The University of the Southwest is also featured in our ranking Top 10 Online Master’s in Education Degrees.
The University of the Southwest (USW) is a private university committed to training competent professionals and responsible citizens who contribute positively to their communities. With an interdenominational faith focus, USW is an environment where expressions of service and multi-denominational faith are respected and encouraged. USW’s mission seeks to preserve free thought and expression while valuing responsibility and initiative. The university hosts 12 student organizations and is home to the Mustang teams, which participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Located in Hobbs, New Mexico, USW offers over 50 undergraduate and 15 graduate degrees. Degree fields range from the arts and sciences to business and education. Many master’s level degree programs are available entirely online or through a hybrid online and in-person model. Both Master in Business Administration and Master of Science in Education degrees are offered at USW.
USW was founded as a two-year Baptist educational institution in 1956. The founder and first president of the institution, B. Clarance Evans, had aspirations of creating a quality Baptist college where students could gain theological and professional training. In 1958, the school began offering four-year degrees under the name New Mexico Baptist College. The present-day university was officially established in 1962, though it did not take on the name University of the Southwest until 2008. Today, the university is known for the Jack Maddox Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings notable speakers to campus for free inspirational and teaching events open to students and the general public.
University of the Southwest Master of Science in Education
Master of Science in Education Degree Concentrations
The MSE degree at USW is split into 8-week terms. Many of the concentrations can be taken entirely online, although some require in-person participation for internship or capstone components. While each concentration focuses on a unique career pathway, they are built on foundations of evidence-based practices, research, and practical interventions and applications. Each program begins with the required course Educational Research. This sets the tone for the remainder of the program. The six MSE concentrations available through USW are Education Specialist, Educational Administrator, Educational Diagnostics, Exercise Science, Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Special Education.
The Education Specialist concentration is the most general of the six. It provides a solid base of understanding and practice for the educational field. This degree is created for students who wish to enrich their knowledge within an existing profession or to explore career options within education. The Education Specialist concentration is available as an online program and includes courses such as Cultivating Cultural Responsiveness in Schools and Human Development across the Lifespan.
The Educational Administrator concentration is designed for educational professionals who wish to advance their career in administration or leadership. It effectively combines practice and theory through a blend of internship experience and classroom learning. With a focus on education law and policies, the program prepares candidates for administrative licensure within the United States.
Educational Diagnostics is a concentration for candidates who desire a career that helps schools tailor programs to fit student’s individual needs. Educational program development, students with educational disabilities, and behavior management are all features of this program. In addition to studying these concepts, candidates will gain practical experience through internship hours.
The Exercise Science concentration is a one-year, online degree program for candidates seeking work in the healthcare field. Thirty-three hours of coursework integrate instruction and labs for a convenient and thorough educational experience. This program may be started in the fall, spring, or winter terms.
Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling are related concentrations that both prepare candidates for licensure in the United States. The program can be completed in either 48 or 60 credit hours depending on the licensing requirements of the state of licensure. While some of the courses are online, the internship portion requires in-person involvement.
The final concentration is Special Education. Available online, this degree focus introduces students to in-depth and evidence-based assessment and intervention models for special education roles.
University of the Southwest Accreditation Details
In 1980, USW was granted accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It was most recently recertified in 2014 and is due for re-accreditation in 2024.
The School of Education at USW and related education degrees are accredited by National Collegiate Association of Teaching Educators (NCATE).
University of the Southwest Application Requirements
Applicants for the MSE degree program at USW must have obtained a baccalaureate degree from a recognized and accredited institution while maintaining an average GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applications may be submitted online and must include a 500-word personal essay and a professional resume. Admissions decisions are based on verbal and oral communication skills, past academic performance, and professional experience, preferably in the field of education. Applicants to the MSE Mental Health Counseling concentration must also include three letters from professional or academic references with their application material. Students who do not meet all the requirements may be accepted on a conditional basis. They then have one term to make up missing coursework or a low GPA. Applicants accepted on this conditional basis may only enroll for three credits of graduate coursework until approved for full admission to the program.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The tuition for graduate programs at USW is $599 per credit hour. Additionally, fees of about $300-400 may be assessed each semester. While some of these fees are required each term, others are one-time expenses such as the graduation fee. There are several options for financial aid at USW and 80% of enrolled students receive some form of help with their expenses. USW offers several scholarships for high performing students and has donor-funded grants and awards that are available based on a variety of application criteria. USW also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a financial assistance program for veterans attending institutions of higher education. Students are also encouraged to seek outside sources of financial aid to help offset the costs of receiving a Master of Science in Education at the University of the Southwest.