Master of Social Work (MSW)
For more than 50 years, the Master of Social Work degree has prepared graduates for advanced social work practice in clinical social work practice and social work administration. Built upon the commitment to a strengths perspective of social work practice, the Master of Social Work program offers educational opportunities for those who wish to expand their skills in helping individuals and communities as they develop their capacities to support and enhance the quality of life for all people. The graduate program at KU's School of Social Welfare typically ranks in the top tier in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. Our faculty are recognized internationally for their expertise in many areas, including adult mental health, child welfare, aging and long-term care and spiritual diversity in social work. The MSW program may be completed either on the main KU campus in Lawrence or on the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS.
Course of Study
The regular MSW program admits individuals with bachelor's degrees from many disciplines. Full-time students complete the program in two years, while students admitted for part-time study may complete the program in either three or four years.
The advanced-standing program admits individuals with BSW degrees from CSWE accredited programs who have strong academic records in their BSW programs. Students are only admitted for full-time study, although under extraordinary circumstances an advanced standing student may be permitted to change to part-time status after being admitted to the program. Full-time advanced standing students finish this program in 12 months and part-time students in two years. The advanced-standing MSW program, either concentration, may be completed on the main KU campus in Lawrence or the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, KS. The advanced-standing MSW clinical concentration may also be completed at the Fort Hays State University campus in Fort Hays, Kansas and the Garden City Community College campus in Garden City through the Western Kansas MSW program beginning with summer 2013 admissions.
Saturday and evening classes are offered on the Edwards Campus, and a blended courses option is offered on both campuses. Designed for the working professional and for those who live outside of northeast Kansas, the blended courses option combines face-to-face instruction with online learning.
Criteria for Admission
Every application undergoes a review completed independently by at least two members of the faculty. We seek applicants for the regular MSW program who evidence a minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, though special circumstances such as improvement of grades in upper division or graduate courses may be considered in the evaluation of the GPA. Through the mechanisms of a narrative statement and reference letters, we look for evidence of an applicant's commitment to the well-being of people and communities; a well-developed sense of self; emotional maturity; and the ability to think and write clearly, creatively, and independently. Volunteer and paid work experiences in social work agencies are especially valued. Graduate Record Examination scores are not required. Our regular program admits individuals with bachelor degrees from many disciplines. Full-time students complete the program in two years; students admitted for part-time study may select a three or four year course of study.
Our advanced-standing program welcomes the individual who meets the admission criteria for the regular MSW program and who, in addition, holds the BSW degree, and who has a strong academic record in his/her BSW program, with preference given to those who have post-degree social work experience. A part-time program is available after the completion of summer courses for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. Full-time advanced standing students finish this program in one year, and part-time students in two years.
Two-Year Full-Time or Part-Time Program. Applicants must have bachelor's degrees from accredited universities before the start of the M.S.W. program course and field work. Applicants' undergraduate studies must reflect the successful completion of liberal arts courses including social sciences and humanities courses that focus on the development of knowledge in communication; social, biological, and behavioral sciences; history; philosophy and the ways in which knowledge is gained and applied; and the values of a multicultural and diverse society.
Advanced-Standing Criteria. The Advanced-Standing program requires a bachelor's degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. A higher grade point average is desirable. Applicants who earned their social work bachelor's degrees within the two years before applying to the M.S.W. program must submit a copy of their practicum evaluations as well as a letter of recommendation for graduate studies completed by one of their practice class instructors. In addition, all applicants who have been employed in a social work setting should submit a letter of recommendation from at least one supervisor who can address the applicant's knowledge, skill, and readiness for graduate social work education. Admission decisions take into account the applicants' types and amounts of social service experience, their letters of recommendation, their narrative statements which are responsive to the questions posed and reflective of an understanding of social work values and the strength of their undergraduate coursework and corresponding grade-point average.
To be considered for Advanced Standing, current seniors should submit transcripts that document their fall semester grades and a successful practicum experience. All applications to either the Regular or the Advanced-Standing program become the property of the University of Kansas.
The administrative offices for the School of Social Welfare and the University are located on the main KU campus in Lawrence. Because we have one MSW program, located on four different campuses, all students interested in applying to the MSW program go through the same process.
We take pride in the programs we offer and are committed to providing a strong social work education. Please take some time to explore our website. The information located here will help you make your educational decision as well as guide you through the admission process.