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Master of Social Work

Lori SmithPictured | Lori Smith | Master of  Social Work | Plymouth, Indiana (hometown)

Mission Statement

The mission of the Indiana University School of Social Work is to educate students to be effective and knowledgeable professional social workers prepared for practice in the twenty-first century. Such practitioners are committed to the alleviation of poverty, oppression, and discrimination. The school is dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life for all people, particularly the citizens of Indiana, and to the advancement of just social, political, and economic conditions through excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. Within the context of a diverse, multicultural, urbanized, global, and technologically oriented society, the school prepares social workers who shape solutions to a wide range of interpersonal and social problems by developing and using knowledge critically, while upholding the traditions, values, and ethics of the social work profession.


The teaching mission is to educate students to become professional social workers equipped for a lifetime of learning, scholarship, and service. Graduates embrace person-in-environment and strengths; perspectives that are linked to the welfare of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. They learn to keep abreast of advances in knowledge and technology, be self-reflective, and apply best practice and accountable models of intervention. The school prepares social work practitioners and scholars ready to assume leadership roles at the Master of Social Work level.


The scholarship mission includes the discovery, integration, application, dissemination, and evaluation of client-centered and solution-focused knowledge for and with social work professionals and other consumers. Innovative forms of scholarship are encouraged in developing knowledge for use in practice, education, and service concerning social needs and social problems.


The service mission is dedicated to the promotion of the general welfare of all segments of society. Service includes work in the school, university, profession, and community and reflects the school’s expertise in teaching, scholarship, and social work practice. Service in the interest of persons at greatest risk is consistent with the social work profession’s attention to social justice.

Program Objectives

Social work is a dynamic profession concerned with the changing needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and society. For those interested in this professional commitment, social work offers a broad range of practice settings: community mental health agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, employee assistance programs, family service agencies, and community service agencies. In addition, professional social workers serve as administrators of various social service agencies. They also work in all levels of government, education, and a number of social workers have assumed political or legislative careers. The education and training they receive in a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree program provides them with the skills they need to choose a career within the broad area of social work.

Admission Requirements

Professional social work education requires the ability to undertake a rigorous program of classroom and field study. The school seeks to admit persons who demonstrate competency through their academic and work achievements and who give evidence of commitment to working toward the well-being of others and the betterment of social conditions. It also seeks to provide an ethnically and regionally diversified student body. Admission to the Indiana University School of Social Work is program specific.

The Indiana University Master of Social Work degree program at the South Bend campus offers a part-time evening program culminating in the Master of Social Work degree. The entire 60 credit hours are available on the South Bend campus for those interested in the interpersonal practice concentration. Transfer to the Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis campus is available to those wishing to finish the last 30 concentration credit hours in macro practice or other concentrations not offered on this campus. These include child welfare, health, and family services.

Admission to the IU South Bend Master of Social Work degree program is handled jointly with the Indiana University School of Social Work in Indianapolis and IU South Bend. Applications are available through the IU South Bend Master of Social Work office—generally in September. Call for the latest information, as dates may vary.

Prerequisites for Admission

The following prerequisites are the minimum requirements for consideration for admission to the M.S.W. degree program:

  • Evidence of an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Evidence of successful completion of a minimum of six courses in social or behavioral sciences. Courses are accepted from the following disciplines: psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, criminal justice, and social work.
  • Evidence of successful completion of one course in statistics. This course can be in any discipline and on any level (graduate or undergraduate), so long as it was taken at an accredited college or university.
  • An earned undergraduate grade point average (GPA), during the last 60 hours, of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submission of the completed application packet, with requested supplemental materials, within the established time period. Go to to find the online application.

Applications are accepted for consideration any time after December 1 for the following academic year. Preference is given to applications received by February 1. The school uses a modified rolling admissions policy. Applications received after the February 1 deadline are processed and notifications are made as space is available.

Academic Standing

To remain in good academic standing, students are expected to perform at or above the following:

  • Earn at least a C in each graded social work course.
  • Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale in required social work courses, and a 3.0 overall GPA.
  • Earn a grade of Satisfactory (S) in all practicum courses; to carry out professional activity in conformity with the values and ethics of the profession, and to comply with any contract that might be entered into with the Performance Review Committee.
  • In the event of a failure to meet such requirements, students are ineligible to continue in the program. Such students are encouraged to consult with their faculty advisor regarding realistic planning for the future, including the right to petition for administrative review.

Three-Year, Part-Time, Evening Program

The part-time evening program allows students the flexibility of evening classes and of progressing at a slower pace than the more traditional, full-time program. This program begins in the second summer session of each year, and students first complete the foundation year courses. Following completion of the foundation year, students move to the concentration year sequence.   

The Master of Social Work degree program consists of 60 credit hours of study and field work. The last 27 credit hours provide a concentration in mental health and addictions.

Although the school values the knowledge gained from life experience, no credit can be given for this. Thus, the overall objectives of the first (foundation) year of the Master of Social Work degree program include development of:

  • Basic, generic, competence applicable to the broad range of social work practice
  • Basic competence in both interpersonal practice and planning and management practice
  • Basic competence for practice in social-service delivery systems

The overall objectives of the second (concentration) year include development of more advanced competence in interpersonal practice, mental health, and addictions practice.

Field Practicum

Both the foundation and the concentration years of the Master of Social Work degree program include field practicum courses with field instructors who meet the standards of the school. A student in the program is required to have field instruction in two different agency settings. Placements are made in South Bend and various locations throughout the state. Field practicum is construed as a continuing process. Students in placement agencies are expected to meet professional service responsibilities. Students in field practicum follow the work schedule of their field agencies during holiday periods and/or semester recess.

The school arranges the field placements for the students. Attention is given to the student’s learning needs, professional goals, and interests. Field instruction is available only to students admitted as candidates for the Master of Social Work degree.

A total of 960 clock hours of practicum are required, with 320 hours in the foundation year, and 640 hours in the concentration year. Practica are concurrent with coursework.

The School of Social Work and the Master of Social Work are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 1725 Duke Street, Suite 500, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3457, (703) 683-8080.

Student Services

Career information about employment is available by calling (574) 520-4880 or by contacting the program director at the following address:

IU South Bend | Social Work | Post Office Box 7111 | South Bend, Indiana 46634-7111

Student Organization

Students are encouraged to join and participate in the activities of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW).

Program Requirements >>

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

2017-2018 Campus Bulletin
2016-2017 Campus Bulletin
2015-2016 Campus Bulletin
2014-2015 Campus Bulletin

Please be aware that the PDF is formatted from the webpages; some pages may be out of order.