MSW Program FAQs

FAQs About the Program Overall

What is the MSW Program Focus?

  • Our program is an advanced generalist program, meaning we do not have specific tracks.  This allows for greater flexibility in selecting courses of interest rather than only taking courses in a specific track.
  • However, we have 3 areas of study that students can self select based upon interests : child welfare, mental health/clinical social work, and macro/community-based social work practice. 
  • Our program also has a specific focus on working with American Indian communities, and so all students will take a course on American Indians and Social Policy as well as one course in either working with American Indian Families, or Health in American Indian communities. 
  • We also work closely with local communities and so some students do their field placement with/within American Indian communities.
  • Our MSW program has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work education for over 25 years.

I see you don’t have a clinical ‘track’.  Can I still get my clinical license (LICSW) after attending your program?

  • YES!!  Both advanced standing and foundation students can complete the required number of clinical content hours needed for clinical licensure in Minnesota.  Advanced standing students work closely with their faulty advisors to maximize their hours through specific coursework. 
  • We offer several courses on advanced practice in mental health, as well as internship sites with a clinical focus. 
  • To learn more, please visit our webpage on licensure.

Do you offer scholarships, stipends, or other financial support?

  • Yes!  In 2020/2021, 60% of our MSW students received funding through a scholarship or stipend while earning their MSW.  
  • Students interested in child welfare practice can apply to become a child welfare scholar.  Students receive scholarship funds, a stipend, and support specialized to child welfare practice.  Visit the child welfare scholars webpage to learn more about our child welfare IV-E program, or to apply to become a child welfare scholar.
  • Students interested in clinical social work practice can apply for the clinical scholars program.  We currently have 10 clinical scholars and future funding will be contingent on federal funding availability.  Please visit the clinical scholars webpage for more information.
  • Students are also eligible to apply for the College of Education and Human Service professions specific scholarships, as well scholarships available through the graduate school.  To learn more, please visit the funding and scholarships page on our website.

How much does it cost to attend?

  • Students pay per credit taken in our MSW program.  Visit the One Stop Cost of Attendance page for the most up to date costs for tuition and fees.  
  • With the overall credits required to complete our programs (51 for foundation and 34 for advanced), our students pay less overall than other programs in the region.

What’s the difference between the Foundation and Advanced Standing programs?

  • The Foundation program is designed for students who do not already have a background in Social Work.  In other words, coming in with a Bachelor’s degree in something other than Social Work.  Many of our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds.  Some are coming right from their undergraduate degrees while others are coming to school after working for several years.
    • The foundation program can be completed in 2 years of full-time study.  Students take 51 credits to complete the program.
  • The Advanced Standing program is designed for students who do have a degree in Social Work (a BSW).  Similarly, many students come right from their BSW programs and others are returning to school after working in the field for several years.
    • The advanced standing program can be completed in 1 calendar year of full-time study.  Students take 34 credits to complete the program.

Do you offer full-time or part-time? 

  • UMD has both full and part-time options; and people may start full time and change to part time if there are some unexpected circumstances (job change, family leave).

How are classes offered?

  • Currently both our foundation and advanced standing programs are offered as hybrid programs.  Core classes typically meet once a week.  
  • A unique aspect to our program is that all in-person classes are offered on the same day, so it is possible to come to campus just one day a week.  
  • Many electives are offered fully online during the academic year and over the summer.
  • We currently do not have a fully online program.

Who do I contact if I’d like more information, have other questions?

  • For specific program related questions, you may contact the MSW Program Director/Director of Graduate Studies, Wendy Anderson via email [email protected] or by calling 218-726-6784
  • For general questions or questions about the application, please contact our student support specialist, Sandy Modin.  Sandy can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 218-726-8497.

FAQs About the Application Process

How do I apply?

  • UMD is part of the University of MN: Graduate School, so everyone applies through the University of Minnesota Graduate School Website. All application processes are handled on-line. You can access the link to the application on the MSW Admission & Application webpage

What do I need to submit with my application?

  • You’ll need to completely fill out all sections of the online application including: 
    • Biographical information
    • Personal background
    • Academic history
    • Employment
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • A personal statement
    • A resume/CV
    • A writing sample
    • An additional 2 page supplemental word document for our MSW application
  • You may also submit some optional items.  Full details on how to complete each section can be found on our application webpage.

If I have questions about completing my application, where do I get help?

You can contact our student support specialist, Sandy Modin.  Sandy can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 218-726-8497.

Do I need to complete prerequisite courses before I apply?  

  • Prerequisites are introductory stats course (undergraduate level), a human biology or similar science course and at least 6 credits in social sciences (which is usually covered through the undergraduate social work degree) 

Can I still apply if my GPA is below a 3.0?

  • GPA for admission is a 3.0 or above. HOWEVER, we will consider a lower GPA if there is a reasonable explanation (you can describe circumstances that may have impacted your overall GPA in your application). Those students would be accepted at a ‘probationary level’, meaning they need to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in the first semester to continue in the program. 

How much does it cost to apply?

  • The application fee is $75

When are applications due?

  • Our priority deadline for the 2021/2022 academic year is Friday, January 29th, 2021
  • If spots are available, we may also  accept additional applications after the priority deadline on a rolling basis. 

When will I receive an admission decision?

  • If you apply by the priority deadline, you will likely hear by the end February or early March.  Admission decisions come from the University of Minnesota Graduate Admissions office.  If accepted, a follow up program admission letter will be sent via email by the MSW Program Director.
  • Applications received before the priority deadline will not be reviewed until after the deadline has passed.
  • Applications received AFTER the priority deadline (as space allows) will be evaluated on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified within 2 months

How many students do you accept each year?

  • We usually accept 25-30 advanced standing students (who already have a BSW) and about 20 Foundation or 2 year (in a degree other than social work) students annually. 

How are applications evaluated?

  • Every applicant is reviewed by at least two full time faculty and academic staff.  We use a scoring rubric to evaluate each aspect of the application including prior work and volunteer experience, GPA and prerequisite coursework, the letters of recommendation, and the essay portions of the application to assess ability to contribute to the social work profession, and diversity in the field. Extenuating circumstances are considered if provided by the applicant.  

If I’m accepted to the program, what do I need to know or do next?

  • Admission decisions come from the University of Minnesota Graduate Admissions office.  If accepted, a follow up program admission letter will be sent via email by the MSW Program Director.
  • Pay close attention to the letters for details about accepting, deferring, or declining admission and information about applying for funding/scholarships.
  • We have a Spring Orientation for admitted students the first week of May.