Getting a baccalaureate degree is a great accomplishment in and of itself, but you may have concerns about your major if you plan on going into social work. Many former college students who majored in the visual arts, liberal arts or even sciences may wonder if they will be able to apply to a social work graduate program. This article will highlight the requirements that all applicants need to meet before they apply to MSW (Master's of Social Work) programs.
What is the Difference Between a BSW and a MSW?
Besides the obvious fact that a BSW is a bachelor's degree, the BSW and the MSW qualifies the holder to fulfill different professional duties. A holder of a BSW can work in direct-service jobs such as a case worker or a mental health assistant in a psychiatric facility. Most positions in the healthcare and education fields require a master's degree. To become a clinical social worker, you must have a master's degree in social work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines some of the other hurdles that you must overcome to get into the profession.
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The main differences between a BSW and a MSW degree are that a MSW degree allows you to get work that is more complicated and higher paying. MSW degree programs are also harder to get into than BSW programs, which only require that you get accepted to the school which houses the major.
Do I Need a BSW to Get Into a MSW Program?
Absolutely not. Students in MSW programs come from a wide variety of academic fields, from ethnomusicology to anthropology to the visual arts. Even though the academic fields of psychology and sociology most closely align with the field of social work, admissions officers in MSW programs do not require majors in these disciplines. The admissions officers in most MSW programs appreciate the scholastic diversity that each incoming class brings to the academic environment.
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Even though you do not need to major in psychology or sociology, all MSW degree programs require that you take courses in these and other subjects. Some of these subjects include the following:
- Ethnic Studies
- Health Care Issues
- Political Science
- Social Issues
What Other Requirements Need to Be Fulfilled in Order to Apply to a MSW Program?
To apply to MSW degree programs, you will need to submit an essay, transcripts from all colleges attended and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. One of the more important aspects of your MSW application is your work or volunteer experience. All MSW programs require its applicants to undergo either paid or volunteer work experience that closely mirrors the academic path they would like to follow after graduation. For future mental health social workers, suitable experience would be work in a psychiatric facility.
Essays, transcripts, GRE scores and especially work experience are all more important than your academic major. If your essay is well written, your GRE scores and GPA high and your work experience inspired, you should be able to find some success in the MSW application process.