Jul 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work: Traditional Program, Master of Social Work

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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice
513 Varner  (map)
(248) 370-2371 • Fax (248) 370-4608

Program director:
Maria Beam

Director of internships:
Stephanie Brandimarte 

Program coordinator:
Maria Beam
513 Varner
(248) 370-3166

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Graduate Catalog Addendum    


Program description

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W) degree program at Oakland University provides students with the requisite theoretical knowledge, skills, and ethical framework for advanced social work practice with diverse client systems across practice settings. OU M.S.W students will be uniquely trained through an integrated advanced generalist. All M.S.W students will demonstrate advanced mastery of nine Core Competencies dictated by the CSWE, which will allow them to assume clinical and macro social work practice roles upon graduation. Students who wish to pursue licensure as clinical or macro social workers after graduation will have the necessary course preparation and field experience to do so.

Those students who seek more intensive training in a specialized area will have the option to complete one of three specializations (integrated health, community and organizational leadership or school social work). Depending how students enter the M.S.W program, (Advanced Standing versus Traditional) students have two options for completing the proposed M.S.W degree: a Traditional curriculum, including 64 hours of coursework and 900 hours of field education, and an Advanced Standing program that requires 34 credit hours of coursework and 450 hours of field education.

The traditional program of study includes one year of foundational coursework on the principles of social work as a profession (including issues of social justice, diversity, and professional ethics), conducting and critiquing research, generalist practice in social work across a variety of scales and systems, and understanding human behavior. In their second year, students master advanced generalist practice across the life course, and may choose two courses focused on practice in distinct contexts (restricted electives). Students also complete 450 hours of supervised field education in the first year, and 450 hours in the second year, to reach the 900 hours.


The Oakland University M.S.W. program is in the candidacy of accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Any student who earns an M.S.W degree while the program is in candidacy is considered graduated from an accredited social work program.

Admission terms and application deadlines

Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Oakland University Graduate School by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.

Prospective students will apply through the OU Graduate Admissions for admittance into the program for the Summer Semester (advanced standing) and Fall Semester (traditional program).

  • February 15 (regular) and April 15 (late) for fall semester for the traditional M.S.W Program or until our cohort is filled or until June 1st, whichever comes first. Students may apply for an early admission decision is submitted by  December 15.
  • International applicants  

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

  2. Additional department application requirements

Additional documents students must include in their application package are:

  • The two recommendation forms must include letters attached to the forms and must speak to the applicant’s academic and/or professional suitability for advanced study in Social Work; at least one of these must be from a professor or instructor;
  • A personal statement that will be used to assess preparation for and commitment to advanced study in Social Work, suitability for the profession, and skills in written communication; and
  • One-page resume including volunteer, internship or paid work experience relevant to Social Work practice.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Undergraduate preparation for the M.S.W.

Degrees in a wide variety of majors will prepare the student for admission, providing that the record includes:


  • For admission into the traditional 2-year M.S.W program, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or its equivalent from a foreign institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all work attempted in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study is required. 

Students must have successful completion (grade of C- or better) of undergraduate courses in social and behavioral sciences (12 credit hours, drawing from sociology, psychology, government, economics, or related disciplines), research (4 credit hours), and biology with human content (4 credit hours). These courses may be completed at the introductory level.

Students with lower GPAs may be considered for provisional admission when combined with volunteer work and work experience, or when there are extenuating circumstances. The Admissions Committee will assess a GPA between 2.7 and 3.0, generally for provisional acceptance. Provisional applicants will be admitted on a part-time basis. These applicants may petition the admission committee by explaining reasons for their lower GPA and how the student plans to overcome such difficulties while attending full-time. Students with GPAs lower than a 2.7 will need to provide a strong rationale in the personal statement and may require an interview with the admission committee for a decision.

Students otherwise qualified for admission to the program but lacking in this area may be admitted with the requirement that the deficiency be corrected during the first year of the program by appropriate coursework. A departmental adviser will plan with the student an appropriate way of addressing the deficiency. Credits earned to meet these standards will not be counted toward the total credits needed for the degree.

Related links

Degree requirements

 The Master of Social Work degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 64 credits for the Traditional Program.

Course requirements

d. Internship (16 credits for Traditional M.S.W)

Students will do an internship while in the program.

Optional Specializations

Student may choose to specialize in one of our three specializations where 4 credits can double count for the M.S.W program elective requirement. Student would only need to take an additional 4 or 6 credits to earn a specialization in a social work practice area. Students may also choose not to specialize in one area, and may take 4 electives from among any the program offers.

1. Specialization in Integrated Health:

The M.S.W program offers an optional sub-specialization area that focuses on integrating health and behavioral health practice. The curriculum is designed to meet the contemporary workforce needs with regard to healthcare reform and to underscore the major contributions MSW graduates are qualified to make in the future of healthcare systems that address both physical and behavioral health. The primary goal is to prepare graduates in this area with advanced generalist practice in clinical services, advocacy, and management roles in the dynamic fields of health care and behavioral health.

2. Specialization in Community and Organizational Leadership

The M.S.W program offers an optional sub-specialization area that focuses on community and organizational leadership, preparing students for advanced generalist practice within the community and in organizations. This specialization emphasizes a macro approach to advancing social justice.  Students will gain the skills required to address structural inequities through organizational leadership, community practice, advocacy, and policy reform.

Core for Specialization (8 credits)

To earn the specialization in community and organizational leadership, students select courses for 8 credits from the following:

3. Specialization in School Social Work

The M.S.W program offers an optional specialization area that focuses on school social work. Individuals employed as school social workers must meet the criteria set forth by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in the Public School Code.

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

Department requirements:  To earn an M.S.W degree, the student must have the following

  • Completion of each required and elective course in the student’s program of study with a grade of B or higher, and cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Satisfactory completion of the required 450 hours of supervised field instruction for the advanced standing and 900 hours of supervised field instruction for the traditional MSW program.
  • Satisfaction of all other academic and professional qualifications as published by the appropriate governing bodies of the university.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Plan of study

For students entering the Advanced Standing M.S.W. program, it can be completed within one (1) calendar year of full-time study or  within (2) calendar years of part-time study. To For students entering the Traditional M.S.W. program, it can be completed within two (2) calendar years of full-time study or (4) calendar years of part-time study. To meet requirements for the master’s degree a program may also provide a maximum of four (4) calendar years of structured part-time professional education, comprising all course work, papers or projects, and the field practicum. 

All accepted applicants, in consultation with the program coordinator, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted by the student to Oakland University Graduate School.

Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility  section of this catalog.)

Note:  Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.

Limited standing and special graduate status

Students who are admitted with limited standing to the program must have the condition removed before undertaking the second year of the program. Students who have special graduate status may take up to three courses in the program without formal admission to the program; to proceed further in the course sequence requires admission to the program. Upon attaining full graduate status, the student will receive credit toward the program for the work done as a special graduate student.


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