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Phone: (210) 458-4331

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Social Work (M.S.W.)

Basic Degree Information/Description

The Masters of Social Work (M.S.W.) program was approved effective January 1, 2005 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for implementation at The University of Texas at San Antonio was granted accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education in February 2008. The mission of the Social Work program is educating transformative competent social workers. The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree prepares students for advanced social work practice. Graduates work in professional positions serving diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.  Students graduating from the program will demonstrate a commitment to cultural competence, multidimensional contextual practice, social responsibility and transformative social work.

Why pursue a Masters of Social Work?

Our emphasis on cultural competence, and the fact that we allow students to attend school while working, diverse opportunities for field practicum experiences, including evening and weekend placements.

Below are the requirements for admissions:

  • A completed graduate application form submitted to the UTSA Graduate School, including official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • A narrative statement addressing interest in and the fit with the UTSA M.S.W. program not to exceed 1,250 words (approximately five pages)
  • Three completed department recommendation forms from professionals familiar with applicant preparation for graduate social work education
  • Department forms documenting prior professional and volunteer experiences and academic preparation in the liberal arts
  • For international students, results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; not more than five years old and a score of not less than 550 on the paper version, 79 on the internet version), or results of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS; not more than five years old and a score of not less than 6.5)

In addition to standard admission to the M.S.W. program, UTSA offers students with a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree the opportunity to apply for advanced standing. Applicants applying for advanced standing must be graduates from a baccalaureate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and are required to meet the program admissions requirements, in addition to the following items:

  • Hold a B.S.W. degree received from a CSWE-accredited B.S.W. program within ten years from the date of application to the UTSA M.S.W. program (students with appropriate rationale, such as post-B.S.W. practice experience, may apply and request an exception to this requirement in their application)
  • Have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in the last 60 semester credit hours of coursework for the B.S.W., as well as in any graduate-level work previously completed
  • Provide one additional reference letter from the B.S.W. field director/coordinator or B.S.W. program director
  • Provide a copy of the B.S.W. field evaluation form which indicates number of clock hours completed, final grade, description of practicum setting (including community and clientele served), and accomplishments as a practicum student
  • Be in good standing at the last institution attended
  • Be recommended for admission by the Department of Social Work Graduate Program Committee

The Department of Social Work is located within the College of Public Policy at UTSA's Downtown campus, located at 501 West Cesar Chavez Boulevard. The program emphasizes cultural competence in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and at the societal level. Other graduate programs currently located in the College include an M.S. in Justice Policy, an M.P.A. in Public Administration, and a Ph.D. in Applied Demography.

Degree Requirements

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove deficiencies, is 36 for the B.S.W. (advanced standing) student, 36 for the modified M.S.W. degree option for transfer students from CSWE-accredited graduate social work programs, and 60 for the non-B.S.W. student.  See contact below, departmental website, and catalog for more information.

For a complete list of degree requirements please see the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Admission Prerequisites: 

  • Bachelor's degree. Students with a B.S.W. from an accredited social work program may apply for Advanced Standing.

Application requirements:

  • A degree seeking applicant must meet university wide requirements.
  • A completed Graduate Studies application.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended. All international transcripts must be recorded in English or officially translated to English.
  • Test Scores: Not required, except for international applicants (see below)
  • 3 Professional Letters of Recommendation are required (4 L/R for B.S.W. graduates applying for Advanced Standing). Recommendation forms should be from professionals familiar with the applicant's preparation for graduate social work education. Click herefor a PDF version of the recommendation form.
  • Statement of Purpose: A narrative statement addressing interest in and the fit with the UTSA M.S.W. program not to exceed 1,250 words (approximately 5 pages)
  • Other Degree Requirements: Department form documenting prior professional and volunteer experiences and academic preparation in the liberal arts. Click herefor a PDF version of the Liberal Arts Perspective form.
  • Minimum TOEFL Score (for International Applicants): 550 paper/79 internet
  • Minimum IELTS Score (for International Applicants): 6.5
  • Additional Requirements: International students and those with international degrees may be required to submit additional documents per our admissions policies and procedures. The Graduate School reserves the right to request any additional documents needed to fairly and consistently evaluate applicant credentials.
  • Note for International Students: Students who have received social work degrees from other countries: All students admitted as advanced standing students must have a bachelor's degree in social work (B.S.W.) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE provides a service for international applicants who have received social work degrees from other countries that determines whether their degrees are equivalent to a B.S.W. from an accredited program in the United States. It is a student's responsibility to determine equivalency and submit appropriate documentation to UTSA at the time of the application. Instructions for using this service, including applicable fees, can be found at

Career Options Available for an M.S.W. Graduate

  • Students can become clinicians/direct practice social workers in health care, mental health, child welfare/child and family services, schools, juvenile and adult probation/parole/corrections, with the homeless, in substance abuse treatment facilities, they can provide case management in similar settings, or they can focus on macro practice, working in congressional, legislative and city and state government offices assisting in shaping policy or in advocating for clients and their needs in community agencies. They can work with abused and neglected children in a variety of settings, as adoption workers, helping families to move from welfare to self-sufficiency, and become administrators of human services organizations.
  • Former students are working as a supervisor at the SAMM transitional living program, as a supervisor of Parole at the Texas Youth Commission, as supervisors or senior workers for Child Protective Services, as a clinician at San Antonio State Hospital, as a social worker with a local HIV program, at a children's transplant program, and as a program manager at a family violence program.

Research taking place in the M.S.W. program

Our faculty is conducting research related to family violence, child welfare, mental health, and disaster assistance. Students have an opportunity to work as graduate research assistants and to assist faculty in research efforts. All of our students complete an advanced research course and conduct their own research relating to their advanced field practicum experience.

Contact Information:

Graduate Advisor of Record: Derek Plantenga, L.C.S.W.
Telephone: (210) 458-2026

Degree Website:

Social Work Information Session Dates:

Degree Catalog Link:

Funding Opportunities

Course Scheduling and Offerings

  • At this point all courses are offered either evenings or Saturdays. Courses are from 5:30-8:30 or 7-10 M-Th, Saturdays either half days every Saturday or full days every other Saturday and from 6-10 p.m. M-Th during the summer sessions. Evening classes meet once a week during the fall, spring and 10 week summer sessions and twice a week during 5 week summer sessions.
  • Students also do two 450 clock hour field practicum while in the program, which means working in an agency setting 12-15 hours a week for four of the semesters they are in the program. Some weekend and evening placements are available but students usually take some vacation time if working full time so they can also get a feel for what an agency does during the M-F 8-5 workweek.
  • Program classes are offered at the Downtown Campus.