Jun
05

First Day of Classes for Advanced Standing
Jun
08

Advanced Standing Welcome Breakfast
Jun
09

Full Time/Part Time Fall Advisement
Jun
16

Full Time/Part Time Fall Advisement

MSW FAQs: After Admission

 

Orientation

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH ADVISEMENT &/OR ORIENTATION TO ATTEND?

New Advanced Standing Students
For Advanced Standing students, as they start classes in the summer, one mandatory orientation session is offered. The session is typically scheduled at the end of April to allow time for completing arrangements before classes start in late May or early June.

New Full-time and Part-time MSW Students
The College of Social Work provides 3 potential advisement/informational sessions over the summer for full-time and part-time students. Each session covers parking, housing, a campus tour, immunization and registration. Attendance at one of these sessions is mandatory.

In August, prior to the beginning of the Fall semester, there is a mandatory formal 2-day orientation which provides students the opportunity to meet the Dean, Associate Dean and social work faculty, receive an overview of the curriculum, learn about college and campus resources, available technology, student associations, and professional development. Full-time students are also required to attend a third full day of mandatory orientation to field education. Classes start the following day.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECEIVE A MAP OF THE CAMPUS DURING ORIENTATION?

A map of the campus is easily accessible on the USC website; www.sc.edu/visit/map. It is free to print and download. If you prefer a hard copy, a map of the campus is included in orientation materials as well as provided by Parking Services. Additional copies are available in the admissions office and the receptionist’s office on the second floor of DeSaussure.

WHY WAS I ASSIGNED A FACULTY ADVISOR AND HOW IS THAT PERSON DIFFERENT FROM AN ACADEMIC ADVISOR?

Many important questions are raised by students in the MSW program about their specialization, area of interest, professional development, career options, and identity as a social worker. The role of the faculty advisor is to be a resource for students who wish to discuss these issues with someone in the profession of social work within the College of Social Work. Any questions regarding registration for classes, financial aid, sequencing of courses, graduate assistantships, requirements for graduation, or other technical questions should be answered by your academic advisors, Ms. Frances Spann (803-777-1545 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Ms. Mosetta Ragin (803-777-6492 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

HOW DO I APPLY FOR AND RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID?

Please see page 62 in the MSW Student Manual for options within the College and through the University Student Financial Aid Office (803-777-1834, ). Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. An emergency loan fund is available for those who have paid tuition and fees and experience an unplanned financial emergency. You may seek additional information through Ms. Duvall (803-777-5292 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) in the Dean’s Office.

WHAT DO THE FEES GO FOR, ESPECIALLY FOR THE GRADUATION SEMESTER?

The Bursar’s Office has the most current information on tuition rates and fees. COSW fees are used to offset expenses related to student affairs, advisement, student services, field education support, and technology. There is a separate fee for matriculation to offset expenses related to graduation.

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Courses

WHAT ARE THE COURSES REQUIRED FOR EACH TRACK?

The plans of study vary according to option (full-time, part-time, advanced standing) and by specialization. They are available in the MSW Student Manual located on the COSW website.

WHY ARE SOME ELECTIVES ONLY ONE CREDIT HOUR?

Electives may be offered in one, two or three hour credit courses. Varied hours are offered to increase the opportunities for students to choose a combination of electives that allows them to maximize the depth and breadth of educational experiences.

WHEN DO WE REGISTER FOR CLASSES FOR THE UPCOMING SEMESTER?

Students are provided with advisement sessions to review the next semester’s schedule before registration opens. Sessions will be scheduled at the Charleston and Greenville locations as well as Columbia. The academic advisors, Ms. Spann and Ms. Ragin, work with the student’s plan of study to ensure registration occurs for courses in the correct sequence. Required courses may only be offered during certain semesters so following the plan of study and consulting academic advisors is essential.

Registration usually opens 2 months in advance of the beginning of the semester. Students will receive email notifications from the Registrar’s Office with their “time ticket” to complete registration. The College has no control over how times are distributed. Students are encouraged to consult the MSW Student Manual and contact Ms. Spann at 803-777-1545 or Ms. Ragin at 803-777-6492 for any issues with registration.

