Graduate Program in Social Work

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The Graduate Program in Social Work

The Graduate Social Work Program received full accreditation status from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 2004.

The MSW program at Delaware State University has one concentration — advanced generalist practice.  Accordingly, the program prepares students for advanced practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.  Having satisfied all of the program’s academic requirements, students leave the program with competencies allowing them to practice with and on behalf of Delawareans, and with clients throughout the region, across the nation and globally. Course offerings provide students an understanding of social, economic, political and interpersonal problems from a global perspective.  Consequently, students comprehend the effects of problems, such as poverty, health disparities, racism and oppression on populations that live in parts of the world outside the United States.

It is understood that these unique elements of the curriculum are congruent with the concepts, and intervention principles that define the framework for all professional social work practice, that is, generalist practice.  Therefore, students graduate able to generalize the knowledge, values and skills that underlie all social work practice in different settings with diverse populations experiencing multiple, complex problems. The MSW curriculum is grounded on the Department of Social Work’s five underpinnings.

Graduates of the MSW program possess the competencies needed to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate individuals, families, treatment groups, organizations and communities. They are able to evaluate the efficacy of interventions and programs, integrate theories of personality and adult psychopathology, address health and mental health disparities from a public health perspective and understand and assimilate theories and practice principles that guide human service administration.  Graduates are competent to practice with systems of all sizes in a wide array of settings—from traditional public social welfare and governmental agencies to small and medium size non-profit organizations to private and for profit entities.

The foundation courses present a generalist perspective to social work practice and consist of fundamental content in human behavior and the social environment, social policies, research, practice and field practicum. The advanced courses build upon the core foundation year competencies and practice behaviors of acquired knowledge, values and skills and demonstrate the integration and application of both the core and advanced competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Admission Information/Requirements

  • The full MSW Program is offered in Dover on the main campus and in Wilmington on the satellite campus.  Students may enroll at either campus and can take classes at both campuses simultaneously.
  • Interest Sessions (also called Open Houses) are held during the spring semester on both the Dover and Wilmington Campuses.  The purpose of the Interest Sessions is to provide information about the Program's explicit and implicit curriculums to candidates who have an interest in pursuing a MSW degree at Delaware State University.
  • For admission to graduate study, applicants must show evidence that they have earned the baccalaureate degree at an accredited college or university (or its equivalent for foreign students) and possesses the ability to engage in high quality graduate work. Applicants must have an undergraduate Liberal Arts foundation as defined by the Program faculty. A background in the social and behavioral sciences is preferred.
  • No academic credit is given for life and/or professional experience.
  • All applicants must submit a complete graduate application package by the established deadline. The entire application can be completed and submitted online.
  • May 31st is the deadline for Advanced Standing admission and June 30th is the deadline for Fall admission. There is no Spring or Summer admission.
    o    An application must be submitted for the Fall semester in which applicant wishes to enroll. Due to the required prerequisites, the MSW program admits students only in the Fall semester.
    o   Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work are required. The applicant’s undergraduate transcript must reflect a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.00 scale (4.0=A). A “B” average in the major field of study is required. Higher scholastic achievement is preferred.
    o  Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, not more than five (5) years old, are required for admission.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to include their GRE scores with their applications. Performance on the GREs will not negate admission.
    o  A personal statement explaining why you want to 1) obtain a MSW degree, and 2) how you plan to use the knowledge and skills you will obtain to impact social and economic justice and improve services for populations at risk.  Statement must be no more than two (2) typed pages, double spaced, 12 point Times Roman font.
    o  Three letters of recommendation are required. These letters should be from individuals who can provide information about your scholarly ability, moral character and characteristics to succeed in a graduate program. Individuals like present or past teachers, advisors, supervisors, and colleagues provide strong recommendations.
  • Personal Attributes
    • Motivation towards, interest in, and preparation for social work education;
    • A capacity to function as a creative, responsible independent, and accountable practitioner;
    • Ability to deal with sexual, racial, ethnic, physical, social, and cultural diversity;
    • A capacity and willingness for self-introspection and change;
    • A capacity to deal with individual differences;
    • A desire to work for social change in order to enhance leadership skills and create greater equity in society;
    • The ability to develop a scientific stance towards social welfare and social work practice, and
    • Identification with and a desire to apply social work knowledge, values and skills.
  • Type of Admission
    • Advanced standing status—one summer plus academic  year.  The Advanced Standing Seminar course is offered during the second summer session, usually from the beginning of July to the beginning of August.  The course may be offered online.  For accurate information regarding the days and times the class will meet and method of instruction, go to mydesu on the university's website.
    • Full-time status—two years
    • Part-time status—three or four years
    • Advanced standing credits (BSW only) or transfer credits (MSW only) are given on a case-by-case basis.
  • Mandatory New Student Orientation will be held on TBA from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Dover campus and TBA from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the Wilmington campus.  Students will receive all registration materials at orientation.
  • A significant number of MSW students work full-time and hence all courses are held during evening hours between 4:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and on weekends on an accelerated basis.  In addition, most courses are web-enhanced primarily through Blackboard.  The program plans to offer completely on-line courses in the near future.

