue state licensure or certification at the graduate level. Application for licensure or certification should be made with the state board in the state where the applicant intends to practice social work. In North Carolina, the Certification and Licensure Board for Social Work may be accessed on the web at ncswboard.org or by phone at 336-625-1679. MSW levels of licensure/certification in North Carolina include the following: Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSWA), Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW), and Certified Social Work Manager (CSWM).
North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative
UNC Charlotte participates in the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative, which is a joint effort of the NC Division of Social Services, the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services (DSS), and the National Association of Social Workers NC Chapter, to improve the quality of public child welfare services in North Carolina. The program is administered by the Jordan Institute for Families at UNC Chapel Hill. At UNC Charlotte, Child Welfare Education Collaborative MSW students complete the course SOWK 5103 as one of their electives. They also complete their graduate field placements in a child welfare agency. Students who complete all requirements for the Collaborative program receive a certificate indicating they have successfully met North Carolina Child Welfare Pre-service Training competencies. Graduates may then be hired at a NC County DSS with credit for six (6) months of experience.
For additional information about the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative at UNC Charlotte, contact the UNC Charlotte Child Welfare Collaborative Liaison.
School Social Work
Graduates of the program may also qualify for licensure as a school social worker in the state of North Carolina.
The School Social Work license is awarded by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. To be eligible for school social work licensure, MSW students must complete a two-semester field placement in a school setting, take SOWK 5102 , and take another course from a list of approved electives. Students interested in school social work licensure should begin planning with their advisors and the MSW Field Education Director as early in the program as possible.
The School of Social Work’s Field Education Director has additional information about school social work licensure requirements. Information is also available online at ncsswa.org.