Dr. Amy Doolittle, Interim Program Director
The MSW program at UTC prepares students for advanced social work practice. Courses equip students to provide competent services to individuals, groups and communities, with special emphasis on serving older adults throughout the Chattanooga region. Graduates of the program will be prepared for employment as social workers in numerous fields and agencies. Graduates of the program will also be able to obtain licensure as clinical social workers.
Program Mission Statement
The MSW program at UTC equips students to meet the growing need for advanced social work practitioners to serve older adults in the Southeast region of Tennessee. Advanced practice at the MSW level refers to refined training of students for use of social work knowledge, values, and skills. Advanced social work practice encompasses knowledge and methods of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation used in non-profit, for-profit, public, and private social service settings to promote the well-being of targeted populations. The knowledge and skills learned in an MSW program are used across a wide variety of career fields, including medical social work, hospice social worker, clinical social worker, volunteer coordinator, group home manager, and nephrology social worker.
Student Learning Outcomes
The MSW program at UTC is based on the accreditation standards for MSW programs as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Student learning outcomes include the following:
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior-Apply and communicate understanding of the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that may impact micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice.
- Engage in Diversity and Difference in Practice-Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences critical to the formation of identity that influence practice.
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice-Apply and communicate understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice for human rights at the individual and system levels of practice.
- Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice-use practice experience to inform research and qualitative and quantitative research methods to evaluate practice.
- Engage in Policy Practice-understand how policy affects service delivery and actively engage in policy practice to ensure effective and efficient service delivery for clients.
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities in Practice.
- Assess with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities in Practice.
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities in Practice.
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities-Learn to grasp and demonstrate the dynamic and interactive processes of practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities as clients. Identify, analyze and implement evidence-based interventions to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; and promoting social, economic, and environmental justice.
- Apply a multiple theoretical orientation emphasizing a Life Course Perspective to inform practice with older adults and their families.
- Engage, Assess, Intervene, and Evaluate Services for Older Adults and their Families-Apply the four stages of the social work helping process in the practice with older adults and their families.
The admission requirements are consistent with those of existing Master’s Degree Programs offered at UT Chattanooga as described in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Graduate Catalog.
Degree Regular Admission
Degree regular admission requires the following:
- 2.70 cumulative grade point average (Cum GPA) on all work attempted prior to completion of the baccalaureate degree (4.00 scale) or
- 3.00 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate coursework or
- 3.00 GPA for 30 or more semester hours of undergraduate credit earned after earning the first bachelor’s degree or
- 2.70 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate coursework and a 3.00 GPA on fewer than 24 hours of graduate coursework or
- 3.00 GPA for 24 or more graduate hours or
- An earned Master’s Degree or higher-level degree with at least a 3.00 GPA.
Degree Conditional Admission
Students who do not meet one of the academic standards of the University may be offered conditional admission status into the MSW program. Students admitted to conditional status are eligible for advancement into the next academic semester after earning a cumulative 3.00 GPA or better on a minimum of six hours of graduate level coursework taken during their first semester at UTC. Students not attaining the minimum 3.00 GPA during their first semester will be ineligible for continuation into the next semester and dismissed from the program.
Master of Social Work Program Admissions Criteria
In addition to the minimum requirements for graduate admission to the University, students must meet the following requirements specifically for the MSW program.
- Submit a personal narrative describing interest and suitability for social work practice, past and current volunteer and work experience relevant to social work practice, and as assessment of personal strengths and areas for growth needing further development during the MSW education experience.
- Two professional letters of reference.
- A criminal background check
Students seeking admission into Advanced Standing must meet the following additional requirements.
- Hold a BSW degree with a minimum 3.00 GPA from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
- Submit a letter of reference from a Field Education Director or Coordinator that documents successful completion of a 400-hour field internship from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Application to the full-time MSW program is made on a rolling basis for fall admission. Candidates wishing to apply to the Advanced Standing MSW program are encouraged to submit a completed application to the Graduate School no later than March 15th.
Program Completions Requirements
Program Completion Requirements for Two-Year-Full-Time MSW Program (60 Credit Hours)
MSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) offer two pathways for students to earn their MSW degree. Students with undergraduate degrees from fields such as psychology, education, nursing, English, or math complete a two-year program where the first year of courses provides a foundation for social work knowledge, values, and skills, followed by a second year for concentrating on advanced practice methods for specific populations. The two-year program is a full-time degree program (60 credit hours).
Advanced Standing Full-Time MSW Program (36 Credit Hours)
Students with a BSW degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the CSWE are eligible to enter directly into the advanced year of the MSW program after completing two courses in the summer prior to beginning the advanced year. The rationale from CSWE for this pathway is that students with a BSW from an accredited program already have a foundation from their undergraduate courses. The two courses in the summer allow MSW programs to bridge information needed for entrance into the advanced year and prepare students for the rigors of graduate study.
Retention and Progression Standards
- Students must follow the guidelines and policies for continuation as outlined in the UTC Graduate Catalog.
- Students must successfully achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all social work courses. Students must receive a grade of “C” or better in coursework to continue progressing through the curriculum.
- Students must maintain requirements for fieldwork and other policies as published in the UTC Social Work Student Handbook.
Students who violate professional or academic policy will be subject to dismissal from the Social Work program.
- Students who are found guilty of unprofessional conduct, negligent habits or other causes as specified by the CSWE will be dismissed from the program.
- Students who violate the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics will be dismissed from the program
- Students who have a cumulative institutional GPA that falls below 3.0 will be subject to the UTC Graduate Catalog Continuation Standards.
- Graduate students may also be dismissed for a grade of U, D, or F in any course; more than two grades below a B; or any other failure of a required component pertaining to Graduate School academic requirements.
In order to be eligible for degree conferral, students must have completed all coursework as specified on the approved Application for Admission to Candidacy form, with no course with a grade below C presented for the degree and with a minimum average of B on each of the following:
- All coursework taken for graduate credit at UTC
- All coursework transferred to UTC for graduate credit
- All coursework completed to fulfill the program approved on the Application for Admission to Candidacy. Additionally, students must successfully complete all requirements as outlined by CSWE for a Field Practicum experience
The MSW program at UTC will be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Program of Study
The MSW curriculum is based on the accreditation standards for a MSW program as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education. Students will complete foundation courses in social work during their first year in the program. Students will then complete courses emphasizing practice with older adults.
Summer courses are for Advanced Standing students only. Advanced standing students are qualified students with a BSW degree from a program accredited by the CSWE and admitted to enter the advanced year of the program at UTC after completing the two advanced standing seminars (36 credit hours).