Master of Social Work (MSW) Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
KSU's MSW Program administrative staff are accessible by email, teleconferencing software, and telephone if you have any additional questions or concerns. KSU's MSW Program administrative staff strives to make initial contact within a 48-hour time frame (excluding evenings and weekends).
Please contact Dr. Alan Kirk with any additional questions:
Dr. Alan Kirk
Program Director for the Master of Social Work Program and Professor of Social Work
Phone: (470) 578-3634
Location: HS 3207
Can I use my undergraduate degree when applying to the MSW program?
Any liberal arts baccalaureate degree (e.g., undergraduate) is accepted as a prerequisite for the MSW program. If you have a baccalaureate social work degree, you may be eligible for our Advance Standing program.
What if my Grade Point Average (GPA) is not 3.0?
When reviewing your application, the MSW Admissions Committee only reviews the last 60 hours of your undergraduate degree; so long as your GPA for the last 60 hours meets or exceeds 3.0, we will consider your application. This, however, does not guarantee a spot in the program. GPA is only one aspect of MSW admissions requirements.
What kind of jobs can I do with my MSW degree?
Post-degree employment for our KSU's MSW graduates is high. Most of our graduates are hired to a professional social work position within six months of graduation. Social workers have many job opportunities and prospects. This can include working in child welfare, adult protective services, community mental health centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, schools, prisons, higher education, and state and federal government/agencies.
What salary can I anticipate as a new MSW graduate?
The salary ranges are based on several factors including experience, skills, and type of agency. The federal government (GS9 salary level) will pay approximately $55,000 - $65,000/year for starting salary. The state government typically pays $45,000 - $50,000/year for starting salary. Small non-profits typically pay $55,000/year for starting salary.
Can I go into private practice with this degree?
Yes, after you obtain your MSW and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) you can go into private practice.
What is the difference between a Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC) license and an LCSW license?
The main difference is that LPC licenses are often not reciprocal with other states; in other words, if you move out of Georgia, you will probably have to retest for that state’s LPC license. The LCSW license is reciprocal in all 50 states and US territories.
LPC license is given by many academic programs. In Georgia, there are three times as many LPC licenses as there are LCSW licenses.
Normally, LPCs cannot take third-party insurance payments (necessary for private practice) whereas LCSW can. In addition, LCSWs generally make more money than LPCs.
Is there part-time or online MSW at KSU?
One of the important parts of obtaining an MSW degree is the face-to-face hands-on experience you receive throughout the program. To ensure you receive this experience, right now, we do not offer a fully online MSW program. While there is not a fully online MSW program at KSU, there are several courses that can be taken online.
Right now, there is no part-time program offered at KSU. We do, however, offer an advanced standing program, that can be completed in a year.
Do you have an advanced standing MSW program?
Yes, beginning in the summer of 2023, KSUs MSW Program will be implementing a 39-hour advanced standing program. To enter this program, you will need to have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited institution.
Is your program clinically focused?
Yes. The first year of the program is a generalist focus and you will learn skills to work in many areas of social work. The second year of the program is a clinical focus, which allows you to select electives (e.g., crisis intervention, clinical practice with children and adolescents) that provide you with more in-depth knowledge and skills for clinical practice.
Can I transfer coursework from other master's degrees into the KSU MSW Program?
We accept up to six hours of course credit taken in a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work Program.
Are there financial aid/stipends for MSW students?
Yes, there are several avenues to obtain financial aid assistance. For example, KSU's MSW Program has stipends if you plan a career in governmental child welfare services (Title IV-E). Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) stipends are available to you across the KSU campus. Applications for these stipends occur around June before the academic year starts in August. These GRA opportunities are competitive.
KSU's MSW Program does not offer stipends before you are admitted to the program.
Can I work full-time and still complete the program requirements?
This is a full-time immersion program. You will be in class two days a week most of the day and internship two-to-three days of the week for most of the day. It is impossible to hold a traditional day job while enrolled in the program. Some of our students work nights, weekends, and holidays but you will likely compromise your studies if you try to juggle full-time work with full-time schooling.
