Graduate School - School of Social Work

Contact Information

Paul Ammons, Director

ACU Box 27899

Abilene, Texas 79699-7899

Hardin Administration Building, Room 109


Phone: 325-674-2072

Fax: 325-674-6525




Page Links:

Admission Requirements

Social Work (MSSW)

Certificate in Social Services Administration


Paul Ammons, Professor

Tanya Brice, Associate Professor

Susan Clark, Associate Professor

Bill Culp, Associate Professor

Brenda Van Dunk, Assistant Professor

Thomas L. Winter, Professor











We strive to honor God by advocating social and economic justice for the poor and vulnerable of the earth; by celebrating the joys of diversity; by integrating faith and social work; and by building the evidence of effective social work practice.

Our mission is to prepare graduates to be competent practitioners who are able to incorporate their faith and best evidence into practice; to advance social work knowledge through research and other scholarly activities; and to promote social justice worldwide through leadership roles in the social services.


Graduate Programs

The School of Social Work offers a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Social Services Administration, which may be completed as part of the MSSW program of study. Dual degrees in social work and theology are also available (Programs leading to the MSSW-MACM and MSSW-MDIV are offered. Contact either the School of Social Work or the Graduate School of Theology for more details).

The ACU MSSW program offers an innovative curriculum aimed at preparing leading edge social work practitioners. It is designed to produce versatile social work leaders who are able to incorporate their faith and employ technology to identify and make use of what works – the most promising interventions, the most forward-thinking programs and policies – to empower and instill hope in their clients and to promote positive social change.

There are two programs of study leading toward the MSSW: Standard and Advanced Standing. The Standard Program requires two years of full-time study (64 hours). The first year introduces important ideas and concepts that are at the heart of what it means to be a social worker and to engage in evidence-informed practice. The second year concentrates on evidence-based social interventions with systems of various sizes.

The Advanced Standing program is for students who have completed a BSW from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. Following a 6-hour summer seminar, Advanced Standing students move directly into the 32-hour second year of study.

Both programs combine classroom study with supervised internships in social service agencies and include either a thesis or a research project suitable for dissemination.

The MSSW program is seeking accreditation by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). The program was granted pre-candidacy by CSWE in August 2006, and is under review for candidacy effective fall, 2007. These are the first two steps toward full accreditation. Initial accreditation automatically covers those graduating classes of students admitted while the program is in candidacy.

Admission Requirements
While the Standard Program accepts students with a bachelor’s degree in any field, students are expected to demonstrate a broad liberal arts background. A course in statistics is highly desirable.

Applicants are required to meet all of the admission requirements of the Graduate School. The writing sample must be a personal statement addressing reflections on the four themes of the School of Social Work—evidence-informed practice, God’s gift of diversity, faith and social work, and social justice.

Applications for the Standard Program are accepted for fall admission. Advanced Standing students with a recent BSW degree from a program accredited by the CSWE are admitted in June. Applicants who completed the BSW more than five years ago are eligible for advanced standing only if they are employed in the field of social services.

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Major Code: MSSW or MSSW-ADV (for Advanced Standing*)

Requirements for the MSSW are:

YEAR 1 COURSES (32 HOURS)                                                                                 
SOCW 615Social Work Research Methods
SOCW 625Human Behavior/Social Environment
SOCW 641 Social Welfare Policy and Services
SOCW 651 Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice I
SOCW 681 Foundation Field Practicum I
SOCW 616 Program Practice and Evaluation
SOCW 626 Diversity, Power and Oppression
SOCW 642 Policy Analysis and Practice
SOCW 652

Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice II

SOCW 682 Foundation Field Practicum II


  (Required for Advanced Standing students (MSSW-ADV), optional for other students.)

SOCW 600Seminar for Advanced Standing Students
SOCW 741Globalization and Social Justice
SOCW 744

Management and Funding for Nonprofit Organizations

SOCW 751Advanced Evidence-Based Practice Interventions I
SOCW 781Advanced Field Practicum I
SOCW 798/799Research Project/Thesis
SOCW 725Spirituality and Social Work Practice
SOCW 745

Administration and Planning for Nonprofit Organizations

SOCW 752Advanced Evidence-Based Practice Interventions II
SOCW 782

Advanced Field Practicum II

SOCW 798/799Research Project/Thesis

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Contact Information

Bill Culp, Advisor
ACU Box 27866

Abilene, Texas 79699-7866
Hardin Administration Building, Room 109

Phone: 325-674-2072
Fax: 325-674-6524


Bill Culp, Associate Professor
Thomas L. Winter, Professor


Faculty from other departments who
teach in this program:

David Gotcher, Associate Professor of Sociology

Paul Lakey, Professor of Communication
Phillip Vardiman, Assistant Professor of
                              Management Sciences

The certificate in social services administration requires 15 hours, and course work may apply toward the Master of Science in gerontology degree or the Master of Science in Social Work degree.

Requirements for the certificate in social services administration are:

          1. Core courses, 12 hours:
              MGMT 532 Human Resource Management
              SOCW 541 Social Welfare Policy and Services
              SOCW 744 Management and Funding of Nonprofit Organizations
              SOCW 745 Administration and Planning for Nonprofit Organizations

          2. Selection, 3 hours:
              COMS 642 Seminar in Communication or
              SOCI 560 Ethics and Social Issues

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