NCU Catalog - April 2021 
    
    Jun 21, 2021  
NCU Catalog - April 2021

Social Work, Generalist, MSW


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Master of Social Work


Description of Program


The MSW program is a 60-credit program designed for individuals who do not hold the BSW, or a 36-credit hour program for students who have earned a qualified BSW degree. The program is built to prepare generalist social work leaders and practitioners for careers in health care, human services, clinical practice, and administration. Social Work is a rapidly developing field, responding to the current changes in economics, living standards, and education, but it has a capacity challenge.

Students new to the field of social work can enter the Generalist track, a 60-credit program where they will explore the practice of contemporary social work, including social work practices, ethics, communication, and other key skills. This is the 60-credit program. The Generalist track is designed for non-Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) students, preparing them for practicing social work in agencies of many sizes and purposes.

Students who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program can enter the Advanced Generalist track where they will take more advanced coursework. This is a 36-credit hour program. Students on both tracks will benefit from experiential learning opportunities with real social workers in the field. At the core of both tracks is an integrated, rigorous, and practical curriculum intended to prepare students to take on social work roles in a broad variety of services areas, including health and behavioral health care facilities, prisons, schools, courts, human service agencies, employee assistance programs, governmental agencies, and many other areas. Graduates will be prepared to provide direct services with individuals, families, and groups, as well as policy and administration work.

The MSW program is based on the knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession, emphasizing strengths-based and research-informed training and coursework that prepares students for diverse career opportunities. The MSW program is aligned with NCU’s mission of helping students achieve academically and become valuable contributors to their communities and within their professions through providing an educational program that focuses on professional practice and professional competence.

Our master’s level program includes the following:

  • The MSW Generalist track in which courses are designed for students whose undergraduate degree is not in social work
  • The MSW Advanced Generalist track in which courses are tailored for students who have completed an accredited BSW degree with a 3.0 GPA within the past five years

Click here for potential career opportunities within the MSW.

Learning Outcomes


Learning outcomes are derived from the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) nine core competencies

  1. Students will demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
  2. Students will engage diversity and difference in practice
  3. Students will advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
  4. Students will engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  5. Students will engage in policy practice
  6. Students will engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  7. Students will assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  8. Students will intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  9. Students will evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

Basis for Admission


Admission to an NCU master’s program requires a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited academic institution or an international institution that is determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service.

**Admission into MSW-Advanced Generalist track requires a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree from a CSWE accredited program within the past five years (with some exceptions)

The MSW program will allow for transfer of up to 6 credit hours for the Advanced Generalist track and 12 credits for the Generalist track. Transfer credits for the Generalist track must be completed at a regionally accredited institution and must be awarded a B/3.0 or higher grade. For the Advanced Generalist track, students may apply for transfer of up to 6 credit hours of graduate credit hours from a CSWE accredited MSW program (grades must be B or higher) under the following guideline

  1. Course work which would be over five years old at the completion of the degree program (as defined by the student’s plan of study) may not be used
  2. Acceptance of transfer credits will depend upon how they fit within the MSW requirements and the student’s overall plan of study
  3. Only applicants from CSWE-accredited graduate social work programs will be considered for admission as transfer students for the Advanced Generalist track

Additional State requirements may need to be met for Basis for Admissions into a program:

Degree Requirements


Admission to an NCU master’s program requires a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited academic institution or an international institution that is determined to be equivalent through an approved evaluation service. Admission into MSW-Advanced Generalist requires a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE accredited program.

Time to Completion


Advanced Generalist track - 36 Credits

NCU allows 5 years to complete all Master’s programs of 36 credits or less.

The median time to completion for this program is 24 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most NCU students are working adults, balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic and finance advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

Students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 12 months.

Generalist​ track - 60 Credits

NCU allows 6 years to complete all Master’s programs of 36 credits or more.

The median time to completion for this program is 48 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most NCU students are working adults, balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic and finance advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

Students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 24 months.

