Social Work

You’ll ‘Do Work That Matters’ With a Tulane MSW

You’ll ‘Do Work That Matters’ With a Tulane MSW
The Tulane School of Social Work's motto, "Do Work That Matters," is apt. Image from Unsplash
Christa Terry profile
Christa Terry September 16, 2020

Tulane University is among the nation's oldest social work programs—and among its best. The school trains professionals who "confront the status quo and fight for those who have fallen through the cracks of the social services system."

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Tulane University in New Orleans ranks among the top social work schools in the country. It’s also one of the oldest. The school’s social science faculty began offering its first social welfare classes in 1914, with a formal one-year program launched in 1921. In 1927—the first year of national accreditation for social work education—the school created a two-year degree program. Not long after, Tulane began awarding the Master of Social Work (MSW).

Today, Tulane University is home to a top-tier full-time and part-time MSW program offered both on-campus and online. Tulane MSW students succeed in various clinical and non-clinical social work settings to become executive directors, establish their own private practices, and conduct original research. Graduates emerge from the program equipped to “confront the status quo and fight for those who have fallen through the cracks of the social services system.” The Tulane School of Social Work’s motto, “Do Work That Matters,” is apt.

In this article about the Tulane MSW, we discuss what distinguishes the school’s traditional and distance social work master’s programs. We cover:

  • What sets the Tulane MSW apart
  • How to get into Tulane’s School of Social Work
  • The Tulane MSW curriculum
  • Tulane’s online MSW commitment
  • The Tulane MSW Field Education Program
  • Who’s who on the online MSW faculty
  • Tuition and financial aid options
  • What students can add to the Tulane MSW
  • Pre- and post-graduation support for Tulane MSW students

What sets the Tulane MSW apart

Students in Tulane’s social work master’s degree program can:

  • Enter the program at their convenience: There are start dates every semester for the full-time MSW, part-time MSW, advanced standing MSW, and online Master of Social Work.
  • Complete the 60-hour class and field curriculum in various ways: Tulane’s school of social work offers both a traditional entry-level MSW and an Advanced Standing MSW. Both are offered online and on-campus with full-time and part-time options.
  • Earn two degrees at once: Some MSW students at Tulane opt to pursue dual degrees, which the School of Social Work offers in partnership with Tulane Law School, the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Tulane’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy.
  • Access innovative online learning technology: Tulane’s learning management system is cutting-edge, with extra-clear video and audio that lets students in the online programs form connections with faculty and peers.
  • Pass Association of Social Work Boards licensure examination easily: Tulane University School of Social Work student pass rates consistently exceed the national average.

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How to get into Tulane’s School of Social Work

You don’t need to have earned a Bachelor of Social Work or have work experience to apply to Tulane’s Master of Social Work programs. The Tulane University School of Social Work website ( lists the following admissions requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts-related field
  • A GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4-point scale
  • Proof of strong performance during their undergraduate years and/or strong employer references

Tulane likewise doesn’t require applicants to submit GRE scores or to have taken specific prerequisite courses. As simple as these application requirements are, however, admission to the Tulane School of Social Work is competitive, based primarily on each student’s motivation for joining the social work field. Applicants have to submit a five-page statement of purpose essay that discusses:

  • What inspired them to pursue a career in social work
  • The qualifications they can bring to the MSW classroom and, eventually, their social work practice
  • Their experience working with diverse populations
  • Any significant personal experiences they’ve had that may make them a better social worker

The Tulane MSW curriculum

The Tulane curriculum is identical in all formats. Master of Social Work students attend lectures (on-campus or live online), complete team projects, tackle problem-based learning assignments, participate in creative simulations, and complete fieldwork hours each semester. Tulane’s fall 2020 MSW curriculum includes the following core courses:

  • Advanced Integrated Clinical and Community Practice
  • Community Organizing and Policy Advocacy
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Diversity and Social Justice: Theory and Practice
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Introduction to Direct Social Work Practice
  • Psychopathology and DSM
  • Research for Program Evaluation and Evidence-Based Social Work
  • Social Work History and Policy
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups

Full-time and part-time students at Tulane must also complete an integrative capstone seminar focused on relationship-centered, clinical-community practice and approximately 1,000 practicum fieldwork hours (more on this below).

Tulane’s online MSW commitment

Tulane’s on-campus MSW program is full-time, whether students are in the traditional or Advanced Standing program. Students in Tulane’s online MSW program can choose from among three options: a full-time MSW, a part-time MSW, and an Advanced Standing MSW that can be completed either full-time or part-time. The full-time online MSW program can be completed in just 16 months over four semesters. The part-time online MSW program can be completed in 32 months over eight semesters (including two summer sessions). Students who have earned a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited BSW degree within the past five years can enroll in Tulane’s online Advanced Standing MSW program, which can be completed in 12 months of full-time study or two years of part-time study.

