Master of Social Work Program
5030 Cherry Street
(816) 235-1025
Fax: (816) 235-6573

Mailing Address:
University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Social Work
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Chair: Dr. Robert Prue

Director of Field Education: Professor Ile Haggins

Educational Program Director: Professor Amy Simmons

Rosalyn Bertram, Ph.D., Associate Professor (children, child welfare, youth and families, wraparound and multi-systemic collaborative strengths-based practice, evidence-based practice, program implementation and evaluation, systems of care, research)

J. Larry Dyer, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor (cultural diversity, mental health, practice, substance abuse)

Ile Haggins, MSW, LCSW, Associate Teaching Professor, Director of Field Education (practice, children and family, cultural diversity, and mental health)

Adrianna Paez, MSW, Educational Program Associate III

Sarah Pilgrim, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, (social welfare policy, research methods; scholarship: sexual health and decision making of adolescents in foster care through promotion of body image positivity and additional protective and promotive factors)

Robert Prue, Ph.D., Associate Professor (social work research methods, open source and freely available software for social workers, interface of indigenous health and healing supports with mainstream, spirituality and social work, veterans' issues, post-traumatic stress)

Amy Simmons, MSW, LCSW, Assistant Teaching Professor, MSW Program Director (community development, prevention, behavioral health, group practice, school social work)

Department Description

The School of Social Work offers a program of study leading to the master's in social work degree and a professional career in social work. Started in 1999, the MSW program is the result of collaborative efforts by the University of Missouri System, UMKC and many social service agencies in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The MSW program received initial accreditation in May 2003 with reaffirmation of accreditation granted in 2007.

Mission of the School of Social Work

The mission of the School of Social Work is to "Prepare competent, advanced generalist social work practitioners to meet the needs of multicultural diverse populations in a dynamic mid-western metropolitan context; to be culturally proficient, ethical leaders and service providers engaged in knowledge-driven, inter-professional, multi-systemic, community-based practice; who advocate for social and economical justice, enhance human well being, and support individuals' capacity to address their own needs."

Mission-derived goals of the School of Social Work are to:

  • Prepare culturally proficient advanced generalist social work leaders and practitioners to provide human services for diverse populations.
  • Prepare advanced generalist social work leaders and practitioners to engage in interdisciplinary scientific inquiry, and critical thinking.
  • Prepare advanced generalist social work leaders and practitioners to develop and implement multi-systemic, multilevel, evidence-based practices.
  • Prepare advanced generalist social workers that understand and identify with the social work profession and are committed to upholding the values and ethics of the profession that serve to guide professional practice.
  • Prepare advanced generalist social workers to advocate for social and economic justice through collaboration with multicultural diverse communities.

Vision of the School of Social Work

UMKC School of Social Work will become a model urban, professional school recognized for its partnership within diverse communities to effectively collaborate and sustain a safe, more economically secure, and socially just quality of life.

Career Implications

Why consider an advanced degree in social work? Above all, the degree is flexible and versatile. For example, social workers are employed in public social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, medical settings, schools, community-based clinics and residential settings. The social work perspective looks not only at individual thoughts, feelings and actions, but also at the social environment as a primary arena for opportunities for change. On behalf of the people they serve, social workers have strong interests in social policy and advocacy, as well as social science research and policy and program evaluation.

  • Social workers have the right education, experience, and dedication to help people help themselves whenever and wherever they need it.
  • Social workers help people in all stages of life, from children to the elderly, and from all situations from adoption to hospice care.
  • Professional social workers are the nation's largest providers of mental health services.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation, especially in gerontology, home healthcare, substance abuse, private social service agencies, and school social work (BLS, 2010).

Program Description

The program educates Advanced Generalist Social Work practitioners for professional responsibilities at various levels with complex and dynamic human service organizations. To accommodate working students' schedules, many classes are scheduled for late afternoons, evenings and weekends.

