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School of Social Work

Graduate Studies

Since 1917, the School of Social Work has been preparing scholars, social workers, community leaders, faculty, and more through advanced scholarship and knowledge-building, as well as its tradition of commitment to leading and working for social justice.

The University of Minnesota is one of the nation’s largest research institutions and provides students with the opportunity to work with faculty in virtually every field—including medicine, law, agriculture, business, public affairs, child development, education, and technology. The land grant mission of the University focuses on the responsibilities of community engagement, which fits well with our interest in community-engaged research. The research productivity of our faculty was ranked 20th out of 76 U.S. social work doctoral programs in a recent study.

Students presenting information on a poster

M.S.W. students Alex and Taylor explained their project for Advanced Social Work Evaluation.

The core values of the profession of social work—service, social justice, integrity, competence, the importance of human relationships, and the dignity and worth of every person—inform all of our graduate programs.

Graduate Programs

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

Prepare for leadership in advanced social work practice through concentrations in Clinical Mental Health; Community Practice; Families and Children; or Health, Disability and Aging.

Our M.S.W. program also offers the option of dual master's degrees, pairing with Master of Public Health, Master of Public Policy, or Master of Urban and Regional Planning.

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in
Youth Development Leadership

Assist professionals who work with and on behalf of youth in traditional and non-traditional settings. Gain a better understanding of the youth development process and demonstrate leadership in working with youth.

Ph.D. in Social Work

Contribute to the knowledge base of the social work profession and work toward a just, nurturing, and inclusive society. This program emphasizes advanced scholarship, theory development, policy analysis, and research design and application.

Aid & Funding

The School of Social Work offers financial support for graduate students through training grants, fellowships, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. Learn more about our funding opportunities.

Social Work Employment

Our graduates are in demand from employers around the metro area, the state, and the country. Regularly updated job listings tailored for our graduates bring both academic and non-academic career paths within reach.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

The School welcomes students who are not enrolled in the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) or Youth Development Leadership (YDL) programs, but who wish to take graduate-level courses. Learn about course registration and transfer as a non-degree seeking student.

Diversity Resources

The School of Social Work commits itself to creating a culture of scholarship and service that welcomes all students and responds to the populations served by our graduates. We strive to create a learning environment that is diverse in all aspects. Our students make use of the many resources across the campus that support diversity.

Resources Within the School of Social Work:

  • SSW Diversity and Equity Committee
  • Meditation room
  • Space for nursing mothers
  • Gender neutral restroom

College and University Resources:

Graduate Support Staff

Director of Graduate Studies

Joseph Merighi, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Coordinator

MacKenzie Case

M.S.W. Program Admissions

Zer Vang, M.S.W.
Director of M.S.W. Admissions

Andrew Howe
M.S.W. Graduate Admissions Support

Ph.D. Program

Elizabeth Lightfoot, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Program Director

Youth Development Leadership M.Ed.

Ross Velure Roholt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Youth Studies. Director, Youth Development Leadership Program.

Cindy Pavlowski
Senior Academic Advisor

M.S.W. Program

Megan Morrissey, Ph.D.
M.S.W. Program Director

MJ Gilbert, M.S.W.
Director of Field Instruction

Rosetta Chears
Field Program Coordinator