Social Work, MSW
Grace Abbott School of Social Work, College of Public Affairs & Community Service
The mission of the Grace Abbott School of Social Work is to educate students to become highly qualified social workers who serve people of all ages and influence the systems that affect them, to advance knowledge through teaching and research, and to engage with diverse communities to promote socially just societies.
Program Contact Information
Ciara Warden, LISW, MSW Outreach Coordinator
206 College of Public Affairs & Community Service (CPACS)
Jeanette Harder, PhD, Graduate Program Chair (GPC)
206 College of Public Affairs & Community Service (CPACS)
Other Program Related Information
The MSW program has received continuous accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education since 1940. The MSW program prepares graduates for advanced social work practice within a variety of settings. The MSW degree is recognized for licensure for independent social work practice in the United States. More information regarding licensure and certification can be found on local Department of Health and Human Services websites.
Application Deadlines (Fall 2022)
- Fall: January 15
- English Language Proficiency: Applicants are required to have a command of oral and written English. Those who do not hold a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from the United States, OR a baccalaureate or other advanced degree from a predetermined country on the waiver list, must meet the minimum language proficiency score requirement in order to be considered for admission.
- Paper-based TOEFL: 550, Internet-based TOEFL: 85, IELTS: 6.5, PTE: 53, Duolingo: 105
- Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of and fit for the social work profession, as well as your aptitude for graduate-level social work education. The Admissions Committee pays close attention to both content and writing skills. In your statement of purpose, please address each of the items listed below, in no more than five (5) pages, double-spaced, in a 12-point font. Your response to each of the items should be roughly the same length. If your statement of purpose does not clearly and directly address each of the items or does not follow the instructions, it may not be considered.
If you have a compelling autobiographical story relevant to your application, but that falls outside of the items addressed within the statement, you may add a letter to the Admissions Committee. Your letter will be considered, but will not be scored.
What type of work are you planning to engage with once you attain your MSW degree? Specifically, what are the issues, populations, and levels of practice you hope to work with after graduate school?
The social work profession is rooted in social justice. Social workers adopt a stance of cultural humility and strive towards cultural awareness. Discuss a time when you realized that one of your personal or cultural identities influenced your reaction to a social situation. Reflecting on that experience, how might it influence your future social work practice?
Social workers are self-reflective, strengths-based, and growth-oriented. Identify a strength that you possess and an area for growth. Discuss how you became aware of these, how they show up in your current professional practice, and how they may influence your future professional practice.
Social work is a values-based profession dedicated to mitigating inequality and enhancing human wellbeing, especially for vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed populations. From the core values and ethical principles identified in the NASW Code of Ethics, identify and discuss one that resonates with you and one that may challenge you.
Why have you chosen social work? Your response should demonstrate a basic understanding of the social work profession, including what distinguishes it from other helping professions.
- Resume: Applicants are highly encouraged to have professional experience in the human service field. Please submit a professional resume that identifies:
Educational experiences since high school
- List start and end dates with month and year
- Identify whether the position is part or full-time
- Identify whether the position is paid or volunteer
- Field placements, internships or practicums
- Honors or distinctions received
- Professional experiences, especially in human services
- Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required, the recommendation requests are generated from your online application. These recommendations should be from professional and academic sources who are directly familiar with your skills and experience. At least one reference should be from an immediate professional supervisor. If you have graduated from an academic program within the past two years, it is suggested that at least one reference should be from a faculty member who can speak directly to your academic preparation for graduate social work education. References from family members, family friends, personal friends, personal therapists, or other non-professional/academic sources will not be scored.
The MSW Foundation Program is a 63 credit hour program available to applicants who do not hold a BSSW degree from an accredited school of social work within the last 10 years.
The MSW Advanced Standing Program is a 39 credit hour program available to applicants who have earned a BSSW degree from an accredited school of social work within the last 10 years.
|Required Foundation Courses|
|SOWK 8070||HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT I||3|
|SOWK 8080||HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT II||3|
|SOWK 8090||SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY||3|
|SOWK 8110||INSTITUTIONAL OPPRESSION||3|
|SOWK 8130||GENERALIST PRACTICE I||3|
|SOWK 8150||GENERALIST PRACTICE II||3|
|SOWK 8160||GENERALIST SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM I 1||3|
|SOWK 8170||GENERALIST SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM II 1||3|
|Required Advanced Courses|
|SOWK 8190||RESEARCH & COMPUTER APPLICATIONS||3|
|SOWK 8220||CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK WITH INDIVIDUALS||3|
|SOWK 8230||CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK WITH GROUPS||3|
|SOWK 8290||SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH||3|
|SOWK 8650||HEALTH/MENTAL HEALTH POLICIES FOR SOCIAL WORK||3|
|SOWK 8510||SOCIAL WORK LEADERSHIP||3|
|SOWK 8540||PLANNING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE||3|
|SOWK 8400||ADVANCED SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM I 1||3|
|SOWK 8410||ADVANCED SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM II 1||3|
|Advanced Research Course|
|SOWK 8940||EVALUATION OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS||3|
|or SOWK 8950||RESEARCH METHODS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE|
|Select 9 credit hours. Students who are pursuing a graduate certificate or a graduate minor may be able to apply certain courses in those program curricula as MSW electives.|
|SOCIAL WORK WITH THE AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILY|
|WORKING WITH MINORITY ELDERLY|
|ETHNIC DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE|
|SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN|
|SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH FAMILIES|
|SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH OLDER ADULTS|
|SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH SEXUAL CONCERNS|
|ADVANCED SOCIAL WORK PRACTICUM III|
|TREATMENT ISSUES IN CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY|
|SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL ADVOCACY|
|ADVANCED COMMUNITY PRACTICE|
|ADMINISTRATION OF SOCIAL WELFARE AGENCIES|
|PERMANENCE FOR CHILDREN|
|FAMILY AND COMMUNITY VIOLENCE|
|TRAUMA AND RESILIENCE|
|MEDICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF ALCOHOL/DRUG USE AND ADDICTION|
|ASSESSMENT AND CASE MANAGEMENT IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE|
|SOCIAL WORK AND THE LAW|
|SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE|
|HOSPICE & OTHER SERVICES FOR THE DYING PATIENT/FAMILY|
|TOPICAL SEMINAR IN SOCIAL WORK|
|SPECIAL STUDIES IN SOCIAL WELFARE|
|RESEARCH OTHER THAN THESIS|
Academic Policies and Standards
The MSW Student Handbook can be found here.