Faculty members and students co-create empowering learning environments through group discussions, role play, experiential occurrences and readings that enable transformational learning.

The practice-oriented curriculum is focused on advanced generalist social work practice in an urban environment. The curriculum provides: theoretically based understanding to assess diverse human behaviors in varied social environments; skills for operating in a multidisciplinary agency and community environment; research methods with practical application to agency practice; and approaches to working with culturally diverse populations.

The full-time, regular MSW program offers a two-year, 60-credit curriculum combining classroom and field experience. For students who already have a B.S.W. degree, the full-time Advanced Standing program includes 36 credits during a spring or summer semester and one full-time year of coursework with a supervised field practicum. Students may attend the part-time program schedule, but must complete the MSW in four years.

The foundation year curriculum includes coursework in generalist social work practice, theory and skills, social policy, human behavior in the social environment, social work research and a generalist field practicum experience in a human service agency approximately 16 hours a week.

The concentration year curriculum focuses on advanced generalist methods within an urban context. The required curriculum includes courses in program evaluation, advance practice methods, and a capstone course (Integration Seminar). Under the guidance of their academic advisor and in light of their career plans, students select four electives with a requirement of at least one elective in Integrative content area and at least one elective in Advanced Methodological approaches to Social Work practice. Finally, a second field practicum for approximately 16 hours a week provides advanced generalist experience and supervision.

Field Practicum

The practicum program uses agencies throughout the metropolitan area to offer experiences at both foundation and advanced levels. Students typically spend approximately two days in the field and are mentored by an MSW practitioner employed by the agency. Students spend a required number of hours in face-to-face contact with clients, in agency meetings, in individual or group supervision, and in the community. In some cases, students who already are social service employees can arrange to complete one year of their field placements at their own agencies. Practicum can also be completed in a student's human service oriented work site, provided the Director of Field Education approves the same.


The majority of applicants to MSW programs have a variety of undergraduate degrees. Some people have life or work experience in other fields and are ready for a career change. Others have worked in the human service field and are ready to pursue an MSW degree to advance in their careers.

  • Applicants who hold a baccalaureate degree that, preferably, reflects a broad liberal arts base in the social, behavioral, or psychological sciences, or related disciplines, are encouraged to apply. The baccalaureate degree should be from an institution accredited in a manner accepted by UMKC.
  • B.S.W. degrees from accredited programs may be considered for the advanced standing program if students have received a B.S.W. degree within the last five years.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is preferred. However, lower GPAs will be considered for provisional admission when combined with volunteer and work experience, or when there are extenuating circumstances.
  • GRE is not required.
  • The UMKC application and School of Social Work application are both required. Applicants must provide narratives addressing the following:
    1. Statement of Values and Ethics
      Attach a brief essay (2-5 typewritten, double-spaced pages) in which you address the following: The NASW Code of Ethics may be found at
      1. Discuss your purpose for pursuing a Master's in Social Work.
      2. Compare and contrast your personal value framework with the NASW Code of Ethics’ values and principles.
      3. In light of the Code of Ethics, what human needs do you hope to address as a professional social worker?
      4. In light of the Code of Ethics, how will you infuse all of the six ethical principles into your future social work practice?
      5. Describe a personal life experience that challenged your values and ethics. How did you respond to this challenge?
    2. Preparation for Professional Training
      Read the prompts below and provide complete answers including specific examples (2-5 typewritten, double-spaced pages).
      1. Please explain any particular difficulties or successes in your undergraduate academic career.
      2. How would you evaluate your academic experience up to this point in time?
      3. Identify how you manage personal and professional challenges in your life.
      4. What social supports do you have in place (or can you put in place) to assist with managing work, family and academic commitments?
      5. Identify the areas in which you need further learning and growth.
  • Advanced Standing Only
    Please provide a 3-5 page typewritten, double-spaced response to the following:
    1. Provide an overview of your field practicum experiences.
    2. Describe lessons learned from your field experiences. Provide specific examples.
    3. How do you think these lessons-learned will affect your future social work field experiences?
    4. In relation to the social work profession, in what areas do you need to further your personal and professional growth?
  • Additional Information
    1. Use the forms provided to supply three references. Include a person able to judge your potential for social work (a social worker who has supervised you, an employer, or field instructor) and a person able to judge your writing, critical thinking, and academic potential.
    2. While personal interviews are not required, the MSW Admissions Committee may request a meeting with an applicant. Applicants with questions about the program may attend public information sessions, which are scheduled once a month in the Social Work office. See website for details (
    3. The program is inclusive and draws from a diverse applicant pool. Toward this end, program faculty members make regular community presentations to diverse groups. The program works with student organizations representing women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, international students, and students with disabilities. Individuals from diverse groups are encouraged to apply.
    4. For additional details, please refer to the Student Handbook pdf file at the School of Social Work website.
    5. UMKC University Application for Admission and its application fee are required. In addition you are required to submit all of the School of Social Work application material.
  • Application Checklist
    Please refer to the following checklist before sending materials:
    1. Send to the School of Social Work:
    • Social Work Application for Admission: Online application for both the regular and advanced standing programs is available at
    • Statement of Values and Ethics Narrative
    • Preparation for Professional Training Narrative
    • Advanced Standing Narratives (if applicable)
    • Letters of Reference (3): References are submitted with the name of the applicant written across the flap of the envelope.
    • Mailing Address:

