Courses Offered Online and In-person

The mission of Samford University's Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program is to be a distinctively Christian learning community that prepares graduates for lives of service as advanced social worker practitioners.

Our program’s unique context, location and mission combine to offer you opportunities to develop advanced social work skills in rural, urban and international practice settings in both faith-based and secular organizations.

Samford’s Department of Social Work is a member of the Alabama Higher Education Consortium on Child Welfare (Title IV-E)

Application Timeline

Apply to Samford University's School of Public Health at

Application Timeline

For individuals who do not have a background in social work:
  • Application Opens: November 1, 2022
  • Priority Deadlines
    • January 15 (Admission decision released before February 15)
    • March 15 (Admission decision released before April 15)
    • May 15 (Admission decision released before June 15)
  • Application Closes: June 1, 2023
    • Admission decision released before July 1
  • Entry Month: August 2023

Advanced Standing Timeline

For individuals with a bachelor's degree in social work:

  • Application Opens: November 1, 2022
  • Priority Deadline: January 15 (Admission  decision released before February 15)
  • Application Closes: April 1, 2023
    • Admission  decision released before April 15
  • Entry Month: May 2023

Admission Requirements

Applicants with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Individuals who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in social work may be eligible for Advanced Standing status, allowing them to complete the M.S.W. program in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study.

Advanced Standing applicants must meet the following criteria for admission:

  • Baccalaureate degree in social work (B.S.W.) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), recognized through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.
    • B.S.W. evidenced by an official college/university transcript required prior to enrollment.
  • Cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.0 scale or a minimum of a 3.2 GPA during their last 60 hours of undergraduate course work. Applicants who have a GPA of at least 2.8 may submit an application for consideration with an MAT or GRE score.
    • Applicants who do not meet the GPA requirement (i.e., a 3.0 cumulative GPA or a 3.2 GPA for the final 60 hours of undergraduate course work) are admitted conditionally and must earn a grade of B- or higher in their first semester of M.S.W. Program courses in order to move from conditional status to full acceptance status.
  • Grades of B- or higher in all required undergraduate social work courses. Please note: Applicants with a grade lower than B- in no more than two social work courses may apply for Advanced Standing (special instructions apply).

Applicants without a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Individuals who do not possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold an earned bachelor’s degree from a college or university that holds institutional accreditation
    • Completed bachelor’s degree, as evidenced by an official college/university transcript required prior to enrollment in the M.S.W. program.
  • Cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 on a 4.0 scale or a minimum of a 3.2 GPA during their last 60 hours of undergraduate course work. Applicants who have a GPA of at least 2.8 may submit an application for consideration with an MAT or GRE score.
    • Acceptable scores are as follows:
      • MAT: 402
      • GRE: Verbal: 153; Quantitative: 144; Analytical: 4.0

All Applicants

All applicants must:

  • Submit three letters of reference through the application portal. The three required reference letters should be from a current or previous professor, a work supervisor and a professional colleague.
  • Have completed an undergraduate level statistics class with a grade of C or higher from a college or university that holds institutional accreditation.
  • Applicants who have not completed a statistics course may receive conditional acceptance. Such applicants will be required to submit evidence of completion of a statistics course prior to enrollment in the program.
  • Academic Writing Sample: Upload an academic paper that you have written in the past. If possible, submit a research paper in which you have cited books or journal articles. The paper you upload should demonstrate your ability to collect information from multiple sources and synthesize it into a coherent product. If you do not have access to an academic paper you have written in the past, please write and submit a 3-5 page paper about a topic of your choice related to the social work field. Please be sure to cite academic sources in the paper.
  • Personal Statement: Please write a personal statement (3-5 double spaced pages) that discusses your interest in the social work profession and your reasons for pursuing the M.S.W. degree. Please address the following points in your statement:
    • The reasons you are pursuing the M.S.W. degree at this time
    • Your field of career interest within social work and the ways that you envision the M.S.W. degree preparing you to work effectively in that field
    • Your career goals following graduation
    • Your reasons for choosing Samford’s M.S.W. program

Advanced Standing Applicants

Advanced Standing Applicants must also submit:

  • Field Evaluation: Please submit the final evaluation from your undergraduate social work field placement experience. This evaluation should be completed by the social worker who supervised your field placement and/or the faculty member who oversaw the field placement. If you don’t have a copy of your field evaluation, please have your field supervisor write a letter that discusses the nature and quality of the work that you performed during the field placement, then upload that letter.
  • Given the recent events related to COVID-19 and the ramifications for social work programs, the spring evaluation component of the application can be substituted with one of the following:
    • Fall 2019 field evaluation
    • A brief letter or email from the program Field Education Director indicating the student is in good standing in the field education program
    • A brief letter or email from the current field supervisor indicating the student is in good standing with the field site.

