About the MSW Program

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The mission of the graduate program of the UALR School of Social Work, building on a strong generalist foundation, is to prepare graduates for leadership roles in clinical practice and in management and community practice within the social welfare system in Arkansas. Our commitment is to discover and disseminate knowledge, embrace diversity, to serve our communities and organizations, and to eliminate the barriers that oppressed and vulnerable people face.

The UALR School of Social Work MSW program is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

MSW Curriculum

The MSW curriculum consists of 60 hours of graduate work, including 32 core hours, 22 concentration hours, and six elective hours. Field instruction is an integral part of the curriculum design, totaling 18 hours of course work or 1200 practice hours by graduation (1056 hours for advanced standing students). Advanced standing students are given credit for 17 hours of graduate work and need 43 hours to graduate.


The School of Social Work also offers a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology.

Program Options

There are currently five program options available to students pursuing a MSW degree. The MSW program requires that all students entering the program have earned a bachelor’s degree (no exceptions) with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university. An overall GPA of 3.0 is required. On occasion, an applicant may be conditionally admitted if this requirement is not met.

Full-time program: This program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work or with a degree in social work but do not meet the requirements of the advanced standing program. It is designed to be completed in two years.

Part-time program: The part-time program is designed to be completed in three years, although the student may take up to four calendar years from the initial date of enrollment to complete it. A minimum of two courses must be taken each semester, with appropriate sequencing of courses as outlined in the curriculum. Because of the importance of taking internships and practice methods courses concurrently, part-time students must attend full-time during their concentration year.

Online program: The online program is completed on a part-time basis and will focus on clinical social work practice, where students will learn contemporary, evidence-informed practice approaches that can be used across a wide range of settings and with diverse groups of individuals, families, and groups. The program can be completed in three years, which includes the completion of both course work and field internships. Please note that field internships must be completed in-person.

Advanced standing program: This program allows qualified students who have earned a bachelor of social work degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (during the last seven years) to complete the MSW degree in a shorter, concentrated program. This program may be completed on either a full-time (12 months) or part-time (21 months) basis. Advanced standing students are given credit for 17 hours of graduate work and need 43 hours to graduate. To be eligible for advanced standing admission, a student must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA, no exceptions.

MSW/JD program: The Master of Social Work/Juris Doctor concurrent degree program is offered with the UALR Bowen School of Law. Students must obtain admission to both programs to receive cross-credit.