Group counseling session.

Social Work

Pursue your passion for improving lives by studying policy, practice and research in social work. The Master of Social Work program will prepare you to provide advanced generalist social work services as you support individuals, families and communities.

Make a Difference

Professional social workers are uniquely trained to maximize the opportunity for change. Social workers address both the individual and the environment, helping clients and communities cope effectively with external factors and access the resources they need to thrive.

Advance your career and follow your passion for serving others through USD's Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Our curriculum prepares you to serve a variety of populations through policy, practice or research. We take a person-centered approach to social work education, recognizing the importance of understanding people's unique needs, offering personalized support and working toward empowerment. A blend of in-person or online learning and hundreds of hours of hands-on field education ensures you are qualified and ready to take the master-level exam.

You'll graduate poised for roles in clinical and therapeutic services, administration and staff supervision, policy analysis, community development, organizational planning and service to communities in South Dakota and surrounding regions. If you pursue licensure, you can assess, diagnose and treat patients experiencing emotional and psychological issues.

Degrees & Offerings

Social Work (MSW)

  Sioux Falls and Online

Through the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, you'll gain the knowledge, skills and real-world experience you need to become a licensed clinical social worker (CSW). It offers both full-time and part-time tracks — a 60 credit hour program for those with a bachelor's degree in a field other than social work, and a 36 credit hour curriculum for those who hold a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program.

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Start Your Application Today

This graduate program utilizes a specialized CAS online application to complete the admissions process. To learn more about this program's unique application process, requirements and program deadlines, visit Specialty Graduate Program Applications.

Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.


Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in social work.
Professor Lecturing a Social Work Class.

Social Work

Our department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work, preparing students to be empathetic, trustworthy and capable social workers. Our faculty bring years of social work experience to the classroom and to their research, and they work to build and improve the field as they develop our future leaders here at USD.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Social Work. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in financial literacy, systematic policy analysis, rural health, telemedicine intervention, interventions affecting vulnerable populations in the criminal justice and welfare systems, clinical license supervision and more.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelly Bass

Kelly Bass

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tallie Cassanova

Tallie Cassanova

Instructor/BSSW Prog Dir
Bio Image for Faculty Member Megan GrodeWolters

Megan GrodeWolters

Instructor/MSW Field Coord
Bio Image for Faculty Member Chabli Hodge

Chabli Hodge

Instructor/BSSW Field Coord
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kathy LaPlante

Kathy LaPlante

Bio Image for Faculty Member Soonhee Roh

Soonhee Roh

Two social work students talking.

Real-world Experience for High-impact Outcomes

As you advance your career you will gain the confidence and expertise needed to succeed in leadership positions. A blend of academic and practicum learning opportunities ensure real-world experiences so you are ready for whatever challenges and opportunities await you in your career. 

Students in the Social Work department in the health sciences building.

Path to Licensure

As one of only 11 universities in the nation to utilize the Path to Licensure program, we blend in-person or online learning with between 500  to 1000 hours of hands-on field education depending on your plan of study. This unique opportunity ensures you are qualified and ready to take the master-level exam to become a social worker.

View Exam Pass Rates
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Become the Leader Your Community Needs

Your future clients have complex needs that extend beyond a single area of expertise. As a future social worker, you understand that providing individuals and families with the support they need is a team and community effort.

At USD, we prepare you not only to thrive in your unique career path, but also to collaborate effectively with health care professionals from a variety of fields. With the state's only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school, USD offers a learning environment that brings students together to learn, study and practice as coordinated teams. You'll graduate with the skills, knowledge and connections you need to collaborate with other professionals as you provide the highest quality service to your clients.

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 
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MN Residents
Tuition (9 cr.)
Fees (9 cr.)
Books (estimate)

More About Tuition & Fees

This is an estimate tuition rate* per credit hour and other factors such as special fees associated with your program may change the cost of tuition. Tuition rates are subject to change. 

If you are wondering about how to pay for graduate school, there are additional funding options to consider.

Alum success story

Success story Dawn Marie Johnson smiling.
My first experience having an Indigenous woman in my academic career was my advisor and Social Work 101 professor at USD. Inspired by their powerful presence and history of positive community-wide impact, I majored in social work. I was accepted into advanced standings for the Master's level program six years later. Through my BSW and MSW, I had the best support from faculty who I now consider great friends.

Dawn Marie Johnson

M.S. Social Work '20
B.S. Social Work '12
CTE and Community Outreach Coordinator, Sioux Falls School District
Sioux Falls, SD

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