Toronto Metropolitan University

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Readiness for Graduate Social Work Education: Does an Undergraduate Social Work Major Make a Difference?

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posted on 2024-03-07, 20:12 authored by Stan L. Bowie, Denise McLane-DavisonDenise McLane-Davison

This study assessed the extent that a large sample of MSW-level social workers perceived that their undergraduate programs prepared them for graduate social work education. A survey collected data using the Undergraduate Preparation Subscale of the Preparation for Graduate Social Work Education (PGSWE) Scale. The sample (N = 1,056) consisted of MSW graduates from CSWE-accredited social work programs in the United States. Females represented 83.6% of the sample. Most respondents (64.1%) were White, followed by Black/African American (32.5%), Latinx (1.9%), Asian/Pacific Islander (0.9%), and Native American (0.5%). The remaining 0.1% of respondents were categorized as “other.” While 35.7% were undergraduate social work majors, followed by psychology (21.8%), sociology (11.7%), education (2.7%), and English (2.3%), an array of other majors was reported (25.8%), primarily business administration, liberal arts, history, political science, and criminal justice. The vast majority of respondents received their MSW degrees in the States of Tennessee (70.8%) and Florida (13.2%). The other 16% received MSW degrees in 28 other states. Most respondents (64.3%) had undergraduate degrees in majors other than social work. A surprising finding was that social work majors did not feel significantly more prepared for graduate social work education than non-social work majors. Implications are discussed regarding a need to strengthen the BSW/MSW continuum and seek evidence to guide curricular decisions in social work education.





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