MSW Policies & Procedures
MSW Program Policies & Procedures
The information below is not a substitute for the current graduate catalog or current general Student Handbook of the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Students should be familiar with the official University polices delineated in the University graduate catalog and general Student Handbook. The information below delineates program-specific and relevant University-level policies and procedures and serves as a supplement in addition to the official University policies and procedures. Policies and procedures are subject to change at the University and/or departmental levels. For the most current policies, students should refer to this website for departmental policies and the online University catalog for University policies.
Admissions policies and procedures are under the Admissions section of this web site.
Credit for Life Experience:
The Master of Social Work Program does not give credit for life experience for, or in substitution of, any part of the MSW Program course requirements, including the prerequisite SWK1010 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare, the foundation year coursework, or the concentration year required coursework and electives.
Testing Out Policy:
The Master of Social Work Program does not provide an option to test out of any Social Work coursework at the graduate or undergraduate level.
Academic Standing Policies:
University Policy: Students may enroll in no more than 15 master’s level credit hours per semester for fall and spring semesters. The same limit applies during the summer term.
Departmental note: MSW students follow a specific plan that designates credit load. A full-time student takes 15 credits per semester and a part-time student takes between 6 and 9 credits per semester. Students should default to the University policy to define full-time or part-time status for financial aid purposes.
University Policy: Students in master’s programs must complete the degree with a GPA of 3.0. No more than two grades of C or lower will be counted toward degree requirements. No grade lower than C counts toward degree requirements. All grade records remain on the master’s transcript and count toward the GPA. A student who has received two grades of C will be placed on probation and required to meet with an advisor on a regular basis. A student who receives a third grade of C will be dismissed from the program.
Departmental Policy: MSW students who fall below a 3.0 GPA at any point during the program or receive one grade of “C” or below will receive an automatic performance review.
Departmental Policy: Students must receive a grade of “B” or better in SWKM5150 Field Experience I, SWKM5350 Field Experience II, SWKM6150 Field Experience III, and SWKM6250 Field Experience IV. A grade of “C” will initiate an automatic performance review.
University Policy: No course can count both toward the master’s degree and the bachelor’s degree.
Departmental Policy: Only students who are formally accepted into the MSW Program may register for any graduate level social work course. Non degree seeking students should follow the non degree seeking policy.
University Policy: The University residency requirement for master's program is the total number of hours required for the program minus 9.
Sequential Coursework Policy:
Departmental Policy: All MSW coursework, including electives, must be completed in the required sequential order adhering to course prerequisites and co-requites. Students who fall out of sequence are no longer in good academic standing within the department and must seek advising immediately with the MSW Admissions and Advising Coordinator to continue in the program. A plan of completion will be determined in advising and the revised plan could delay graduation by a year or more. No grade of “D” or “F” counts towards degree requirements, thus causing student to be out of sequence and requiring an automatic performance review.
Change of Program Criteria Policy:
Departmental Policy: At the time of admission to the Master of Social Work Program, the student will receive a Plan of Completion that indicates program criteria including: full-time or part-time status, start semester, concentration and track (if applicable) and semester-by-semester course plan. Students may not change any program criteria without the formal written approval of a Social Work advisor. Any change in program criteria could delay graduation or require student to reapply to the MSW Program. Readmission is not guaranteed. Due to the impact these changes have on various parts of the program Change of Track/Status forms are only accepted during the month of January.
Change of Track Status Program Form ( 109 KB)
Time Limit for Completing the Program:
University Policy: Students must complete the master's degree within 6 calendar years from the term they initially enroll. Students should check the program web site and/or specific program section of the catalog to determine specific degree requirements.
Departmental Procedure: In general, the MSW Program expects students to complete the program within the timeframe agreed to on the Plan of Completion (2 years for a part-time Advanced Standing student, 1 year for a full-time Advanced Standing student, 4 years for a part-time Regular (2-Year) student and 2 years for a full-time Regular (2-Year) student. Any deviation from the Plan of Completion received at admissions requires a new plan approved through advising. Approval will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Leave of Absence or Deferment:
University Policy: Students who have not been in attendance for three consecutive semesters, including summer, need to submit a reapplication form. Students requesting re-admission must be in good academic standing and must submit their application for re-admission to the master's program in which they have enrolled.
Departmental Procedure: Students who wish to return to the MSW Program must fill out the MSW Readmission Form ( 100 KB) Upon receipt of the form, the Admissions and Advising Coordinator will contact the student to determine a timeline and develop a plan of completion. Students are not guaranteed readmission. Students are also not guaranteed reentry into their original concentration. The Readmission Form is due to the department during the admission deadlines (December-February). Students are encouraged to submit the form during this time due to course registration, field placements and other important deadlines.