University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Social Work
5053 Cherry Street
Cherry Hall Room 225
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

  1. Send to UMKC Office of Admissions:
  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts.1
  • University Application for Admission: Go to to begin the online application process.
  • Application fee
  • Mailing Address:
    UMKC Office of Admissions
    120 Administrative Center
    5100 Rockhill Rd, Kansas City
    MO 64110-2499

Application Deadlines

Advanced Standing

  • October 1  to begin courses in Spring Semester
  • February 1 to begin courses in Summer Semester

Regular Program

  • March 1 to begin courses in Fall Semester

Note: All completed applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis

Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP)

MSEP is an interstate initiative established by the Midwestern Higher Education Commission to increase educational opportunities for students in its member states. MSEP enables residents of Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota to enroll in designated institutions and selected programs outside their home state at reduced tuition levels.

Student Advising

Upon admission into the program, students must:

  1. Read student handbook available on our website:
  2. Attend student orientation in the Fall/Spring semester.
  3. Schedule a meeting with their academic advisor during the academic year to develop a plan of study.
  4. Report any changes they make to the plan of study to their advisor.
  5. Full-time students must meet the Director of Field Education and complete a field application form to select and finalize field placement.
  6. Part-time students must meet the Director of Field Education at the end of their first year in the program, fill out the field application form and finalize field placement before the beginning of their second year in the program.

Professional Status

After graduation, students are well prepared to accept professional social work positions with populations at-risk in a variety of human service, mental health, medical, or community settings.

Both Missouri and Kansas offer an exam to license specialist clinical social workers after two years of supervised practice in direct services. For social workers who plan to practice at this level, Kansas statutes require completion of graduate or continuing education courses in psychopathology and diagnostic skills. Students who are considering clinical licensure in Kansas are encouraged to take SOC-WK 5560 as an elective prior to graduation from the MSW program.

Both Missouri and Kansas offer the following licenses for professional social workers:

  • LBSW-Licensed Bachelor's Social Worker
  • LMSW-Licensed Master Social Worker

Missouri also offers:

  • LAMSW - Licensed Advanced Macro Social Worker

Rosalyn M. Bertram2 ; Professor of Social Work; B.A. (San Francisco State University); M.S.W. (San Francisco University); Ph.D. (University of South Florida).

J. Larry Dyer2 ; Assistant Teaching Professor; B.A. (University of Texas); M.A. (North Texas State University); M.S.W. (University of Kansas); Ph.D. (University of Kansas).

