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Traditional MSW Online

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Program Overview

The MSW prepares graduates for advanced social work practice in one of two broad specializations — either clinical social work practice with individuals, families and groups or social work macro practice aimed at social service administration, social policy development and social advocacy. The flexible curriculum was designed with community and student input to ensure a dynamic, educational experience that incorporates real-world opportunities.

Our uniquely qualified and confident graduates are equipped with the knowledge to provide counseling and direct services to individuals, families and groups and make changes in organizations, communities, and policies that affect large populations in our society.

Courses guide students on how to engage and assess the needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, and they learn how to intervene and evaluate those interventions at all levels of practice.

The online format is blended synchronous, combining online coursework with live online classes taking place bi-weekly at a specific date and time.

The KU MSW is consistently ranked in the top 12% of public institution Social Work Graduate programs by US News and World Report, making it the top-ranked program in Kansas. 

The online format is designed with your busy schedule in mind and offers the flexibility to study whenever – and wherever – is most convenient for you. Our online courses are taught by the same highly regarded faculty and expert instructors and consist of the same rigorous curriculum and instruction as our on-campus programs. Our online format is taught as blended synchronous, which combines online coursework with online classes taking place every other week at a specific day and time.  

$700 per credit (inclusive of all fees)

 

With each relationship, we vow to be a true partner by providing a diverse, equitable and safe environment that encourages forward-thinking and creates inclusive experiences that drive social change.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) are all priorities for the School of Social Welfare and a core guiding principle. In fact, one of our goals is that all decisions in the School are made through a DEI lens. School leadership, faculty and staff are committed to doing the necessary work, having tough conversations, understanding we all continue to learn, and work hard to infuse this into all we do as a School. Here are a few opportunities for all students to get involved:  

We believe that social work is social justice, and we strive daily to create inclusive experiences that drive social change.

More Info & Apply

CONTACT US

Liz Barton, Academic Advisor

bartonliz@ku.edu

Application Dates for 2024

  • Oct. 1 - MSW application opens

  • Feb. 1 - Online Traditional MSW application deadline - full-time students

  • April 1 - Online Traditional MSW application deadline - part-time students

Learn More

Sign up for our mailing list, register to attend a virtual, interactive webinar or ask us a question.
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Advance your career in social work

KU licensure pass rates exceed the national averages for the LMSW and LSCSW. The KU MSW prepares graduates for careers in clinical or macro practice.

Licensing & Career Options

Curriculum

The Traditional MSW online is taught in a two-year, full-time or 3 or 4-year, part-time plan of study. The online format is blended synchronous, combining online coursework with live online classes taking place bi-weekly at a specific date and time.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements FAQs

Applicants who meet the following criteria will apply to the Traditional plan of study.

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • Undergraduate studies must reflect the successful completion of liberal arts courses, including those in the social sciences and humanities which 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 value of a multicultural and diverse society.
  • Undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 or above is preferred

International students do not qualify at this time for the online Traditional MSW plan of study. They would need to apply to one of our campus locations: Lawrence campus, Edwards Campus or Pittsburg State University campus.

Traditional MSW plan of study is offered on the Lawrence campus, Edwards Campus or Kansas State University Salina campus, and online.

You will choose to specialize in either Clinical Practice or Macro Practice. 

Clinical Social Work Practice

Emphasis on a particular field of practice, such as children and families, health, mental health, schools, or aging populations.

Macro Social Work Practice

Emphasis on leadership, social service administration, social policy development and social advocacy.

The School of Social Welfare requires a total of 64 credit hours for the MSW degree, consisting of:

  • 36 credit hours of classroom work
  • 28 credit hours of field practicum

Yes, students can enroll in a part-time, three or four-year MSW. Students enrolled in the program will enroll in their field practicum in the third year. More information on the Traditional MSW online part-time curriculum webpage.

The online format is blended synchronous, combining online coursework with live online classes taking place bi-weekly at a specific date and time. View the schedule of classes to find exact times. 

Students complete their practicum placement in person.


