Why MSU social work for your MSW

Combining high academic quality, professional caring and commitment, solid preparation for a life of service and leadership, and opportunities for individual growth and educational experiences, MSU is a special place to gain an MSW degree. MSU's Master's degree program in social work was inaugurated shortly after World War II. All of our MSW programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

All students begin studying the generalist foundation, providing the grounding for all professional social work practice regardless of setting, specialization, or professional role. The School’s MSW programs have advanced concentrations in Clinical Social Work and in Organizational and Community Leadership (OCL) to be selected for the second half of the program. The Clinical Social Work major (also known as "micro" practice) prepares students to practice advanced skills in a variety of settings that focus on individuals, families, and small groups. The Organizational and Community Leadership major (also known as "macro" practice) prepares students to practice with advanced skills in policy making, community organizing, program planning, program implementation, and program evaluation. The MSU MSW degree program has limited enrollment and admission is highly competitive. Consequently, the high quality of the student body and faculty are significant strengths of this program.

The School's mission and values reflect the ethics and values of the social work profession. These provide a basis for exemplary community leadership and service and for preparing students for ethically based professional practice. They guide the preparation of students for work with diverse populations and provide direction for engaging in ethical and professionally productive knowledge development activities.

Some MSU Social Work Distinctives:

  1. MSU is one of the most supportive universities in America while also being one of the largest (7th largest in the USA; the greatest number of students living on campus) and academically rigorous. In the MSW Program, class size is small and faculty members are accessible and interested in students. Yet, MSW students also have access to all of the activities and resources of a Big Ten University and the beauty of this special campus. MSU's MSW Program is the best of small college accessibility and big University diversity and excitement.
  2. MSU is the only Land Grant University in Michigan and one of the first in the United States. Land Grant universities were begun by President Abraham Lincoln for a special purpose. This means that the University and the School of Social Work are committed to access for students, high respect for teaching, preparing students for real-world professional careers, and the acquisition of the knowledge and skills to serve diverse families and communities.
  3. Passed on July 2, 1862, the Morrill Act made it possible for new western states to establish colleges for their citizens. The new land-grant institutions, which emphasized agriculture and mechanic arts, opened opportunities to thousands of farmers and working people previously excluded from higher education. The Morrill land grants laid the foundation for a national system of state colleges and universities. In some cases, the land sales financed existing institutions; in others, new schools were chartered by the states. Major universities such as Nebraska, Washington State, Clemson, and Cornell were chartered as land-grant schools. State colleges brought higher education within the reach of millions of students, a development that could not help but reshape the nation's social and economic fabric.
    The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching classified the following universities as Doctoral/Research Universities-Extensive. These institutions typically offer a wide range of baccalaureate programs, and they are committed to graduate education through the doctorate. During the period studied, they awarded 50 or more doctoral degrees per year across at least 15 disciplines.
  4. MSU is one of the leading Research Universities in the United States and in the world. This means that an MSW student will be in class with faculty members who are curious, engaged in building knowledge and studying important social conditions, and knowledgeable about current and historical challenges, and they bring this knowledge to the classroom.
  5. The School of Social Work is connected to multiple social science disciplines through the MSU College of Social Science. Consequently, the School is positioned for, and encourages, collaborative work across academic units and professions so that research, teaching, and outreach reflect an interdisciplinary effort. Students benefit from multiple perspectives while gaining foundation and advanced skills in social work practice.
  6. MSU is strategically located in the state capital. The School recognizes the inter-connectedness and collaboration between policy and practice, politics and human needs and resources, and a systemic perspective on human and organizational behavior. With easy access to the capital, MSW students will have special opportunities to engage in advocacy projects and build advocacy, leadership, and political skills.
  7. As one of the top 100 universities in the world, MSU is the number one public university in sending students on study abroad experiences. The MSW Program will have multiple opportunities for a global perspective through such programs as summer study abroad, alternative spring breaks, and individual projects and, even if one cannot go overseas, will bring a global perspective to the classroom so that student’s horizons are expanded while their social work knowledge and skills are deepened in the MSW Program.
  8. The MSU School of Social Work offers a range of MSW programs (part time and full time, regular and Advanced Standing), in a range of settings (East Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Oakland, and around the state through the Blended Program), using a range of innovative formats and educational strategies. The School has relationships with over 1,000 social service agencies across the state, which provides a rich array of potential field placements.
  9. MSU School of Social Work has a strong and diverse faculty. MSW students have access to a broad array of faculty member with multiple professional interests such that graduate students will find faculty members with similar interests to the student while also gaining an appreciation for new areas of social work practice. Students find faculty members who can serve as mentors and future references and experience different learning and teaching styles to prepare students for the real world of social work practice.
  10. The MSU Social Work curriculum will provide the generalist foundation that will prepare graduates for work in multiple social work settings. There will also be an advanced curriculum that will deepen one’s knowledge in clinical practice, or in organizational and community practice. There are also opportunities for students to gain additional expertise and specialization in a range of fields such as family therapy, infant mental health, law and social work, school social work, and gerontology. And there are dual degree programs in Law (MSW/JD) and Public Health (MSW/MPH).
  11. As part of a technologically engaged University, the School provides multiple opportunities for students to creatively learn through the use of instructional technology. The School prepares students to understand and use technology relevant to social work practice of the future.
  12. There are multiple opportunities for students to get involved in the life of the School, through the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, the Graduate Social Work Student Organization, and student organizations such as the Organization for Latino Social Workers, the Students for Multicultural Awareness, and the Triangle (LGBT) Coalition. In addition there are hundreds of MSU student organizations providing religious, political, social, and academic affiliations for students.
  13. As a world class major University, alumni from the MSU School of Social Work can be found throughout the state of Michigan, the nation, and in foreign countries. They are practitioners, administrators, educators, and social work leaders. This provides a network of alumni and a worldwide recognizable University that is an asset when building a professional career.
  14. The graduates from our MSW Program are in high demand by employers. Employers report that an MSU MSW graduate is well prepared for professional service and leadership. Our alumni report that they are successful in their professional careers due to the high quality education they received at MSU.

These are just some of the reasons to consider getting your MSW education at Michigan State University. Go Green!