School of Social Work

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Graduate FAQ

Is a graduate degree in social work right for me?

The best approach to answering this question is to get lots of information.

  • “Interview” social workers and other human service professionals about their job.
  • Compare and contrast how each related discipline fits with or departs from your values, views, professional aspirations, and resources.
  • Talk to faculty from various departments or schools — they are often open to discussing career options.
  • It is also helpful to talk to current students.

Ultimately, no one can answer this question but you — only you can determine if the investment you will make in earning an MSW fits with who you are and with your professional goals.

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What if my undergraduate degree is NOT in social work?

Prospective students from diverse educational backgrounds may apply to the master’s program. A bachelor’s degree is required with a minimum GPA of 2.75 overall.

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Can I enroll part-time?

Yes. Part-time students may choose between a three-year and a four-year program.

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Do I have to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission?

The UNLV School of Social Work does not require the GRE for admission. Visit our admissions page for more information.

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Will I have to complete a field practicum?

All students are required to receive “real world” training in human service agencies and programs through the field practicum. Absolutely NO past work or volunteer experience will be credited toward the practicum training requirement.

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What if I have worked in the human services or as a “social worker” before? Can I count that toward fulfilling the practicum requirement?

No. While past experience inside or outside the human services field may be useful to you in your learning, it will not be credited toward the fulfillment of field practicum or any other graduate-level course requirements. New learning experiences always exist, and the school upholds the value of supporting the development of graduate curriculum values, skills, and knowledge.

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Is the field practicum "paid work"?

Field practicum is a class. As with any other class for which you pay tuition, the goal is to provide you with a valuable learning experience. However, unlike other classes, the focus is distinctly on applied social work practice. This is often confusing for students because it seems like "work" to go to an agency and provide services. But field practicum is strictly differentiated from "work" by its educational focus, monitoring, and structure.

Practicum activities and student roles are separate and distinct from "employment." Very few agencies offer a “stipend,” which consists of limited funds given to students who are connected with the time contributed to the practicum. It is best to assume that your practicum agency will not offer a stipend and to budget your time and financial resources accordingly.

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What are the concentration areas? Which one do I choose?

At the time you complete the application, you will be asked to select a concentration area: Direct Practice, or Management and Community Practice. Visit our program page for more information.

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What if I select the wrong concentration area?

It is strongly recommended that you research and investigate the area of study that piques your interest given your reasons for pursuing a graduate education and your professional goals. Talk to our faculty, practitioners in the field, or a knowledgeable career advising resource person.

However, because the ultimate goal of the program is to produce social work professionals capable of working with diverse people under a broad range of circumstances, one concentration area will not “lock” you into a single subfield of practice. Rather, the concentration area provides advanced emphasis and focus to your academic program but does not preclude you from pursuing many other areas of practice upon graduation or throughout your career. You also have the option of petitioning to change your concentration if you decide you want to change your initial selection.

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Other than my financial aid application, what other financial opportunities are available?

The School of Social Work has opportunities for paid graduate assistants working with faculty on research and teaching projects. If interested, apply for a GA position at the time you apply to the program. Also, depending on grant funding, other student research assistantships may be available. It is best to inquire about these positions before completing the application process. Positions are not guaranteed, and availability varies from year to year.

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Is the MSW program accredited?

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

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Does the program prepare me for professional licensure?

Yes. Graduating from this program prepares you for pursuing post-master’s licensure. Please visit the Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers website for current licensing requirements.

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When can I apply?

Application packets are available online at the School of Social Work website in October. The deadline to submit all of your application materials is typically in February/March each year. The exact dates vary from year to year, so you are strongly advised to check our website or contact the office for deadlines at 702-895-3311. Classes start in August for the fall semester.

Visit our admissions page for more information.

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What if I do not have social service experience? Can I still apply?

Paid or volunteer work in the human services field is required. Keep in mind that the admission committee will be evaluating your application for indications of your potential success as a graduate student and a potential social work practitioner.

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Can I apply to the Graduate College if all I have are copies of my transcripts with the provision that my official transcripts are on their way?

Contact the Graduate College for application information.

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How will I know if I have been accepted?

You will be notified by the Graduate College viathe online Apply Yourself (AY) process on the Graduate College website. If you are offered admission, you will be required to return a form letting us know if you accept or reject the admission offer.

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Is an interview required?

Typically not; however, an interview may be required at the discretion of the admission committee.

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