Find work as a clinical social worker, nonprofit administrator, program evaluator, or a variety of other service positions that help your community in an ever-changing contemporary society. Our Master of Social Work (MSW) program, with its advanced generalist focus, will prepare you to solve complex problems and provide leadership in diverse practice settings.
You will graduate job-ready with marketable skills that allow for a broad scope of practice and increased earning potential. Master’s-level social workers are in high demand nationwide, with employee demand consistently outpacing the number of trained workers in fields such as health care, mental health, and substance abuse.
Based upon rising workplace demand in rural communities, our program offers specific coursework and hands-on training in:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that these three areas are expected to have the highest rates of job growth in the next decade. A job is already waiting for you in a hospital, treatment center, community mental health center, long-term care facility, and retirement community.
The mission of the Department of Social Work at Ball State University is two-fold:
- Our mission is to prepare competent and compassionate generalist and advanced generalist practitioners who think critically, are committed to ethical social work practice, and meeting the needs of a changing world.
- Our mission is to function as a resource center for program development by providing consultation, research support, and professional services in collaboration with local and state human service communities.
Graduates of our program are eligible to become Licensed Social Workers (LSW), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), and Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselors (LCAC). The Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board administers the credentialing of the LSW, LCSW, and LCAC through the Bureau of Professional Licensing (PLA). Learn more about social work licensing. | Learn more about addictions credentials.
Our program is designed to meet the needs of working adults and those who live outside of city limits.
Our program is on campus, but we offer all courses in a blended format, allowing you to complete some work online. The time on campus will be around half of traditional campus programs, allowing you to have the best of both worlds—part traditional classroom experience and part online degree flexibility.
You can pace your coursework around your professional and personal life. You will develop your plan of study with an advisor who can help you decide what works best with your life.
If you earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program—even 20 years ago—you are eligible to apply for our advanced-standing program. You can complete the program in as little as one year. Most MSW programs require applying to the Advanced Standing option within five years of earning a BSW, but not Ball State.
Or if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can earn an MSW in as little as two years. You do not need to have a BSW to complete this program. We welcome all undergraduate majors!
Our beautiful campus is equipped with top-notch technology resources and is highly adaptable for those with special needs.
The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Ball State has achieved candidacy status with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) after successfully completing the self-study, site visit, and full review with the Commission on Accreditation.
An accredited program in candidacy is an important benchmark for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. View a directory of accredited programs.
Candidacy is typically a three-year process, and students who enter programs that attain candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin the program will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program completes the process and attains initial accreditation. The MSW at Ball State is working toward an inital accreditation in February 2022.
Students who graduate from an MSW program in candidacy are license-eligible in Indiana, although licensing laws vary by state. All students who graduate from the MSW program at Ball State are also able to work toward the Indiana Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAC) credential after completing the required practicum in an addictions setting.
You may complete our program through one of four options, depending on whether you already have a bachelor of social work (Advanced Standing) and your course load:
- Full-Time Traditional Program (57 credits)
- Full-Time Advanced Standing Program* (36 credits)
- Part-Time Traditional Program (57 credits)
- Part-Time Advanced Standing Program* (36 credits)
*A bachelor of social work from a CSWE-accredited program is required for admission.
We believe that students learn best by doing, so every course is focused on preparing competent, professional social workers who are ready to work. We do this through simulations, case studies, immersive experiences, supported risk-taking opportunities, and mentoring.
A few of the classes you will take include:
- SOCW 601 Rural Social Work
- SOCW 602 Diversity, Oppression, and Privilege
- SOCW 641 Social Work Practice Evaluation and Analysis
- SOCW 651 Differential Assessment in Mental Health and Addictions
- SOCW 662 Social Work Field Practicum 3
For a complete list of all classes you will take, their descriptions, and other program requirements, please see our Graduate Catalog.
As part of our program, MSW students also complete extensive agency fieldwork where they gain valuable experience and potential leads toward employment.
Situated within the College of Health, social work students work and study in state-of-the-art simulation labs, professional clinics, and technology-rich classrooms located in the new Health Professions Building. Social work student opportunities are enriched by interprofessional education and practice, which allows them to work side-by-side with faculty and students from counseling psychology, nutrition and health science, speech pathology and audiology, military science, nursing, and kinesiology.
Paying for Your Education
A graduate assistantship with our department is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.
Ready to Apply?
Review our admission requirements, dates and deadlines, and instructions. Then complete our online application.
Do you have questions or can’t find what you’re looking for? Fill out our online form to request more information about our program. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly, please contact MSW Director, Greta Slater, for more information.