You have chosen an exciting way to serve others. The social work profession offers you the rewarding prospect of joining with others to respond to problems and develop opportunities that benefit individuals, families, groups, and communities. The MSW degree prepares you for advanced professional practice in the field of social work.
Augsburg’s MSW program prepares you for agency-based practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities, and with a dedication to system change that reduces oppression and discrimination. Graduates of our program share how they appreciated the opportunity to learn new ideas as well as learn more about themselves. These graduates valued our small class size, our cohort structure, and the opportunity to have a mentoring relationship with our faculty and staff. As a small program, we have high expectations for our students and at the same time offer the flexibility to help them meet their individual goals.
Attending Augsburg College will transform and develop your professional life in unexpected ways. We have two concentrations. The first, Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP), will prepare you for direct clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups. The second, Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP), will prepare you for macro social work practice with organizations, communities, and other large systems.
We are delighted in your interest in our MSW program and invite you to join us in a lifelong adventure in learning. The personal and professional growth necessary to become an advanced professional social worker is challenging. We encourage you to take the challenge with us.
Lois A. Bosch, PhD, LISW
Director, Master of Social Work
Our mission is to develop competent social work professionals for advanced multicultural practice which promotes social justice and empowerment towards the well-being of people in a diverse and global society.
The MSW program prepares social work students for agency-based practice in public and nonprofit settings. By working in the agency setting, social workers collaborate with others to provide holistic, affordable, and accessible services to individuals, families, groups, and communities. Our challenging MSW curriculum integrates social work theory with micro and macro practice methods. Students develop skills, knowledge, and values necessary for ethical social work practice. As you progress through our MSW program, you will:
- Learn how individuals live in and are affected by their social environment
- Understand how social policies and programs affect individuals, families, communities, and society
- Apply theories and methods of practice through the field practicum experience
- Use a range of client-centered approaches to practice with client groups of all types and sizes
- Engage in practice informed by sound, scholarly research
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your social work practice or social work programs
- Advocate for the eradication of oppression and discrimination
- Be a responsible and contributing citizen in the local and global community
Augsburg’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Your MSW degree must be accredited by CSWE if you seek licensure with the social work board of your state. For more information on CSWE accreditation go to www.cswe.org.
Augsburg College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For a complete list of Augsburg’s accreditations, approvals, and memberships, see the About Augsburg College section of this catalog.
Plan of Study
Students entering Augsburg’s MSW program with a bachelor’s degree from a discipline other than social work are classified as foundation students. Full-time foundation students are enrolled in a two year program. Part-time foundation students are enrolled in a four year program.
Students entering Augsburg’s MSW program with a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) accredited institution are classified as advanced standing students. Advanced standing students are enrolled in a 16 month program or a 13 month program beginning in May 2016. The part-time option is not generally available for advanced standing students.
All students must complete the MSW degree in no more than 4 years following matriculation.
The MSW program meets on a semester calendar, with classes offered September through August. Classes typically meet every other weekend with an occasional back-to-back weekend. Field practicum hours are generally completed during weekday hours. If a student lives outside the Twin Cities metro, the field practicum hours can be completed at a placement near the student’s place of residence. Hours per week vary depending on the agency placement and the student’s availability. Click here for academic calendars and schedules.
Classes meet in 4 hour blocks on Friday evenings, 6 to 10:00 pm; Saturday mornings, 8:00 am to 12 pm; and Saturday afternoons, 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Each class meets on campus for 8 sessions in a given semester and for 4-8 sessions on campus in a summer term (May-June/August), with the expectation that students engage in hybrid learning activities between on-campus class weekends.
Although classes meet on weekends, students spend time on their studies during non-class weekends and weekdays in accordance with our hybrid learning format. Hybrid learning is a combination of face-to-face class sessions and online/experiential learning. On a class weekend, the typical student will spend 12 hours in class within a 23-hour period. For every hour spent in class, a student may expect to spend 3 to 4 hours outside of class working on online activities, assignments, readings, or group projects. A student may also spend 15 to 20 hours per week in the field practicum during the fall and spring semesters (a span of 8 to 9 months for each practicum). In the final year of study, students complete a summative evaluation or a portfolio, which requires significant independent research, analysis, and writing.
Some MSW students work full-time while enrolled in the program. However, full-time employment is not recommended. Most students arrange to reduce their work hours or request time away during their graduate studies. Each student’s situation is unique and must be decided individually. All students must develop strategies for balancing family, work, and academic responsibilities.