Residency Requirements

According to standards established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and defined by the Graduate Program, students must complete their residency requirement in two consecutive semesters at Delaware State University during the first year of degreed admission.

Medical Statement

After admission, each student is required to submit a health history and a recent physical examination. The report must be signed by a licensed physician stating that the student is physically capable and free of contagion.

Students who do not submit completed reports by the end of the first two weeks of the semester for which they are admitted may be subject to dismissal.

Curriculum Requirements

The Graduate Program in Social Work requires the successful completion (3.00 or above on a 4.00 scale) of 60 credit hours of graduate courses, inclusive of 12 credit hours of field practicum. This curriculum consists of 28 credits hours of generalist professional foundation courses and 32 credit hours of advanced generalist professional courses.
Explicit Curriculum
“The explicit curriculum constitutes the program’s formal educational structure and includes the courses and the curriculum. [It] achieves the program’s competencies through an intentional design that includes the foundation offered at the baccalaureate and master’s levels and the advanced curriculum offered at the masters level (EP 2.0)” (CSWE Reaffirmation Workshop Training Manual, 2009, p. 80). Please see MSW Student Handbook for curriculum.
Field education is the “signature pedagogy”…through which students connect “…the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting” (CSWE Reaffirmation Workshop Training Manual, 2009, p. 91). Students must be registered for practice courses in order to be placed in field practicum.
Implicit Curriculum
“The implicit curriculum refers to the educational environment in which the explicit curriculum is presented. [It] is as important in shaping the professional character and competence of the programs graduates)” (CSWE Reaffirmation Workshop Training Manual, 2009, p. 99).
MSW students are engaged in various committees that are critical to the programs’ culture and success. Committees on which students serve include curriculum, assessment, reaffirmation, field, and recruitment. Students also serve on planning committees for co-curricular activities such as conferences, symposia, and newsletter. A student, Tabatha Miller, served as the Editor of last year’s MSW eNewsletter. Students also serve as research and graduate assistants.
MSW students demonstrate leadership skills through their Student Councils on both the Dover and Wilmington campuses. The officers are elected and govern their respective councils with the assistance of faculty advisors. For more information on student activities see MSW Student Council Newsletter.
Each year a student is elected by his or her peers to run for the elected position of MSW Student Representative to NASW DE Chapter. This is an elected position on the organization’s Board of Directors. The student serves a one year term.
Alumni are very important to the MSW program. They serve as Adjunct Faculty, Field Instructors, Guest Lecturers, and speakers at co-curricular events. Alumni also co-author articles for journals and reports and co-present research findings at conferences with MSW faculty. 

Curriculum Guides

Masters Program—2 year Full-Time


Additional Information

Request form for more information


Graduate Faculty

Austin (MSW Program Director)

Associate Professors





MSW Student Handbook – under construction