Graduate Social Work Program Expectations For Student Learning

  • Students are expected to consult with faculty advisors to discuss learning goals and progress toward those goals during their graduate education.
  • Students are required to maintain a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA during the entire MSW program of study to remain in "good standing."
  • All written reports and term papers are to be prepared in a manner that reflects scholarship, including appropriate literature review, annotations, reference page where appropriate, and citations when references are used.
  • Specialized students (in both concentrations) must participate in counseling for 8-10 consecutive sessions.  These must be completed between October 1 and March 31.
  • Absence Policy: Perfect attendance is expected in all courses, though absences do not generate a specific penalty in a class. Most classes include a requirement of participation which cannot be made up in the event that a student is absent from class. When an absence occurs, the ability to make up work is not guaranteed (e.g., quizzes, tests, presentations, etc.).  Decisions related to making up work are at the discretion of the instructor of the class.  Any student with chronic patterns of absence will be subject to probation or dismissal based on lack of professionalism.  Students who have a major life event (birth of a child, the death of an immediate family member, military deployment, extended illness, etc.) resulting in multiple absences may request a leave from classes.  A student in this situation may receive a grade of incomplete at which time the student may need to attend part or all of the class the next time it is offered (not re-register) or negotiate an independent study completion with his or her professor(s).
  • ​Snow Policy: Official decisions about the closure of the Nampa campus due to weather will be communicated to all students from the Social Work office at least one hour prior to the beginning of class on a given day. Attempts will be made to make this announcement at least two hours prior. Barring closure of the Nampa campus, classes will be held regardless of weather. When inclement weather occurs in Idaho Falls, students attending class there are expected to make an informed decision about the safety of attending class on a given day. In the event that a student determines it is unsafe to attend class, the student should notify the professor at least one hour prior to the beginning of class. The student is also responsible for getting content from the professor for the missed class.
  • Late Work Policy: Students are expected to turn in all work on or before the due date. Students are responsible for contacting the instructor as soon as possible concerning events that may impact course requirements and deadlines. Late assignments will be marked down one grade letter and will not be accepted after five calendar days from the due date. Instructors will handle chronically late submissions of assignments on an individual basis.


Generalist Standing
Students who enter the Master of Social Work program from disciplines other than social work are given Generalist Standing. These students must take courses to lay a foundation for the specialized level social work courses. These generalist courses are taken during the first three semesters of the program.  A student who received a B.A. in a related field (e.g. psychology) may request a waiver of select generalist courses, which will be assessed by the program director.  Generalist field experience cannot be waived for any applicant without a BSW or B.A. in social work from an accredited program.

Advanced Standing
The Advanced Standing option was developed to recognize the academic accomplishments of applicants who have completed a B.A. in social work or a BSW from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Criteria for admission to Advanced Standing status are the same as generalist status admission requirements with the addition of the following requirements:

  • Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last 90 quarter credits or last 60 semester credits in their baccalaureate program.
  • A grade of B- (2.7) or higher is required in all upper division social work classes. Any classes with anything lower than a B- would have to be taken at the Generalist level.
  • Applicants must have completed their BSW within five years of enrollment in this MSW program.  Applicants who completed their degree more than five years prior to enrollment will be expected to enter the program at the Generalist level.  Depending on practice experience, Generalist Field and some Generalist courses may be waived or testing out permitted.
  • At the time of matriculation, it is preferred that applicants have at least one year of full-time experience in the social work field, extensive volunteer experience in human services settings, and extensive experience with diverse populations. 
Once fully admitted to the MSW program, students must maintain "continuous" enrollment. Continuous enrollment is defined as registering for at least one credit of course work each semester until graduation requirements are fulfilled. Exceptions to this policy may be made for students experiencing highly unusual circumstances (examples: called to active military duty, hospitalization, the death of an immediate family member). Requests for an exception must be submitted in writing and be approved by the program director.

