UNT, TWU team for first Joint Master of Social Work Degree in Texas

The degree is one of the most highly recognized degrees in health and human services.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The need for skilled social workers is expected to rise by 16 percent by 2026, much faster than average job growth. Graduates of the Texas Woman’s University – University of North Texas Joint Master of Social Work Degree Program, which was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in March of 2017, will be ready to fill those jobs in health care, child and family services, mental health and other fast-growing areas.

“The program’s concentration is ‘Advanced Generalist Practice’ which, in essence, prepares students to work in any social work setting,” said Dr. Mahasin Saleh, associate professor and JMSW Program founding director. “The JMSW students are placed in a variety of field internships in the region. They benefit from the opportunity to apply their classroom learning and further hone their social work skills in the community setting.”

The degree integrates greater theoretical and methodological knowledge, as well as research and evaluation sophistication at all levels of practice.

“What a fabulous partnership with TWU where we can capitalize on the talented faculty on both campuses to be not only student centered but focused on training practitioners for so many service delivery systems,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the UNT College of Health and Public Service.

By the 2019-20 school year, the TWU-UNT program will have the capacity to train 70 students per cohort each year to help meet the growing demand. Dr. Sharon Bowland, associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work, says the program prepares students for a variety of careers dedicated to helping others.

 “Social workers are employed in many types of jobs, including those in the health care and mental health sectors,” Dr. Bowland said. “We work with people across the lifespan, from children who experience abuse to older persons in primary care settings. We work with those who have economic struggles, including refugees and immigrants. We also lead social service agencies and write health-related policies. We take a problem-solving approach and seek to draw out the resilience that is present in our clients. We have the skills to empower families, groups and communities.”

The TWU-UNT Master of Social Work Program was granted candidacy status by the Council of Social Work Education in July of 2018.  The full accreditation process for new programs takes three years and this degree is in year two.