MSW Program FAQs

FAQs About the UMD MSW Program

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. 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. 
  • Our MSW program has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work education for over 30 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 faculty 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 page on licensure.

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

  • Yes! In 2021/2022, 61% 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. 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 in our MSW program.  Visit the One Stop Cost of Attendance page for the most up to date costs for tuition and fees.  
    • As of Fall 2021, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state graduate students
    • Annually tuition is updated in the summer prior to start of attendance. In the summer of 2022 the University of Minnesota Board of Regents increased the tuition and fees of the UMD MSW program by 1.8%.
  • With the overall credits required to complete our programs (51 for foundation and 34 for advanced standing), 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 or undergraduate degree in social work. Many of our students come from a wide variety of academic and professional 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 already 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. Students may start full-time and change to part-time if there are some unexpected circumstances (job change, family leave).

When can I start the program once I've been accepted? 

  • The foundation program (51 credit) starts in Fall semester only.
  • The advanced standing program (34 credit) can start in Summer or Fall semesters.
  • We do not offer a Spring start for either program.

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.
  • In 2023-24 we are piloting a fully online program for advanced generalist students.

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

  • For general questions or questions about the application, please contact [email protected].
  • For specific program related questions, please contact the MSW Program Director/Director of Graduate Studies, Nomi Ostrander via email [email protected] or by calling 218-726-7739.

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 online. 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
  • 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?

For general questions or questions about the application, please contact [email protected].

Do I need to complete prerequisite courses before I apply?  

  • Prerequisites include, a lifespan development or human biology or similar science course and at least 6 credits in social sciences (which is usually covered through the undergraduate social work degree). You may apply without having completed this coursework, but you will be expected to complete it before you start MSW coursework. 

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 domestic students and $95 for international students.

When are applications due?

  • Our deadline for the 2024/2025 academic year is Monday, January 15, 2024
  • If spots are available, we may also accept additional applications after the deadline on a rolling basis. Please contact the Social Work department before you consider applying after the deadline. 

When will I receive an admission decision?

  • If you apply by the January 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 deadline will not be reviewed until after the deadline has passed.
  • Applications received AFTER the 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 approximately 20 foundation (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, 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.