Now 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. As a part of our program, students select one of two concentrations to better align their studies with their career aspirations, including:

  • Advanced Clinical Social Work
  • Community Practice and Social Engagement

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. 

Applicants are admitted on a rolling basis. Our program is offered in-person and online with full-time, part-time and Advanced Standing options.

Application Process

Applications must be completed and verified by the deadlines listed below to be considered for admission. 

Application Schedule

For individuals who do not have a background in social work

  • Application Opens: August 22, 2019
    • Applicants are admitted on a rolling basis.
  • Application Closes: June 15, 2020
  • Entry Month: August 2020

Advanced Standing

For individuals with a bachelor's degree in social work

  • Application Opens: August 22, 2019
    • Applicants are admitted on a rolling basis.
  • Application Closes: March 15, 2020
  • Entry Month: May 2020

Early decision scholarship deadline: January 1, 2020

See information in the drawer below for more information.

All applications are submitted through SocialWorkCAS. Once you have submitted an application you will receive a link by email to a supplemental form.

Before starting:

  • Obtain copies of your college transcripts.
  • Create an application account at SocialWorkCAS.
  • Complete the supplemental form, submit it to the registrar's office of each institution attended and instruct them to enclose the form with your official sealed transcript.
    • Transcripts must be sent to the SocialWorkCAS Transcript Department:
      SocialWorkCAS Transcript Processing Center
      P.O. Box 9212
      Watertown, MA 02471
  • SocialWorkCAS only accepts official transcripts sent directly from the registrar's office. Send transcripts as early as possible and no less than four to six weeks before the application deadline.
  • Pay the initial service fee of $50 when submitting the SocialWorkCAS application. 
    • SocialWorkCAS offers application fee waivers for students meeting certain service- or income-based requirements. Learn more on their website.
  • Obtain three letters of recommendation from 1) current or previous professor; 2) supervisor and 3) professional colleague to be submitted through SocialWorkCAS. These letters of recommendation will be submitted through SocialWorkCAS.
  • Fully complete all sections of the application.
  • Submit official test scores to Samford University – Code: 1302.

Please note: Samford University's Department of Social Work reserves the right to interview any applicant.

  • The preferred browsers for SocialWorkCAS are Google Chrome or Firefox. If you need any assistance, please contact SocialWorkCAS’ technical support team at 857-304-2016 or email at

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 coursework. 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 coursework) 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 regionally accredited college or university.
    • 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 coursework. 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 SocialWorkCAS. 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 regionally accredited college or university. 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 MSW degree preparing you to work effectively in that field
  • Your career goals following graduation
  • Your reasons for choosing Samford’s MSW 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.

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.

American citizens or permanent residents who learned English as a second language must score at least 575 (paper) or 90 (internet) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.5 on IELTS.

Early Decision

Samford’s School of Public Health offers an Early Decision pathway for individuals applying for its Master of Social Work program. To qualify, your application must be completed and verified by January 1. This deadline applies to all applicants, whether you have a bachelor’s degree in social work or not. If you meet the deadline, are accepted and enroll, you will awarded a $500 scholarship that will apply to your first fall semester of the M.S.W. program.

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. 

Advanced Clinical Practice Concentration

Community Practice and Social Engagement Concentration


Advanced Clinical Practice

The advanced clinical practice concentration prepares graduates for direct practice with individuals, families and small groups. Its coursework 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.

Community Practice and Social Engagement

The community practice and social engagement concentration prepares students for community development social work careers in an increasingly globalized world. This concentration incorporates an assets- and strengths-based focus, emphasizing best practices for both international and domestic community work. Students will be prepared to engage in macro-level social work practice aimed at mobilizing systemic change and engagement to promote stable, healthy and sustainable communities.

This concentration equips students to work in non-profit organizations, local community agencies, government programs, refugee centers, missions outreach, and other settings engaged in international and/or domestic community development. As community practitioners they will be responding to some of the most pressing, current issues of our time impacting the most vulnerable populations. Domestic or international field placement sites are available based on career goals.

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 complete 900 hours of field placement in at least two different social service organizations in order to receive the practical experience and develop the skills necessary for successful service as an advanced social work practitioner.

Field placement sites are developed and managed by Samford’s Director of Field Education to ensure continuity between the classroom and field. Students work with the Field Education Director to match with a placement site based on their needs and interests. More than 135 field site options are available locally, nationally and internationally. In addition students participate in weekly seminars designed to integrate classroom content with the field experience.

Examples of field placement sites include:

  • Mental health 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

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