How much does the MSW cost?
The current graduate tuition is published on the KSU website.
KSU's MSW students take 15 credit hours per semester. However, you will only be charged for 12-credit hours per semester.
What is the LMSW examination first-time pass rate for KSU alumni?
How does KSU prepare me for the LMSW examination?
Your coursework strongly prepares you for the entry-level exam. KSU's MSW Program also provides exam preparation and exam preparation courses in the semester before you graduate.
What can I expect in the classroom?
- Specialized faculty with an extraordinary range of practice and research experience in the fields of social work theories of practice, clinical social work practice, human services administration, and social policy.
- Hands-on experience in various practice arenas.
- Networking with full- and part-time faculty as well as guest speakers.
- Small practice seminars.
- Student-focused faculty.
- Supportive student peer group—we use a cohort model.
What community support is available to KSU students?
KSU offers extensive support to students in a variety of areas addressing your needs: writing, behavioral health counseling, disability services, student health center, addiction and recovery, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more, please visit the Graduate Student Resources Website.
Even though KSU is the second largest university in Georgia, the campus provides a small university feeling to our students and our program tries to mimic this experience for MSW students.
Do you offer specializations in specific fields of practice?
KSU's MSW Program second-year coursework offers specialization in clinical practice, which includes a variety of settings and client systems. KSU's MSW Program often provides you with elective classes in child welfare and wellbeing, death, dying, bereavement, and diversity and social justice; however, elective courses change yearly depending on faculty ability and interest.
You design your areas of specialization by the electives you select and the internship setting you choose.
How can I apply to the MSW program at KSU?
Why does the MSW degree have field placements?
Social work education includes both classroom learning and field internships. Field education is a part of the social work curriculum and a requirement of the Council for Standards on Social Work Education (CSWE). It is the field curriculum that makes this master’s a terminal degree. The field curriculum exposes you to a wide range of real-world problems and possibilities in a face-to-face setting. Field education teaches you to assess these situations and to develop, implement, and evaluate social interventions for various client systems. In year one, you will be placed in a generalist year experience and year two, you will be placed in a specialization year experience.
For more, please review:
What types of field placements are available?
There is a wide range of internship opportunities available to you.
KSU’s MSW Program partners with hundreds of organizations in many counties in Northeastern Georgia. Placement sites represent the broad scope of social work practice in public and private, not-for-profit, and for-profit agencies. Typical internship sites include county-level departments in social services, community providers of mental health services, substance abuse agencies, medical facilities such as hospitals and hospices, domestic violence agencies, homeless shelters, and public schools, to name a few. You can also be placed in agencies involved in program and policy development, advocacy, and regional and statewide planning such as private nonprofit agencies, family resource centers, and more.
What is the process for obtaining a social work field placement?
Upon admittance into the MSW program, you will attend an orientation where you will learn the ins and outs of the pre-placement process such as obtaining student liability insurance, background checks, and interviewing with potential placement supervisors.
Will I have input on where I am placed?
Yes, your input is important and will guide where you are placed. KSU's MSW Program will also consider location and population preferences for your social work field placements.
How much time do I spend at my field placement?
In the first year (generalist year) you will be in the field for two days to complete approximately 16 hours a week. This is approximately 200 clock hours per semester for two semesters, totaling approximately 400 - 450 for the year.
In the second year (specialization year) you will be in the field for three days to complete approximately 20 hours a week. In the specialization year, you will complete approximately 450 - 500 hours of supervised field experience (approximately 250 clock hours per semester).
Can I complete my field placement where I work?
KSU’s Department of SWHS has long-standing roots within the social work arena in Georgia. Through our network, KSUs MSW Program provides you with an expansive range of field placement options to choose from.
