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.

Our holistic curriculum incorporates the ethical integration of faith and social work practice where students learn to contemplate how faith plays a role in the lives of their clients. Students engage in a diverse learning experience – one that extends from the textbook into the field.

By integrating discussions of faith, in all forms, into the curriculum, MSW@Baylor prepares students to pursue their work with a truly holistic and inclusive approach to social work practice.

Program Tracks

There are two program tracks available to online students: standard MSW program and the advanced standing MSW program.

Students are not required to take the GRE or have a bachelor’s in social work. Baylor welcomes anyone with an undergraduate degree to apply.

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:

As a standard MSW student, you will begin the program building a foundation in individual direct practice, group practice, and community and policy development. During this stage, you will learn the fundamentals of social work practice. Your field placement during the generalist stage will give you a foundational knowledge of the micro, mezzo, and macro skills needed for your specialized field internship placement.

Specialized Curriculum Stage:

Following the generalist stage, students choose a specialization in Clinical Practice or Community Practice. Please note, both standard and advanced standing students enter this phase.

Clinical Practice 

This specialization prepares you for advanced, direct practice with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of clinical settings. You will learn to apply evidence-based practice theories and methods of intervention that reflect a person-environment orientation and a strengths perspective.

You will dive deep into areas like mental health, trauma, diagnosis, cultural humility, and trauma-informed care. 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.

Clinical Careers

Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings including hospitals and primary care clinics, mental health facilities, health education programs, child welfare agencies, family service agencies, juvenile justice systems, marriage and family counseling centers, congregations, and more.

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

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

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

Community Practice – Macro

This specialization prepares students for advanced practice with public and/or nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods, communities, congregations, and religiously affiliated agencies. Students learn a variety of professional community practice models that serve to strengthen and enrich communities in local and global settings.

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

Community Careers

The community practice curriculum focuses on concepts such as community development, community organizing, and community planning. Students will also learn 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 contexts.

After graduation, students with a community specialization often choose to work in areas such as nonprofit management and nonprofit administrative practice, community organizing, social justice work, social and economic development, housing, policy, program development, congregations, and grant writing and management.

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

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.

Field Placement

Field placement is a crucial and required aspect of the MSW program because it provides you with practical tools and experience that teach you to think and act like a professional social worker.

MSW@Baylor holds agreements with over 800 agencies across 47 states, and our team provides you with personalized, full-service support for locating field placement partners.

You will be assigned a field instructor who will offer you personalized constructive and ongoing feedback as you complete your field hours. As a full-time standard MSW student, you will complete a total of 1,030 field hours over four separate terms. As a full-time advanced standing MSW student, you will complete a total of 550 field hours over two separate terms.

Our placement sites include private and public agencies, religiously affiliated organizations and nonsectarian settings, generalist and advanced practice settings, and local and distant sites. The Garland School curriculum and field experience will prepare you for advanced social work practice in a variety of settings. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to work as a competent social worker who can make meaningful social change.

Gain the skills you need to provide quality care for your community

Request Information

Pursuing Licensure

As an MSW@Baylor graduate, you will be prepared to pursue licensure and enter the workforce as a social work professional. The licensing process ensures that all social workers in the field are qualified to practice social work to marginalized and vulnerable populations.

The licensing process and requirements vary by state, but 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 (sometimes called an LCSW or an LCISW). 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.

The MSW@Baylor program uniquely qualifies graduates to make an impact on people and communities by understanding the role of faith and spirituality in social work practice. Our mission is to prepare students to practice social work with an inclusive and holistic mindset. We recognize that faith and spirituality play an important role in the lives of people and communities we serve. 

Graduates are prepared to meet their clients where they are in all aspects of their lives. 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 are supported and connected through our online campus. In this virtual hub, you will participate in weekly live classes with professors and classmates.

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

While accessing the online platform, you can complete self-paced coursework and connect with your network of classmates and professors. Regardless of distance, you will become a member of our supportive and engaging community from enrollment to graduation and beyond.