Master of Social Work Program

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program, located within a regional university committed to community engagement and service, collaborates with eminent community partners to prepare trauma-informed clinical social workers with a distinctive synthesis of knowledge, skills, practice wisdom, and immersive experiences to promote client empowerment and social justice.

Online + Hybrid

This program begins Fall of 2019 with two cohorts of advanced standing students. Courses will be delivered entirely online, with Professional Development Labs (offered twice a semester on the weekends) offered in-person on the Rochester downtown campus. 

High Career Demand

Master in Social Work professionals are in high demand. The rising prevalence of mental health concerns and increasing incidents of trauma has created a shortage of clinical social workers. 

How to Apply

We've created detailed instructions that will walk you through the process and ensure your application is properly completed before you submit it. 

Learn more about How to Apply to the MSW program.

Learn More About the Program

  1. Produce trauma-informed clinical social workers who are effective, self-reflective, and ethical.
  2. Be an agent of social justice and social change, particularly with diverse and vulnerable populations.
  3. Offer an integrated curriculum that incorporates our practice communities’ expertise, with a curriculum that models the interrelationship between knowledge, research, and practice wisdom
  4. Provide a center of social work innovation and excellence that promotes evidence-informed practice, practice-informed research, and life-long learning
  5. Maintain a faculty of distinction who are diverse in demographics, teaching and practice experiences, research interests, and theoretical perspectives
  6. Promote a nurturing academic environment where strengths are honored to support the learning and professional growth of students 

The WSU MSW Program is accepting applicants to begin the program in 2020.
All applicants should have an overall GPA ≥ 3.0 in their undergraduate education that resulted (or will result) in a bachelor’s degree. (Applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted on a provisional basis.)
Persons applying for “Advanced Standing” status must have a Bachelor’s degree with a Social Work major from a CSWE-accredited program earned in 2013 or later, and their GPA from Social Work courses must be 3.4 or greater. (Applicants who earned their social work degree more than 7 years ago and/or a lower GPA may be admitted on a provisional basis.)

  • Students who complete their applications before 15 January, 2020 will receive priority consideration for admission.
  • The submission deadline for standard application consideration is 01 March, 2020.
  • Applications will be accepted and considered after 01 March, 2020 as space permits.
  • Accepted “Advanced Standing” applicants will begin the program in May, 2020. (“Advanced Standing” applicants have with a bachelor's degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program.)
  • “Regular Standing” applicants who are accepted will begin the program in late August, 2020. (“Regular Standing” applicants have a bachelor’s degree with a major other than social work or with a social work major from an unaccredited program.)


  • The program offers a “Trauma-Informed Clinical Social Work” concentration that prepares students to gain employment in areas such as the mental health, health care, child welfare, gerontological, and school social work.
  • The NASW (2017) defines clinical practice as a "specialty practice area of social work which focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances."
  • The program’s “Trauma-informed” clinical focus recognizes the pervasiveness of trauma, adverse experiences, and attachment disruptions across populations and the profound impacts these experiences have on the lives of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • The trauma-informed clinical concentration allows graduates to pursue the highest level of professional licensure (i.e., LICSW or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker).

The MSW program has a distinctive delivery model that maximizes its accessibility and appeal to working professionals.

Online Course Blocks

Courses are offered in seven week blocks, with students having the option to take one or two course per block.

Hybrid Delivery

A hybrid delivery is utilized with course content being delivered asynchronous online and two on-campus professional development labs per semester, held on the weekends.


Advanced Standing and Regular Standing

Advanced standing admission is for students with a undergraduate social work degree from a CSWE accredited program. Advanced standing students can complete the 42 credits and 600 hours of field practicum in as little as one year.

Regular standing admission is for students with a non-social work undergraduate degree. Regular standing students can complete the 60 credits and 1000 hours of field practicum in as little as two years.

Additional options are available for regular and advanced standing students who wish to complete the program at a more modest pace.

The WSU MSW Program has been awarded accreditation candidacy status from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program’s candidacy status can be confirmed.

Candidacy status ensures that graduates of the program are eligible for provisional LGSW licensure in Minnesota (as well as license-level equivalents in other states), granting them all of the privileges and responsibilities of LGSW licensure, but with annual (rather than biennial) renewal obligations.

A provisional LGSW license can be converted to a standard LGSW license once the program is fully accredited by CSWE. Supervised practice hours under a provisional LGSW license can be applied to LISW and LICSW licensure requirements.

CSWE accreditation is a 3+ year process involving a program’s completion and CSWE’s approval of 3 annual benchmarks. The WSU MSW Program received permission to apply for accreditation candidacy in February 2019.

The program received approval of its Benchmark I documentation in February 2020 when it earned “candidacy” status.

The program anticipates receiving approval for its Benchmark II volumes in February 2021 and receiving full accreditation in February 2022. At that point, all of our graduates with provisional LGSW licensure may exchange their provision licenses for non-provisional LGSW licenses.