Practicum Information


MSW practicum courses require approval from the MSW Field Education Director prior to enrollment in the practicum courses. Students wishing to enroll in a practicum course should begin the approval process with their Academic and Finance Advisor at least three to four months prior to their anticipated practicum enrollment date. MSW students must complete two practicum courses (3 credits each) for the Advanced Generalist track and four practicum courses (3 credits each) for the Generalist track. Prior to enrolling in the first practicum course, students must complete the Practicum Preparation Process (PPP) and receive approval. As part of the PPP, students, with the support of the Field Education Director, will be required to secure a local practicum placement as well as a local supervisor. In order to finish the practicum requirements and continue on to the practicum, students must meet bi-weekly in the practicum seminar. Students are required to complete a minimum of 225 hours for each practicum. Students who have significantly fewer hours than that will be asked to meet with the Field Education Director and may be required to complete a practicum extension course. Students must also receive satisfactory evaluations from their local site supervisor and their Northcentral faculty supervisor in order to complete the practicum sequence. Students must complete the required number of hours in order to graduate.

The MSW program faculty and staff support students in securing quality practicum placements guiding students through this process, speaking with potential placement sites that have been identified as a possible fit for the student, providing a national database of potential placements sites, and providing training materials to help student present professionally and appropriately. The MSW program cannot require a potential placement site to accept students; thus, it is the responsibility of the student to present themselves professionally while securing placements site and supervisor. We encourage students to contact the Field Director for any additional individualized support they may need in this process.

The practicum courses for the MSW program are MSW-6009 , MSW-6010 , MSW-6901 , and MSW-6902 . Additional details can be found in the course descriptions.

For Washington state students: For practicum placement it is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for their practicum placement(s). The Field Education Director will provide support in the process, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to actively engage in finding, and securing, a practicum site.

Liability Insurance


Northcentral University requires that students in practicum courses must purchase liability insurance prior to practicum. Many practicum sites require students to show evidence of liability coverage prior to beginning a practicum. Northcentral requires students participating in practicum to purchase student professional liability insurance, typically available at a lower student rate through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Certification and Licensing


As of November 12, 2019, NCU’s MSW program is in Candidacy for accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the accrediting body for MSW programs in the United States. The practice of social work is regulated in every jurisdiction in North America. Licensure requirements include graduation from a CSWE-accredited program or program in candidacy, and success on the appropriate national examination. Many jurisdictions license new MSW graduates, using the Masters examination. All states offer a clinical license, which requires two-three years of supervised work in a clinical setting, as well as passage of the national Clinical test. Some state regulatory boards may have requirements for specialized accreditations or other unique course/credit requirements above and beyond NCU’s standard MSW degree plan that may affect licensure. Although licensure laws are governed by individual states and can change frequently, the MSW program administration seeks to remain current with various licensing regulations. A student has the responsibility to be familiar with licensing regulations in their jurisdiction. 

Program Specific Accreditation Information


Northcentral University’s MSW program has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation.

Candidacy for a master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.

Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

The NCU MSW program is in process to become accredited, which takes a minimum of three years. NCU began that process in August 2018. Once initial accreditation is granted, CSWE will recognize it retroactively to 2018. While NCU cannot guarantee that it will achieve ultimate accreditation, it is committed to meeting CSWE Educational Standards and Accreditation Standards. Accreditation is a quality-control process that indicates the educational program meets professional standards, and it applies to all program sites and delivery methods.

Because NCU is an online university based located in California, it is considered an out-of-state program in all states other than CA. Some states require that programs receive state authorizations before offering certain program to current residences of that state, even if a state licensing board will accept the degree to pursue licensure. In addition, because of certain state licensure regulations some state’s licensing boards recommend programs wait until the MSW program is closer to receiving initial accreditation before accepting students. For these reasons as of April 2020 NCU is currently not accepting students into the MSW program from the following states/district: Colorado, District of Columbia, Iowa, Montana, Pennsylvania.  

Washington State students can contact the Washington Department of Health/Health Professions Quality Assurance division to ensure the NCU MSW program will qualify them for licensure as a Social Worker in the state.  

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