The Samford University M.S.W. program does not award academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Samford’s Department of Social Work reserves the right to interview any applicant. If accepted, a nonrefundable fee of $200 is required to secure admission into the program. The fee is applied to the first semester’s tuition. Exceptions to any of the admission requirements may be considered on an individual basis.

International applicants must score at least a 550 (paper), 213 (computer) or 80 (internet) on the TOEFL or a 6.5 on the IELTS Academic test. This may also apply to American citizens who learned English as a second language.

 International applicants may be required to submit a WES/ECE transcript review. The School of Public Health Admission Office will contact you at the time of application review if this is necessary.

We cannot issue an I-20 for this program at this time.


How to Qualify?

Applicants who are accepted into Samford’s Master of Social Work program will receive an email informing them of their acceptance and inviting them to apply for a scholarship. All students are encouraged to apply for the Department of Social Work scholarship. In addition there are criteria-specific scholarships available on a year-to-year basis. Scholarships are awarded in the fall of the first year of the course of study.

Plans of Study

In order to prepare our graduates for ethical and competent service, Samford's Master of Social Work program:

  • Is academically rigorous, emphasizing mastery of the core knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession from an evidence-based perspective
  • Emphasizes promotion of human rights and social and economic justice as a reflection of God’s desire for justice and love for all of humanity
  • Promotes interprofessional collaboration to address the complex and multifaceted nature of human needs and concerns
  • Understands human diversity to be a strength of a global community, preparing advanced social work practitioners who practice with cultural sensitivity
  • Integrates the role of faith in social work practice, recognizing difference and diversity across cultures

Full-time and part-time study options are available. In-person courses are scheduled in the evenings to make it possible for you to maintain your current employment.

Plans of Study

Focus on Clinical Social Work 

Advanced Clinical Practice Concentration

The advanced clinical practice concentration prepares graduates for direct practice with individuals, families and small groups. Its course work emphasizes the use of evidence-informed interventions, while recognizing the need for practitioner flexibility and client self-determination. Students will develop skills in assessing, diagnosis and intervening with diverse populations. They will learn how to develop client strengths in order to address complex mental, health and behavioral health issues and improve client functioning.

As a graduate, you will be prepared for advanced clinical social work practice in a wide variety of settings, including counseling centers, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities, hospitals and clinics, schools, correctional facilities and child welfare agencies. Students will be prepared to work independently or as a member of interprofessional mental, health and behavioral health teams specializing in clinical practice.

Fast-track Option

Samford’s fast-track Master of Social Work program makes it possible for undergraduate students to complete a bachelor’s degree in their selected major and a Master of Social Work in just five years. Students enroll in the graduate program during their senior year of undergraduate studies.

Learn More

Field Placements

Social work is a practice-oriented profession and requires mastery of a vast array of helping skills that can only be developed through practical experience. As such, the field experience is part of the signature pedagogy of social work.

Master of Social Work students receive practical experience through an integrative field internship that spans multiple semesters. In conjunction with the program's field director, students are matched with a site that aligns with their personal interest to develop necessary skills as advanced social work practitioners. With more than 150 field sites available locally, nationally and internationally students are able pursue their passion while gaining professional experience.

Examples of field placement sites include:

  • Mental health treatment centers and clinics
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Residential institutions
  • Child welfare organizations
  • Foster care and adoption agencies
  • Community development programs
  • Neighborhood revitalization organizations
  • Organizations for individuals with disabilities
  • Prevention organizations
  • Domestic violence organizations
  • Schools

Distance Field Placement FAQ
Field Handbook

Accreditation & Assessment

The Samford University Master of Social Work program was awarded full accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in June 2017.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes