Brescia University’s Master of Social Work degree prepares advanced generalist social workers with the specialized skills to offer therapy, address complex problems, use evidence-based practice interventions, engage in scientific inquiry, and take leadership roles within their work environments and on behalf of the profession. Brescia’s MSW program teaches the advanced skills needed by social workers across the country.Brescia University offers two options for obtaining your Master of Social Work degree:

  • a 30-credit-hour, advanced standing Master of Social Work option for students who have completed a CSWE accredited Bachelor of Social Work program with a social work GPA of 3.2. Both full-time and part-time programs are available. The full time advanced standing program can be completed in 1 year. The part-time advanced standing program can be completed in 2 years.
  • a two-year, 60-credit-hour, Master of Social Work option for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree with a major GPA of 3.0.

Under certain conditions, students can count some of their employment hours as field hours with approval.

Brescia University will reimburse MSW graduates who pass the ASWB licensing examination, up to $230. Students should take the examination as soon as they are eligible, as determined by the state where they will practice.

Brescia University’s Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

For additional information, please call 270-686-4353 or email [email protected].

Back to TopAdmissions Process

Matriculated Student: Each MSW applicant must submit the following to Social Work CAS

1. Completion of an online SocialWorkCAS application.
2. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
3. Completion of Introduction to Social Work with a minimum grade of C (may be taken the summer before admission or with conditional acceptance).
4. GPA of 3.0; GPA of 3.2 or above if applying for Advanced Standing.
5. Typed personal statement (3-4 pages).
            i. ability to learn using distance learning technology;
            ii. motivations for applying to an MSW program and career goals;
            iii. examples of how the student’s personal values are congruent with the values of professional social work;
            iv. an example of when the student sought supervision or consultation to resolve a difficult situation; and
            v. how the student intends to manage time in this rigorous program, which includes field practicum at least 2 days a week.
6. Students for whom English is a second language must meet the minimum acceptable score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 79 on the iBT TOEFL.

Full admission requirements and personal statement guideline can be found in the University Catalog.

Baccalaureate Graduates of Brescia University:  Graduates of Brescia University with a bachelor’s degree are eligible to receive preferential acceptance.  Students who have a minimum grade point average of 3.50 in their major (and for BSW graduates, a grade of “A” in SW 406 Field II) may be automatically admitted into the MSW Program. The following conditions apply:

  • The student completes an online application by the designated deadline;
  • The student applies for acceptance to the first cohort following conferral of their bachelor degree from Brescia University;
  • There is space available in the program.
  • The student has completed an Intro to Social Work course with a minimum grade of C or Brescia’s Intro to Social Work course.

If the number of students who qualify for automatic admission exceeds the available space in the program, students will be accepted on the basis of ranked GPA.  For example, students with a GPA of 4.0 will be admitted first, 3.99 next, and so on. Brescia University students who do not meet the requirements for automatic admission can still apply but will be required to submit the complete application package.

Back to TopPrerequisites

Admission to the Advanced Standing program requires a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited institution (or from a college/university recognized through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services).

Undergraduate level prerequisite

  • An Introduction to Social Work course with a minimum grade of C, or its equivalent

Back to TopProgram Structure

All MSW classes are taught online and are fifteen weeks long.

Classes meet weekly in real-time using distance learning software to provide maximum support and instruction to students. Students participate in a dynamic learning community and develop professional relationships that endure even after graduation.

Visiting the physical campus in Owensboro, Kentucky is not required, but is encouraged.

The advanced year of the program will teach Advanced Generalist Practice skills. As an online program, students are served from all over the country. The needs of students’ communities are diverse, and students will need the skills to practice in a variety of contexts. Advanced Generalist Practice is distinguished from Generalist Practice in that it involves more sophisticated generalist skills, as well as the ability to engage in clinical social work. Advanced Generalist social workers are able to address complex problems in multi-system settings. They synthesize the aspects of unique, and sometimes ambiguous, multifaceted situations, which are often laden with value conflicts. They conceptualize the broader implications of current practice situations and engage in related advocacy. They use evidence-based practice interventions and creativity to solve problems. When empirical evidence is absent, they engage in scientific inquiry to advance knowledge building in the profession. They take leadership roles, both within their work environments and on behalf of the profession. (Lavitt, 2009)

Back to TopCourses

MSW 500: Ethical Decision Making in Social Work

This course provides students with an exploration of values, ethical issues, and theory, and teaches the use of a systematic decision making process to resolve ethical dilemmas. Students will apply this process to practice issues with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

MSW 509: Social Work in Criminal Justice

This course is designed to familiarize students with the criminal justice system from the perspectives of professional social work and other stakeholder groups. Students will learn the various roles of social workers in the criminal justice setting. They will explore the dynamics of the system, while considering the core values of the social work profession and evidence-based practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities who find themselves involved in the criminal justice process.

MSW 510: Human Behavior in the Social Environment

This course examines the theoretical underpinnings for understanding the bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of human development across the life cycle. Social and economic marginalization of groups will be discussed, as well as values and ethical issues. Students will use conceptual frameworks to inform understanding of people and their social environments.

MSW 512: Death and Dying

The study of death and dying in American society; changes in attitudes and norms; future trends; services to clients and families. Course may be taken as either undergraduate or graduate elective but not in both programs.

MSW 520: Professional Writing and Documentation

Students will develop written communication skills necessary in a variety of micro, mezzo, and macro practice settings. They will learn to effectively and professionally write documents that are necessary in a changing environment of regulatory requirements, risk of legal liability, and funding source requirements.

MSW 530: Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups

This course provides the foundation for social work practice with individuals, families and groups. It teaches practice skills using a problem-solving process underpinned by ethic of care theory. Special emphasis will be given to engaging, assessing, planning with, and evaluating individuals, families, and groups of diverse populations.

MSW 540: Field 1 and Seminar

This seminar course, the first in a series of four, gives students a chance to integrate the theoretical knowledge, values, and abilities they are learning in the classroom within the dynamic context of a human services agency. Self-awareness; professional use of self; empathy and genuineness; identification with social work values; professional, ethical behavior; and the effect of social welfare policies upon clients will be examined. Students must complete a total of 150 clock hours–approximately two days per week for 10 weeks. Proof of professional liability insurance is required prior to beginning the practicum.

MSW 541: Child Abuse and Neglect

This course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to child abuse and neglect from a social work perspective.  Social workers in all professional work settings must know how to identify child maltreatment and domestic violence.  Students will learn the family dynamics and indicators of maltreatment and effective interventions on the micro and macro level.  Additionally, students will learn the extent of the problem, its effects on children, treatment issues, the social worker’s role in a multidisciplinary team approach, and how to advocate for individuals and families.

MSW 550: Research Methods

This course introduces the scientific approach to knowledge building and how it applies to practice. Students will learn about the formulation of research questions/hypotheses, operational definitions of research constructs, IRB approval, sampling methods, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, threats to validity, statistical methods, quantitative and qualitative inquiry, data analysis and research report writing. Students will also be introduced to community needs assessments and program evaluation.

MSW 560: Practice with Organizations and Communities

This course addresses the development and implementation of community-level interventions that promote social justice and inclusive communities, and are sensitive to issues of diversity. It introduces macro practice theories and models and uses a systems perspective for understanding organizational and community change, in combination with an ethic of care. It prepares students for advanced practice within a broad array of community systems.

MSW 570: Social Welfare and Policy Practice

Fundamental concepts and theories of social welfare policy are examined. The competing values and beliefs that influence social welfare policy are discussed and analyzed. An overview of the history of social welfare policy in the United States is explored. Social welfare policies and programs are examined within the context of the associated social problems. The themes of poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression are addressed.

MSW 580: Psychopathology

This course will introduce students to major mental disorders using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as the organizing framework. Students will learn differential diagnostic skills within the context of biopsychosocial-spiritual influences and ethno-cultural differences. Students will learn about psychopharmacological treatments and the role of medications in the therapeutic process. Prerequisite: Completion of generalist year or admission to advanced standing.

MSW 590: Field 2 and Seminar

This seminar course, the second in a series of four, gives students a chance to discuss the issues and dilemmas they face in the second-semester field placement. This course emphasizes the further integration of foundational practice skills with clients in a field agency. Engaging people from diverse groups, assessment, service planning, and evaluation will be emphasized. Students must complete a total of 250 clock hours – approximately two days per week for 15 weeks.

MSW 600: Intersection of Poverty, Human Rights, and Caritas

This course explores the social justice concerns associated with poverty and protections of human rights using a philosophy of caritas and a moral framework of the ethic of care. Students will learn how to synthesize, integrate, and translate the philosophy, values, ethics, and ethic of care as a context for social work practice. They will identify and initiate actions that improve the life conditions of people who are poor.

MSW 620: Appreciation of Diversity and Dynamics of Oppression

This course will examine how power and other dynamics manage and sustain oppression at the individual and institutional levels. Students will learn about the adaptive capabilities and strengths of marginalized groups and how such capabilities and strengths can be used in culturally competent social work practice. Prerequisite: Admission to the MSW program; course usually taken during second semester of first or generalist year.

MSW 630: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This course presents the theoretical basis of cognitive behavior therapy, the principles of this therapeutic approach, its use in the context of brief treatment and managed care, and the associated techniques for promoting the behavior change process.

