University General Course Catalog 2015-2016 
    Aug 14, 2020  

Master of Social Work, M.S.W.

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I. Contact Information

Gloria Messick Svare, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director 
(775) 784-6542

Mailing Address:

University of Nevada, Reno
School of Social Work, Mail Stop 0090
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557

II. Brief Introduction

The purpose of graduate social work education at the University of Nevada, Reno, is to prepare advanced generalist social workers who will practice in public and private agencies. The program is committed to the enhancement of human well-being and the promotion of social and economic justice, with particular attention to the strengths and needs of the citizens of Nevada and the under-served populations of the state.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  • Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  • Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  • Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

IV. Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the 62-units MSW program of study include:

  • A non-social work bachelor’s degree (with substantial preparation in the liberal arts, including the social sciences, humanities, research, and human biology). A course in statistics AND research methods is required prior to beginning our MSW program.
  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 overall or 3.25 in the final 60 units of undergraduate study.
  • Evidence of the ability to formulate and present material logically and clearly in written form.
  • Career goals and potential which are compatible with the program’s approach to advanced generalist social work practice as characterized by: willingness to work with diverse populations;  desire to work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations;  commitment to social justice and social change;  compatibility with social work values.

Admission requirements for the 32-units MSW Advanced Standing program of study:

  • Graduation from a CSWE accredited baccalaureate program in social work
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 overall or 3.25 in the final 60 units of undergraduate study AND a “B-” or higher in each social work course
  • Documentation of outstanding performance in a BSW field experience under professional social work supervision
  • All other requirements for admission as listed in the 62-units program of study

Please Note: Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience is not given, in whole or part, in lieu of the field practicum or of courses in the social work curriculum.

In addition to applying to the School of Social Work, all applicants to the School of Social Work must also apply to the University of Nevada, Reno, Graduate School. All applications to the University of Nevada, Reno, Graduate School must be completed online and with ample time for processing. (Suggested completion date by December 15th.)

Applications for the School of Social Work must be received by January 15th* of each year for enrollment in the following fall semester. Applications will only be processed if all documents are received on time. Applicants may be asked to schedule an interview with a faculty member as part of the screening process for admission to the MSW program.

*Should January 15th fall on a weekend, application packets will be due by the end of business (5:00 pm P.S.T.) the last weekday BEFORE January 15th.

The application packet consists of the following documents, which can be found below under FORMS:

  • Application to the Master of Social Work Program.
  • Three references using the program’s recommendation forms from professionals (e.g. supervisors, employees, professors) who can attest to the applicant’s aptitude for graduate study and performance in social work roles and tasks. If applicant has a BSW degree, a fourth reference must be completed by the applicant’s field instructor using the Field Instructor Recommendation Form.
  • If applying for the Advanced Standing (32 units) program of study, applicants must request that a copy of their field placement evaluation be forwarded to the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Social Work from the BSW program.
  • Essays as listed on the MSW Application form.
  • Resumé
  • Copy of Graduate School Application
  • Transcripts
  • Scholarship request(s)/essay (optional)
  • Application for graduate teaching/research assistantship and all attachments as listed on the application form. (optional)

Send all application packet materials by January 15th to University of Nevada, Reno; School of Social Work, Mail Stop 0090; MSW Admissions Committee; Reno, Nevada, 89557-0090.

V. Program Requirements

For students without a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program, the master of social work degree requires the completion of 62 units of foundation and concentration level coursework, which can be completed through a two-three-or four- year program of study. Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited program must complete the 32 units of concentration level courses in one year if full time, two years if part time.The admission and retention of students in all programs are subject to the professional judgment of the social work faculty.

The program does not offer any credit for life experiences. Thirty units of foundation course work and field placements (600-level courses) provide students the opportunity to develop generalist social work skills, values and knowledge as well as the professional social work perspective. The concentration courses and field placements (700-level courses) provide instruction in the multiple methods, multiple theories and multiple levels of assessment which characterize the advanced generalist practitioner (AGP).

Students may elect Plan A: AGP Thesis Option or Plan B: Integrative Project Option during their concentration year of study. Students selecting Plan A should enroll in SW 797 Thesis  , a two semester course. The thesis is suggested for students committed to 1) developing a particular area of social work research, and 2) working autonomously under the direction of a thesis committee. It builds on strong foundation-level research skills and requires significant commitment and work during the summer preceding the concentration year. Plan B is designed for students who wish to demonstrate their mastery of advanced generalist practice competencies through the completion of a field-based project and a professional paper developed under the direction of a graduate advisory examining committee. Students choosing this option enroll in

SW 790 Integrative Project Seminar I  


SW 791 Integrative Project Seminar II  

during the final fall and spring semesters of their concentration year of study.

VI. Total Units

  • 32 credit Program of Study
  • 62 credit Program of Study


The MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Program graduates are eligible to apply for social work licensure with the State of Nevada.

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. An application for a graduate assistantship can be obtained online at To maintain an assistantship, students are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average, maintain satisfactory degree progress and perform the assistantship tasks in a satisfactory manner.

With graduate advisor approval, MSW students may apply more than 3 S/U units to the 62 units required.

For further information about the master of social work program or its graduate assistantships, contact the Director or the MSW Program Coordinator of the School of Social Work at (775) 784-6542.

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