Department of Social Work

Samford University's Department of Social Work is a distinctively Christian learning community that prepares graduates for lives of service as advanced social workers who promote wholeness, healing and reconciliation. In this department, students will find many exciting learning opportunities—from courses taught by highly trained, articulate social work scholars and practitioners to field placement opportunities in various fields of practice here at home and around the world. 

Social work student participating in Samford's Acute Care SimulationSamford has gone beyond my expectations. I came into the program thinking it would be like my undergraduate program, but I found that the classes are small and the teachers are so focused on getting you the information you need in a way that challenges how you think.Melanye Morris, Master of Social Work ‘18, School of Public Health


Master of Social Work

Samford's Master of Social Work program is academically rigorous and emphasizes mastery of the core knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession, application of the person and environment construct and integration of research and practice. The degree program promotes interprofessional collaboration in order to address the complex and multifaceted nature of human needs and concerns.

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Fast-track Master of Social Work

Undergraduate students from select majors are eligible to participate in a fast-track option that allows students to graduate with a bachelor's degree in their selected major and a Master of Social Work after five years of study.

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Joint Degrees

Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Theological Studies/M.S.W

For students called to both preach the Gospel and engage in practical ministry, Samford offers two joint degrees programs with Beeson Divinity School and the School of Public Health's Master of Social Work. 

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Master of Public Health/M.S.W.

This joint degree program utilizes a faith-informed approach that combines knowledge and skills from the fields of social work and public health to promote the health and well-being of individuals and communities. 

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Clinical Social Work Concentration

The clinical social work concentration prepares graduates for direct practice with individuals, families and small groups. Clinical concentration coursework emphasizes the use of evidence-informed interventions, while also recognizing the need for practitioner flexibility and client self-determination. As a graduate, you will be prepared for advanced clinical social work practice in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities, medical institutions, correctional facilities and child welfare settings.

Global Community Development Concentration

The global community development concentration will prepare you for community development social work careers in an increasingly globalized world. The global community development concentration incorporates an assets- and strengths-based focus, and it emphasizes best practices for both international and domestic community development work. You will be prepared to engage in macro-level social work practice aimed at mobilizing systemic change to promote stable, healthy and sustainable communities. 

The global community development concentration prepares you for employment in human service agencies, non-governmental organizations and government programs that are engaged in international and/or domestic community development. You may select domestic or international field placement sites based on your career interests.

Field Placement

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. Because of this, 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 monitored by Samford’s Director of Field Education, in order to ensure continuity between the classroom and field components of the Master of Social Work program. During their field placements, students are supervised by experienced Master-level social workers. Students also participate in weekly field seminars wherein they share their experiences with a small group of students and a social work faculty member.

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

Students in the global community development concentration will have the opportunity to complete 500 field hours in an international setting.

Distance Field Placement FAQ
Field Handbook

Continuing Education

To see the department's full schedule of continuing education programs, go here