Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Getting Your MSW (2006)

Getting Your MSW: How to Survive and Thrive in a Social Work Program (2006), by Karen Sowers and Bruce Thyer (a U-M social work alum!), is a comprehensive survival guidebook for prospective and current students who are interested in graduate social work (MSW) programs. The authors are social work professors at Florida State University. It helps orient students to the field of social work in general, the organization of social work education, state licensure requirements, and major professional social work organizations in the United States. In addition, the text is user-friendly to all audiences. The authors use open and honest language. There are nine chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Selecting the Right MSW Program
  • Chapter 2: What Schools Want to Know and How Best to Apply
  • Chapter 3: Strategies for Support and Survival
  • Chapter 4: Getting Started in Graduate School
  • Chapter 5: Understanding the Social Work Curriculum and Internship
  • Chapter 6: School Services
  • Chapter 7: Becoming Licensed and Earning Other Credentials
  • Chapter 8: Finding a Job after Graduation
  • Appendix: Professional Social Work Organizations

The chapters are short and straightforward with important advice, information and references. If you have been away from school for a while, I highly recommend this Getting Your MSW because it will help you become more acclimated to school. The book is generic in a sense that it is applicable to any social work program. Students can also use this guidebook as a supplement to their school's student handbook procedures.

However, if you are looking for more in-depth information about the field of social work as a whole (e.g., statistics, commentary, personal interviews), this is not the right text for that kind of research. The authors do not engage in controversial debates about the advantages and disadvantages of the profession. This is more of a general reference overview for readers who are new to social work and want to gain a better understanding of the admissions and graduate school process.

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