Credit and Contact Hours
MSW courses range from 2 to 4 semester credits. Depending on the number of credits, students will spend 16 to 32 hours in the classroom per course. Students will also be expected to engage in activities and independent study outside of class.
MSW students are admitted to a particular cohort. Cohorts are distinguished by level of admission (foundation or advanced standing), rate of attendance (full-time or part-time), and chosen concentration (Multicultural Clinical Practice [MCCP] or Multicultural Macro Practice [MCMP]). Any changes to a student’s cohort selection must be approved by the MSW director.
Foundation students complete 920 hours in two field practica; advanced standing students complete 500 hours in one field practicum. Successful completion of the first field practicum, required for foundation students, is a minimum of 420 hours. Successful completion of the second field practicum, required for both foundation and advanced standing students, is a minimum of 500 hours. Each practicum experience is spread over two semesters (fall and spring). These hours are completed concurrent with enrollment in the fieldwork seminars as well as other MSW courses.
MSW Curriculum Components
In the foundation courses and field practicum, you are introduced to social work as a profession. You will learn both historical and contemporary theories and practice methods relating to both the individual and the environment. During the foundation year, you will study human behavior and the social environment, history of social welfare policy, research methods, assessment frameworks, family and community diversity, and social work values and ethics.
In the foundation curriculum you will apply this generalist knowledge of theories and practice methods in the generalist field practicum. The field practicum is completed concurrently with your enrollment in two field seminar courses. The full foundation curriculum is required of all students, with the exception of those admitted with advanced standing. Before beginning the concentration curriculum, all foundation coursework and field hours must be successfully completed.
After completing the foundation requirements, you will enroll in the concentration curriculum that you selected at the time of application. You will also complete an advanced field practicum. Augsburg offers two concentrations: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) or Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP). In either concentration, you will deepen your knowledge of the primary issues affecting families and communities, develop a range of client-centered approaches to practice, gain a broader understanding of human diversity, develop competencies in practice-based research, and learn practice or program evaluation techniques.
In the concentration curriculum, you will apply this advanced knowledge of theories and practice methods in the concentration field practicum. The field practicum is relevant to your chosen concentration and is completed concurrently with your enrollment in two field seminar courses. As a capstone to your MSW program, you will complete a portfolio project or a summative evaluation project.
Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Concentration
Multiculturalism is a process requiring practitioners to have a deep awareness of their social and cultural identities, as well as the ability to use multiple lenses when working with diverse populations. With person-in-environment as an organizing perspective, multicultural clinical social work practice addresses the biopsychosocial and spiritual functioning of individuals, families, and groups. To this end, graduates of the MCCP concentration develop competence in using relationship-based, culturally informed, and theoretically grounded interventions with persons facing challenges, disabilities, or impairments, including emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders.
Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Concentration
In the tradition of Jane Addams, the heart of macro social work practice is directing energy toward changing agency, government, and institutional policies that obscure or oppress people. While many social workers view their role as focused on individuals and families, social workers must actively seek equality and justice for clients within agencies, institutions and society. Social work leaders must advocate for social change where necessary to ensure social justice. Similar to the MCCP concentration, it is important to address macro level social work practice within the context of cultural understanding and awareness. The Multicultural Macro Practice concentration (formerly Program Development, Policy and Administration) responds to this demand for leadership.
The macro social work practitioner recognizes the strengths and abilities of individuals and communities to implement change. The social work macro practitioner works with these individuals to do so. In the MCMP concentration, you will learn the knowledge and skills necessary to work with others to achieve needed social change. You will also learn to develop, lead, guide, and administer programs that serve diverse people in a variety of settings.
Portfolio or Summative Evaluation Project
- Portfolio Project (MCCP students)
- The goal of the MCCP Portfolio is to enhance the integration of theory and practice, as well as to offer more vivid portrayals of a student’s academic and professional experience than traditional assessments. By definition, portfolios are formative (i.e. designed for guided reflection and self-evaluation). However they are also summative documents in that they illustrate students’ competencies. All MCCP students are required to create a portfolio during their final year of study. Items in a portfolio might include videos, process recordings, reflective statements, writing samples, case analyses, term papers, electronic submissions, policy activities, feedback from service users, self-evaluations of personal progress, and links to references.
- Summative Evaluation Project (MCMP students)
- All social workers must evaluate their practice to determine whether they are helping or harming clients. While in the concentration practicum, MCMP students will design and implement a program evaluation for their summative project. This project requires integration and application of knowledge and skills from both the foundation and concentration curricula. Students develop their research while in their field internship and are advised by their field seminar professor. Students conduct and present this evaluation/research project during their final year of study.
