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Pursue your passion for improving people's lives

Prepare Master of Social Work professionals to provide advanced generalist social work services in diverse communities.

Degree: Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program prepares future social work leaders in areas of policy, practice and research. The graduate degree enables delivery of clinical and therapeutic services, administration and staff supervision, policy analysis, community development, organizational planning, and advocating, effectively meeting the needs of South Dakota and surrounding regions.

A licensed clinical social worker can assess, diagnose and treat patients experiencing emotional and psychological issues. This process involves an understanding of psychology, interviewing skills and counseling procedures.

Degree Requirements

Regular Standing Designation: For individuals who do not have a baccalaureate degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program (i.e., holds degree in fields such as psychology or sociology). Students begin foundation coursework in the fall term. A full-time, regular standing student can complete the degree in 24 months including summer coursework. Field practicum and seminar are required and completed during the fall and spring semesters with program coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 250 hours per semester (i.e., approximately 16-24 hours per week for 16 weeks) for 500 practicum hours. Regular standing courses offered face-to face in the classroom and online.

View Regular Standing Course Schedule

Advanced standing designation: For individuals who hold a baccalaureate degree in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program. Students begin advanced coursework in the summer term. A full-time, advanced standing student can complete the degree in 12 months. Advanced standing courses offered face-to-face in the classroom and online.

View Advanced Standing Course Schedule

Learning Delivery Options

The traditional face-to-face format provides learning opportunities in a classroom environment with engaged interaction. Classroom training enables you to participate in group work and role-playing exercises by creating a collaborative environment that can foster discussion and dialogue. 

All graduate social work courses for the face-to-face program are offered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Courses are held weekly on Monday or Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.

School of Health Sciences
Health Science Center
1400 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105

M.S.W. Online Program

The online program is offered to students who do not live near campus or cannot commit to the face-to-face program due to family, work or other personal demands. The curriculum for online format is the same as described above for regular standing and advanced standing tracks.

Full-time and part-time status is available. All graduate social work students must complete their M.S.W. degree within four years of starting the program.

View the Online M.S.W. Program Curriculum

CSWE Accredited

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COA) provides accreditation for Master of Social Work programs. The COA is recognized by the Council for Higher Education as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories. The COA granted initial accreditation to the USD Master of Social Work program in 2013. In 2017, the program completed the reaccreditation process. Accreditation is reaffirmed until 2025. 

Path to Licensure

USD implemented the Path to Licensure in 2017 and is just one of eleven universities in the nation to adopt the program. The Path to Licensure program blends online learning and 500 hours of hands-on field education. It also prepares and automatically qualifies students to take the master level exam. Since 2017, 84% of USD MSW graduates have passed the exam, exceeding the national passage rate by over 17%. Becoming a licensed social worker through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) enhances the credibility of the holder, provides support and services to the social work community and establishes and enforces ethical practice standards.

View Exam Pass Rates

Learn More about the Path to Licensure Program

Admissions Requirements

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to Social Work in the current graduate catalog. The SocialWorkCAS application is open September 8th, the deadline for all applications is December 1. Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements.

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SocialWork CAS Transcript Processing Center
P.O. Box 9212
Watertown, MA 02471

The Classroom & Beyond

  • Student Learning and Engagement Opportunities

    Join organizations and engage in activities for social work professionals.

  • Field Experience

    All students participate in a supportive learning environment within a diverse array of social work career options.

  • Scholarships

    There are scholarships available for graduate students.