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Social Work

Availability: Gulf Park and Hattiesburg Options

Why Social Work? You Can Change the World.

Social work is for the person interested in:

  • Individuals’ dignity and worth
  • Diversity
  • Empowerment of others
  • Social and economic justice
  • Physical and mental well-being
  • Quality of life

Full- and part-time programs are available. A field internship at an agency totaling 420 hours is required.

Graduates of the BSW program are required to pass the state-mandated licensure exam to practice.

The Council on Social Work Education accredits our BSW program.

Licensure requirements vary by state. In Mississippi, the Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists oversees regulation for social workers.

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94.5%Retention rate in core curriculum
40%of graduates earning master’s degrees
1stChild advocacy studies minor in Mississippi

What Will I Learn?

As a social work major, you will gain knowledge, values and skills to:

  • Identify as a professional
  • Use evidence-based interventions to assist individuals, groups, families, communities and organizations in problem-solving
  • Work in various settings: hospitals, schools, disaster relief agencies, government, child welfare, residential facilities, nonprofit agencies
  • Work with a diverse clientele: children, the homeless, individuals with disabilities, the aged, military and veterans, families
  • Enhance quality of life for all people
  • Practice in a state/region with limited social welfare safety nets and scarce public resources

New applicants must designate full- or part-time enrollment.

Students must possess certain core competencies before enrolling in their first social work courses. Competencies include a basic knowledge of the social and psychological domains of the human person and effective communication skills; minimum specific course grades; sophomore standing; and a minimum grade point average.

Supervised internships – more commonly referred to as field work – are required for all BSW students, who gain practical experience in a professional setting under the supervision of licensed social workers.

With 200+ agency partners, the school typically places students in Mississippi, but out-of-state and international placements are possible. One student recently completed her internship in Ghana, for example.

Full-time students work 32 hours a week in their final semester to reach their required 450 field hours. Part-time students split those hours over their final two semesters.

Our BSW students conduct research with faculty mentors and have opportunities to present posters of evidence-based research at state and regional conferences.

In 2018, for example, three BSW students represented Southern Miss at the annual Mississippi conference for social workers on topics of resiliency, criminal justice and racism.

The student poster focused on racism won the top undergraduate award for empirical research, and was also presented at Ole Miss, FSU and at the 2018 National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

There are 8 Social Work-specific undergraduate scholarships that students may apply for. Each year, the School of Social Work honors new scholarship recipients.

History and Social Work in Cuba is a two-week study abroad experience following the spring semester.

Students can earn three hours of academic credit in the class Human Rights and Social Development in the Caribbean. Financial aid may be available to assist with expenses.

Located in Havana, the program includes visits to:

  • National museums
  • Historic sites
  • Landmarks
  • Human service agencies such as schools, literacy programs, orphanages, health and prevention programs, child welfare and mental health agencies

The 18-hour Child and Advocacy Studies (CAST) minor:

  • Provides students with knowledge of how to organize and implement a multidisciplinary response to child maltreatment
  • Focuses on experiential, interdisciplinary, ethical, and culturally sensitive content that provides a collective knowledge base for responding to child maltreatment for professionals who work with children
  • Was developed to better equip students to carry out the work of various agencies and systems (healthcare, criminal justice, social services) as they advocate on behalf of the needs of children as victims and survivors of child abuse

Relational, Engaging Learning Environment

Our experienced, diverse faculty practice what they preach with a “relational” curriculum, creating a classroom experience that is a model for developing professional social workers.

Faculty and students work together closely in an inclusive, immersive, and personal setting. This approach mirrors real-world relational practice that engages clients and their support networks to identify and solve problems.

All faculty teach on both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses, strengthening their bonds with all students.

Professional Licensure Disclosure

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work curriculum is designed to help prepare students to sit for the professional licensure exam for Mississippi. At this time, USM cannot determine if a particular program meets the licensing requirement for every state. You will want to contact the licensing board in which state you intend to pursue licensure for their requirements. Information about various licensure for all states is located through the sites below:

Mississippi State Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapist  MSBOE

For more information on licensing boards Click Here

For questions, please contact Jenine Housewright, LMSW at j.houselyFREEMississippi or 601-266-5569.


Degree Plan Availability
Social Work BSWGulf Park, Hattiesburg
Child Advocacy Studies Minor
  • Child Welfare Social Work
  • Geriatric Social Work
  • Community-Based Social Work
  • Criminal Justice
  • Medical Social Work
  • Mental Health Social Work
  • Angela Savage, DSW, LMSW, ’01, ’06. 
    Instructor/Director of Field Education, Mississippi State University-Meridian campus
  • Tonya Johnson Galloway, ’99. 
    Family Community Engagement Specialist, Pearl River Valley Opportunity (PRVO)
  • Latesha "Tanise" Mcinnis, MSW, LCSW, EdS, ’01, ’04.
    Contract Nursing Home Coordinator, Gulf Coast Health Care
  • JaCory Battle, LSW, ’15. 
    Medical Social Worker, Forrest General Hospital
  • Yvette A. Claverie, ’06, ’13. 
    Family Protection Specialist Advanced (FPW-A), Mississippi Department Child Protection Services (MDCPS)
  • Veronica Bergendahl, ’15.
    Intensive Treatment Foster Care Social Worker / Intensive Care Coordinator, The Village Family Services