Students in both concentrations have the option of completing a thesis in addition to either the portfolio or summative evaluation project. Credit for the SWK 699 general elective is given for this option. Students work with a thesis advisor to develop more in-depth research skills contributing to social work knowledge. To pursue the thesis option, students should notify the MSW program director by the end of spring semester of the foundation year.
To be conferred the MSW degree, students must achieve the following:
- Successful completion of any admission conditions (see Admission Process)
- Successful completion of all required MSW courses
- No more than two courses with a grade of 2.5 and with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Successful completion of 920 hours of approved field practica for foundation students or 500 hours of approved field practicum for advanced standing students
- Successful completion and submission of the portfolio project (MCCP) or the summative evaluation project (MCMP)
- Successful completion of all degree requirements within 4 years of matriculation.
State of Minnesota Social Work Licensure
Six months prior to completion of the MSW degree at Augsburg, students may apply to take the Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) license exam from the Minnesota Board of Social Work. To achieve LGSW licensure students must pass the state board exam and complete the MSW degree.
To seek the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) license or the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) license, one must work two years full-time (or 4,000 hours part-time) as an LGSW under the supervision of an LISW or LICSW. Upon completion of the supervision requirement, one may take the LISW or LICSW state board exam. For more information, visit Minnesota Board of Social Work.
MSW Course Requirements
SWK 500 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment*
SWK 505 – Practice Methods and Skills 1: Individuals*
SWK 530 – Integrative Field Seminar 1 (taken concurrent with first practicum)*
SWK 509 – Human Behavior: Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis
SWK 506 – Practice Methods and Skills 2: Groups and Families*
SWK 510 – Advanced Practice Methods (advanced standing students only)
SWK 535 – Integrative Field Seminar 2 (taken concurrent with first practicum)*
SWK 504 – Applied Research Methods (foundation students only)
SWK 501 – History of Social Welfare Policy*
SWK 516 – Practice Methods and Skills 3: Communities and Policies*
SWK 504 – Applied Research Methods (advanced standing students only)
*Course potentially can be waived for advanced standing students (BSW holders).
Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Concentration:
SWK 610 – Integrative Field Seminar 3: MCCP (taken concurrent with second practicum)
SWK 615 – Diversity and Inequality 1: MCCP
SWK 628 – MCCP with Individuals
SWK 629 – MCCP with Families
SWK 611 – Integrative Field Seminar 4: MCCP (taken concurrent with second practicum)
SWK 616 – Diversity and Inequality 2: MCCP
SWK 630 – MCCP Policy Practice
SWK 631 – MCCP with Groups
SWK 634 – MCCP Supervision
SWK 639 – MCCP Elective
SWK 640 – MCCP Capstone
SWK 699 – General Elective
Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Concentration:
SWK 651 – Integrative Field Seminar 3: MCMP (taken concurrent with second practicum)
SWK 657 – Diversity and Inequality 1: MCMP
SWK 660 – Research 2: Program Evaluation
SWK 667 – Organizations/Social Administrative Practice 1
SWK 652 – Integrative Field Seminar 4: MCMP (taken concurrent with second practicum)
SWK 658 – Diversity and Inequality 2: MCMP
SWK 668 – Organizations/Social Administrative Practice 2
SWK 670 – Multicultural Macro Practice Policy
SWK 669 – Organizations/Social Administrative Practice 3
SWK 699 – General Elective
SWK 671 – Multicultural Macro Practice Planning
Portfolio or Summative Evaluation Project
Completed and submitted in final year of study.
SWK 699 General Elective
Students in both concentrations complete at least one general elective course. The following are examples of elective offerings that rotate each year:
- Trauma, Theory, and Treatment in Multicultural Clinical Practice
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Social Work Clinical Practice
- Spirituality and Social Work Practice
- Empowerment of Services Users in Mental Health
- Children’s Mental Health
We also offer short-term electives abroad, typically two weeks in length: Exploring Human Services in International Settings (examples include Mexico, Slovenia, Namibia, South Africa, India, Bolivia, China, and Hong Kong)
Fieldwork and Field Placement
Social work education goes beyond the classroom. Through the field experience, we expect that students will demonstrate skills to bridge theory and practice. Collaborative efforts between the student, the field agency, and the MSW program are essential to successful learning. The foundation of the practice includes:
- Ethical, competent professional practice
- Problem solving within a systems framework and strengths perspective
- Use of advanced practice theories in Multicultural Clinical Practice or Multicultural Macro Practice settings
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of program or practice activities
- An understanding of and respect for diverse peoples and cultures
- Responsibility and service to the local and global community in the interest of social justice
- A commitment to oppose oppression of all forms
Field Education Format
Under the instruction and supervision of professionally-trained, MSW-level, and program-approved field instructors, foundation students will spend a minimum of 920 hours in two field practica. Advanced standing students will spend a minimum of 500 hours in one field practicum. Both the foundation and concentration practica are spread over 2 semesters (fall and spring). Both practica are concurrent with enrollment in integrative field seminars, as well as other MSW coursework.
