Skip to main content

USD's Master of Social Work program gains accreditation

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota’s Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program has earned full accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body responsible for overseeing all M.S.W. programs. The accreditation, which was awarded in early 2013, is the result of several years of preparation and three CSWE site visits to USD’s campus.

“Graduating from an accredited social work program is required for licensure, so this was a vital step,” explained Elizabeth Talbot, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.S., associate professor of social work and director of USD’s M.S.W. program.

This milestone carries added significance because it marks the first time South Dakota has ever had an accredited M.S.W. program.

“With the first accredited M.S.W. degree program in South Dakota’s history, we are eager to prepare social work practitioners who will further enhance the social welfare of our state,” said Michael Lawler, Ph.D., M.S.W., dean of the University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences.

Additionally, the CSWE approved accreditation a full year ahead of expectations, based on the strength of the program. And, though USD’s first M.S.W. cohort graduated in 2012, this year’s accreditation retroactively applies to their degrees.

“We passed our candidacy phase (an early phase of the process) with flying colors, which was a critical point, because it meant every student who graduated from that point on was considered to have graduated from an accredited program,” said Talbot.

Graduates from USD’s M.S.W. program are already in high demand, and will fill a variety of roles throughout the state and beyond.

“One hundred percent of our graduates are working – they all have jobs,” said Talbot. “There’s such a need for M.S.W. graduates in South Dakota that our graduates aren’t going to have any trouble finding employment in the state.”

For more information, please visit


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News