ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University will begin offering a master’s degree in social work beginning in fall 2006.
The new offering was given final approval this month by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. Winthrop’s Board of Trustees endorsed the new degree in November.
About 45 people are expected to enroll initially in the degree program, which will prepare students to advance to a variety of positions in the social work field. It also is designed to provide an advanced degree to those already in social work. The degree may attract as many as 90 students by 2010.
Ron Green, professor and chair of the Department of Social Work, said that the advanced concentration offered in the program, called individual and community empowerment practice, will be the only such combination in the region. This concentration requires graduates to be able to use casework knowledge, group work, community practice, and policy practice to help clients gain control over their lives.
The program will offer three paths to the proposed degree: a one-year program for those who hold the B.S.W. from an accredited institution; a two-year program for those who hold degrees other than the B.S.W. and who can attend full time; and a three-year program for those who are working in the field and need to work part-time toward the degree.
Courses for the three-year program will be taught mostly on weekends. Only one other institution in the nation offers this schedule of classes for this degree, Green said. The course work in the two- and three-year programs is identical and requires 60 credit-hours of study. The one-year program concentrates on advanced studies and requires 39 credit-hours of study.
The coursework in all three paths conforms to Council on Social Work Education standards. Green said his department intends to gain full accreditation for the program from the Council on Social Work Accreditation by spring 2009.