WHY DO CLASSES HAVE PROFESSORS LISTED AS TBA WHEN REGISTRATION BEGINS?

It is not unusual for registration to open before the schedule is completed. Full-time faculty are given first choice of classes to teach. Those classes with a TBA instructor will most likely be taught by instructor faculty members. Our faculty and staff work as rapidly as possible to fill in the gaps.

IS A PROFESSOR ALLOWED TO CHANGE THE SYLLABUS AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE SEMESTER?

Ideally, there should be no major changes to the syllabus after the beginning of the semester except in very rare instances (i.e., correction of typos, adjustment to calendars, etc.). Changes should be discussed thoroughly with students prior to implementation to assure expectations are clear.

WHERE CAN I FIND MY EXAM SCHEDULE?

Your exam schedule should be outlined in your course syllabus.

HOW IS THE CHAIN OF COMMAND SET UP? FOR EXAMPLE, WHOM DO I NEED TO CONTACT IF I HAVE A PROBLEM?

The basic chain of command for curriculum/classroom issues consists of your course instructor, the MSW Program Coordinator, (Dr. Naomi Farber, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 803-777-8816), the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, and the Dean. If you feel your attempts to resolve the problem go unattended, please contact the Student Ombudsperson, Mr. Mike Ottone (803-777-5563 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), to request advice about the course of action to take. Please see the MSW Student Manual for a detailed explanation of rights, responsibilities, policies and procedures for academic integrity, and information on grievances, petitions, and appeals.

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Opportunities to Socialize/Learn More

WHAT ORGANIZATIONS ARE THERE FOR STUDENTS TO JOIN?

Students may join several organizations within COSW including Black Social Work Student Association, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, and the Social Work Student Association. The University of South Carolina campus has numerous student associations which could be considered. Click here to visit the Student Organizations web site. If you have not done so already as a BSW student, you may also want to consider joining the National Association of Social Workers. The South Carolina Chapter office is located in Columbia and student membership is heavily discounted.

ARE THERE OTHER CHANCES TO MEET AND SOCIALIZE WITH FACULTY AND COHORT OUTSIDE OF CLASSROOMS?

Yes, faculty members have scheduled office hours that allow students the opportunity to meet. As an MSW student your schedule will be the same as some of your cohort and during that free time, you will utilize it to either study, work on a group project , or just to relax (self-care is VERY important). The College and student associations routinely plan events to which faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend. These may include events with visiting scholars, open houses with community members, town hall meetings with the Dean and faculty, and brown bag discussions.

HOW DO I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT FACULTY CANDIDATE CAMPUS VISITS?

During the fall and spring, candidates for faculty positions may be visiting campus. Via our listservs, faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend presentations or colloquiums about candidate research over the lunch hour. Colloquiums are recorded for faculty who are unable to attend and who will be involved in decision-making about any further consideration of the candidate. Some candidates request confidential consideration of their candidacy and request restricted access. If access is unrestricted, a link to the COSW video library will be sent through the listservs to faculty, staff, and students as soon as it becomes available. Some teaching candidates will also provide a lecture during a class and student feedback will be sought regarding the candidate’s teaching effectiveness. We involve students as escorts and as campus tour guides as much as we can.

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Field

CAN WE CHOOSE OUR OWN FIELD PLACEMENT?

It depends on the curricular level in the MSW program. Foundation level students are matched with a field organization based on the credentialing of the organization by level type (foundation or advanced level), submission date of field application, geographic location, and field placement availability. Students should be aware that organizations set their individual preferences in terms of student area of interest preference, preferred educational background, and work and life experience. Students are matched by the MSW Placement Coordinator with approval by the Director of Field Education.

Advanced level students can competitively seek a placement. All currently enrolled advanced level students start the field placement process in early February with the annual COSW Field Fair. During the field fair (February of every year), all advanced level students have the opportunity to meet with prospective field instructors and organization representatives in anticipation of their second, and final, field placement.

After field fair, students are also provided a confidential list of field placement organizations that COSW has a legal contract with that are credentialed to serve as a field practicum site. Field instructors have been identified that are willing to interview students for advanced level practicums. The final decision to take a student comes from the field instructor, not from us.

