Online Master of Social Work

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Program Highlights

Format: Online
Start Date: August 2023 (June 2023 for Advanced Standing)
Total Credit Hours: 60 (30 for Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour $642
Estimated Program Length: 2 – 3 years (1 year for Advanced Standing)

MBU’s fully-online Master of Social Work program seeks to prepare and empower social work practitioners who integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to promote positive social change, to challenge injustice, and to provide services to enhance and strengthen individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities locally and globally. 

MSW Program Goals

The Master of Social Work program at Missouri Baptist University:  

  1. Prepares students to engage in service and leadership to promote positive social change, and to challenge injustice.  
  2. Prepares students to engage in advanced social work practice at the highest professional level of practice informed by theoretical perspectives and knowledge based on research.
  3. Prepares students to practice according to the values and ethics of the profession and understand and demonstrate ethical integration of Christian faith in advanced social work practice.
  4. Prepares students to demonstrate an understanding of social work theories, values and practices from a Christian worldview.
  5. Engages in service to the MBU, local, and global communities.  


An MSW is a graduate-level degree that prepares students for advanced professional social work practice. An MSW program requires a higher level of work than an undergraduate program, as it provides students an opportunity to expand and deepen their theoretical, research, and practice knowledge and skills through intensive classroom and field work experiences. 

Students can directly enter the MSW program upon graduating from a BSW program or gain work experience between completion of a BSW degree and entry into the MSW program, or students may enter the MSW program with an undergraduate degree other than social work. 

To practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), or a Licensed Advanced Master Social Worker (LAMS) in Missouri, individuals must have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program. 


The MSW program at MBU seeks to develop ethical, competent, and effective advanced social work practitioners who integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to advance social and economic justice, and to provide services to enhance and strengthen individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities locally and globally, all in the context of Christian service. 

The MSW program at MBU offers competitive tuition costs, full and part-time program options, and flexible courses that can be completed fully online.

The MSW program at MBU is offered in the context of a small, liberal arts university, where faculty are accessible, approachable and passionate about supporting the growth of their students. 

MSW program faculty have teaching, research and practice experience in a variety of social work areas, including faith-based non-profit organizations.

† The Master of Social Work Program at Missouri Baptist University has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process.  A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.
Students who enter programs that attain candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation.  Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation.  Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program.  Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

Social work is a profession for people who are passionate about serving others and making a meaningful difference. Social work is about helping people, children, couples, and families, as well as groups, communities and organizations. 

Empowerment and hope are at the heart of the work social workers are privileged to do. Social workers partner with clients and communities to build on strengths and empower people to overcome adversity. 

Social workers are trained to identify and promote hope, possibilities and change even in the bleakest circumstances. Social workers share an optimistic view of people and the world, and maintain a hopeful eye toward the future. Bearing witness to positive change is one of the most rewarding benefits of being a social worker. 

Social work is a fast-growing and in-demand field. The U.S. Department of Labor –Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent, however, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations (Social workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021) 


Social workers focus on both the client (for example, a person, family, organization, or community) and the environmental factors and influences that impact the client. This includes factors such as poverty, housing and resources.  

Social workers primarily serve clients who are considered vulnerable and oppressed, and the profession emphasizes social action through advocacy. This includes women who are sex trafficked, teens who are homeless, adults struggling with addiction, and couples seeking to adopt a baby after experiencing infertility. 

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. 

The social work profession is broad and social workers are trained to serve a broad client base and work in various capacities. 

Social workers are trained to provide direct services or clinical social work to individuals, families or groups. Social workers engage in program development for churches, faith-based and non-profit organizations. Social workers conduct policy analysis, engage in policy practice, and advocacy. Social workers work in administration and supervise programs and organizations. Social workers recruit volunteers, and raise money to support programs or causes. Social workers conduct research and contribute to the knowledge base of the profession. 

The MSW program is a 60 credit hour program. The first approximately 30 credit hours of the MSW program consist of foundation generalist coursework. Courses offered cover such topics as the history and philosophy of social work, generalist practice with individuals, families and groups, generalist practice with communities and organizations, research, social policy, and social justice, as well as field experiences. The remaining 30 credit hours consist of advanced generalist specialization coursework. Courses offered cover such topics as advanced generalist practice, diagnosis and assessment, values and ethics, social work administration and leadership and program evaluation, as well as specialized field experiences.

Our traditional program includes a full-time option which students complete in 2 years, and a part-time option which students complete in 3 years. We also offer an Advanced Standing track for students who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree (within the last 7 years). The Advanced Standing track can be completed in one year. The MSW program is web-based and asynchronous; therefore, it can be completed entirely at a distance. Most courses are offered in 8-week terms.


