MSW Online Curriculum

Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work offers an online MSW curriculum that prepares professional social workers who are passionate about inspiring meaningful change in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

In times of global crises, social workers stand at the frontlines of dedicated service. Discover an online program that will empower you to dismantle systems of oppression — from lack of affordable housing to lack of healthcare. You will graduate ready to give essential aid to vulnerable communities, locally and globally.

The online MSW program promotes a holistic and inclusive approach to social work practice. MSW students learn to reflect on how faith plays a role in the lives of their clients, and engage in a diverse learning experience — one that extends from the classroom into the profession.

Program Tracks

Baylor welcomes anyone with an undergraduate degree to apply. No GRE or a bachelor in social work are required to apply.

Applications to the online program may apply to one of two tracks based on their education experience: 

Standard MSW

A 58-credit program for students with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. You have three options to complete the standard MSW program:

  • Part time — 32 months
  • Full time — 24 months
  • Accelerated — as few as 16 months

Advanced Standing MSW

A 30-credit program for students with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited college or university within the last five years. You have two options to complete the advanced standing MSW program:

  • Full time – 12 months
  • Part time – 20 months

View our admissions requirements.

Curriculum Overview

The MSW@Baylor curriculum accommodates all levels of social work students, featuring generalist and specialized stages. Standard MSW students begin their coursework during the generalist stage, while advanced standing MSW students begin their coursework during the specialized stage.

Generalist Curriculum Stage (Standard MSW only):

MSW students begin the program by building a foundation in individual direct practice, group practice, and community and policy development. During this stage, they learn the fundamentals of social work practice. The practicum education during the generalist stage gives them a foundational knowledge of the micro, mezzo, and macro skills needed for their specialized internship placement.

Specialized Curriculum Stage (Standard and Advanced Standing MSW):

All MSW students, regardless of their track, choose a specialization upon entering this track, either in Clinical Practice or Community Practice. 

  • Choose this specialization to prepare  for advanced, direct practice with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of clinical settings. Learn to apply evidence-based practice theories and methods of intervention that reflect a person-environment orientation and a strengths perspective.

    As a student in this specialization, you will dive deep into mental health, trauma, diagnosis, cultural humility, and trauma-informed care, among other areas. You will also learn about treatment and interventions across the lifespan, and have the opportunity to demonstrate clinical skills in the classroom and internship settings.

    You will also explore clinical practice in physical and mental health as well as clinical practice with children and families.

  • Graduates who complete the Clinical Practice specialization are ready to work in a variety of roles, such as: 

    • Therapist
    • Hospital social worker
    • Case manager
    • Adoption worker
    • Advocate
    • Case worker
    • Mental health worker
    • Congregation worker

    Many students who complete this clinical specialization choose to pursue licensure. Learn more about pursuing licensure for MSW@Baylor graduates.

  • Choose this specialization to prepare for advanced practice with public and/or nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods, communities, congregations, and religiously affiliated agencies. Learn a variety of professional community practice models that will help you strengthen and enrich communities in local and global settings.

    Advanced practice courses focus on theories and practices that support interventions at a high level and on a large scale. Students in the Community Practice specialization dive deeper into areas of macro-theory, leadership, asset-based community development, public deliberation, nonprofit management, and capacity building. Students learn to effectively choose best practices and interventions and apply them in a variety of community settings.

  • The community practice curriculum focuses on concepts such as community development, community organizing, and community planning. Students gain skills such as asset-based community development, consensual organizing rooted in consensus building, and negotiation facilitation. The community practice specialization prepares students to be flexible and quickly adapt when working in diverse-population contexts.

    Graduates who complete the Community Practice specialization are ready to work in a variety of roles, such as:

    Here are some jobs graduates of the community specialization go on to hold:

    • Community organizer
    • Community liaison
    • Nonprofit administrator
    • Executive director
    • Program manager
    • Program coordinator
    • Grant writer
    • Policy advocate

    Many students who complete the community practice specialization choose to pursue licensure. Learn more about pursuing licensure for MSW@Baylor graduates.

Visit the course descriptions page to learn more about the courses you will complete while enrolled in MSW@Baylor.

Practicum Education

Practicum education  is a crucial and required aspect of the MSW program. It provides students with practical tools and experience they need to think and act like leaders in the profession.

MSW@Baylor holds agreements with over 800 agencies across 47 states. Our placement team provides students with personalized, full-service support for locating practicum education partners near their communities.

As a student in the online MSW program at Baylor, you will be assigned a social work supervisor who will offer you personalized constructive and ongoing feedback throughout your practicum placements.

Full-time standard MSW student: 1,030 internship hours over four separate terms.

Full-time advanced standing student: 550 internship hours over two separate terms. A BSW degree is required for this option.

The MSW@Baylor curriculum prepares students of varied backgrounds and experience levels and features generalist and specialized stages. Standard MSW students begin their coursework during the generalist stage, while advanced standing MSW students begin their coursework during the specialized stage.

The generalist year placement is a foundational experience that exposes students to the full scope of social work practice. Students develop a robust understanding of the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work and prepare for their specialized/advanced practicum placement. The advanced year placement prepares students for direct practice in their chosen specialization through a strength-based perspective. 

After the generalist stage, students select either a specialization in either Clinical Practice or Community Practice. The advanced internship placement coincides with a student’s chosen specialization and allows them to gain experience in this area. 

Both standard and advanced-standing students complete required internship hours. Our placement sites include public, private, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations, such as (but not limited to):

  • Child advocacy centers 
  • Hospice agencies
  • Hospitals 
  • Schools (K-12)
  • Community organizations
  • Community mental health centers
  • Adoption and foster care services 
  • Substance abuse and recovery centers

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Pursuing Licensure

The online MSW from Baylor is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). As an MSW@Baylor graduate, you will have the essential skills and knowledge to pursue licensure in your state. The licensing process ensures that all social workers in the profession are qualified to practice social work to marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Although the licensing process and requirements vary by state, they commonly include a period of practice under board-approved supervision, a licensing exam, professional fitness requirements, and other optional certifications. Be sure to contact your state’s social work licensing board to verify requirements.

Many students who complete the clinical specialization in the MSW@Baylor program choose to continue their education post-MSW, while working, through an additional two to three years (depending on the state) of supervision to become a clinical social worker. These social workers are able to provide diagnosis and treatment to clients, as well as open their own private counseling practices.

Ethical Integration of Faith and Social Work Practice

Baylor strives to educate the next generation of social workers to approach their practice with an inclusive mindset. We prepare graduates to work for justice and empowerment of people who are vulnerable and oppressed.

Baylor recognizes the important role a person’s faith journey can have in their lives, and provides graduates the tools to recognize, support and understand how this can affect the needs of their clients and inform the care that they provide.

MSW@Baylor’s Online Classroom

As an MSW@Baylor student, you will be fully supported and connected through our online campus. There, you will engage in weekly live classes with professors and classmates, and complete self-paced coursework. You will also be able to connect with your network of classmates and professors outside class time. Regardless of where you live, you will become a member of our supportive and engaging community — from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Contact your admissions counselor to schedule a virtual tour of the online classroom. Experience the benefits of earning your MSW on our platform.