Students who withdraw from school mid-semester may be subject to non-passing grades in the courses in which the student is enrolled in the session or semester of the withdrawal. Depending on the nature of the withdrawal, the student may be asked to meet with the program director prior to re-entry.  Re-entry into the program is not guaranteed.

Academic Standing and Dismissal Policy

  1. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in good standing in the MSW program at Northwest Nazarene University. If a student drops below a cumulative GPA of 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation for the duration of one semester and receive a letter from the program director outlining the requirements of probation.  Academic probation includes an academic plan for improvement created collaboratively and signed by the student and program director. The student must earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the semester of probation. If the student fails to earn a minimum GPA of 3.0, if the cumulative GPA still falls below the required 3.0, or if the student fails to meet the requirements of the academic improvement plan, the student may be academically dismissed from the program. Students are notified of academic dismissal by the program director in writing.
  2. Students who earn lower than a B- in two courses may be placed on academic probation as outlined above.
  3. Students must pass all content classes with a grade of B- or better. Students who fail to meet this expectation must re-enroll and pass the class with a B- or better in order for the class to contribute toward graduation requirements by the program.
  4. Students must secure a satisfactory field placement.  Students who are unable to meet this expectation for reasons relating to their inappropriateness or their lack of readiness for placement may be academically dismissed from the program. The decision regarding removal will be made by the field director in consultation with the program director.
  5. Students must pass all Field Placement courses (6570 & 7670) and Capstone with a grade of B or better.  Students who fail to meet this expectation must re-enroll and pass the class with a B or better for the class to contribute toward graduation requirements by the program. A non-passing grade in field placement may result in a student being asked to meet with the full faculty.  Additional consequences of a non-passing field grade are outlined in the Student Field Manual.
  6. Any student who does not pass field placement (6570 or 7670) or seminar (6571 or 7671) will be required to take SOWK6101. Professionalism 101.  A failing grade in field placement will automatically result in a non-passing seminar grade the same semester (eg. C in 7670 = C in 7671).  Any student who earns a non-passing seminar grade while passing field placement will be assigned volunteer service as outlined in the SOWK6101. Professionalism 101 course description.
  7. Cheating and plagiarism constitute unprofessional conduct and are violations of the ethical standards of the profession. Students who are found to be cheating or plagiarizing may be academically dismissed from the MSW program as identified above.

​Professional Reviews and Dismissal Policy

Department faculty and staff engage in a systematic and ongoing developmental review of student progress throughout the program. There are particular points in the program where all students are reviewed, such as the end of the Generalist year or the end of field placement. However, any student demonstrating challenges in academic, professional, or personal development may be subject to review at any point in the program. Becoming a competent social worker is not just about academic performance. A crucial part of being a competent social worker is related to a person's professional disposition (attitude, behavior, and demeanor).  As a result, students may be subject to faculty interventions for non-academic reasons, even if their academic work is excellent. The purpose of the dispositions assessment is to provide a framework for evaluating these crucial characteristics of students.

There are three basic principles which govern the dispositional assessment process:

  • A progressive disciplinary approach to consequences whenever possible
  • Timely and transparent communication with a student when dispositional concerns arise
  • A process that aids the student in amelioration of the identified dispositional concerns as applicable
Examples of faculty and departmental response include but are not limited to:
  1. Meet with full faculty
  2. Student-designed contracts
  3. Required counseling
  4. Probation
  5. Delayed entry into specialized courses
  6. Dismissal from the program
The complete dispositions assessment and policy are included in the Social Work Field Manual.

A student is expected to notify the program director as soon as possible in the event of a substance abuse relapse or criminal offense charge during the student's tenure in the MSW program. Upon notification of a relapse, an academic plan will be created collaboratively and will be signed by the student and the program director. Upon notification of a criminal offense charge, the student may be subject to dismissal from the program. Consideration will be given to the student based on early disclosure and the nature of the charge. 

 Any form of discrimination or disrespect shown to persons on the basis of age, class, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation is contrary to the purposes and values of social work and will result in a review of the student's status.