Academic Information

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

MSW Mission

Our mission is to develop social work professionals for advanced practice that promotes social justice and empowerment towards the well-being of people in a diverse and global society.

Program Overview

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

Accreditation

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. 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.

Academic Calendar

The MSW program meets on a semester calendar, with classes offered September through June. 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. For academic calendars and schedules, go to www.augsburg.edu/registrar.

Class Periods

Classes meet in 3.5 hour blocks on Friday evenings, 6 to 9:30 pm; Saturday mornings, 8:30 am to 12 pm; and Saturday afternoons, 1:15 to 4:45 pm. Each class meets for 8 sessions in a given semester and for 4 sessions in a summer term (May-June), with the expectation that students engage in hybrid learning activities between on-campus class weekends.

Time Commitment

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.

Cohort Structure

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.

Field Practicum

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.

Degree requirements

To be conferred the MSW degree, students must achieve the following:

  • Successful completion of any admission conditions (see Admission to MSW)
  • 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, go to the Minnesota Board of Social Work web page, www.socialwork.state.mn.us.

MSW Course Requirements

Foundation Courses

FALL

  • 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)*

SPRING

  • 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)

SUMMER

  • SWK 501 – History of Social Welfare Policy*
  • SWK 516 – Practice Methods and Skills 3: Communities and Policies
  • SWK 536 – Human Behavior and the Macro Social Environment*
  • SWK 504 – Applied Research Methods (advanced standing students only)

*Course potentially can be waived for advanced standing students (BSW holders).

Concentration Courses

Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Concentration:

FALL

  • 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

SPRING

  • 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

SUMMER 1

  • SWK 634 – MCCP Supervision
  • SWK 639 – MCCP Elective
  • SWK 640 – MCCP Capstone
  • SWK 699 – General Elective

Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Concentration:

FALL

  • 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

SPRING

  • 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

SUMMER

  • 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:

  • Parent and Professional Planning
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging
  • 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)

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.

Admission 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

Application Checklist

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 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. (See Evaluation of Transfer Credit in the Academic Programs and Policies section of this catalog.) 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 23 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.

Academic Policies

Academic Achievement

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.

Four-Year Limit

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.

Prerequisite Courses

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.

Program Costs

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 www.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 www.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 www.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 www.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 www.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 www.mnsocialserviceassoc.org).

Augsburg Scholarships

Augsburg’s Social Work Department offers several scholarships each year. Students who are enrolled in the first year of the program are eligible to apply. Awards range in amount from $300 to $1,500.

  • Phyllis M. Baker Memorial Scholarship
  • Edwina L. Hertzberg Scholarship
  • Arvida Norum Memorial Scholarship
  • Steen Family Scholarship Fund for Minority Social Work Students
  • Edwin Yattaw Memorial Scholarship
  • Bodo F. Suemning Memorial Scholarship
  • Blanca Rosa Egas Memorial Scholarship

AmeriCorps Tuition Discount

Augsburg offers a tuition discount to students who are or have been AmeriCorps volunteers—25% off the tuition cost of one course per semester. This would apply to all semesters of your MSW program. Contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

Augsburg Partnership Grant

The Augsburg Partnership Grant applies to new enrolling students only and allows employees of partner institutions to receive a 10% tuition discount. Application fees of $35 are also waived. If a student enrolls in an Employer Tuition Reimbursement Payment Plan, the $20 processing fee is also waived. Contact the Enrollment Center for more information.

Military Discount

See description in the Financing Your Education section of the catalog.

MSW Forum

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