Master of Social WorkHighest Ranked MSW Program in MN

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 MSW 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).

School of Social Work students share their experiences in the department. Since opening in 1917, School of Social Work "challenges students in the best way possible," encouraging constant learning and growth, and providing resources and education necessary for students to succeed.

Program outline

Program options

Our MSW program offers a full-program option for students who have not completed a bachelor's in social work (BSW) or an advanced standing consideration for students who have completed a CSWE-accredited 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.


MSW courses are scheduled all day Thursday–Saturday. Some courses are also offered on Monday–Wednesday evenings. MSW 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 practicum 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.


All MSW 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.

Families and children

Work with families and children in a range of settings and organizations, as well as influence relevant organizational structures and policies.

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.

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 (MSW/MPP), Master of Social Work/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MSW/MURP), Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/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.

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.

Important MSW program information

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.

To request a copy of your clinical clock hours or other licensure documentation, please complete the Social Work Licensure Documentation Request form. Please note that depending on what year you graduated, this request may take several weeks to fulfill.

Annual Assessment Summaries

Our program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Each year we assess the program on the nine core competencies of social work practice, and we use the data from this assessment to examine our curriculum critically, and to make changes as indicated. We publish the summary of our assessment annually, using the AS-4 (M) form from CSWE.