Transfer of Credits:
University Policy: No more than 9 transfer hours (semester or equivalent) will be accepted for any program. These credit hours must have been completed no longer than six years prior to the admission term and be from a regionally accredited US institution or equivalent.
Programs have discretion over courses which are accepted. A minimum grade of B is required for transfer courses.
Departmental Transfer Procedure: Advanced Standing Program applicants will automatically receive a block of 30 graduate credits once the program has verified affirmative Council on Social Work Education accreditation status at the time the student graduated with their BSW degree.
All graduate transfer credit requests, with the exception of the block of 30 credits automatically transferred for BSW graduates, must be submitted in writing to the MSW Program Director with the course syllabi of each course. No undergraduate courses will be accepted as substitutions for graduate coursework. The MSW Program does not guarantee the transfer of graduate-level Social Work courses from other schools.
MSW students who received their BSW degree more than six years ago or are requesting the transfer of graduate social work courses from more than six years ago may be accepted conditionally on a case-by-case basis. This status is typically reserved for those that can document substantial and on-going professional experience in the field of social work.
Incomplete and No Credit (NC) Notations:
NC Notation Departmental Policy: Students who request to NC an MSW course should not do so prior to seeking advising. Due to the sequential nature of MSW courses, an NC in a course could delay graduation by one year or more and in all cases will require a revised plan of completion. Failure to do this may result in violation of the Sequential Coursework Policy.
University Policy: The Incomplete (I) notation may be assigned when a student, who was achieving satisfactory progress in a course and who had completed most class assignments, is unable to take the final examination and/or did not complete all class assignments due to unusual circumstances such as hospitalization or disability. Incomplete work denoted by the Incomplete "I" notation must be complete within one calendar year or earlier, at the discretion of the faculty member. If the incomplete work is not completed within one year, the "I" notation will convert to an "F." Students must have completed at least 75% of the course work to qualify for consideration for an Incomplete. The student must be passing the course in order to be granted an Incomplete. Please see the MSU Denver Graduate Catalog to read the entire policy.
Departmental Policy: MSW students must complete the work required for any incomplete notation given before the following semester begins. Any outstanding incomplete at the start of the following semester will initiate an automatic performance review.
Departmental Procedure: MSW students who wish to request an Incomplete "I" notation in any MSW course must also complete the MSW Incomplete Form ( 98 KB)
MSW Program Policy on Missed Class:
Adopted from original author, Dr. Bob Vernon
Would you want to be treated by a physician who skipped lectures on anatomy? How about retaining an attorney who didn’t show up for that tort law class very much? The same applies to social work education: We are responsible for certifying that you have, at minimum, received the basic instruction needed for beginning professional practice.
There are many reasons why students miss class. Some are great, such as attending professional conferences or celebrating family events. Others are immediate and certainly have higher priority, such as serious illness or loss of a loved one. And yes, some are trivial, such as having booked concert tickets or that Caribbean cruise.
The nature of your reason doesn’t matter: What does matter is that when you are absent I cannot certify that you have mastered the contents for the missed class.
The following procedures are available for you for making up no more than two class absences. Student may select option 1 or 2.
- Write a three-page summary of the assigned readings for the date missed. If there were no readings, contact your instructor who will assign readings.
a. Papers must be double spaced, 12 point type.
b. Follow the format in the syllabus.
- Provide an annotated bibliography of five juried articles from the literature that directly pertain to the assigned readings and class content for the date you missed.
a. This can be done through online sources such as EBSCO or other databases available from the university library system.
b. The articles may NOT be the same as those appearing in the assigned readings.
In short, go on a treasure hunt for new information!
All make-up papers are due at the end of the semester on the last day of class. Points earned by completing options 1 or 2 listed above will be awarded towards participation points only. Since this option is available for only two missed classes, students will lose participation points after the second missed class. No student may miss more than 25% of any course(Based on a 16-week semester). Students who miss more than 25% will receive a grade of “F” in the course and automatic performance review will be conducted to determine if student can continue on in the MSW Program and, if so, under what conditions.
Late Paper Policy:
Students are responsible to:
- Turn in the correct paper for the assignment due. If a student turns in a paper intended for another class, it will be graded based on the assignment due. If that student discovers his/her mistake, contacts the instructor and emails the correct paper to the Instructor, it will be graded as a late paper.
- Turn in a paper in a file format that opens in word. The instructor will notify the student and give the student a limited amount of time to resubmit the paper. It will be graded as a late paper.
- Turn in assignments by the due date and submitted in the proscribed method. If a paper is late, it will be graded as a late paper. Each week a paper is late a 10% deduction will be given.
- Discuss exceptions to the above with the instructor. On rare occasions where students know their paper will be late due a personal crisis, the instructor may modify the above policy.
