The Department of Social Work celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018 and the master’s program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Ohio University has had a long-standing commitment to social work education. Nearly 70 years ago, the University instituted courses related to the provision of social services through the Department of Sociology. Included was the opportunity for field experience. Students and their professors established “centers” to provide recreation, counseling, referral and other services in mining and rural poverty areas. By 1939, the program had expanded to include not only courses related to almost every social service but also supportive courses in sociology, psychology, economics, government and home economics. These were required courses designed to prepare students to function as social workers in public and private agencies.
In 1999, the Department of Social Work admitted its first class in the Master of Social Work Program. In 2000, it added an Advanced Standing component. The MSW Program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 2002. In 2004, the program added a modified part-time option and began its first regional campus cohort program on the Eastern Campus. In 2008, the program received its first accreditation reaffirmation from the Council on Social Work Education and began a second regional cohort on the Cambridge Campus of Ohio University-Zanesville. In 2009, the program began to offer the MSW on the Chillicothe Regional Campus and at Shawnee State University.
In 2012, the University switched from a three-quarter academic schedule to a two-semester model. This process enabled the program to revise and refine the MSW curriculum. As part of this change, the department enhanced macro practice content in the advanced curriculum and eliminated the Administrative Track of the program. In 2012, a four-year part-time enrollment option was added. At this time, a move to a hybrid partial online program was also instituted. In Spring 2019, the Department of Social Work added a 100% online part-time Advanced Standing MSW program to be completed in six semesters. In Fall 2019, the department added a 100% online part-time Foundation program to be completed in 10 semesters. These programs were approved by CSWE in fall 2018 by submission of mini self-study.