Ile Haggins2 ; Associate Teaching Professor and Director of Field Education; BA (Oterbein University); MSW (University of Kansas).

Sarah Pilgrim2 Assistant Professor of Social Work,

Bob Prue2 Associate Professor of Social Work; M.S.W., Ph.D. (University of Kansas)

Amy Simmons 2Assistant Teaching Professor and Educational Program Director  

Graduate Degree:


SOC-WK 5510 Foundation Field Practicum I Credits: 3

Students spend 16-hours weekly in a generalist field practicum setting under MSW supervision Participation in a 12-hour integrated field seminar on campus led by faculty is required.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5530 or SOC-WK 5531.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5532.

SOC-WK 5511 Foundation Field Practicum II Credits: 3

Students continue the field practicum experience from SOC-WK 5510 and participation in the integrated seminar on campus. Focus on generalist knowledge, values, and skills.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5510 and SOC-WK 5532.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5533.

SOC-WK 5512 Advanced Field Practicum I Credits: 3

Students are placed in a field setting in their chosen field-of-practice concentration approximately 16 hours per week under the supervision of an MSW field instructor. One concentration seminar must be taken prior to or concurrently with entering this field placement.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5540.

SOC-WK 5513 Advanced Field Practicum II Credits: 3

Students complete a final semester in their field-of-practice concentration agency setting approximately 16 hours weekly under MSW supervision.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5541.

SOC-WK 5530 Human Behavior: Individuals In The Social Environment Credits: 3

This theory course focuses on the interactional context of human behavior essential to all social work practice. A variety of perspectives are considered in the understanding of the individual; developmental, ecosystemic, biopsychosocial, traditional, and alternative. Diversity and resiliency are the are key course concepts.

SOC-WK 5531 Human Behavior: Families, Groups, Organizations, And Communities Credits: 3

This theory course applies social work's ecosystemic framework to the understanding of human behavior in families, groups, organizations, and communities. Knowledge and applied theories and paradigms are examined that honor social justice, human diversity, strenghts/assets, and community-building to enhance effective social work practice.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5530.

SOC-WK 5532 Foundations Of Social Work Practice I Credits: 3

This course examines the fundamental knowledge, values, and skills of generalist social work practice with a focus on person-in-environment. Course topics include values and ethics, collaborative approaches to helping,stages of the helping process, and beginning practice skills with at-risk populations.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5510.

SOC-WK 5533 Foundations Of Social Work Practice II Credits: 3

This second generalist social work practice course examines effective helping approaches with small groups and communities of identity and/or place. The course also introduces values and working styles for professional practice in organizations.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5532 and SOC-WK 5510.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5511.

SOC-WK 5534 Social Welfare Programs And Policies Credits: 3

This course examines social policies that direct current social service trends at local, state, and federal levels. Students learn a model of analysis that examines the context in which policy decisions are made and the effects that social service programs and policies have on people's lives.

SOC-WK 5535 Social Welfare Policy Practice Credits: 3

This course prepares students with a social justice/empowerment orientation and the knowledge, skills and values needed to become an effective policy advocate, particularly with people who experience the effects of poverty, discrimination, exclusion, and oppression.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5534.

SOC-WK 5536 Social Work Research Methods Credits: 3

This course introduces students to the fundamental knowledge and skills of social work research such as practice evaluation, program planning, and other facets of professional social work practice. Emphasis on application of social research methods in actual practice situations will be used to assist students in skill development.

SOC-WK 5537 Quantitative Social Work Research Methods Credits: 3

This course is designed to prepare graduate level students to develop a comprehensive understanding of statistical method application to social work research. Students will gain a basic understanding of the research and statistical procedure that are needed for clinicians/researcher to operate within the field today. Students will become proficient in reading analyzing and assessing the results of social work publications.

Prerequisites: SOC-WK 5536.

