Morehead State University Launching Master of Social Work Degree in Fall 2025

The Kentucky university's new program will have two specializations — behavioral health and harmful substance use — starting in fall 2025.
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Published on April 15, 2024
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  • The university received a $310,000 grant from the Kentucky Association of Health Plans to establish the program.
  • Kentucky's biggest priorities for social work are behavioral health and harmful substance use.
  • If all goes according to plan, the program will launch with specializations in behavioral clinical health and harmful substance use in fall 2025.

Morehead State University (MSU) in Kentucky announced a new master of social work degree to fill a community need for more social workers.

MSU received a $310,000 grant from the Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP) on April 11 to launch its first master of social work program starting in fall 2025 if approval goes to plan. The programs will offer specializations in two of Kentucky's biggest priorities for social work — behavioral health and harmful substance use.

The eastern region of Kentucky has a high demand for these services but does not have enough advanced degree social workers to meet the demand. In particular, healthcare providers, recovery centers, community health centers, and other agencies in our region have expressed a need for licensed clinical social workers, Becky Davison, MSU social work program director, said in a press release.

KAHP will give the university $145,000 in the first two years and $20,000 in the third year while the program gains accreditation.

The social work program will have two specializations: a behavioral clinical health track and a harmful substance use track. The university will also offer a five-year accelerated track for students to earn a bachelor's and master's degree in social work.

We know this investment in a great institution will help Kentucky in its efforts to enlist more well-trained social workers, KAHP CEO and President Tom Stephens said in the press release. To play a role in kick-starting something new is really exciting for our membership.

Kentucky is one of at least 30 states that forgives student debt for social workers and healthcare workers in underserved communities. However, students must find a sponsor, like an employer or a nonprofit, to match state repayment funds.

Full-time licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional clinical counselors, health service psychologists, and marriage and family therapists qualify for up to $15,000 from the state and $15,000 from their sponsor. Alcohol and harmful substance use counselors qualify for up to $10,000.