The Tulane MSW Field Education Program

Every state has its own licensure requirements for social workers, but all states require that MSW graduates complete social work fieldwork hours in clinical, community, or macro settings to be eligible for licensure. MSW fieldwork is prioritized at Tulane; the school’s Field Education Program has relationships with 75 community agencies in and around New Orleans and more than 150 social service agencies, government entities, schools, hospitals, and businesses around the United States.

Placement coordinators help students secure placements in local settings that help them meet their goals, and placement liaisons and advisors oversee each student’s field education experience. Tulane’s Field Education Program aims to empower students to develop their practice skills in professional settings, work with diverse populations on various social issues, and promote social change in their own communities.

Who’s who on the online MSW faculty

Tulane’s diverse MSW faculty includes nationally recognized scholars and researchers, experienced social workers who stand out for their exemplary service records, and leaders in the social work community.

Dr. Maurya Glaude, PhD, MSW, LCSW-BACS, Director of Field Education & Professor of Practice

For nearly a decade, Dr. Glaude provided behavioral and administrative social work services in New Orleans nonprofits and government agencies. After Hurricane Katrina, she served as a mental health responder and was later instrumental in developing and implementing protocols that kept people safe during Hurricanes Rita, Gustav, and Ike. Today, Dr. Glaude’s research focuses on adolescent mental health, improving access to treatment for adolescents experiencing substance use disorders, and innovation in social work teaching methods.

Dr. Missy Malone, PhD, LMSW, Professor of Practice

Before earning her doctorate and becoming a professor, Dr. Malone worked as a Geriatric Behavioral Health Social Worker in Southwest Louisiana and as a Mental Health Social Worker at Louisiana State Penitentiary. Her research is focused on dementia, cognitive disorders, and mental health issues in an aging prison population. She also studies the aging process in prisoners and federal and state policies regarding decarceration.

Dr. Philip Hemphill, PhD, LCSW, Professor of Practice

Dr. Hemphill has nearly three decades of experience in clinical social work, social work management, and executive leadership. He has developed nationally recognized programs for evaluating and treating people with behavioral health and addictive disorders and published numerous scholarly articles in trauma, personality disorders, and addiction. Dr. Hemphill co-authored Taming Disruptive Behavior and is currently writing a second book, Integrated Health in Addiction Treatment.

Dr. Reginald Parquet, PhD, LCSW-BACS, Clinical Assistant Professor

Dr. Parquet has taught graduate courses in social work research, professional development, advanced practice methods, human behavior theory, youth violence, diversity, and social justice at the Tulane University School of Social Work for nearly two decades. He is a licensed clinical social worker and board-approved clinical supervisor and has over thirty-eight years of experience in behavioral health. His research focuses on community mental health, substance abuse, youth violence, and mental health issues affecting at-risk populations.

Tuition and financial aid options

The traditional MSW program at Tulane University costs about $69,000, while the Advanced Standing program costs about $50,000. According to the school, most students enrolled in the MSW program receive financial aid in the form of student loans, work-study grants, or other forms of federal need-based aid. There are also full and partial MSW scholarships available. Some are need-based, while others are earmarked for gifted graduate students, MSW students from specific geographic and personal backgrounds, and students with professional experience in social work.

In most cases, students needn’t submit a separate application to qualify for MSW scholarships provided that they indicate they would like to be considered for scholarships when applying to the MSW program. All applicants who express interest are automatically considered for available scholarships by the Tulane School of Social Work Admissions Committee.

What students can add to the Tulane MSW

Students enrolled in Tulane University’s MSW program can earn one of two specialty certificates in addition to their degrees. While pursuing the Disaster and Collective Trauma Certificate or Certificate in Mental Health, Addiction and the Family won’t increase the cost of this degree, it will increase the commitment. Each of the specialty MSW certificate programs at Tulane requires students to complete additional coursework and training sessions, select focused field placements, and attend meetings focused on certificate-related topics.

MSW students can also pursue dual degrees at Tulane. The School of Social Work currently offers an MSW/JD program, an MSW/Master of Public Health program, and an MSW/Master of Science in Disaster Resilience Leadership program.

Pre- and post-graduation support for Tulane MSW students

Students in the Tulane MSW program launch their careers on a firm footing. Tulane University’s MSW Alumni Board is exceptionally active. Its contribution to student success isn’t limited by geography. Before graduation, the group provides current on-campus and online social work students with invaluable academic and career guidance. After graduation, they host regular networking events and other gatherings around the United States.

The School of Social Work at Tulane also works hard to help students find job placements—including publishing a regularly updated list of job listings submitted by organizations eplicitly looking to connect with Tulane MSW program graduates.

Finally, simply having graduated from the MSW program at Tulane can be an asset. According to Matthew Knapp, who earned his Master of Social Work from Tulane University in 2005, the school’s reputation is its own form of post-graduation support. “I have either been hired or have been told the scales tipped in my favor during interviews by my having my MSW from Tulane,” he said. “One major employer hired me out of the gate because the program director was an alumnus. I also got a world-class graduate education and internship, which continue to serve me well years after graduation.”

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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