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Frequently Asked Questions – On Campus MSW Programs

What is the mission of social work?

The Preamble to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers states: The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.

What do social workers do?

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), social workers help people overcome social and health problems, such as poverty, mental illness, child abuse and neglect, emotional instability, illness, economic uncertainty, domestic violence, homelessness, and drug abuse. They work directly with individuals, couples, families, and groups to identify and overcome these problems. Some social workers also work with communities, organizations, and/or systems to improve services and/or administrate social and health programs. Social workers apply their professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most effective use of their own abilities. When adequate services do not exist in a community, social workers promote the development of new services and programs.

Where do social workers practice?

Social workers are found in many settings, including private practice, mental health, health, schools, community agencies, public welfare, agency administration, legislative services and policy and planning. Social work’s approach is unique among the helping professions because it focuses on people’s problems in the context of their social environment. Social workers believe that people are influenced by the strengths and weaknesses of those around them – in their families, communities, workplaces, and organizations.

What is the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree?

The Master of Social Work Program prepares students for advanced direct professional practice with individuals, families, households, groups, organizations, and communities. Students learn the clinical, organizational, policy and administrative skills necessary for promoting social and economic justice and enhancing the quality of life for all people through agency-based, culturally sensitive advanced professional practice.

What MSW program options are offered by Boise State?

The School of Social Work at Boise State University offers a Master of Social Work with 61 semester credit hours and an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work with 37 semester credit hours.

These degree programs are offered in-person at the Boise State campus in Boise, Idaho; at the Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, and Twin Falls, Idaho regional sites. And students can also select to complete these two degree programs completely online. Finally, there are full-time and part-time enrollment options. Graduates of all our MSW programs receive their degrees from Boise State University.

Do you have a half-time program?

Students can enroll in the Master of Social Work (61 semester credit hours) on a part-time/half-time basis if they select the Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, or Twin Falls, Idaho regional sites option, or the completely online option.

Students can enroll in the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work (37 semester credits) on a part-time/half-time basis at the main campus, regional Idaho sites, or through online delivery.

What qualifications are expected for applicants to Boise State MSW programs?

We are seeking potential students of exceptional maturity, with values compatible with those of professional social work, with capacity for critical thinking and self-reflection, and with strong potential for personal and professional growth.

What is the criteria for admission into the MSW program?

  • Completion of the Boise State University Graduate Admissions Application and The School of Social Work Application for admission as a graduate student.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a distribution of liberal arts courses (70 quarter credits or 46 semester credits) and a minimum of 10 quarter credits or 6 semester credits in each of the general distribution areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics. Applicants must have also completed coursework with a minimum of a “C” letter grade in a human biology course with a lab (4 semester credits) and a course which contains content on descriptive and inferential statistics (3 semester credits).
  • Completion of course work that provides the student with a basic understanding of the biological processes of human behavior.
  • An overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the junior and senior years of undergraduate study.
  • Note: Applicants may not receive academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience.

Is the Graduate Record Examination required?

The Graduate Record Exam is not required for admission to Boise State University School of Social Work Master of Social Work programs. However, applicants may choose to submit GRE scores if their undergraduate Grade Point Averages do not reflect their academic ability.

When will classes begin?

Classes begin in Mid-August.

What is a typical class schedule?

Full-time, Full-Program students in Boise study for four semesters earning 15 to 16 credits per semester. Full-time advanced standing students complete their MSW degrees in one year. Half-time Advanced Standing students complete their MSW studies in two years. In Boise most classes are offered during the day on Mondays and Tuesdays. There are some evening classes. The Northern Idaho Program and Magic Valley Programs offer a combination of evening, weekend and on-line classes.

How large are classes?

Classes are kept small to foster maximum interaction and exchange of ideas among students and faculty. Classroom classes typically have no more than 15 to 22 students. Practicum seminars typically have no more than 12 students.

Who are the faculty?

Boise classes are taught by full-time members of the School of Social Work faculty complemented by outstanding, community-based social work professionals. Northern Idaho (Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston) classes are taught by full-time members of the faculty of the Boise State University School of Social Work, by members of the Lewis-Clark State College Department of Social Work serving as Boise State adjunct professors and by outstanding, community-based social work professionals. Magic Valley (Twin Falls) classes are taught by full-time members of the School of Social Work faculty complemented by outstanding, community-based social work professionals.

How much is it going to cost me?

Students who enroll in the Master of Social Work or Advanced Standing Master of Social Work at the Boise State campus will pay the established university Tuition and Fees.

Students who enroll in the Master of Social Work or Advanced Standing Master of Social Work at the Coeur d’Alene/Lewiston, Idaho option or the Twin Falls, Idaho option will pay $380 per credit hour (as of Fall 2015 semester). In addition, students participating in the Idaho regional sites programs will not be charged additional fees for being non-Idaho residents.

Where can I get additional information?

Prospective graduate students should refer to the Graduate Catalog, available on-line, or request that the Graduate College mail a paper copy. All information for the MSW degree is on the School of Social Work web site. We are happy to receive your calls or e-mail if you have additional questions.

Information about all Boise State MSW programs is available from:

Boise State University School of Social Work
1910 University Drive
Boise, Idaho 19725-1940
Ph: (208) 426-1568

Information about the Regional programs is also available from:

Coeur d’Alene Site Coordinator
Ph: (208) 292-2679

Sue Martin, ACSW, LMSW, C-SSWS
Lewiston Site Coordinator
Ph: (208) 792-2783

Twin Falls Site Coordinator
Ph: (208) 933-2361
Toll Free 1-800-680-0274 ext.2361

How do I get a license to practice social work?

Licensure to practice social work in Idaho is administered by the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses and requires either a baccalaureate or masters degree from an accredited program of social work education, a passing score on the national licensing examination, and good moral character. Graduates who have earned MSW degrees are eligible to take the exam to be licensed as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). Following a period of social work practice supervised by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) MSW graduates are eligible to take the LCSW examination.

I want to get a social work license without getting an MSW. Can I take a few courses from this program as a non-matriculated student?

Maintaining our status as Idaho’s oldest and largest school of social work accredited through the Council on Social Work Education prohibits us from offering classes to students not enrolled in the MSW Program.

How can I become certified to practice school social work?

Students may receive certification to practice school social work in the State of Idaho by completing SOCWRK 597: School Social Work, an advanced social work practicum in an approved K-12 educational setting under the supervision of a professional social worker, and all other requirements for the Master of Social Work degree.

If you received your Master of Social Work degree at a school other than Boise State, contact the MSW Program Coordinator about certification as a school social worker. For more information on school social work certification, consult the Idaho Department of Education.