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:
Students in Tulane's social work master's degree program can:
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 (socialwork.tulane.edu) lists the following admissions requirements:
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:
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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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