Social Work - School Social Work
Taking the School Social Work sequence gives you the skills and experience to help students when they need it the most.
You will spend one academic year in a school setting. This experience gives you the opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers and families. Together, you will help create individualized education plans (IEPs) to address students’ needs. You will also provide counseling services for individuals, groups, and families.
Sometimes students need resources outside of their school. In these situations, you will serve as an advocate for their needs.
Our program also prepares you to take the social work content exam.
Upon successful completion of our program, you are eligible to apply for the Professional Educator's License with a School Social Work endorsement through the Illinois State Board of Education. This credential allows you to be employed as School Social Worker.
For Advanced Standing students, School Social Work is only offered as a two year option.
Discover what life as an Illinois State graduate student is like.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
A student applying to this program must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or any previous work in a master's program. A student will qualify for Advanced Standing admissions if they have received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program within 8 years.
Applicants need to submit:
- a resume
- letters of recommendation
- statement of interest
- a video response
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of Recommendation should be submitted by individuals who are familiar with the academic or professional potential and achievement of the applicant. If the applicant is applying for Advanced Standing and has completed their practicum within the previous 2 years, one of the recommendation letters should be from the agency field instructor. Recommendation letters should address the following:
- How long and in what capacity the recommender has known the applicant
- Applicant’s abilities or potential in working with a diverse group of people, level of comfort with cultural differences, and commitment to social justice
- Capabilities for graduate education and suitability for practice in the field of social work
- Potential for professional growth and development, capacity for self-awareness, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
- Characteristics that could either help or hinder the applicant's development as an effective social worker
- Other comments that might inform the committee decision
Statement of Interest
The written statement should be no more than 7 pages, following APA format, using headings for each question. The written statement should address each of the following five prompts:
- Please choose one of the 6 values of the NASW Code of Ethics (service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence) and describe how you have incorporated that value into your personal or professional/volunteer experiences.
- Share how you have observed or experienced oppression or privilege individually or in systems around you. Describe examples of your actions to understand, confront, and/or undo the systems of oppression or privilege you have observed or experienced. How can these experiences or observations prepare you for a career in social work?
- What is your history of academic and/or professional success? If you have had challenges, academically or professionally, how have you addressed those challenges? What is your plan to be successful in graduate school? Provide a detailed plan of how you intend to meet the demands of a rigorous graduate program, including financially, while managing your additional responsibilities and obligations.
- What opportunities have you pursued outside of the classroom to facilitate your professional growth and leadership?
- What life experiences have shaped your understanding of the social work profession? How do you educate yourself on social issues relevant to the social work profession?
The video submission should be no more than 5 minutes in length. You may wish to carefully script your thoughts in advance to ensure you thoroughly respond to the following three prompts:
- Explain why you have chosen to pursue a MSW at this time.
- Which specialization you are interested in and what are your intended career goals?
- Describe an experience that has had a significant impact on your desire to pursue social work as a career path.
Video submission instructions: We recommend uploading your video to a third-party site (YouTube, Google, etc.). You will include the link in your application. Please ensure that your link is visible by others.
English Proficiency Score (international students only)
International students must have a TOEFL score of at least 79 iBT or equivalent; the minimum acceptable IELTS score is 6.5 band.
Entry into the social work program and profession is also based on legal requirements. The Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics outline the laws around getting your license and practicing in the field.
- Fall (August) Term — March 1
- Spring (January) Term — No admission
- Summer (May/June) Term — No admission
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.