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Social Work - Graduate Degree

Degree Offered:  Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Departmental Website: Social Work

Program Description: A Master of Social Work Degree (MSW) prepares graduates for work in a variety of settings, including public agency work, private practice, social service management and administration. A MSW is required for individuals who want to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In addition, social workers with a MSW are eligible to obtain certifications from the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), the Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW), and/or the Diplomat in Clinical Social Work (DCSW). These credentials are especially important for those in clinical practice who depend on health insurance providers to reimburse them for services. Entry into the MSW Program does not require a bachelor's degree in Social Work, but courses in Psychology, Biology, Economics, and Political Science are strongly recommended. Up to twelve semester hours of graduate credit hours with grades of B or better may be transferred from another accredited MSW program.

Full-time, Part-time and Advanced Standing Options: Western Carolina University offers three options of study-- Full-time, part-time and Advanced Standing. The full-time Master of Social Work Program consists of two years of full-time course and fieldwork, excluding summers. All of the classes are offered in back-to-back blocks to best meet scheduling needs of students. The first and last semesters are offered at WCU in Cullowhee while the intermediate two semesters are offered in Asheville at the WCU Programs at Biltmore Park campus. The department also offers a three or four-year part-time program A one year Advanced Standing Program is open to a select number of students who have completed a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work program within the last five years. Advanced Standing students complete a Bridge Course in the summer and follow the concentration year curriculum (see our sample schedule). In accordance with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) policies, no credit is given for life or work experience.


Location of Course Offerings: Biltmore Park, Cullowhee - The first and last semesters of the MSW program are taught on the WCU campus in Cullowhee and the second and third semesters are taught in Asheville at the WCU Programs at Biltmore Park campus. For details, please see the sample schedule.

Admission Requirements:   

  • Graduate School Admission Requirements
  • Program Admission Requirements 
  • GRE scores no older than five years: Unsatisfactory scores may be offset by other exceptionally strong components of the application on a case by case basis 
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, or a 2.85 on a 4.0 scale cumulatively
  • Satisfactory score (combined score of 286 or above preferred) on the verbal and quantitative section and 3.5 or above on the writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Adequate undergraduate preparation (18 semester hours) with a range of studies in the liberal arts, humanities, physical sciences, diversity, and behavioral sciences
  • Some Human Services-related experience, including volunteer work desirable

A link to the MSW student manual can be found HERE

Application Deadline: Applications are reviewed upon receipt. The deadline for completion of Advanced Standing applications is February 1. Priority deadline for applications to the regular full or part-time program is February 1 with a final application deadline of April 15. Applications received after these date will be reviewed if there is space available.

Number of Graduate Faculty: 10

Number of Students: 50  

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Patricia Morse
Department of Social Work
Phone: 828-227-7112



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