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Pursue your passion for improving people's lives

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program prepares individuals to provide competent and ethical social work services in diverse communities in South Dakota and the surrounding region. M.S.W. program graduates are able to deliver clinical and therapeutic services, administrative and staff supervision, community development, organizational planning, and social policy analysis and advocating, which will effectively meet the needs of the citizens in the state and region.

USD cannot confirm whether this program or its courses meet licensure or certification requirements in states other than South Dakota. Individuals taking Social Work courses while outside South Dakota should contact their state’s social work licensure or certification board to identify requirements which may differ by state. For assistance, please contact Dr. Kelly Bass. Details regarding South Dakota's certification standards

For students who do not possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited program in social work, a 60 credit hour traditional, foundation and concentration curriculum will be offered. For students who possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited program in social work, a 36 credit hour advanced standing concentration curriculum will be offered.

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

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must meet all the requirements of the USD Graduate School for admission.
  2. Baccalaureate degree must be from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree.
    1. Individuals holding a bachelor’s degree in social work received from an accredited CSWE program may request consideration for advanced standing.
  3. An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for the conferred degree or demonstration that the applicant is able to maintain a 3.0 in graduate study is required. This can be demonstrated if a student has successfully completed two or more graduate courses. Advanced standing applicants must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA in social work courses. Each graduate program may admit students on provisional status per university policy.
  4. Please see Social Work for detailed admissions requirements

Degree Requirements

Regular Standing Designation and Degree Requirements

Regular Standing students are individuals who do NOT have a baccalaureate social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Regular Standing students begin courses in the fall term and complete 60 credit hours. Click here to view the Regular Standing Track course schedule for the full-time student.

Advanced Standing Designation & Degree Requirements

Advanced Standing track students are individuals who hold a baccalaureate degree in Social Work (e.g. BSW/BSSW) from a CSWE-accredited program. Advanced Standing Track students enter the program in the summer term and complete 36 credit hours. Click here to view the Advanced Standing Track course schedule for the full-time student.

Additional information is available on the department’s website, Social Work.

Apply Now

Social Work CAS button for GradCAS

The SocialWorkCAS application opens on September 8, the deadline for all applications is December 1. For more information about the online Master of Social Work, contact Graduate Admissions at 605-658-6200 or by email at

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