Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Are you interested in furthering your career in social work? Are you concerned with the human rights and social justice issues that are facing our society?

Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life — in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, military, corporations, and numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need. Professional social workers are the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers. Social work is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Program Mission & Goals

The mission of the East Carolina University Master of Social Work program and the School of Social Work align to educate competent, ethical social workers who can: serve and practice effectively at all system levels, in rural and metropolitan areas, to assist, collaborate with, and empower diverse individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities, locally and globally, to reach and maintain well-being. The MSW program is guided by a generalist practice and a specialized Clinical-Community Social Work Practice from a Relational Perspective practice, emphasizing an enhanced person-in-environment framework to produce practitioner leaders who practice with upmost integrity to:

  • provide services promoting client healing, ongoing wellness, and the enhancement of quality of life through the combination of clinical and community practice, recognizing that relational networks can assist to empower individuals in deciding and acting for themselves;
  • advocate for, and in collaboration with, clients to create relational solutions that promote social, economic, and environmental justice by intervening with and preventing conditions, including poverty, that limit human rights;
  • appreciate and respect human diversity and cultural significance believing in the dignity, worth and integrity of all individuals and honoring relational inter-dependence and associated responsibilities of caring for self and others; and,
  • lead in the discovery of novel and creative ways of seeing, understanding, and addressing problems using community and individual resources in tandem with technology and research.

The goals of the MSW Program are to:

  • prepare students for advanced professional clinical-community practice from a relational perspective based on a social work foundation;
  • prepare professionals who apply critical thinking and innovation to service delivery;
  • prepare students for practice that demonstrates a commitment to economic and social justice, the advancement of human well-being, and the celebration of human differences;
  • prepare professional practitioners to use and develop knowledge relative to the social work profession;
  • assess, formulate, and advocate for social policies from a relational perspective in the context of clinical community practice; and
  • apply strategies of advocacy and social change to confront oppression and to mitigate the effects of social and economic injustice from local to global settings.

Program Options

You have two program options to complete your MSW degree at ECU.

  1. In-Person: Our full-time MSW programs are offered only on campus in Greenville, NC. This includes the regular pathway 2-year program and the 1-year advanced standing program.
  2. Online: Our part-time MSW programs are offered fully 100% online with a mix of synchronous courses on Saturdays and asynchronous courses you complete on your time. It takes 3-years to complete the regular pathway or advanced standing part-time program.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Social Work, MSW program is selective and determined by academic preparation and applicant qualifications. Prospective students seeking admission must have a bachelor’s degree from an institutionally accredited college or university, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale), and a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale) in their final 30 semester hours. The MSW program does not award credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Additional requirements for admission into the Advanced Standing program include conferral of an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited social work program within the past 7 years.

For applicants considering transferring into the program, it is possible to be accepted from another graduate social work program under certain conditions.

Complete admission requirements can be found here.

MSW Student Handbook can be found here.  

The application priority deadline is January 15 of the proposed year of entrance. We will accept applications until the program is full. For application instructions, please click here



Delivery Methods

The MSW program is offered on-campus in a face-to-face format and online. Email for more information. Refer to the MSW student handbook for additional program details and polices. 

There are four different options in which students may enroll if the required criteria are met.

  • Full-Time Regular Pathway MSW: A 60 credit hour program with a curriculum that is divided into generalist and specialized practice.
  • Full-Time Advanced Standing MSW: Available for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program within the past 7 years. This is an accelerated, full-time (entire calendar year) program. Enrollment includes both summer sessions, fall, and spring semesters.

Field Education

Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education. Each regular pathway student is required to complete 1,032 hours of field education. Advanced standing students complete 672 hours of field education.   If approved, students may be permitted to complete field hours at their employment.

Accreditation Information

The MSW degree is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

East Carolina has determined that its Master of Social Work program meets the requirements for professional licensure in all states within the continental United States.