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.
Samford 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.
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.
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.
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.
Advanced Clinical Social Work
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.
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
- 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
To see the department's full schedule of continuing education programs, go here.