Published on March 18, 2015 by Katie Stripling  
Ken Stoltzfus

Samford University’s Department of Social Work is accepting applications for its inaugural class in the master of social work program.  The department offers two options for pursuing the M.S.W., one for individuals without a prior degree in social work, and advanced standing for those who already possess a baccalaureate degree in the field.  Full- and part-time plans of study are available for each and courses are offered in the evening to provide students with the opportunity to maintain employment while in the program if they so desire.

According to Ken Stoltzfus, department chair, the mission of the M.S.W. program is simple—to be a distinctively Christian learning community that prepares students for lives of service as social workers.

Stoltzfus added that the choice of the words “lives of service” over “careers” or "jobs” was intentional and reflective of the program. “A vocation may include a job or a career, but it’s even bigger than that,” he said. “Ultimately, a vocation is the thing we were created to do. We believe that social workers have a vocation to serve humanity, especially individuals and groups who have been marginalized or oppressed.”     

Samford’s M.S.W. program offers concentrations in clinical social work and global community development, allowing students to pursue individual passions. Stoltzfus has found that most of the students who pursue a degree in social work are passionate about making a difference in the world. 

“A degree in social work allows them to do that in a variety of specialization areas. For example, individuals with an M.S.W. degree work in fields such as mental health therapy, child welfare, non-profit management, medical social work, international development and relief, and substance abuse treatment, just to name a few possibilities,” said Stoltzfus.

Social workers play an essential role in addressing some of society’s greatest challenges and the need for skilled professionals is growing rapidly, Stoltzfus added.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the demand for skilled social workers is expected to grow significantly and faster than average through the year 2022.

According to Stoltzfus, now is an ideal time to pursue a graduate degree in social work. “We live in an increasingly complex world in which the needs of individuals and communities undergo rapid change,” he said.  “There are currently a lot of exciting opportunities for well-trained social workers who are passionate about meeting those needs and making a difference in the world.”

Admission to the M.S.W. program is competitive, Stoltzfus added. Applications for advanced standing (individuals with a B.S.W.) are due by April 1, and applications for those without a previous degree in social work are due May 4.

Admission information

Learn more: National Professional Social Work Month

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.