WHY DO ADVANCE STANDING STUDENTS NEED MORE FIELD HOURS THAN FOUNDATION STUDENTS?

Students in a BSW program have fewer hours of field required than students in Foundation MSW programs, so Advanced Standing students need to make up the difference by having additional field hours.

IN ADDITION TO HOURS SPENT AT FIELD PLACEMENT, WHAT OTHER ACTIVITIES CONSTITUTE AS FIELD HOURS?

Time towards field practice hours may consist of time spent providing service to clients or engaging in organization activities that support direct service for the field practicum site and under the supervision of the designated field instructor. Related classroom assignments and/or research pertaining to field practice may or may not be considered field practice time. This must be discussed with and approved by the field instructor PRIOR to the accrual of requested hours. Field orientation and continuing education offerings through the field education office may also count toward field hours with the approval of the Field Education Director, Dr. Melissa Reitmeier.

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Graduation

WHERE CAN STUDENTS FIND APPLICATIONS TO GRADUATE?

Students may access this thisfor the Application for Degree (used to apply for graduation). The form must be turned into Ms. Spann or Ms. Ragin for Master’s level graduation for each MSW program or certificate program in which the student is enrolled. Individual advisement appointments are made early in the semester in which graduation is anticipated to ensure all course work will be completed in time.

WHY DO ADVANCE STANDING STUDENTS NEED MORE FIELD HOURS THAN FOUNDATION STUDENTS?

Students in a BSW program have fewer hours of field required than students in Foundation MSW programs, so Advanced Standing students need to make up the difference by having additional field hours.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MSW HOODING AND THE USC COMMENCEMENT?

The College of Social Work will conduct an MSW Hooding Ceremony annually in May. In this ceremony, your name is called and you process across the stage in your cap and gown with your MSW hood on your right arm. Two faculty members will place the hood over your head. This ceremony is generally scheduled on the Friday morning and the USC Commencement is typically scheduled Saturday afternoon. We will provide information on both ceremonies well in advance of the dates.

The University of South Carolina conducts three commencements a year – in May, August, and December. Because of the size of our student body, it requires three ceremonies over two days to graduate all students. Look for the College of Social Work in the listing of schools and colleges. You can check this website for USC Commencement information.

At Commencement, Baccalaureate, Master's and Professional Degrees are conferred by college or school. COSW faculty will congratulate those students in attendance as they cross the stage.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO OBTAIN AN ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT SHOWING MY DEGREE/CERTIFICATE AND MY DIPLOMA?

You will not receive your diploma at your commencement ceremony, but don’t worry – it’s on the way. You’ll likely receive your diploma in the mail a few months after commencement.

  1. Departments have 30 days after the ceremony to approve their graduates’ degrees.
  2. The Office of the Registrar processes and double-checks the applications for graduation (At this stage, your degree should appear on your Academic Transcript on Self-Service Carolina. You may order official transcripts to be released through Self-Service Carolina. Here is the link for the Registrar’s Online Transcript Ordering FAQs.
  3. Diplomas are sent to the printer.
  4. Every diploma is checked by hand and put into an envelope. (This is what takes up the bulk of the process – approximately 6,000 documents.)
  5. Diplomas are mailed to the graduates. You may contact the graduation and clearance center at 1-803-777-5555 to verify which address is on file for the mailing of your diploma.

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Licensure

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET LICENSED?

Not every state has licensure requirements so check the specific state in which you hope to practice. Examination candidates typically require approval from the respective licensure board before registering with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to take the exam.

Click here for a handout that steps you through the process of licensure in South Carolina.

To learn about certification and licensure levels and eligibility requirements, click here to download a PDF.

The North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board information can be accessed here.

The Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists information can be accessed here.

WILL A LICENSURE PREPARATION WORKSHOP BE OFFERED WHILE I’M A STUDENT?

The College of Social Work arranges for a two-day workshop on or near campus during the fall for those graduating in the spring. The workshop will be recorded and made available through the COSW video library. Handouts may also become available in pdf format on SOWK-MY-MSW in Blackboard. The workshop is focused on licensure in South Carolina but presenters may also be able to address question about nearby states at the end of the workshop.

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