Dr. Nikki Johnson

Program Director and Associate Professor


Office: Field 319


Dr. Johnson holds a Doctoral degree in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Social Work degree from St. Louis University, and a Bachelor of Psychology and Business Administration degree from Missouri Baptist University. Her teaching and research interests include social work practice with women, adoption and voluntary relinquishment, faith-based program development, cultural humility, and social work ethics. Dr. Johnson’s career in social work began in 2000 and includes experience in research and scholarship, teaching, clinical practice, leadership, and community and church relations. Her teaching experience spans 14 years, and includes teaching face to face, distance and hybrid courses. Her practice experience includes working with a diverse range of clients and presenting issues and in a variety of areas including community mental health, youth mentoring, court diversion, adoption, adolescent residential treatment and church, volunteer and community relations. She has completed clinical practice training in the U.S., Finland and Australia.


Dr. Kristen Nugent

Associate Professor


Office: Remote in Dallas, TX

E-Mail: Kristen.Nugent@mobap.edu

Dr. Kristen Nugent, Associate Professor at Missouri Baptist University.
She received a CSWE-accredited master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1993 and a Doctor of Philosophy from Walden University in 2000. With 19 years of post-masters degree practice experience, Dr. Nugent has served as a clinical social worker, tenured professor, field education site supervisor, case manager, wellness coach, and intensive out-patient program director. In higher education, she has served as interim field director, chair of Phi Alpha Phi, and earned tenure as Associate Professor. Dr. Nugent has taught Human Behavior and the Social Environment, social work practice (all micro and mezzo classes), Psychology, International Social Work, Social Work and Addiction, Introduction to Social Work and Social Policy. In addition, she has designed curriculum for online education for BSW programs.  Dr. Nugent has published on Social Work and Addiction, Eating Disorders, Mindfulness, Wellness, and Family. Currently, she is researching the area of a longitudinal study for multicultural children. Dr. Nugent holds social work licensures in Texas (LCSW) and Virginia (LCSW). She is a member of CSWE, NASW, AFAA, NACSW, and CEDS. Dr. Nugent has presented at NASW, NACSW, and has had multiple TV appearances.

Tamlyn Ashford, Ed.D., MSW, LCSW

Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of Social Work

(314) 392-2245

Office: Field 318


Dr. Ashford holds a BSW, MSW and Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Clark Atlanta University. She has 16 years of social work practice experience and has a strong background in clinical social work, community interventions, outreach, and research regarding mental health, African-American mental health disparities, and student advisory. Her most recent practice experience was with BJC Healthcare Independence Center Midwest Psychiatry where she provided adult therapy for individuals with chronic and persistent mental illnesses and facilitated illness management, trauma and recovery groups for 9 years.

Laura Ribeiro, MSW, LCSW, RPT

Instructor of Social Work

(314) 392-2253

Office: Field 316


Laura Ribeiro holds a Master of Social Work degree from University of Missouri St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Human Services and Psychology degree from Missouri Baptist University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri and has over 10 years of social work experience in faith-based organizations where she provided school-based mental health services to children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds. She is a Registered Play Therapist and is passionate about using play to engage with children in therapy. She also maintains a small private practice where she works with children, adolescents, and adults. Her practice experience involves working with individuals and families experiencing a variety of presenting issues such as depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and divorce. This is her first-year teaching, and her teaching interests are evolving but include social work practice with individuals of all ages, play therapy, work with refugees, perinatal bereavement, and supporting clients through loss.

Marcie Cutsinger, Ph.D. MSW LCSW

Associate Professor of Social Work

Office: Remote


Dr. Marcie Cutsinger holds a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a Master of Social Work degree from University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. She also received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, MO. Dr. Cutsinger is a licensed clinical social worker in Missouri and has been working in the social work field for several years providing services in community mental health centers, women’s abuse shelter, sheltered workshops, alternative school and community college. Over the course of her career, Dr. Cutsinger has worked with those diagnosed with a chronic mental illness, developmental disability, substance abuse problems and dual diagnosis in both individual and group settings. She has held a private contract with the local abuse shelter and has supervised social work students working toward degree completion. She worked in a college setting for almost 16 years focused on student success, program development and program administration. Dr. Cutsinger has written and secured over four million dollars in grant funding to assist disadvantaged students to enroll and complete a degree in higher education. Dr. Cutsinger has taught social science courses for almost 20 years.

Kanisha Moye, MSW LMSW

Instructor of Social Work

(314) 434-1115

Office: Field 316


Kanisha Moye holds a BA in Psychology, Trauma Studies Certificate, and MSW from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also a DSW candidate at Capella University. She has 13 years of social work practice experience and has a strong background in research, community leadership and development, mental health, trauma, and intimate partner violence. Her most recent practice experience has been with Alive St. Louis domestic violence services where she manages a 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter services, and case management services. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Safe House and the NASW-MO with a recent appointment to the ethics committee. She is also a Creating Whole Communities Neighborhood Leadership Fellow.