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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. See M.S.W. Program 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, and 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 spoke 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. alumni 2017

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 and earned a grade of B or higher in their foundation courses. (Any foundation course that was graded a B- or below will have to be retaken in our program.) Students in both program options can choose from full- or part-time study.

M.S.W. courses are scheduled all day Thursday–Saturday. Some courses are also offered on Monday–Wednesday evenings. M.S.W. students will not be able to take courses exclusively during weekday business hours, or exclusively during evening and Saturday hours.

Students can often create a course schedule that meets their needs. All students, however, will have at least some evening courses during their time as a graduate student. Most students will have Saturday courses at some point in their graduate career.

Students taking a field placement are generally expected to be in field on Mondays–Wednesdays. Some field placements offer evening and weekend hours, but almost every field placement will require some time in the agency during regular Monday–Friday business hours.

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 and Alumni:

More student and alumni student profiles coming in September. Please check back!

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 4, 2019.

Transfer applicants: This page explains how to apply to the M.S.W. Program if you are transferring from another CSWE-accredited M.S.W. Program. Priority deadline is January 4, 2019; final deadline is April 2, 2019.

Program Handbooks and Forms

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.