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Social Work (MSW)

Master of Social Work

With KU’s Master of Social Work, you will be prepared to apply your passion for helping people in a fulfilling career promoting personal, family and community well-being. The MSW prepares you for advanced specialized clinical practice and leadership roles in diverse social situations. The 64 credit (44 credit for advanced standing) MSW program may be completed in a variety of face to face and online formats for full and part-time schedules including an executive schedule design. 

Social workers provide invaluable service on the front lines of mental health, addiction, conflict resolution, advocacy and community development. Their work environments and areas of specialization range from private practice, health organizations, schools, mental health organizations, children and youth agencies, nursing homes, veterans services, prisons, substance misuse clinics, and human services agencies. 

Working closely with our engaged faculty, you’ll learn the researched and proven ways to solve problems for the greater good—one family at a time. You’ll collaborate with faculty and human service providers to provide service to persons at risk, intervene with families in crisis, make connections and change the social environment to support the families of today and tomorrow.

The advanced year provides a concentration, developing depth, breadth and specificity in knowledge of the family in its social environment. Students develop further specialization through elective course offerings and a 960-hour agency-based practicum experience. This specialized program of study is achieved through each student's choice of six, 1-credit elective courses from a broad range of topics, from therapeutic interventions to agency administration and policy development.

Potential areas of specialization are wide and varied:

  • Child and Family Social Workers support troubled parents, advocate for children’s rights in court, and help youth find homes through adoption.
  • Criminal Justice Social Workers assist the incarcerated, ex-offenders, their families, or crime victims to help them move forward.
  • Medical Social Workers work in hospitals, homecare, or rehabilitative settings.
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers service people with clinical mental health or addiction.
  • School Social Workers advocate for the fair and equal treatment of all students and they work to remove barriers and connect families with resources in public and private education settings.

Sample Career Options

  • Medical Social Workers
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
  • School Social Workers
  • Child Welfare
  • Human Resources
  • Marriage and Family

Quotation Mark

I loved that the instructors brought in their own personal experience in the field and you can tell how compassionate they all are.

Ashley Swiezak, BSW graduate, MSW student
Quotation Mark

The social work department has provided me not only a great professional education, but a great personal experience as well. The professors and administrators are always willing to help and set a great example of what a social worker should embody.

Sydnee Peters, MSW graduate
  • Admissions Requirements and Deadlines
    • Application
    • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities
    • Personal Essay and Social Issues Essay (Waived for KU BSW Holders)
    • Three professional letters of recommendation


    Fall semester: August 1st

    Spring semester: December 1st

    Summer sessions: May 1st

Student Learning Outcomes

  • MSW in Social Work

    Students upon completion of a Master of Social Work will:

    1. demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
    2. engage diversity and difference in practice.
    3. advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
    4. engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
    5. engage in policy practice.
    6. engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
    7. individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
    8. with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
    9. practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

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