Social work to get master’s degree program

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The University of Indianapolis plans to create a master’s degree program in social work and hopes to implement it by 2016, according to Chair of the Phylis Lan Lin Department in Social Work and Associate Professor Jeffrey Bryant. Bryant said that he and the Department of Social Work have been looking into the Masters of Social Work program for about four to five years.

“We have done a couple of studies over the years about this,” Bryant said.

He also said that only three universities currently offer this masters program in Indiana—Southern Indiana University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Indiana State University—which means that UIndy would be the fourth in the state.

Bryant said that there were two things that they had to do before starting this program.

“One is termination, if we are going to do it, and social work is an accredited program. … So we had an accreditation body that says there are certain things we have to do before we can start an MSW [Masters of Social Work] program,” he said. “One of those is hire six full-time faculty over a period of three years.”

Bryant said last spring, a study was completed to get this process started.

“What I did last spring was I had somebody do a feasibility study for the MSW program in Indianapolis, and then [they] came back, and the answer was yes,” Bryant said.

The study began last February, and the results were received in April of 2014. Over the summer, Bryant and other faculty members began to work on the curriculum. He said that they had to get approval from President Robert Manuel and Executive Vice President and Provost Deborah Balogh. They had put together a presentation for both of them, and Dean of College of Art and Sciences Jennifer Drake presented it in the fall.

Bryant said this was not a solo job. Associate Professor Tracy Marschall, Field Coordinator Michelle Meer and Assistant Professor Lynn Shaw all worked on the program.

Currently, they are waiting on the Board of Trustees to approve their request. They anticipate confirmation by the end of February. Once that becomes official, Bryant said, they can start marketing and implementing the program. Bryant said that there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of a master’s degree program in social work at UIndy. Usually 70 to 80 percent of social work students will go on to earn a master’s degree, either right after college or about four to five years later, Bryant said.

“Even though it is not official, we are actually doing a search currently for an MSW director,” Bryant said.

Another search for two more full-time faculty will take place in the fall.

Bryant said that they are currently looking at starting two cohorts. The first is a four-plus-one program. This is a 12-month program and that requires a bachelor’s degree in social work in order to get into this program. According to Bryant, there is also a two-year program that entails an undergraduate degree of any kind. The first year will be more foundational, while the second year will be more development of the track the student decides to go into.

“There are three tracks for student to choose from. The first being health and wellness, the second being mental health and addictions, and the third being family and children,” Bryant said.

Bryant said that some of these courses will take place in the Health Pavilion. More information is available by contacting Bryant at

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