Before You Apply: Graduate College of Social Work - University of Houston
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Before You Apply

The decision to enter a graduate, professional program leading to the MSW is a significant one. The combination of coursework and practicum is demanding and requires careful planning in order to move through the program successfully. Prospective applicants are encouraged to consider the following information.

Course Scheduling: The GCSW strives to maintain a diverse student body, many of whom are employed outside the home, and many of whom have childcare responsibilities in addition to school and/or employment. As a result, students must make numerous adjustments in their schedules in order to attend classes and to fulfill the clock hour requirements for practicum. While we are aware of the multiple demands placed on our students, the foundation components of the program are highly structured. If a student is unable, for whatever reason, to complete foundation as shown in the enrollment models, the student may have to take a leave of absence from the program and begin again when they are able to complete the semester as prescribed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to plan carefully in order to ensure successful completion of the program. Students must be prepared to adjust work hours, childcare arrangements, and other time constraints during the entire program.

A Caution about Full-time Employment: If you plan to enroll as a full-time student, we strongly advise against simultaneous full-time employment. From past experience, we know that this heavy load creates problems in class attendance, generates significant barriers to the completion of practicum courses, and generally results in academic failure. The recommended balance of employment and graduate enrollment is:

Recommended Employment to Enrollment Balance
Employment Hours per Week Semester Hours Enrolled
Up to 20 15 Credit Hours
20 - 30  9 Credit Hours
More than 30 6 Credit Hours

Credit for non-academic courses and life/employment experience: Under no circumstances will credit toward the MSW degree be approved for correspondence courses, extension courses, continuing education courses, or life or employment experience.

Practicum: Part of the uniqueness of the MSW degree is in its applied focus as reflected by required practicum courses. In practicum courses, students are assigned as interns under the supervision of a social work practicum instructor in various practice settings. The GCSW has affiliation agreements with more than 300 agencies in the greater Houston area that have met our criteria as approved practicum sites. Students are required to complete a total of 900 clock hours in practicum courses, starting in their first year. 

Face to Face students complete their practicum work during the work hours between Mondays – Fridays, 8 – 5. Students are typically in their placement for 16 – 20 hours per week.  For the advanced practicum placement, students may be required by the agency to be in their placement for up to 24 hours per week.

Hybrid students are matched by the Practicum Team for their generalist (1st year) placement and prioritized for an agency that offers a flexible schedule (flexible placements typically offer 85% of hours in the evening and weekends, but do require some availability during business hours). For the concentration (3rd year) placement, students attend Marketplace (Internship Fair) and interview with Houston-area agencies. There is no guarantee of a placement with only evening/weekend hours.

Online students who live outside the Greater Houston area (Brazoria, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, and Harris Country), with the help of the Practicum Team, will be primarily responsible for locating opportunities in their geographic region. Online students in the Houston area will follow the Practicum Team structured processes to connect with Houston area agencies.

Academic and Professional Advising: The GCSW Office of Admissions and Student Affairs plays a pivotal role in the student's academic life. Advising sessions are held each semester as part of an ongoing process to help students negotiate the curriculum, discuss academic progress, and ensure that all requirements are being met successfully. Advisors are also available to meet individually with students.

Transfer Credit: Students who are transferring credit from another CSWE-accredited MSW program can refer to the Special Admissions Categories page for more information. Students who would like to transfer credit from a related Master’s degree in progress (such as Counseling) can consult the Transfer Credit Policy page for more information. We regret that we do not have the resources to evaluate transfer credit prior to admission.

Tuition and Fees: Tuition and fees are based upon rates established by the State Legislature and/or the University of Houston Board of Regents and are determined by residence status and the number of hours taken.

Check the university's website for the latest tuition and fee rates.

Note that these are minimum figures and that other fees may apply to a specific situation (e.g., off campus fees for courses taken at an off-campus location, distance education fees for taped courses). The Hybrid Online programs incur additional fees.

The university reserves the right to change tuition and other charges without notice as necessitated by university or legislative action.