Generalist Curriculum

Students in the Traditional MSW program complete 32 credit hours of generalist coursework. Full-time students complete these courses in the first year of the program. 

Following generalist courses and practicum, students advance to one of two areas of specialization: clinical practice or macro practice. 


Clinical Specialization Curriculum

This 32-credit-hour specialization prepares MSW students for clinical social work with individuals, families and groups. 

We recommend students who anticipate taking the Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Work (LSCSW) examination pursue a clinical specialization. 


Macro Specialization Curriculum

The 32-credit-hour macro practice curriculum prepares MSW students for leadership in social work agencies and social justice organizations. 


MSW Degree Requirements & Plan

Visit the KU Academic Catalog for MSW Degree Requirements and MSW Degree Plans


 

Notes:   

Not all MSW courses are offered every semester or on all campuses/online. Course options may change based on enrollment. Check the Schedule of Classes for current offerings.  

The Macro specialization is currently offered on campus only at the Edwards location. It is also available online to students at other campus locations. On campus courses may be moved online due to low enrollment. 


Practicum Education

Social work internships (practicums) provide each student with real-world social work experience, working directly with individuals, families, and communities.

Our Practicum Education Office works closely with students and agencies to secure skill-based practicum experiences with qualified social work mentors.

The Practicum Education Office arranges all placements with a student’s input. Every effort is made to secure opportunities close to the student’s home, and all practicums are no further than a one-hour drive.

Traditional MSW students have two practicum placements: one during the foundation level and one during the advanced level of the program. Each placement is for two consecutive semesters for 14 credit hours a year, totaling 28 credit hours.

Advanced Standing MSW students have one practicum placement, which lasts for two consecutive semesters or 14 credit hours for the year.

Learn more about MSW Practicum Education.


Practicum student at field agency

Practicum Education

Social work internships (practicums) provides each student with real-world social work experience, working directly with individuals, families, and Communities. Our Practicum Education Office works closely with students and agencies to secure skill-based practicum experiences with qualified social work mentors.

Advising & Practicum Education

Admission & Application Requirements

Important Application Dates for 2024

1-Oct
Application Opens
1-Feb
Full-time application deadline for Online Traditional MSW
1-Apr
Part-time application deadline for Online Traditional MSW

Admissions Acceptance Deadlines

1-Mar
Deadline to accept admissions offer and pay seat fee - Advanced Standing and full-time Traditional
3-May
Deadline to accept admissions offer and pay seat fee - part-time Traditional

Admission Requirements

Applicants who meet the following criteria will apply to the Traditional plan of study.

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • Undergraduate studies must reflect the successful completion of liberal arts courses, including those in the social sciences and humanities which 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 value of a multicultural and diverse society.
  • Undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 or above is preferred

The full-time and part-time Traditional MSW online application is open Oct. 1 to Feb. 1. All Traditional MSW online students are admitted for a fall semester start date.


Application Requirements 

The online application gives you the ability to submit all supporting documents in one form and save in progress. You will be asked for the following, which will be required to complete the online application.

Please upload a professional resume detailing your current/prior work or volunteer experience. Please follow a reverse chronological format and include dates and hours per week worked. For helpful resume writing tips, please use the following University Career Center resource.

University Career Center resumes webpage

When submitting your resume, be sure to save as a "WORD" (windows compatible) or as a PDF document. Please double-check your formatting after saving it in WORD or PDF, and before uploading the document.

When responding to the following questions, please explicitly reference the School’s Mission and Guiding Principles and the NASW’s Code of Ethics.

Please draft a statement that is no more than 3 pages total, typed and double-spaced with one-inch margins. Please type each question prior to your answer to that question. This section is also used to evaluate master’s level writing ability. Questions:

  1. Given that there are many helping professions (e.g., psychology, nursing, public health, public administration, etc.), why have you chosen to apply for a Master of Social Work (MSW) program?
  2. What do you hope to gain from your graduate education? How do your hopes relate to your future plans as a social worker with an MSW degree?

You will be asked to list the contact information for three references in the application. The application system will then email a reference form to each person. 

