Nebraska Wesleyan University will expand its graduate program offerings next fall with the area’s only Master of Social Work degree.
The degree will have an emphasis on advanced trauma conscious social work practice.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic and evidence of racial injustice in our communities has demonstrated the clear need for this curricular focus, and we are ready to meet that need head on,” said Toni Jensen, assistant professor of social work, who will serve as program director. “We feel the program’s focus on trauma-conscious practice will help raise awareness to the impact of traumatic experiences on individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. This awareness will be translated into skill development so future social work practitioners can help address this impact through promoting well-being and resiliency.”
Applications for the 66-credit hour program will open on November 1. Full-time students can complete the degree in two years. Classes will begin in fall 2021. Students with undergraduate degrees in social work can apply for advanced standing with classes beginning in fall 2022. Those with advanced standing who attend classes full-time can complete the program in just one year. Students will have the flexibility to attend part-time. Classes will be offered face-to-face during evening classes on the university’s Lincoln campus. Scholarships will be available.
In May, the Higher Learning Commission approved NWU’s request to add a social work program at the master’s level. The university is now seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education.
President Darrin Good said the new program is part of the university’s strategic plan to address growth of academic programs that will attract new students through both undergraduate and graduate pathways.
“The new Master of Social Work degree fulfills an identified market need in Lincoln and the surrounding area,” said Good. “This program has an enormous potential to draw students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, enhancing the strength of our university while holding true to our core values of excellence, diversity and community.”
According to recent labor market analytics from Gray Associates, while just over one-third of social workers hold a master’s degree, earning the Master of Social Work can give applicants an edge in 41 percent of social work jobs nationally, 60 percent of social work jobs in the state of Nebraska, and 87 percent of social work jobs in the Lincoln metropolitan area.
This marks NWU’s fifth graduate program. Others include Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration joint degree and Master of Education.