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 University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For a complete list of Augsburg’s accreditations, approvals, and memberships, see the Accreditation, Approvals, and Memberships 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. Full-time advanced standing students are enrolled in a 13 month program. Part-time advanced standing students are enrolled in a 25 month program.
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 area, 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.
Classes meet in 2-4 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 sessions on campus in a summer term (May-June), with the expectation that students engage in hybrid online 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, students are introduced to social work as a profession. Students learn both historical and contemporary theories and practice methods relating to both the individual and the environment. During the foundation year, students 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 students apply this generalist knowledge of theories and practice methods in the generalist field practicum. The field practicum is completed concurrently with 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, students enroll in the concentration curriculum that they selected at the time their application to the program. Students also complete an advanced field practicum. Augsburg offers two concentrations: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) or Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP). In either concentration, students deepen their 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, students apply this advanced knowledge of theories and practice methods in the concentration field practicum. The field practicum is relevant to their chosen concentration and is completed concurrently with enrollment in two field seminar courses. As a capstone to the MSW program, students 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, macro social work practice directs energy toward changing agency, government, and institutional policies that obscure or oppress people. Social work leaders must advocate for social change where necessary to ensure social justice within the context of cultural understanding and awareness. The Multicultural Macro Practice concentration 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, students learn the knowledge and skills necessary to work with others to achieve needed social change. They 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 to MSW)
- Successful completion of all required MSW courses
- No more than two courses with a B- grade and with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 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 Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) master’s level national social work licensure examination 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, depending on the desired licensure. Upon completion of the supervision requirement, one may take the LISW or LICSW’s Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) national social work licensure examination. For the LICSW, there are additional requirements for 360 clinical clock hours in 6 specific categories. For more information, go to the Minnesota Board of Social Work web page, www.socialwork.state.mn.us.
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 506 – Practice Methods and Skills 2: Groups and Families*
- 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 510 – Advanced Practice Methods (advanced standing students only)
- SWK 509 – Human Behavior: Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis (advanced standing students only)
- 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: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) (taken concurrent with second practicum)
- SWK 615 – Diversity and Inequality 1: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP)
- SWK 628 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) with Individuals
- SWK 629 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) with Families
- SWK 611 – Integrative Field Seminar 4: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) (taken concurrent with second practicum)
- SWK 616 – Diversity and Inequality 2: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP)
- SWK 630 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Policy Practice
- SWK 631 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) with Groups
- SWK 634 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Supervision
- SWK 639 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Elective
- SWK 640 – Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Capstone
- SWK 699 – General Elective
Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Concentration:
- SWK 651 – Integrative Field Seminar 3: Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) (taken concurrent with second practicum)
- SWK 657 – Diversity and Inequality 1: Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP)
- SWK 660 – Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Research Methods
- SWK 667 – Organizations/Social Administrative Practice 1
- SWK 652 – Integrative Field Seminar 4: Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) (taken concurrent with second practicum)
- SWK 658 – Diversity and Inequality 2: Multicultural Macro Practice (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 (MCMP) 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.
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 (MCCP) or Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) 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 University 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 three of the 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.