The College of Social Work Master of Social Work Program offers a certificate in School Social Work. Through this specialty, students are trained to assess and provide interventions for the social, emotional, familial, cultural, community, and cognitive barriers to achievement and school adjustment. They gain the specific knowledge, skills and experience needed to practice social work in elementary, middle and secondary school settings. The College of Social Work collaborates with the College of Education to ensure that students follow the approved curriculum and meet the required standards for School Social Work Certification.

Primary Objectives of the School Social Work Specialization are to:

  • Provide coursework on the practice and policy issues of public education, the inter-relational factors among schools, families and the community and the legal issues affecting high-risk and special student populations
  • Provide learning opportunities that enable students to gain experience in school settings
  • Ensure graduates meet the program requirements, as approved by the Education Professional Standard’s Board, to become a Certified School Social Worker.

The School Social Work Specialization is integrated within the social work master’s curriculum (either 60 hour or 30-hour program) with students taking one additional three (3) credit hour course. Students may also earn a Graduate Certificate in School Social Work by meeting the same requirements for the certificate issued by the Education Professional Standards Board. The application needed for both is on line, see below.

The Coordinator for School Social Work Specialization serves as the student advisor for this program.

Janet Doss, MSW/LCSW
Office: (859) 257-8233

Courses required for School Social Work Specialization are as follows:

  • SW 616 Social Work Practice in a School Setting (3 credit hours) (currently offered only in summer semester)
  • SW580  Topical Seminar in Social Work:  Mental Health Assessment and Interventions with children and adolescents
  • EDS 516 Principles of Behavior Management and Instruction (3 credit hours) (offered in the College of Education)
  • SW 740 or 741* Field Education Practicum in a school setting for two consecutive semesters, fall/spring (6 credit hours).

Students must submit a completed portfolio prior to receiving the Education Professional Standards Board School Social Work Certificate.

Portfolio requirements for students currently enrolled in MSW program (pdf)

Portfolio requirements for students holding MSW (pdf)

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in School Social Work requirements.

Upon admission to the school social work program, students must meet with the SSW coordinator to complete and sign the initial assessment portion of the curriculum guide. In addition there is a retention assessment that must be completed and signed and upon completion the final assessment must be completed and signed (see curriculum guide below).

Students are then referred to the College of Education Office of Academic Services and Certification for approval to apply for Certification to the Education Professional Standards Board.


Admission to the College of Social Work MSW Program is the first step to gaining acceptance to the School Social Work Specialization.

Full-time advanced standing students must apply for admission to the SSW Specialization by submitting an application to the SSW Coordinator as soon as they are accepted into the MSW Program and no later than August 1st, part-time advanced standing students must apply by March 1st and regular program students must apply by March 1st of their foundation year.


Those holding the MSW from a CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) accredited program may apply at any time.

Those seeking the Rank I:



Curriculum Contract Guide – all Kentucky School Social Work Certificates
NASW Standards for School Social Work Services (pdf)

Kentucky Association for School Social Work