Photo courtesy UTEP
The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program in the College of Health Sciences has been ranked No. 2 for best graduate social work program in Texas.
The ranking was announced Thursday by SocialWorkDegree.org, an online resource focused on social work education and career advancement.
“We are deeply committed to providing our next generation of health and human service professionals with an outstanding education at an affordable cost,” said College of Health Sciences Dean Shafik Dharamsi, Ph.D.
“This achievement is a testament to the dedication of our faculty who work tirelessly to secure external grants that will provide our students with stipends and scholarships so they can focus on their education without having to worry about student loan debt.”
Started in 2010, UTEP’s MSW program is the only one in the nation with an advanced concentration in “Social Work on the Border.” Graduates are prepared to address the many social and health needs of families and communities in the Paso del Norte region.
“I believe the ranking shows that a person can receive a quality social work education at UTEP that is very affordable,” said Bruce D. Friedman, Ph.D., the new director of UTEP’s Department of Social Work.
“The student-to-faculty ratio provides an intimate learning experience for students to be able to be educated to become culturally competent and community engaged social work practitioners with a focus on providing services that promote social and economic justice in conjunction with the unique multicultural, international population of the U.S.-Mexico border region.”
Full-time students can complete the program in two years or it can be completed in three years with part-time study. Graduates are eligible to take a board exam offered by the State Board of Social Work Examiners and must be licensed to practice in each state.
Zanetta J. Thomas graduated from the MSW program in May 2020. A U.S. Army and Navy veteran, Thomas’ goal is to open a ranch day camp in the border region where children with special needs and their parents have an inclusive camping and counseling experience.
“The major difference between UTEP’s MSW program and other programs is that UTEP ensured we were attentive to preparation for embracing generalist practices as social workers and learning about the borderland to build rapport to provide services in our community,” she said.
The MSW program will be accepting applications from December 2020 through January 2021. The next cohort will begin June 1, 2021.
Rankings are based on expected early-career median net income, using median monthly debt payment and earnings of social work graduates from the U.S. Department of Education’s resource, College Scorecard.
In order to be considered for the ranking, the social work program must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.