SOC-WK 5538 Advanced Standing Seminar: Contemp Trends In Social Work Practice Credits: 3

This required seminar is designed for BSW's entering the Advanced Standing Program and serves to update and integrate social work practice approaches with contemporary perspectives of human behavior in the social environment.

Prerequisites: Advanced Standing Student.

SOC-WK 5539 Adv Standing Sem: Emerging Iss In Soc Welfare Policy And Research Credits: 3

This required seminar in the Advanced Standing Program examines emerging policy issues and research developments in the field. Students prepare to choose a field-of-practice concentration and to enter the Advanced-level year of study.

Prerequisites: Advanced Standing Student.

SOC-WK 5540 Advanced Social Work Practice I Credits: 3

This course prepares students with an advanced generalist social work perspective and to evaluate and integrate theory, values, and skills for assessment and direct practice with complex case situations in a rapidly changing service environment.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5512.

SOC-WK 5541 Advanced Social Work Practice II Credits: 3

This course extends the advanced generalist model of social work practice to working with challenging families and small groups. The course introduces leadership, organizational, and management competencies for professional practice in social service agencies and skills for coalition-building and collaboration in communities.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

Co-requisites: SOC-WK 5513.

SOC-WK 5542 Social Services With Older Adults Credits: 3

This course provides an overview of social service practice with older adults. Students examine population demographics, identify normal and abnormal aspects of aging, and examine methods, paradigms, and approaches to effective advanced generalist practice in treatment and community settings.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

SOC-WK 5544 Families, Communities and Child Welfare Credits: 3

This course examines child centered, family centered and neighborhood based approaches to child welfare.

Prerequisites: Completion of Social Work Foundation Sequence.

SOC-WK 5546 Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Social Work Practice Credits: 3

This course examines current practice approaches and policy/research issues in mental health and in the dually diagnosed. Students focus on service delivery systems of care with a variety of adult populations from an empowerment perspective.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

SOC-WK 5547 Grief and Loss in Social Work Practice Credits: 3

This course provides a comprehensive study of grief and loss from a professional social work perspective that includes current theories, evidence-based frameworks, and intervention strategies from a strengths-based perspective. The course will address many forms of special losses, such as suicide, homicide, HIV/AIDS, war-related grief, bankruptcy, divorce and other life transitional events that may or may not involve death and dying.

Prerequisites: Completion of all Foundation-level courses.

SOC-WK 5550 Program Evaluation and Management Credits: 3

this course is designed to train students in evaluation of direct practice, community needs and underserved populations. Students develop a new or enhanced model of service delivery to address needs. Strategic planning, management in theories and grant writing and major components of this course.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

SOC-WK 5560 Psychopathology: A Competency Based Assessment Model in Social Work Practice Credits: 3

The DSM will be used in conjunction with a competency-based assessment model that includes an ecological approach and systems theory to determine what biopsychosocial factors have contributed to the client's problem. The multi-axial system become a tool to gather information, that supports the competency-based assessment.

Prerequisites: Foundation Coursework.

SOC-WK 5561 Social Work in Health Care Credits: 3

This course builds on a foundation of direct social work practice in the context of the health care systems in the United States. The social work role in the medical model will be analyzed along with the roles of nursing and allied health professionals. Collaborative practice will be discussed.

Prerequisites: Completion of Foundation Social Work Courses and a practicum experience.

SOC-WK 5562 Family Organization and Development Credits: 3

This course examines developmental and structural theory that supports family-centered social work practice. Within this theory, the course explores how culture and social class shape family values, beliefs and behavior and how these are manifest in family structure as the family responds to developmental tasks in the context of its community.

Prerequisites: Completion of Social Work Foundation Sequence.

SOC-WK 5563 Life Span Issues in Developmental Disabilities Credits: 3

The need for interdisciplinary process in the human services sector, which supports inclusiveness and quality of life of individuals, is covered. The course covers cultural competence, person-centered and community-based application of services for their implications in planning and delivery of services.

