Master of Social Work/Divinity Joint Degree Programs
Preparing graduates for proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel
For students called to both preach the gospel and engage in practical ministry, Samford University is pleased to offer joint degree programs with Beeson Divinity School and the Master of Social Work program. Students may pursue the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) / Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), which takes approximately five years to complete, or the Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.) / Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), which takes approximately four years to complete.
Graduates from the programs are well-equipped to undertake multi-faceted work. For example, individuals who discern a vocational call to international missions may be tasked with both traditional ministry work as well as developing and overseeing programs that address issues such as human trafficking or HIV/AIDs prevention.
Students in both programs will choose a concentration in either clinical social work or global community development. Both options offer a variety of career possibilities. Graduates from the clinical social work option may find themselves working in pastoral counseling, addiction and recovery ministries, or prison ministries. Graduates from the global community development option may seek employment with urban ministries, domestic and international missions, or within faith-based NGOs addressing issues such as human trafficking, poverty and access to medical services.
Requirements for the M.S.W. are constant for both joint degrees, while requirements differ for the M.Div. and M.A.T.S. degrees. Both divinity degrees require coursework in biblical studies, historical and theological studies, and spiritual formation. The M.Div. degree, however, requires additional courses in biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew) and in the theory and practice of Christian ministry. In short, the M.A.T.S. degree is designed to provide a basic understanding of core theological disciplines, while the M.Div. is designed to prepare God-called persons to serve in pastoral ministry capacities.
Students must apply for admission to each program separately. Students should first apply for admission to Beeson Divinity School, and should then complete the internal application in order to avoid duplication of fees, etc. Admission to one program does not guarantee admission to the other.
M.Div./M.S.W Plan of Study
The divinity school will grant 12 semester hours of elective credit for social work program courses and the social work program will grant six hours of elective credit for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number of hours for the two degrees by 18.
In addition to the ability to count core courses from one program for elective credit in the other, students in the M.Div.-M.S.W. program are also eligible to complete internships for both programs simultaneously in a church or ministry setting. Although this option does not further lower the credit requirement for either program, it does allow students to save time by completing two internship requirements simultaneously. Internship sites must be approved by both programs and internship activities must meet the internal and accreditation requirements of each program.
The divinity school will grant six semester hours of elective credit for social work program courses, and the social work program will grant six semester hours of elective credits for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number of hours for the two degrees by 12.
The M.S.W. program was admitted to accreditation candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in June 2015 and is currently pursuing full accreditation. Students who graduate from an MSW program in candidacy with CSWE are license eligible in Alabama. Licensing laws vary by state, so it is important to be informed about the licensure requirements of the state in which you plan to practice.