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.
Courses are delivered entirely online. Each semester one in-person Professional Development Lab is provided on a weekend at the Rochester downtown campus.
The WSU MSW Program is now accepting applicants to begin the program in 2021.
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 should apply and may be admitted on a provisional basis.)
If you are applying for “Advanced Standing” status, you must have a Bachelor’s degree with a Social Work major from a CSWE-accredited program earned in 2014 or later, and your 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 should apply and may be admitted on a provisional basis.
- Applications will be accepted as long as space is available.
- Applications will be reviewed in the order they are completed. There is an incentive to apply early.
- Completed applications will be reviewed within one month of their receipt, and applicants will be promptly informed of their status.
- Accepted “Advanced Standing” applicants will begin the program in May, 2021.
- “Regular Standing” applicants who are accepted will begin the program in late August, 2021.
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
The WSU Master of Social Work 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 through applying an honoring, strengths-based orientation to increasingly diverse, disparate, and ever-evolving individuals and communities
- Integrate with, expand, and enhance existing communities of practice
- Develop, utilize, and assess innovative and research-informed practices
- Produce trauma-informed clinical social workers who are effective, self-reflective, and ethical
- Be an agent of social justice and social change, particularly with diverse and vulnerable populations
- Offer an integrated curriculum that incorporates our practice communities' expertise, with a curriculum that models the interrelationship between knowledge, research, and practice wisdom
- Provide a center of social work innovation and excellence that promotes evidence-informed practice, practice-informed research, and life-long learning
- Maintain a faculty of distinction who are diverse in demographics, teaching and practice experiences, research interests, and theoretical perspectives
- Promote a nurturing academic environment where strengths are honored to support the learning and professional growth of students
View the MSW Program's Outcomes Assessment (PDF).
The WSU MSW Program is accepting applicants to begin the program in 2021.
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, 2021 will receive priority consideration for admission.
- The submission deadline for standard application consideration is 01 March, 2021.
- Applications will be accepted and considered after 01 March, 2021 as space permits.
- Accepted “Advanced Standing” applicants will begin the program in May, 2021. (“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, 2021. (“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.)
Trauma- Informed Clinical Concentration
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.
All courses are delivered fully online.
There are no scheduled meetings for courses. Coursework can be completed when doing so works for you.
Courses are offered in seven-week blocks, with students having the option to take one or two courses per block. This allows students to focus their attention on fewer rather than more courses at a time.
Professional Developmental Labs
Once each semester, students come to Rochester for a weekend of professional socialization and professional development.
Regular & Advanced Standing Options
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 annually-renewing temporary LGSW licensure in Minnesota (as well as licensure-level equivalents in other states).
A temporary LGSW license can be converted to a standard LGSW license once the program is fully accredited by CSWE. Supervised practice hours under a temporary 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 received approval for its Benchmark II volumes in March, 2021, and it has been approved to enter the final accreditation phase
- The program anticipates receiving (full) accreditation in February, 2022. At that point, all of our graduates with temporary LGSW licensure may exchange their temporary licenses for standard LGSW licenses. Also, we anticipate that all students beginning the program in 2021 will graduate from a fully accredited program and will be directly eligible for a standard LGSW license in Minnesota
MSW Student Handbook (PDF)