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M.S.W. Program Mission and Goals


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.

The Master of Social Work Program reflects the land-grant and research mission of the University of Minnesota, the educational purpose of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the professional values of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The program is grounded in the School’s history of advanced scholarship and knowledge building, as well as its tradition of leadership for and commitment to working for social justice.

The curriculum is grounded in a person and environment construct, as well as the history, values, ethics, research and knowledge base of the profession. In addition, the curriculum 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. In developing the curriculum, the program places particular importance on preparing social work professionals (in such roles as 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. Also, as a reflection of this commitment, 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.

Watch The Video About Our M.S.W. Program

Masters of Social Work Program from CEHD on Vimeo.


The following goals for the M.S.W. program are derived from its mission:

  1. The M.S.W. program will prepare graduate students for entry into advanced social work practice and leadership for the profession.
  2. The M.S.W. program will prepare professionals who are able to evaluate social work practice and programs critically and empirically, and who are able to apply evidence-based best-practice knowledge and skills effectively with diverse populations in a range of practice settings.
  3. The M.S.W. program will support and promote the public good by expanding access to graduate social work education throughout the state, with emphasis upon practice in the arena of public-sector social services and policy.
  4. The M.S.W. program will continue to increase opportunities for graduate social work education among groups underrepresented in the profession.

Details about the program.

Field Instruction

Applying Classroom Learning in the Field

Students in the M.S.W. program apply their classroom learning in social work agencies under the supervision of an M.S.W. field instructor. Full-program students complete two internships; the first is 420 hours and the second is 600 hours. Students eligible for advanced standing take one field placement of 600 hours. The School of Social Work offers a wide array of internship possibilities at a range of agencies.

More information about Field Instruction.

Dual Degrees

The school also 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./M.P.P.)
  • Master of Social Work/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.S.W./M.U.R.P.),
  • Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (M.S.W./M.P.H.)

More information about dual degrees.


Interested in applying for admission?

M.S.W. admissions page

Attend an information session