Earn Your MSW at Southern

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives and communities around you? Learn more about how Southern’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program will prepare you for a successful career as a social worker.

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Social Work Information Session:  

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Social Work in the Modern World

At its core, being a social worker is all about empowering others, influencing change, and making a positive impact on the lives of others. Here at Southern, we’re helping to create the next generation of social workers who are passionate about supporting their clients through these principles—all within the Christian framework.

Our program offers an advanced generalist degree to equip you to make an impact in all three levels of social work:

  • Micro (family, individuals)
  • Mezzo (communities, churches, schools)
  • Macro (government, legislation/policy)

Southern graduates are prepared to take on leadership roles as school social workers, medical social workers, foster care professionals, social work administrators for nonprofit organizations, and more.

So, whether you want to help people one-on-one or influence change on a grander scale, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to succeed. The generalist approach will also prepare you well for exploring new fields if you ever wish to pursue other career opportunities down the line.

First, let’s take a look at what opportunities are available for graduates of MSW programs.

Or, skip ahead to our program details if you’re ready.


Whatever your career goals are in the field of social work, we want to help you accomplish them.

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What Can You Do with an

The answer: almost anything!

More than 600 career paths are open to you once you have an MSW under your belt, so you can pursue your area of interest while enjoying the flexibility to explore new options as you choose. Graduates of Southern’s MSW program have gone on to accomplish incredible achievements and have made a difference in countless lives.

Our program offers three areas of emphasis: Crisis and Emergency Management, Mental Health Practice in Social Work, and School Social Work so that you can pursue the area that aligns with your career goals.

Let's take a look at some common career paths you could explore with an MSW:

School Social Worker

Many students deal with poverty, problems at home, mental health issues, or learning disabilities. School social workers coordinate with students, administration, families, and teachers to create and enact the school policies around mental health intervention, crisis management, discipline, and support services.

Crisis and Emergency Management

The role of a crisis and emergency management social worker is intense, with high stakes. You’ll be helping people deal with injuries, illnesses, trauma, abuse, and other critical emergency situations. It’s also extraordinarily fulfilling and rewarding to help people when they need it most.

Mental Health Social Worker

As mental health is normalized and more people seek mental health services, the need for mental health social workers has increased. In this role, you'll work to help clients address situations such as illness, trauma, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety and provide strategies for coping with these challenges.

Community Practitioners

Community practitioners represent the people in their communities and advocate for change. This may involve working with local organizations and government agencies to improve living conditions, applying for grants, and improving the lives of those in your community.

What Salaries Do Social Workers Earn?

Depending on your area of specialization, career track, and job location, you can expect a salary in the range of $45,000 - $65,000.

Here’s a quick look at the average annual salaries for some of the most common career paths after earning an MSW:

Mental Health Social Worker
School Social Worker
Child and Family Social Worker
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Geriatric Social Worker
Medical Social Worker

Access Southern’s MSW Program Guide

To help you discover what you’ll learn in each of Southern's areas of emphasis, the career options you’ll have to choose from, and how our program will prepare you for a successful career as a social worker, we’ve put together this extensive resource: Make an Impact for Good: The MSW Program at Southern. In this online ebook experience, you’ll get insights into:

  • Each area of emphasis and what type of work you’d do in each field
  • Personalized career trajectories into each career path
  • What our distinguished faculty love most about the program
  • What you actually learn in the MSW program
  • Southern's unique faith-based approach to social work
1242985_-Southern- GS Social Work eBook Cover_1_032522


Career Roadmap: What Can You Do with a Social Work Degree? 

Social work is a dynamic, service-based career that opens the door to many opportunities. Check out the blog to learn more about careers you can pursue with an MSW.

More on the Blog

The MSW Degree Options at Southern

There are two enrollment options for Southern’s MSW program: Advanced Placement and Foundation Placement. Advanced Placement is only available to students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program.

You’ll also have the opportunity to choose from three different emphases:

  • Crisis and Emergency Management

  • Mental Health Practice in Social Work

  • School Social Work

Explore the MSW Program


Social worker with a child

School Social Work

The School Social Work emphasis in Southern’s faith-based MSW program will provide you with the practical and theoretical knowledge to succeed as a social worker in the school system and incorporate biblical values of compassion and respect for each individual.

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Crisis and Emergency Management

Our program will help prepare you to work with doctors, first responders, or other professionals to ensure that your clients are safe. By learning in a faith-based program, you’ll have the opportunity to apply God’s teachings to your everyday practice by demonstrating compassion, patience, and respect.

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Mental Health Social Work

Graduates of Southern’s MSW program who have selected an emphasis in Mental Health Practice in Social Work are thriving in a wide range of settings, including private practice, hospitals, mental health clinics, community health organizations, primary care facilities, and rehabilitation treatment centers.

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MSW/MBA Dual Degree

The MSW/MBA dual degree at Southern is designed for people whose passion for helping others is matched by their passion for business and leadership. The program meets at the intersection of social work, business, and healthcare leadership and combines the best of both the social work and business fields.

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A Faith-Based Approach to Social Work

As a faith-based social work program, we bring God’s teachings to the way that we seek to understand and empower others, practice compassion, and pursue service-based careers.

Our students learn in a nurturing, encouraging, relationship-based environment and are taught to bring those virtues to their everyday practice.

faith-based ms in professional counseling session

Looking for More Program Information?

We’re happy to tell you more about the MSW program specifics, requirements, and admissions process. You can request additional program information or schedule a meeting with a Southern representative below.

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Meet the Faculty Who’ll Support Your Social Work Career

Our team of social work professionals and educators will inspire you, challenge you, and fuel your passion for serving others. While earning your degree, you’ll be empowered by our faculty of experienced, compassionate social workers who are committed to helping you achieve your career goals and become the best social worker you can be.

Southern’s faculty members bring unique expertise in a number of areas, which they love sharing with their students. Whichever emphasis you choose, you’ll have a chance to learn from faculty who offer invaluable hands-on experience in providing social services to clients.

Many of our graduates maintain relationships with our faculty and still look to them as mentors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them with questions!

Southern Adventist University School of Nursing

Why Southern?

Every journey begins with a single step, and we’d be honored if you took that first step with us. Graduates of Southern’s MSW program have gone on to accomplish incredible achievements and have made a difference in countless lives.

More flexible. More affordable. More valuable.

Will you become the next social work professional that we get to brag about?

Learn More About Southern


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Want to learn more about the MSW? Just fill out the form to receive additional program resources and insights.