Academic Affairs
Graduate Catalog 2008-09

BlackBoardIT Help DeskPirateIDIndexEmail and PhoneOneStopCalendarAccessibility

College of Human Ecology

School of Social Work

Dr. Sheila Bunch, Interim Director, Rivers Building

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The School of Social Work offers a program of classroom study and fieldwork that leads to the master of social work (MSW) degree. The program is based on a relational perspective for advanced professional practice, leadership, and innovation in service delivery. A single concentration, Clinical Community Social Work, is offered which is augmented and focused through elective courses selected by the student in consultation with his or her faculty advisor. Paramount to this perspective is a commitment to economic and social justice. The curriculum leading to the MSW degree is built on a liberal arts perspective. The MSW program at East Carolina University has been developed in accordance with the policies and guidelines provided by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The School of Social Work offers two curriculum options: regular track and advanced standing. The regular track program is designed as a two year course of study that requires the completion of a minimum of 60 semester hours. The initial year, referred to as the foundation year, is comprised of 30 semester hours focusing on developing the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become professional social workers. This foundation is applicable across different practice settings, problem areas, and population groups. The foundation curriculum includes material on populations-at-risk, human diversity, and social and economic justice, and is provided in courses addressing the areas of human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, and social work research. In addition, a foundation practicum provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and values taught in the first year in a supervised practice setting.

The second year of the regular track program, generally referred to as the advanced year, builds upon the foundation year and provides more thorough knowledge of complex policies, practice skills, evaluation skills, human behavior and the social environment, and field education. While the foundation curriculum introduces Clinical-Community Social Work, the advanced curriculum enhances the students’ understanding of the perspective and further develops their skills for practice. In addition to 9 semester hours of electives, regular track students will complete the following courses: SOCW 5001, 5900, 5910, 6110, 6111, 6140, 6141, 6550, 6701, 6702, 6711, 6940, 6950, 6960.

Students who have graduated from a CSWE accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) program may apply for admission to the advanced standing MSW program of study. Those accepted into this program attain the MSW degree after the completion of a minimum of forty-two semester hours over the course of one calendar year. Full time advanced students enroll in the summer, completing 12 semester hours (SOCW 6110, 6111, 6701, 6711). The remaining 30 semester hours are completed within the context of the advanced year curriculum. A field practicum is required for both semesters of the advanced year. In addition to 9 semester hours of electives, the advanced standing students will complete the following courses: SOCW 6110, 6111, 6140, 6141, 6550, 6701, 6711, 6950, 6960.

Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in foundation and advanced content through the successful completion of a comprehensive assessment. For the MSW degree, the successful completion of SOCW 6550 serves as the comprehensive assessment.

Academic Certifications and Licensures

Students pursuing the MSW may complete a certificate program in one of the following areas: child welfare studies, gerontology, or substance abuse. Certification may be secured by a combination of required and elective courses. Students may also complete a licensure in school social work. In addition, the school participates in the North Carolina Child Welfare Collaborative, a grant program.

Child Welfare Studies Certificate Program

The certificate in child welfare studies provides special skills and knowledge of child welfare practice. Goals of the certificate include enhancing the knowledge, skills, and understanding of child welfare practice for persons involved in the prevention, assessment, or treatment of children and families experiencing, or at-risk of, child abuse, neglect, or dependency. The certificate is housed in the College of Human Ecology, School of Social Work. Courses taken to fulfill the 15 s.h. certificate requirements may be taken as electives in the MSW curriculum.

Graduate students or professionals working in the fields of social work and other child-family focused areas may apply to the certificate program.

Required courses (15 s.h.): SOCW 6006, 6007; CDFR 6406. SOCW 6422 and 6426 may substitute for the required social work courses for this certification. 6 s.h. of related electives must be approved by the program coordinator.

Substance Abuse Certificate Program

The certificate in substance abuse will equip select criminal justice and social work graduate students with specific skills and knowledge in the area of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The goal of the certificate program is to increase the number of criminal justice and social work graduate students with the required knowledge and skills to work with clients who are drug users and/or abusers or who are charged with drug-related offenses. In addition, this certificate will allow graduate students an opportunity to become more sensitive to the laws governing drug abuse and drug-related offenses. Students will also learn efficient methods to design and implement effective substance abuse intervention strategies for this population.

Applicants seeking admission can be graduate students or professionals holding a masters degree working in the fields of criminal justice or social work. Admission is based on completion of the certification application and approval by the program coordinator. Students enrolled in the certificate program must adhere to the program standards of the School of Social Work and the Department of Criminal Justice. Certificate recipients will receive 180 contact hours (12 s.h.) of substance abuse specific credit approved by the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Certification Board.

