George Mason University

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Social Work Programs

This school appears on our ranking of 20 High-value BSW Degrees in Metro Areas with Top Salaries for Social Workers.

George Mason University is home to one of the only Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree programs in Virginia with specialty accreditation. Though students can declare a social work major when they apply, they will need to apply to the social work program at the end of their freshman years. It features a social work core that consists of 13 courses that are worth 41 credits. Students take classes such as Human Behavior and the Family Life Course, Methods of Social Work Intervention, Building Professional Social Work Skills and Research in Social Work. They will also do two practicums with a fieldwork component. Many students minor in a related field like sociology or aging studies.

GMU introduced a Master of Social Work (MSW) program in 2002 that is quite popular today. Students can enroll in a full-time version of the program or take classes on a part-time basis. Full-time students graduate in two years, while part-time students spend one extra year in the program. Students take 31 credits of foundation courses in their first year. They can then declare a concentration in either social change or clinical practice. The program requires that students take at least 29 credits from their concentrations. Some of the courses that all students take include Human Behavior and Social Systems, Influencing Social Policy, Research Methods for Social Workers and Communication and Technology for Social Work Practice.

MSW students must also do fieldwork before they graduate. Students will spend at least 16 hours in the field each week during their first year in the program. They will then do 20 hours of work each week in their second or third years. Students can complete their work in a variety of facilities, including juvenile detention centers, jails, mental health clinics, hospitals and government agencies.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is a large public university in Virginia that opened in 1949 as the Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia. It functioned as a branch of the University of Virginia that offered opportunities for local students. Though it changed names a few times over the years, the university finally adopted the George Mason name in 1959 and became George Mason University in the 1970s. It has a main campus in Fairfax, a large campus in Arlington and a campus overseas in South Korea that allows students at all levels to study abroad for a semester or more.

Both ARWU and U.S. News & World Report ranked the university on a national scale. Those same two publications ranked the university on a global level too. Also known as GMU and George Mason, the university has a selective admissions policy that leaves it accepting fewer than 70% of the students who apply. Its acceptance rate among graduate students is even lower. Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through the university, and a small number of students earn certificates from the school. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, George Mason University ranks as the largest university in the state.

George Mason University Accreditation Details

As George Mason has regional accreditation, students can use the FAFSA online and find out if they qualify for financial aid. The regional accreditation it has, which comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), also allows comes in handy when students need to transfer credits to the university or from another school. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and its Office of Social Work Accreditation accredited the university’s social work degree programs, including both its graduate program and its undergraduate program.

George Mason University Application Requirements

Undergrads can apply to George Mason with or without declaring an interest in the social work program. They will need to meet all undergrad admissions requirements, including using the online application, paying the application fee and providing the university with both an official high school transcript and an official test score. Once a student completes at least 45 credits of classes through the university, they can apply to the social work program. The program requires that students have a 2.5 grade point average in all classes. Students must also take some select social work classes and receive at least a “C” grade in each course. The university will not admit students into the social work program until they have a high enough GPA.

The MSW program available from George Mason has an application deadline of January 15 every year. If the university has space available in the program, it will accept students who submitted their applications past this deadline. Students must use the George Mason Application for Graduate School and pay the application fee. Virginia residents will notice that the system automatically lists them as residents, which qualifies them for the resident tuition rate. The MSW program asks for a goals statement that lists the student’s goals while in school and after the individual graduates, official transcripts from any colleges attended and a professional resume. Students must also submit at least two letters of recommendation.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergrads pay around $490 per credit hour as a Virginia resident, which comes out to around $5,800 a semester. Full-time students can take up to 16 credits of classes and pay this same fee, but students who take fewer than 12 credits are part-time students and pay a rate equal to the number of classes taken. GMU has a nonresident rate for undergrads that charges those students more than $1,420 per credit hour. Nonresidents pay close to $17,100 per semester to take a full course load. Undergrads attending GMU can use the FAFSA and enter the university’s school code when they file. Students can take part in the George Mason work-study program, but they may receive loans, grants, and even scholarships.

GMU also charges separate rates for residents and nonresidents enrolled in one of its graduate programs. MSW students who are Virginia residents pay $595 per credit hour, while nonresidents pay $1,416 per credit hour. Full-time graduate students typically take between nine and 12 credits of classes every semester. The university encourages students to use the FAFSA if they need financial help. Graduate students may receive grants or unsubsidized loans. George Mason University also allows graduate students to use alternative student loans and external scholarships to pay their tuition.

For more information about social work at GMU, visit their Department of Social Work.

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