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School of Social Work
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Why MSU social work for your BASW

The School of Social Work has one of the oldest undergraduate social work degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Social Work/BASW) in the United States; it has always been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The MSU BASW 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 friendliest and 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). In the BASW Program, class size is small and faculty members are accessible and interested in students. Yet, BASW 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 BASW Program is the best of small college caring and big University diversity and excitement.
  2. 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 BASW Program will have multiple opportunities for a global perspective through such programs as study abroad, alternative spring breaks, and summer 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 BASW Program.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. MSU is one of the leading Research Universities in the United States and in the world. This means that a BASW 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, BASW students will have special opportunities to engage in advocacy projects and build advocacy and political skills.
  8. MSU School of Social Work has a strong and diverse faculty. BASW students have access to many faculty members as most faculty members have an interest in and are available to BASW students. Students find faculty members who can serve as mentors and future references, and they experience different learning and teaching styles to prepare them for the real world of social work practice.
  9. 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 opportunities for gaining special knowledge in areas such as child welfare, gerontology, law and social work, infant mental health, and other areas so that students have both a strong foundation for practice and can pursue areas of special interest. The School has relationships with over 1,000 social service agencies across the state, which provides a rich array of potential field placements.
  10. One of the signature themes of the MSU BASW Program is Diversity. Students will have special opportunities to learn the knowledge, skills and values to work with diverse populations. Diversity is broadly defined and includes working with people of different ages, cultures, religions, socio-economic status, political views, sexual orientation, and races.
  11. One of the signature opportunities of the MSU BASW Program is to be engaged in practical research projects, working side-by-side with other students and faculty-to advance knowledge in areas of social work practice and community improvement. In line with University priorities, we are involving BASW students in faculty research projects and creating an atmosphere at the school that encourages our students to view research as an exciting and useful task for social workers. A record number of BASW students are becoming involved in faculty-led research projects. Upon admission to the program, all students will be given the opportunity to work on a research project, assigned to interested faculty members, providing them with potentially two years’ active research experience.
  12. 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.
  13. There are multiple opportunities for students to get involved in the life of the School, through the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, Students for Social Work, 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.
  14. Because we are 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.
  15. The graduates from our BASW Program are in high demand in MSW programs across the United States if and when a student chooses to pursue graduate education. Other schools of social work report that an MSU BASW graduate is well prepared for graduate study and professional leadership. Our alumni report that they are successful in graduate education due to the high quality education they received at MSU.

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



We are dedicated to educating students for competent, responsive, and ethical social work practice. Our teaching, research, and outreach seek to promote positive change and social justice for diverse communities, organizations, groups, families, and individuals.
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