Prerequisites: Students in good standing with the Master of Social Work Program, registered with the Interdisciplinary Leadership in Disability Studies graduate certificate Program.

SOC-WK 5564 Advanced Group Interventions in Social Work Credits: 3

This course provides both a didactic and experiential introduction to advanced group therapy for social work practice, explores the therapeutic factors, norms and their creation, the role of leader and termination as a group experience.

SOC-WK 5565 Systemic Oppression and Social Justice Advocacy Credits: 3

This course presents theoretical concepts of oppression, privilege, and social justice advocacy. Students will examine their social principles and their personal experiences. Social work's core values of social practice will be critically analyzed.

Prerequisites: Completion of Social Work Foundation Sequence.

SOC-WK 5566 Family and Community Violence Credits: 3

Students will consider the sources of interpersonal violence. The causes and forms of community and family violence will be examined in relationship to the impact of individuals, families and communities. Prevention and intervention models will be studied and developed.

Prerequisites: Completion of Social Work Foundation Sequence.

SOC-WK 5567 Collaborative Strengths-Based Practice: Multi-System Interventions Credits: 3

This course examines collaborative models of strengths-based, family-centered social work practice that receive significant funding from SAMHSA & NIH. Two models are explored in depth to compare and contrast program implementation when a model is based in values and philosophy vs. a theory-based model. The theory of change for each model is closely examined, as well as research supporting it and related ethical questions regarding assessment and intervention.

SOC-WK 5568 School Social Work Practice Credits: 3

Students will learn the knowledge and skills required for performing roles and functions of school social work in K-12 settings. They will apply social systems and the strengths perspectives within the context of school as organizations interconnected to community environments.

SOC-WK 5569 Core Concepts of Child and Adolescent Trauma Credits: 3

This course prepares students for trauma-informed, evidence-based practice. Based on core concepts, the course uses a problem-based learning approach through the use of in-depth case studies.

Prerequisites: All MSW Foundation Courses.

SOC-WK 5575 Advanced Generalist Community Practice Credits: 3

This seminar covers community social work practice at the advanced level addressing values, knowledge and skills essential for community social change. Models of community practice are addressed to facilitate student skill applicant in social planning, community development, and community collaboration strategies. Each model requires knowledge of large systems practice.

Prerequisites: Completion of 30 hrs or Required Foundation.

SOC-WK 5577 Sexuality and Social Work Practice Credits: 3

This course is a survey of issues that will provide knowledge for integrating human sexuality across a lifespan in the practice of social work. Using a biopsychosocial perspective, emphasis will be placed on historical, political, social, cultural, familial and individual differences in sexual and reproductive attitudes, values and behaviors.

Prerequisites:You must be a student in the Master of Social Work program to take this course.

SOC-WK 5579 Integration Seminar In Advanced Generalist Practice Credits: 3

This course, taken in the last semester, serves as a final integration of advanced generalist competencies in direct practice, organization/mangagement, social action/community building and advocacy, research/evaluation and leadership skills. Students prepare a major project for presentation.

Prerequisites: All other program requirements must be completed or concurrent with Soc-Wk 5579

SOC-WK 5580 Special Topics In Social Work Credits: 1-3

These seminars are designed to examine relevant and innovative areas emerging in social work practice which are not available in the regular course offerings. Topics, instructors, and prerequisites are listed in the semester bulletin.

Prerequisites: Completion of foundation year.

SOC-WK 5580D Special Topics In Social Work Credits: 1-3

SOC-WK 5590 Readings And Investigations In Social Work Credits: 1-3

Under the direction of a faculty member, individual students may pursue an in-depth area of study in generalist social work practice, including a research project of the student's choice.

SOC-WK 5899 Required Graduate Enrollment Credit: 1

One Hour Course required to remain continuously enrolled while the student finishes requirements for the Social Work degree.

Prerequisites: Permission of the Department