Program accreditation
Council on Social Work Education

Clinical social work practice involves a mutual problem-solving process in which multidimensional assessment, goal-setting, planned intervention and evaluation are prominent components, all of which are informed by current scientific knowledge. All clinical practice is grounded in the values and purposes of the social work profession. The goal of clinical social work is to promote effective coping with life challenges and transitions. This is achieved by helping people solve problems, change dysfunctional behavior, resolve emotional and interpersonal conflicts, develop and use social networks and resources, and maintain achieved capacities and strengths. This goal rests on the fundamental belief in the dignity of all human beings and in communal responsibility for all members of the multicultural society.

Program goals

Flowing from the mission of the School of Social Work and guided by the principles of promoting social justice, human rights, diversity, cultural competence/sensitivity and ethical practice, the goals of the M.S.W. program are:

  1. To provide for a generalist knowledge, skills, ethics and values essential for work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations
  2. To provide for a program that prepares students for work in concentration areas of specialization in either clinical social work or social work administration, planning and policy practice in a range of settings
  3. To provide for an educational environment where students apply the profession’s values and ethical principles
  4. To provide for an educational environment where students gain a greater understanding of implications of diversity through education on identifying cultural strengths and ways to counteract individual and institutional prejudice, oppression and discrimination
  5. To provide for an educational environment where students apply research methods to analyze and critically evaluate professional practice, programs and service delivery systems
  6. To provide for an educational environment where students gain a greater understanding of advocacy and involvement in advocacy to affect social and economic justice

Program competencies

Competency 1 – Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior

​Competency 2 – Engage diversity and difference in practice

Competency 3 – Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice

Competency 4 – Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice

Competency 5 – Engage in policy practice

Competency 6 - Engage with individuals, families, communities and organizations

Competency 7 – Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

Competency 8 – Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

Competency 9 – Evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.