The fieldwork education of the MSW program is divided into two components:
- Foundation Practicum
- The foundation practicum, or generalist practicum, puts emphasis on developing competence as a professional generalist social worker. It requires a minimum of 420 hours and is completed by students admitted at the foundation level. Students spend an average of 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters in this practicum.
- Concentration Practicum
- The concentration practicum places emphasis on advanced practice skills and leadership qualities related to the chosen concentration. It requires a minimum of 500 hours and is completed by all students, including those admitted with advanced standing. Students spend an average of 18 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters in this practicum.
Process for Field Practicum Selection
Field practica begin in the fall, but the selection process begins the previous spring in collaboration with two other Twin Cities MSW programs. Students attend a field orientation before beginning their search. Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota – School of Social Work jointly host a field fair where students meet a large number of agencies and potential field instructors. Practicum selection involves interviews at approved sites, arranged by the student, and a matching process conducted collaboratively by the field coordinators at the three MSW programs in the Twin Cities.
In some instances, students can petition to complete a field practicum at an agency not on the approved list or at their place of employment. Students who wish to do so work with the MSW field coordinator for such proposals.
Field Practicum Settings
The Augsburg field faculty are committed to the success of each student in a stimulating and challenging field practicum. Our current list of approved clinical and community practice field sites includes agencies in the following areas of practice:
- Family and children
- Child welfare
- Mental health
- Crisis intervention
- Senior resources
- Family social policy
- Health and human services
- Corrections and probation
- Public and independent schools
- Youth services
- Developmental disabilities
- American Indian family services
- Chronic and persistent mental illness
- Chemical dependency
- Court services
- Immigrant, migrant, refugee services
- Victims of torture
- Faith-based social services
- Neighborhood services
- Legislation advocacy
- Housing services
- Employment services
- Community organizing
- Research centers
Admission to MSW
The Augsburg College MSW program promotes the widest possible diversity within its student population. Therefore, the admission policies ensure that educational opportunities are provided to persons with a range of abilities, backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures.
Listed below are general descriptions for the application process. Refer to the online MSW application documents for details regarding specific application requirements.
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university
- Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Liberal arts coursework in the social sciences, humanities, biology, and statistics
The application deadline is January 15 each year for matriculation in the following academic year. All application materials noted below are due by the application deadline. For more information go to www.augsburg.edu/msw or call 612-330-1101.
- Completed application form
- $35 application fee
- One official transcript from each previously-attended postsecondary institution. This includes colleges, universities, vocational/technical institutions, and PSEO institutions.
- Liberal arts prerequisite coursework including four social sciences, three humanities, one biology, and one statistics course. These courses must be completed prior to enrollment.
- Completed BSW course equivalency checklist (for advanced standing applicants)
- Three recommendation checklist forms, with letters attached, submitted online
- Typed personal statement responding to the questions noted on the application form
- Results of the TOEFL language tests, if applicable
- Official international credit evaluation course-by-course review (for degrees completed outside of the United States)
Admission as an international student
International applicants must submit the required application materials listed above. Refer to the additional requirements outlined in the Admission of International Students in the Graduate Admissions section.
Admission as a transfer student
Students may apply to Augsburg as a transfer student. Transfer students follow the same procedure as new applicants.
Transfer students may receive up to 22 transfer credits. Eligible courses must be from a CSWE-accredited MSW program and students must have received a grade of B (3.0) or higher. Students must complete no fewer than 30 credits at Augsburg in order to receive their MSW degree from Augsburg College.
We do not grant academic credit for work or life experience.
Admission with Advanced Standing
Advanced standing is an application category open to those with a bachelor’s degree in social work from a program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Advanced standing applicants may seek waivers for the following eligible MSW courses: Human Behavior and the Social Environment, History of Social Welfare Policy, Practice Methods and Skills 1 and 2, and Integrative Field Seminars 1 and 2 (which include 420 field practicum hours). Advanced standing applicants must offer an equivalent BSW course for each with a grade of B (3.0) or higher in order to receive a waiver.