Note: Choosing to list more than three references will delay application review significantly. Only three references will be included in the review.

Traditional Plan of Study: References should be professional in nature and include those who can speak to the applicant’s ethics, experience with social justice issues, readiness for graduate social work education, skills, abilities and work styles. Family members and friends are not recommended except in cases of special circumstance, which may be described within the application. 

If you are a current or former KU student, you don’t need to provide official transcripts.

Current and former KU students are not required to request and purchase official KU transcripts, or to provide official KU transcripts or copies of KU transcripts to apply for admission to KU graduate programs. If KU students earned a degree from another institution, they will need to upload copies of those transcripts with their application. 

If you have never attended KU, your application must include official transcripts from each college attended.

For processing purposes, you may attach scanned versions of official transcripts to your application. If you are admitted to a program and accept the admission offer, you will be required to submit an official, final transcript that shows your degree has been conferred. Transcripts must be submitted to Graduate Admissions in one of the following ways:

  • Electronically (Preferred Method)

    If your institution offers a secure electronic transcript delivery service, you may have transcripts sent to graduateadm@ku.edu

     
  • Via mail

    Transcripts must be sent directly from your institution, in a sealed envelope, to:

    Graduate Admissions

    University of Kansas

    KU Visitor Center

    1502 Iowa Street

    Lawrence, KS 66045

For more guidance on transcripts from non-U.S. institutions, see the International applicants webpage.

Applicants who have questions about transfer credits should contact Georgiana Spear, admissionsmsw@ku.edu

Clinical Practice: The clinical social work practice specialization prepares students in the professional application of social work theory and methods to the treatment and prevention of psychosocial problems, disability, or impairment, including emotional and mental disorders. Students expecting to sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) examination two years after the MSW must take the clinical social work practice specialization.

Macro Practice: The macro practice specialization prepares students in the professional application of social work theory and skill to the development and management of social service programs in both public and voluntary human services organizations. 

Effective with summer/fall 2024 applications, any non-native English speaker applying to an online degree or certificate program must achieve Full Proficiency to be eligible for graduate admission. Please consult the English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study.


Finalize the Application

To complete the application you must submit the online application and pay the fee.

Application Fees

Domestic: $65

NOTE: The application fee is non-refundable and non-transferrable.

International students do not qualify at this time for the online Traditional MSW plan of study. They would need to apply to one of our campus locations: Lawrence campus, Edwards Campus or Pittsburg State University campus. 



By submitting your online application, you are agreeing to abide by the MSW Student Standards and Advancement Policies and Procedures lined out in the MSW Handbook and NASW Code of Ethics. If you have questions, please contact the appropriate Program Director at 785-864-4720.

All applications are reviewed by the School upon receipt. To check the status of your application, or to send a reference reminder, please access your applicant status portal.

Once a decision has been made on your application, you will receive an email from KU Graduate Admissions stating your admissions decision is ready. To view your decision please access your applicant status portal. If an offer is made, you will receive an additional email from the School of Social Welfare. All decision notifications are sent via email; this is the official notification of a decision. To ensure your privacy, we are unable to provide admission decisions by telephone. Your decision letter will be found in your applicant status portal.

If you are offered admission, please accept or decline the offer of admission by going to your application status portal and clicking on the "Complete Your Decision Form" button. If accepting the offer, you will also see a screen to submit a credit card payment for the non-refundable $50 admission fee to hold your place in the program. This will complete your “acceptance” processing.

Apply today

Applications for the KU Traditional Online MSW open Oct. 1. The full-time deadline is Feb. 1. The part-time deadline is April 1.

Invest in your future

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Cost

Tuition for fully online students (U.S. and international) is $700 per credit hour, inclusive of all fees. Contact us to learn more about costs and aid.
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Scholarships & Funding

MSW students have the opportunity to apply for a variety of scholarship programs and additional funding sources.
arial view of the campanile on the Lawrence Campus

Scholars Programs

Three scholars programs provide additional funding and safe spaces for critical conversations and expanded learning opportunities.

Get in Touch

Have a question about social work at KU?
Email our recruitment team.
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