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MSW General Degree Information & Requirements

General Degree Information

Course Numbering System

The numbers applied to each course indicate level, semester hours of credit, and sequence. Selected courses numbered 4000-4V99 are open to both advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Courses numbered 5000 and above are limited to graduate students. Only doctoral candidates will be permitted to register for 6000-level courses. Graduate credit will not be conferred for courses numbered below 4000, or for 4000-level courses which do not appear in the School of Social Work  Catalog (Graduate Program section), Graduate School Catalog, or George W. Truett Theological Seminary Catalog. The first digit in the number indicates the level. A 4000-level course does not confer graduate credit unless it appears in this catalog, Graduate Program section, or the Graduate or Truett Catalog. The second digit in the number indicates the value in graduate credit hours. Thus, “3” as a second digit indicates three credit hours. Some courses may be taken for a varying number of credits, typically from one to three semester hours. In such cases, instead of a digit for the second place in the course number, the letter “V” is used, and the varying amount of credit is indicated at the right of the course title. The last two digits are reserved for departmental indication of preferred sequence of courses.

Course Load

Full-time course load for students in the MSW program is at least thirteen hours. The maximum number of semester hours for which a Social Work master’s student may register in a given semester is eighteen. No more than nine MSW course semester hours may be taken in either of the two summer sessions.

Grading System

Passing grades for graduate students are A (4.00), A- (3.75), B+ (3.50), B (3.00), B- (2.75), C+ (2.50), C (2.00) and C- (1.75). The grade of D carries one grade point per hour; however, it will not apply toward the total number of hours required for program completion. If a grade of D or F is made in a required course, the student must repeat the same course and make a grade of C- or better to meet the degree requirements for graduation. Courses taken at Baylor may be repeated where the grade received is C or lower. Student’s transcripts will reflect both grades and both will be included in the overall grade point average. 

The grade of “I,” incomplete, may be given only when the completed portion of the course work is of passing quality. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the course requirements and to see that the incomplete grade is removed from the record in the semester following the “I”. Professors may request an extension or the grade automatically changes to “F.” A student may not graduate with an “I” incomplete on their transcript.

Students who receive one or more incomplete grades during a semester may have their schedule for the following semester reduced by the number of hours of “incomplete” received. Students must receive a grade of “B-” or better in the Capstone course in order to be eligible for graduation.

Grades will be based on the following scale:

A 94-100           C+ 77-80

A- 91-93            C 73-76

B+ 87-90           C- 71-72

B 83-86             D 60-70

B- 81-82            F Below 59


A student may audit a course with the written permission of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The fee for auditing a course is one-fourth of the current tuition rate of one semester hour. Only lecture courses may be audited. Audit enrollment is subject to the instructor’s willingness to have nonparticipating students.

Audited courses may not exclude a student seeking credit, may not be repeated at a later date for credit, may not be changed in status after the registration period, and are not considered part of the course load.

Continuation in the Program

Students are expected to earn a grade point average of 3.0 for each semester in which they are enrolled. Failure to earn this grade point average in a semester may result in suspension from the program.  Failure to earn a 3.0 grade point average in a student’s final semester may result in not being permitted to graduate.


Students who do not earn the required 3.0 grade point average for a semester may, at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, enroll in a subsequent semester in a probationary status. Also, a student may be admitted on probation. Students are automatically removed from probation upon completion of one semester and a minimum of 4 semester hours of graduate-level coursework if an overall 3.0 grade point average is attained. Failure to attain a 3.0 grade point average will result in notification of dismissal. The graduate program is not required to hear student appeals of this decision. If, after completion of the one semester and the fourth semester-hour credit, the student’s overall grade point average is still below 3.0, the student will receive notification of degree termination from the graduate program. Students receiving assistantships must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 to avoid loss of the financial assistance. Courses taken for elective credit may be included in the computation of the grade point average.

Dropping Courses

A student who wishes to drop a course should consult the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The procedures for dropping a course are outlined on the web at under “Current Students,” then “Registering for Classes.” For the fall and spring semesters, if a student drops a course before the end of the twentieth class day, there is no grade assigned. After that date through the fortieth class day, the instructor of record must assign a grade of DP or DF and sign the Change in Schedule form next to the grade. A grade of DF will carry the same value as a grade of “F.” After the fortieth class day, a grade of DF is automatically assigned if there are no compelling extenuating circumstances with the case.

During the first five days of the semester, students may drop courses on BearWeb (change of schedule fee assessed beginning first day of class). After that date, all courses dropped will be processed through the Office of the Registrar.

The summer semester has different deadlines. For those dates, refer to the calendar on Baylor’s homepage. A course is not considered officially “dropped” until processed via BearWeb or by the Office of the Registrar. Failure to drop a course officially will automatically result in a grade of “F.”  The student must have attended class regularly until that time.

Withdrawal from the University

A student who withdraws from the University after the beginning of an academic semester must arrange for official withdrawal through the office of the Dean of Academic Services. If a student withdraws from the University before the end of the twentieth class day of a semester, the standing will not reflect failure. After the twentieth class day of a semester, however, the standing will be determined by the professor of record. If the student is failing at the time of withdrawal, the final grade will be “WF,” which is equivalent to an “F.” If a student withdraws from the University after the fortieth class day of the semester, the grade will automatically be “WF,” except for reasons of serious illness or emergency. Any other procedure will lead to failure in all courses for which students are registered. Courses from which a student requests withdrawal will not be removed from the student’s record. Tuition refunds are defined under “Financial Costs.”

General Degree Requirements

Policy on Course Waivers and Academic Credit

The program does not waive course requirements of the professional foundation areas or for the field internship. No credit is given for previous work or life experiences.

Time Limitation

The maximum time limit for the master’s degree is five years from the time the student first matriculates in the master’s program. Exceptions to the five-year limit will be made by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies only after a careful review of the extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Graduation Eligibility

To qualify for a master’s degree, students must have a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 and must complete the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactory completion of the required credit hours.
  2. Successful presentation and defense of the Capstone project.
  3. An approved portfolio for students who develop a specialization.
  4. Personal and professional conduct congruent with the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics, the State Licensing Board Code of Conduct, and with the rules and regulations established by Baylor University as outlined in the University Student Handbook, including the Baylor University Honor System, General Expectations of Baylor Students, and other policies documented therein.

Filing for Graduation

Students file for graduation with the graduate program early in the semester in which the degree is expected to be conferred (see Academic Calendar in this catalog). Students pursuing joint and dual degree options must file for graduation in both programs or schools.

Processing of diplomas takes four to eight weeks. Because of the processing time, students who file late will not be guaranteed a diploma at the commencement ceremony. The degree is conferred at the first commencement ceremony following program completion. Ceremonies are held in May. Students must be registered for at least one semester hour of graduate credit during the semester of intended graduation.