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in the MSW program. If a student falls below a 3.0 average, the student will be placed on academic probation. A 3.0 cumulative grade point average must be restored in order for a student to be removed from probation. If the cumulative grade point average again falls below 3.0, the student may be dismissed from the program. Students are retained in the program who can:
- Maintain expected grade point average (3.0 or higher)
- Complete course requirements of the program and field placement in a timely manner
- Complete the program within four years
- Abide by the department’s Standards for Social Work Education and the NASW Code of Ethics
No more than two courses with a grade of 2.5 will count toward the degree. Courses with a grade below 2.5 must be repeated. No more than two courses can be repeated. Only the credits and grades earned the second time are counted in the grade point average. If a student receives a grade below 2.5 in a field course, the MSW director will initiate a Level 3 review, as outlined in section 3.2 of the Standards for Social Work Education.
Evaluation of Student Field Performance
The criteria for evaluating field performance can be found in the MSW Field Manual, which is distributed to newly-admitted students at our field orientation prior to seeking the field placement.
All students are required to finish the degree within four years of matriculation. See the Academic Programs and Policies section of this catalog for policy on continuation of coursework or final thesis.
Leave of Absence
Students who interrupt their program enrollment must request a leave of absence through the MSW program in order to maintain their admitted status. The request must be made in writing or via the student’s Augsburg email account. A leave of absence typically requires a full year away from the program in order to return to classes in sequence.
All foundation courses are prerequisite to the concentration courses. Students may not enroll in the concentration courses until successfully completing all foundation courses. In addition there are individual courses that are prerequisite to other individual courses in the MSW curriculum. These are listed in the MSW Handbook.
In addition to tuition fees, MSW students can expect to a pay a facilities fee and a field program fee. Students can also expect to purchase textbooks and student liability insurance when in a field placement. There may also be additional fees associated with short-term electives abroad.
Graduate Scholarship Search Tips
As you may know, graduate students do not have access to many of the financial aid opportunities open to undergraduates. Because of this, we strongly encourage you to spend time doing your own independent research into graduate funding available locally, nationally, and internationally.
The simplest way to begin a search for graduate funding is to look online. There are many scholarship search engines online. The following websites may provide a good starting point for your search:
Examples of Social Work Graduate Scholarships
- Carl A. Scott Book Scholarship
- Two $500 scholarships offered each year to students from ethnic groups of color. Applications due in May (go to cswe.org).
- Gosnell Scholarship Funds
- Ten awards ($1,000-$4,000) offered to social work students interested in working with American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino populations or in public and voluntary nonprofit agency settings. Applications due in August (see naswfoundation.org).
- Vern Lyons Scholarship
- One award ($2,000) offered to students interested in health/mental health practice and a commitment to the African American community. Applications due in August (see naswfoundation.org).
- American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work
- Several awards ($1,000 each) offered to students who demonstrate excellence in preparation for clinical social work practice. Applications due in March (see abecsw.org).
- MSSA Diversity Educational Scholarship
- One $500 award offered to students from African-American, American Indian, Asian, LGBT, Hispanic and Immigrant Cultures in completing their education in the Human Service Field. Applications due in June (see mnsocialserviceassoc.org).
- Marjorie J. Carpenter Scholarship
- One $1,500 award offered to students seeking education in the human service field so they may enhance their professional and/or technical skill development. Applications due in June (see mnsocialserviceassoc.org).
All MSW students are invited to participate in the student-run organization, the MSW Forum. The purpose of the forum is to facilitate communication between social work students and the social work department, as well as to provide the opportunity for student participation in departmental governance, curriculum development, and program improvements. As such, forum members are invited to attend Social Work Department meetings via representatives.
The forum has historically been volunteer based. Any student may serve on the forum, provided the student can make a commitment to attend the meetings and share in the efforts. The MSW director and MSW program coordinator also serve on the forum. Other faculty may be invited as permanent members or as guests.
Past forum members established these guidelines:
- Provide an avenue for students to share and discuss ideas and/or concerns related to the MSW educational experience with the Social Work Department
- Encourage constructive dialogue among students, faculty, and department and College administrators
- Make recommendations to the department regarding program improvements
- Receive and give feedback on expectations of faculty, students, and the College
- Plan and coordinate MSW student events, lectures, discussions
- Organize social action projects