MSW Program Baton Rouge Campus

The Master of Social Work degree attests to the graduate’s preparation for social work practice and achievement at a level of competence sufficient to serve as a basis for a professional career. The LSU School of  Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and has been offering graduate education since 1937. The Baton Rouge main campus offers the 60-hour full time or part time programs as well as the 33 hour advanced standing program. The priority application deadline for the 60-hour program is March 31st each year. The priority application deadline for advanced standing is March 1st. Applications will be accepted until May 15th, but the field internship placement may be delayed. The MSW degree requires 60 hours of study and students admitted to the MSW program must elect to enter either:

  • 60-hour full time program takes two years to complete with students enrolling in courses two days per week and interning two to three days per week. (class is Wed/Thu (8:30-12:30 and 12:30-3:30—internship is typically Mon/Tues 8-5) Students in the full time program typically complete the internship concurrently with their coursework. Students in the full-time program will have two different internship experiences upon graduation—one for each phase of the program.
  • 60 hour part time program takes three to four years to complete with students enrolling in two courses per semester for two years (class is Wed/Thu 8:30-11:30 and 12:30-3:30). Students in the part time program will be in the generalist phase for two years because of the part time progression through the curriculum. Internship may begin as early as the second fall semester with most part time students beginning the internship in the spring of the second year. Students in the part time program will have two different internship experiences upon graduation—one for each year.
  • Advanced standing The advanced standing program takes one year to complete on a full-time basis or two years to complete on a part time basis either.  (Campus students are in class Mon &Tues). Only students who have received a baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW) within the last five years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education with the appropriate grades may be eligible for this program and may transfer 27 hours of credit toward the MSW degree.

The first 30 hours of the program is the "generalist year," and the second 30 hours of study is termed the "specialized year" for full-time students. Students usually complete an internship concurrently with coursework. No academic credit is granted for work or life experiences. Time limit to complete the degree is four years.

Criminal Background:   If a student has a criminal background, it is in the student’s best interest to disclose this information prior to beginning the program and prior to the field internship placement process. A criminal background may pose difficulties in securing a field placement for the student and/or may result in the inability to place the student. Students who have a criminal background should understand that some agencies may be precluded by law from accepting them in field placement. Additionally, some agencies are unwilling to supervise students having certain criminal charges. The field education team will make every effort possible to assist students in securing a field placement. However, if a placement cannot be accomplished for any reason, the student may not be able to complete the degree program. Students should also be aware that even if field placements are secured and a degree is awarded, certain criminal offenses may preclude them from obtaining employment as a social worker and that some states may refuse to license the applicant as a professional social worker. Students should seek counseling from the School of Social Work if questions arise regarding such matters.


Admission Requirements

School of Social Work admission requirements for ALL programs are the same. The following requirements must be completed prior to admission to the Full time, Part time, Advanced Standing and MSW Online programs:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
  • Demonstration of a liberal arts undergraduate preparation through completion of at least 12 credit hours in the social and behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, human geography, economics, political science, curriculum & instruction, etc.), and at least 9 hours in the humanities (literature, languages, history, women’s studies, art or music history, philosophy, cultural and comparative studies, communication studies, etc.);
  • “C” or better in an introductory statistics course in any undergraduate department; this course cannot be taken concurrently with MSW courses;
  • A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 on all undergraduate work or in the final 60 credit hours or at least 9 hours of any graduate work already completed with appropriate grades;
  • Evidence that the applicant possesses the personal qualities and aptitudes essential for the social work profession;
  • A genuine interest in people and emotional stability;
  • Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

How to Apply

Application to the School of Social Work is the same for all campus and online programs. Applicants with missing application materials by the School of Social Work deadline will not be considered. A completed application is the LSU Graduate School application, fee payment, Social Work letter of intent, three letters of recommendations, resume, and receipt of official transcripts by the School of Social Work’s deadline dates. Note: Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.

Applicants must submit the following: 

  • Graduate School Application and Fee
  • Letter of Intent (instructions located within the Graduate School application portal)
  • Current resume or vita
  • One official copy of all transcripts from all universities attended. Transcripts may be mailed in sealed envelopes to Graduate School, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or sent electronically from a university to  All transcripts are required, whether or not credit was earned or is desired. Official transcripts of work taken at LSU are not required.
    For international applicants whose native language is not English, scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Three recommendation forms
    • A total of three (3) recommendation forms are required for your admission file to be complete by the appropriate deadline. A letter of support is optional. These forms are located in the Graduate School application portal. Recommendations must be Academic (college instructors, internship supervisors) or Professional (Work/Volunteer) Reference.  Family friends, clergy, therapist and high school teachers are not appropriate.
    • It is strongly recommended that if an internship was part of the degree program and the internship has been completed at the time of application, a recommendation from the internship supervisor be included as the professional recommendation. 

How to Obtain the MSW Degree

To obtain the MSW degree, students must:

  • successfully complete 60 hours of study, following the prescribed course sequence including passing internship courses 
  • maintain an overall grade point average of 3.00, with no grade less than “C” in any course offered for the degree
  • cannot be on probation
  • no more than two C’s toward the MSW degree

Thesis Option: Students are encouraged to undertake a thesis, yet it is not required to graduate. Students choosing to write a thesis must submit a thesis proposal to a prospective thesis committee chair by the last day of class in the fall semester, generalist year or the last day of class of the second module. Six total credit hours of SW 8000 are required for the thesis, and no more than six credit hours can be used toward the MSW degree.