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School of Social Work

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

The central mission of the Master of Social Work Program is the preparation of students for advanced social work practice and leadership in the following areas: Clinical Mental Health; Community Practice; Families and Children; Health, Disability and Aging. Link to Mission Statement

Our program places particular importance on preparing social work professionals—case managers, policy analysts, clinicians, and community organizers—to have a practical understanding of how power and privilege, and their opposites, shape the roles that all of us play in society.

We strive to create a learning environment that is diverse in all aspects. Further, we use this environment to help all students develop the sensitivity and skills necessary to work effectively in diverse communities.

Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Professor Priscilla Gibson and students

Professor Priscilla Gibson shared a light-hearted moment with students in her Social Work & Difference, Diversity & Privilege M.S.W. class.


The University of Minnesota's M.S.W. program quickly emerged as my top choice, due to the strong reputation of the program, the connections available through a research-intensive institution, and the relative affordability. I'm very happy with my choice!

Anna Lifson, M.S.W. student

Program Outline

Our M.S.W. Program offers a full-program option for students who have not completed a B.S.W. and advanced standing consideration for students who have completed a CSWE-accredited bachelor of social work (BSW) degree in the last seven years. Students in both program options can choose from full- or part-time study.

We partner with other departments in the University to offer dual master's degrees in public health, public policy and urban and regional planning.

All M.S.W. students choose a concentration from one of the following areas:

  • Clinical Mental Health: learn contextually based approaches to mental health diagnostic assessment, treatment and practice evaluation, with a strong focus on client systems experiencing significant mental health risk.
  • Community Practice: improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of human service systems to mobilize groups for social change and to serve as catalysts for sustainable development and social justice.
  • Families and Children: work with families and children in a range of settings and organizations, as well as influence relevant organizational structures and policies.
  • Health, Disability, and Aging: work with people affected by distinct and interconnected issues related to health, disability and aging.

Program Highlights

  • Field Instruction: Partnering with social work agencies around the Twin Cities and throughout neighboring states, the field instruction brings your classroom learning into practice. Field placement hour totals range from 600 to 960 hours, depending on your program option.
  • Dual degrees: The school offers dual degree programs with two nationally recognized departments at the University of Minnesota–the School of Public Health and the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The dual degrees offered are Master of Social Work/Master of Public Policy (M.S.W./MPP), Master of Social Work/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.S.W./MURP), Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (M.S.W./MPH).
  • Curriculum grounded in social justice: Our program rests on the principle that a just society is one that provides for the basic human needs of all citizens and that all persons should have equal opportunities to share in society’s social, political, and economic goods. View the syllabi for all M.S.W. courses.
  • Diverse student body: Our graduate students come from Minnesota, across the nation, and from around the world, giving the learning and research experience depth and breadth in lived experiences and perspectives. Our student body and environment helps all students develop the sensitivity and skills necessary to work in diverse communities. More information about diversity resources.

Learn More & Apply

M.S.W. admissions requirements

Attend one of our free M.S.W. information sessions and get a feel for our program and department.

Meet Our Students:

  • Ellen Doering, Families & Children concentration
  • Anna Lifson, Clinical Mental Health concentration
  • Conor Maloney, Clinical Mental Health concentration
  • Maia Uhrich: Community Practice: Organizing, Advocacy and Leadership concentration

how to apply

How to apply to the M.S.W. program: an overview of application materials, what we're looking for in our applicants, and how to use Apply Yourself, the University of Minnesota's online application system. Deadline is January 6, 2017.

Transfer applicants: How to apply to the M.S.W. Program if you are transfering from another CSWE-accredited M.S.W. Program. Deadline is April 10, 2017.

Program Handbooks and Forms

M.S.W. Course Syllabi

Clinical Content

Our clinical content chart documents how coursework meets the requirements for the Minnesota social work license. This is intended only as a guide, and requirements are also often met through continuing education and workshops. You can compare this chart to the Minnesota Board of Social Work requirements.