Assignment Grade Issue Policy:
If a student has a grade dispute with the instructor, he/she should:
- Make an appointment to come to campus to discuss grade concerns with the instructor. Having a one minute conversation after class does not meet this requirement. In rare cases where the grading issue cannot be resolved with the instructor, the student may
- Make an appointment to come to campus to discuss the grade concerns with assigned faculty advisor. The faculty advisor will notify the instructor and MSW Director of this meeting and gather background information in preparation for this meeting. The faculty advisor or the MSW Director may request the presence of the MSW Director at the meeting. The student will be asked to bring a graded copy of the paper and an ungraded copy of the paper. The faculty advisor may ask another faculty member that teaches in the same content area to grade the paper without knowing what the original grade was. This new information will be forwarded to the instructor and factored into a consideration of a grade change. Students should be aware that this could result in a higher grade, grade unchanged or a lower grade on the assignment.
All written communication in the classroom environment (online and on campus) will be in American Psychological Association (APA) sixth edition format.
Field Experience Policies
For a complete list of Professional Field Experience Policies refer to the Field Manual.
Grade of "C" in Field Experience:
An automatic Performance Review will be initiated if an MSW student receives a grade of "C" in any field experience course. The Performance Review Committee may require the student to repeat the field experience or complete other problem resolution actions. In some cases, the student may be dismissed from the MSW Program.
Field Disruption Policy:
Students are required to complete two consecutive semesters of field experience at the same agency under the same agency field instructor. This provides students with an in depth experience in which they can move toward more independent social work functioning over the course of ten months.
However, there are unique circumstances in which students cannot remain at the same agency or continue working with the same agency field instructor.
- In situations where disruptions in field placement occur, through no fault of the student, the student will continue in field placement with a new field instructor or in a different agency during the current academic year. If the disruption occurs after the first semester, the student may continue in field in the spring semester of the following year. Such disruptions include:
-Agency turnover or changes in job requirements require the assignment of a different agency field instructor.
-The agency field instructor is not able to provide field instruction in keeping with CSWE requirements.
-The agency closes down or is not able to maintain social work field instruction in keeping with CSWE requirements.
- In the event that medical or life cycle issues require that a student withdraw, efforts will be made to ensure that the student will be able to return to the same agency to complete the placement the following year. If a change of agency is required, the student may be required to begin the placement sequence at the beginning of fall semester, in order to be able to complete the co-requisite course requirements that are tied to the placement.
- Students in the BSW program, who, for whatever reason, do not pass the required social work classes that are co-requisite to the Professional Field Experience may not continue in field placement. Students who do not pass a co-requisite course in the fall semester may not move forward into the second semester of field placement. Students whose placements are disrupted for this reason will be required to take the full field sequence in the following academic year. The rationale for this requirement is twofold: 1) Students will not be able to complete the required Practice Evaluation project if they have failed Applied Research or do not take Applied Research concurrently with Field; 2) Students who do not pass the Practice class will be required to demonstrate that they have achieved the necessary practice skills to function successfully in the field placement as a beginning social worker.
Student Codes of Conduct
The Metropolitan State University of Denver Student Code of Conduct applies to all MSU Denver students, regardless of level.
Standards of Professional Behavior:
The Department of Social Work at the Metropolitan State University of Denver is mandated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to foster and evaluate professional behavioral development for all students in the social work program. The Department of Social Work also bears a responsibility to the community at large to produce fully trained professional social workers who consciously exhibit the competencies, values, and skills of the profession of social work. The values of the profession are codified in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and the Council on Social Work Education has ten core educational competencies that social workers must master. Given this context, the Social work Department has identified behaviors for the social work student to exhibit in the classroom, the online classroom, field placement, in the Social Work office, through email/phone conversations, and any other interaction in a professional/academic setting. This document does not include the complete NASW Code of Ethics or the CSWE Educational Policies, however it highlights particular ethics and competencies to serve as a framework of professional and ethical behaviors to abide by while a social work student at MSCD. Other aspects of the NASW Code of Ethics or the CSWE Educational Policies are evaluated academically throughout the program's curriculum. Please read the Standards of Professional Behavior ( 52 KB)
Performance Review Procedure
All students are admitted and retained in the Master of Social Work Program on the assumption that they have the potential academic ability and personal suitability for completing the Program. All students admitted to the Master of Social Work Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver are expected to maintain the standards established by the Social Work Department, the social work profession and the University.
During the course of study a student may not perform at the required level. When problematic situations are identified, the Performance Review Committee will conduct a review to determine whether it is appropriate for the student to continue in the Master of Social Work Program, and if so, under what conditions. Such conditions could include a requirement to complete study skills or writing skills development, completion of psychological counseling or other treatment, or other appropriate activities to resolve academic or personal problems. Please read the MSW Performance Review ( 97 KB) document.
Student Initiated Review ( 128 KB)
Faculty/Staff/Administrative Review ( 120 KB)