MSW 641: Clinical Social Work with Children and Families

This course will use a social constructionist perspective to frame the conceptualization of problems experienced by children and families. Students will learn about the assessment and treatment of children and their families experiencing trauma through circumstances such as divorce, remarriage and the consequent formation of step-relationships, alcoholism and drug abuse, child abuse, family violence, etc.

MSW 642: Organizational Leadership

This course prepares students to perform leadership functions in public, nonprofit, and faith-based human service organizations. The philosophy, principles and methods of leadership, supervision, funding, and human resource development are covered. Attention is given to agency structure, governance, and linkage to a community-wide service delivery system.

MSW 643: Spiritual Issues in Later Life

This course helps students develop culturally competent skills for working with and understanding the spiritual worlds of older adults. Students will review theory related to faith development, as well as evidence-based practices. They will develop skills to assess and respond competently and ethically to the diverse spiritual and religious perspectives of adults in later life.

MSW 644: Caritas in Action

This course prepares students to manage a grassroots campaign that addresses humanitarian crises, in the spirit of caritas – to serve the poor and to promote charity and social and economic justice. Domestic and/or international travel will be required and requires 100 face-to-face contact hours in the host agency.

MSW 650: Field 3 and Seminar

This seminar course, the third in a series of four, provides students with the opportunity to apply specialized macro practice skills that are necessary for a Master’s level social worker in today’s world. This course emphasizes specialized knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes, and behaviors necessary at the Master’s level. Students must complete a total of 250 clock hours – approximately two days per week for 15 weeks.

MSW 660: Applied Research

Students will apply a research design that contributes to the knowledge base of the profession. The focus of this course will be on the collection and analysis of data using statistical processes and dissemination of findings that improve practice, policy, and service delivery.

MSW 670: Advanced Policy Practice

This course gives students the opportunity to engage in policy advocacy to improve the resources and opportunities for marginalized groups of people within their own communities. Students will learn the skills, tasks, and competencies that are needed to bring about policy changes.

MSW 680: Motivational Interviewing for Addictive Behaviors

This course presents the theoretical basis of motivational interviewing (MI), the principles of this counseling approach, and the key strategies for promoting the behavior change process.

MSW 690: Field 4 and Seminar

This seminar course, the last in a series of four, provides students with the opportunity to apply specialized micro and mezzo practice skills that are necessary for a Master’s level social worker in today’s world. This course emphasizes specialized knowledge, values, skills, cognitive and affective processes, and behaviors necessary at the Master’s level. Students must complete a total of 250 clock hours – approximately two days per week for 15 weeks.

MSW 699: Capstone Project

This course gives students the opportunity to integrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities that they have developed throughout the program. Students will select a topic and investigate the micro, mezzo, and macro practice implications for a specific population within their community. They will create a final product that culminates in the application of what they have learned in the MSW program.

Back to TopTuition & Cost

Our 2023-2024 MSW tuition is $665 a credit hour. There is no online fee per course and a per semester technology fee of $350 (if enrolled in 6+ credit hours per semester). *The breakdowns below do not include books.

Full-Time Advanced Standing MSW      


Semester 1 (16 hrs)

Semester 2 (14 hrs)




Technology Fee



Total per semester



Part-Time Advanced Standing MSW      


Semester 1 (6 hrs)

Semester 2 (9 hrs)




Technology Fee



Total per semester




Semester 3 (7 hrs)

Semester 4 (8 hrs)




Technology Fee



Total per semester




Full-Time 2-Year MSW


Semester 1 (14 hrs)

Semester 2 (16 hrs)




Technology Fee



Total per semester




Semester 3 (16 hrs)

Semester 4 (14 hrs)




Technology Fee



Total per semester



Back to TopScholarship Opportunities

There are scholarship opportunities available for MSW students.

The Veterans Affairs Department has an incredible scholarship opportunity for MSW students.

  1. Full-time students:
    1. Tuition and Fees – The HPSP award pays a participant’s school tuition and approved fees through direct payment to the school. HPSP assistance includes topping off any existing grants and scholarship to ensure 100% of tuition and required/mandatory fees are paid.
      Required/Mandatory Fees are defined as those fees assessed by the college or university to all students in the academic program for which the scholarship was awarded. General Guideline: If the fee is optional, the fee is not required by all participants in the plan of study, or if the student at any time can opt out of the fee, they do not qualify for reimbursement.
    2. Stipend –  HPSP will pay a monthly stipend directly to the participants. The payment is made for each month a participant is enrolled in coursework, beginning with the first month of the school year. The current stipend amount is $1200 per month.
    3. Book Stipend – HPSP will pay an additional stipend to help cover books, paper, pens, pencils, computers, etc. This stipend is usually paid out annually during the July/August timeframe while under scholarship

To find out more about the VA’s SELRP and HPSP programs follow the below links:

Additional Resources