University of Southern Mississippi


Social Work Degree Programs at USM

The University of Southern Mississippi appears in our ranking of the 36 Most Affordable Accredited MSW Programs in the South East.

The School of Social Work at the University of Southern Mississippi offers two main social work programs for students today. They can enroll in a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The BSW program includes 124 credits of classes and allows students to transfer in credits they earned at a community college or from another university. Students can earn a BSW on two of the campuses operated by the university.

BSW students typically take social science classes during their freshman years and then take social work classes in their later years. They'll take Social Work Practice I and II, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Methods of Social Work Research and Social Welfare Policy and Analysis. Social work majors must also do fieldwork and can choose where they want to work. Some students work with children, but others choose to work with older people.

The university's MSW program is available for full-time and part-time students as well as advanced standing students. Advanced standing students must already have a BSW degree. The university will let them use some of their undergrad classes to fulfill program requirements, which will reduce the time they spend in school down to 18 months or less. Though traditional MSW students take 60 credits of classes, this includes all the fieldwork they do.

While the University of Southern Mississippi does not offer concentrations for social work majors, it does allow students to study all areas of the social sciences and social work. They'll take courses that include Human Rights and Social Justice, Problem Solving with Families, Problem Solving with Groups, Consultation and Supervision and Program and Community Development.

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a dual degree program for social work graduate students that also allows them to earn a Master of Arts in Church and Community Ministries. Students in this program will take some classes at a seminary school in New Orleans. They can work with local ministries and in community programs in that Louisiana city. The university recommends that students who want to work with children complete its child advocacy studies minor too.

About University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi is a large public university located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is a large city in the southern region of the state. Founded in 1910 as the Mississippi Normal College, it operated as a teaching school for more than a decade. Its original programs prepared students for the challenges of working in the new schools opening in the southern United States. The college became the Mississippi State Teachers College in 1924 and later Mississippi Southern College. It didn't become the University of Southern Mississippi until the early 1960s.

Though the university once owned a campus in Gulf Park, damage caused by Hurricane Katrina caused the university to shutter that location. When students came back for classes the following year, they moved to a new campus in Long Beach. The university continues to operate both campuses today and offers degree programs that students can complete on either one. Also called Southern Miss to separate it from other campuses and USM, the university's enrollment on its main campus now includes more than 14,000 students.

University of Southern Mississippi Accreditation Details

The regional accreditation that Southern Miss has allows students to use the FAFSA is they want to apply for financial aid. Transfer students can use the credits they earned from another school in any program of their choosing. This accreditation comes from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). USM also has accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which applies to both its BSW and MSW programs.

University of Southern Mississippi Application Requirements

Undergrads applying to Southern Miss qualify for full admission if they meet the university's requirements. Those who score at least 18 on the ACT need a high school grade point average of 2.0 or higher, while those who scored 17 on the same test must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The university will also accept students who have a higher GPA and also completed a college prep curriculum. This includes at least three years of math, science, social science and English classes as well as two years of foreign language courses. Students can submit their transcripts and test scores directly to USM. The deadline for incoming freshmen is at the end of June.

Southern Miss accepts just a small number of MSW students every year. Those applying to any of the traditional programs must use the online application and submit their official transcripts. Not only do they need a bachelor's degree in a related field, but they also need a GPA of at least 3.0. The advanced standing program has different requirements. These students must submit transcripts that show they have a 3.5-GPA or higher in all the social work classes they took and have a 3.0-GPA in all the other classes they took. The university has its own committee that will meet to review graduate school applications.

Tuition and Financial Aid

USM charges full-time undergrads around $4,300 a semester. Undergrads who are not Mississippi residents will pay an extra $1,000 a semester. Nonresident graduate students pay $5,300 a semester to take at least nine credits of classes. Mississippi residents enrolled in a graduate program pay $4,300 a semester to also take nine credits.

Any student applying to the university who wants to study social work can apply for some specific scholarships. USM offers more than 20 scholarships for social work majors, including some that cover the full cost of his or her tuition. Graduate assistantships are also available for those taking classes on one of its campuses who can commit to working 20 hours a week. The university offers online applications for those who want to apply for one or more of these scholarships as well as for an assistantship.

The FAFSA provides prospective students with another way to apply for financial aid. This form determines whether undergrads qualify for any federal programs and whether they can get any loans. Graduate students can also get federal loans and private loans. The University of Southern Mississippi offers financial aid packages that can cover the complete cost of any School of Social Work program.