Required courses (12 s.h.): Choose from JUST 6005, 6008, or 6007; SOCW 6804, 6808, 6950, 6960.

Applicants for admission as degree candidates in social work must fulfill the general admission requirements of the Graduate School of the university and of the School of Social Work.

Admission Requirements
Admission to the MSW program is selective, and is determined by academic preparation and individual qualifications of the applicant. Persons seeking admission must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate institution, a minimum GPA of 2.75 (4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for their senior year.

All applicants to the MSW program must have completed the following liberal arts courses (or their equivalents) with a minimum grade of “C” as preparation for graduate study in social work:
  1. two courses in the humanities;
  2. an introductory course in psychology;
  3. an introductory course in sociology;
  4. an introductory course in political science;
  5. one course in human biology;
  6. two courses in English composition or an equivalent;
  7. one course in statistics; and
  8. one course in economics (micro or macro).
The capacity to work with people is essential to successful social work practice. Strengths or weaknesses in this capacity are relevant for admission to the program. Prior work experience in social work settings is highly valued.

In addition to the ECU Graduate School application, all applications must contain the following:
  1. School of Social Work MSW Application;
  2. three completed references in sealed envelopes;
  3. official copies of transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended;
  4. official copy of transcript from institution noting the conferral of undergraduate degree;
  5. personal response to essay question presented on the MSW application;
  6. a complete resume; and
  7. GRE or MAT test scores.
Transfer Students
It is possible to be accepted as a transfer student from another graduate social work program under the following conditions: social work transfer credit must be graduate-level course work taken after earning a baccalaureate degree; course work must have been completed at a graduate school of social work accredited by the CSWE within five years prior to the application; and the student must have received a minimum grade of B on transferred course work. Transfer students must meet any foundation requirements they have not already completed by taking the required courses or by passing proficiency examinations. They must also complete the required practice courses. Courses applied toward another degree cannot be used for credit toward the MSW; likewise, previous experience working in the field of social work or a related field or life experience cannot be used as course credit toward the MSW. Transfer students must take a minimum of 80 percent of the required semester hours in residence at East Carolina University.

Program Standards
Students enrolled in the MSW program are expected to adhere to the following program standards.

The School of Social Work fully subscribes to and is guided by the NASW Code of Ethics ( Social work program applicants and students are expected to demonstrate professional behavior which reflects a commitment to the ethics of the social work profession as exemplified in the Code of Ethics. Behavior and statements contrary to these ethics may be cause for denial of the student’s admission to or continuance in the School of Social Work’s programs. Examples of behavior which would warrant a review include, but are not limited to, derogatory oral and written statements towards students, staff, faculty, agency representatives or clients. Derogatory statements concerning racial, ethnic or cultural background, handicap status, religion, socio-economic background, gender, sexual orientation or other status may also warrant review.

The role of social worker involves working with people from a variety of backgrounds and with a wide range of issues and concerns. It is important that the social work student not permit personal issues and/or conditions to interfere with this role.

All students are expected to complete their degree requirements within a four-year period from the date of first admission. When a student withdraws from the School of Social Work, they must reapply to the Graduate School and to the School of Social Work. As long as a student maintains continuous enrollment, regulations applicable during his or her term of admission apply. When degree requirements change during a student’s enrollment, the student may be extended the opportunity to choose the new requirements. A student who interrupts enrollment for one year or longer and is readmitted is subject to regulations in effect at the time of readmission. Even if readmitted, all required coursework should be completed within the four-year matriculation period.

Prior Felony Convictions
The School does not require that applicants submit to a background check for possible criminal offenses. Applicants should realize, however, that practicum agencies may require such a check. Applicants should be aware that having a prior felony conviction or prior sanctions for unprofessional conduct may impact future potential for obtaining field placements, and social work employment and licensure. In addition, the School, as part of its process of practicum assignments, asks students whether they have a felony conviction (or non-contested felony) in their background. Students may be automatically denied admission, or if enrolled, terminated from the program, if they have not been truthful or have provided inaccurate information in the application concerning felony convictions.

A student whose grade point average falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation, and will be allowed to continue his/her enrollment only with the written recommendation of the academic advisor and approval from the graduate program coordinator. Removal from academic probation is granted when the grade point average is raised to 3.0 or above. Students who receive a grade of C in six semester hours of graduate credit, are ineligible to continue in the MSW program.