Employer-based field placements are one option that can be developed for you to fulfill your field education requirements while retaining a connection to your employment agency. Employer-based field placements can provide you with the opportunity to continue employment with your agency while completing your Generalist and/or Specialization Internship. All field placements must be vetted and approved by the Field Director before starting your placement. Field assignments must be educationally appropriate to social work and provide you with new learning related to social work practice. An employer-based placement is possible only if the employment agency agrees to the placement and is willing and able to provide accommodation to meet your learning needs in the field of social work. If you are requesting approval for placement in your employment agency, you must submit an Employer-Based Placement Proposal during orientation. You will not be allowed unless provided prior approval.
MSW/MBA Dual Degree Program
How long is the program?
If you apply to the dual degree program when you apply to KSU’s graduate program, then the dual degree course schedule may add two or a maximum of three semesters (6 – 9 credit hours each semester) to your academic career.
When do I take the courses in the MBA program?
MBA classes are taken in the summer semesters and the last semester of the MSW program. As a dual degree student, you will be eligible to take classes in the summer before starting your MSW classes, and summer between year one and year two of the MSW program. The remaining MBA courses can be completed in the summer and fall after completing MSW courses.
You are to take an additional 30 credit hours in the MBA program to complete the dual degree.
What does LMSW licensure look like with an MBA?
Given that you will receive one dual degree in MSW/MBA, you can apply for the LMSW immediately after completing the MSW program. You can prepare your licensure package after you have completed all the MSW courses in year two. You will need to apply for a waiver to the licensure board stating that you have completed the MSW courses but do not have the dual degree in hand till the MBA classes are completed. All other application paperwork remains the same.
What are some job prospects?
Graduates of the dual degree program can enter many different roles in social work and larger administrative fields within and beyond human services. You can go into traditional non-profit and public sector roles; you can also go into corporate roles in human resources, employment assistance programs, corporate social responsibility (CSR) units, and/or start your own social enterprise.
Why should I enroll in a dual degree MSW and MBA program?
You will be awarded a one-degree MSW/MBA when you complete the 54-credit hours curriculum for the MSW program and the 30-credit hour curriculum for the MBA program. You will save 6-credit hours in the MSW program and 6 credit hours in the MBA program because independently MSW is a 60-credit hour program and MBA is a 36-credit hour program.
The dual degree enables you to master skills to not only assume administrative, leadership, and supervisory roles in the non-profit/public sector spaces in your clinical careers but also facilitate your capacity to start a clinical private practice to have the competencies and knowledge to start your business.
Most clinical programs in the country do not prepare you to start in private practice or supervise large groups of clinicians, manage budgets, etc. The dual degree prepares you for promotion to leadership roles based on the competencies mastered in the dual degree
Additionally, we hope that you can negotiate higher salaries with employers and supervisors based on your developed competencies.
Social Entrepreneurship (SE) Certificate Program
What is SE?
The Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship is designed for individuals interested in learning and practicing social intrapreneurship, entrepreneurship, and innovation for addressing complex societal, health, and/or environmental issues.
This interdisciplinary certification invites you to apply the basic principles, skills, and theories of social entrepreneurship along with strategies for designing and launching new ventures.
Why should social workers understand SE as a clinician?
Clinical social workers are mostly addressing individual/family challenges within a highly dynamic and complex social, economic, political, and environmental context. Often, creating change in the context is needed for creating sustainable impact at the individual/family level. Therefore, clinical social workers must work across systems to create sustainable, effective, and equitable changes. The certificate will equip clinical social workers to understand the root causes of social, economic, political and environmental challenges experienced by clients further anchoring social work’s investment in ‘person-in-environment.’ In addition, the certificate program will support clinical social workers in co-creating innovative strategies, programs, and/or enterprises for addressing these challenges in a financially sustainable fashion.
How will it help me prepare for a job and or private practice?
Graduates from the certificate program can enter many different roles in social work and larger administrative fields within and beyond human services. You can go into traditional non-profit and public sector roles, you can also go into corporate roles in human resources, employment assistance programs, corporate social responsibility (CSR) units, and/or start your own social enterprise.