The Master of Social Work degree attests to the graduate’s preparation for social work practice and achievement at a level of competence sufficient to serve as a basis for a professional career. The LSU School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and has been offering graduate education since 1937. The MSW degree requires 60 hours of study and students admitted to the MSW program must elect to enter either on campus or online.
The first 30 hours of the program is termed the generalist year, and the second 30 hours of study is termed the specialized year. The generalist year of the program is structured to provide the knowledge, skills, and values required for all social work practice. This includes courses in social work practice, social work history, research methods, social policy, human diversity, human behavior in the social environment, and generalist-year field internship. The specialized year provides instruction in advanced direct practice, advanced social policy, program evaluation, twelve hours of electives, and specialized-year field internship.
The School of Social Work has an Advanced Generalist Practice concentration in the specialized year to allow our students to work with many populations in a variety of social work settings. The field education office places students in an internship that will provide a good educational experience in a supervised setting for both the generalist and the specialized years. The period of study for the MSW cannot exceed four years. No academic credit is granted for work or life experiences.
The deadline for receipt of a completed admission file is one time per year for Baton Rouge main campus programs--advanced standing is March 1 and full 60-hour is March 31. The MSW Online program has six admission dates throughout the year. The deadline for receipt of online applications is 2 months prior to the start date of the module.
MSW Information Sessions/Appointments
Join one of the fastest growing professions and attend an MSW Information Session to find out how you can become a social worker. These sessions cover information on full time, part time, online and advanced standing programs, overview of admission requirements and the admissions process, exit requirements, internship placements, and licensure. These sessions are informal and last about one hour. If you are unable to attend an Information Session, you can make a phone or video appointment.
Professional Licensure Requirements
The LSU School of Social Work’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the only body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit social work education programs in the United States. Our MSW program meets CSWE’s curriculum and field education standards for the MSW degree. However, the following states have entry-level professional licensure requirements that differ from these standards in the following ways:
- California: California law and ethics exam; coursework in suicide risk assessment and intervention (6 hours, beginning with applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021); child abuse assessment and reporting in California (7 hours); human sexuality (10 hours); alcoholism and chemical substance abuse and dependency (15 hours); aging, long term care and elder/dependent adult abuse (10 hours), California cultures and the social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position (15 hours or 1 semester unit); spousal/partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention (15 hours);
- Colorado: Colorado Mental Health Professions Jurisprudence Examination;
- Florida: clinical field placement during the specialized (i.e., second) year;
- Missouri: 2 hours of suicide prevention training;
- Nebraska: internship that includes a minimum of 300 clock hours of direct client contact, of which 150 clock hours must be face-to-face;
- New Mexico: jurisprudence examination; one of the following: 3-credit-hour course in New Mexico cultures; a board-approved course, workshop, or seminar in New Mexico cultures; proof of previously passing the New Mexico cultural examination;
- New York: 2 hours of coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment;
- Oregon: Oregon Rules and Laws Exam;
- Virginia: minimum of 600 hours in a clinical field placement [this applies to LSU’s advanced-standing students only];
- Wisconsin: Wisconsin Statutes and Rules examination.
The School of Social Work may assist students with meeting their state’s licensure requirements. Applicants and students are encouraged to refer to their state licensing board for more information about current licensure requirements. State licensing boards can be found by visiting the Association of Social Work Boards. Students living in states whose licensing requirements differ from the School’s curriculum and field education standards must notify the Field Education Office immediately.
Important note for relocating during the course of a program: Prospective and current students should keep in mind that licensing and authorization requirements vary by state and that relocating during the course of a program to another state could impact whether that student can continue in the course, meet the eligibility requirements of that state, and/or receive financial aid funding. If students are considering relocating, they should contact their program’s advisor to check for authorization and licensure eligibility requirements.
For information on the institutional process for filing distance education appeals as well as contact information for each state's SARA portal, please visit the Complaint Procedures website.