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Starting July 1, 2023, the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, School of Education and School of Information Studies will be housed under the College of Community Engagement and Professions. Learn more.
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The online Master of Social Work program at UW-Milwaukee prepares students for a wide range of positions that require a graduate degree and advanced training in social work.

The online MSW curriculum provides students with courses that highlight the unique strengths of the traditional MSW program at UW-Milwaukee and meets the base educational requirements for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential in the state of Wisconsin.

The program is open to foundation students (students without a BSW) and advanced-standing students (students with a BSW earned within the past seven years).

Because there is a field placement component to this program, we can only accept students from Wisconsin and bordering areas at this time.

UWM also offers an on-campus Social Work MSW.

Program Type


Program Format

Request Information

The next application cycle for the online Master of Social Work program will open on October 1, 2023. This is for a start date of Fall 2024.

Because there is a field placement component to this program, we can only accept students from Wisconsin and bordering areas at this time.

Prospective applicants can find information about the required references, narrative statement and resume at the links below.

Attend an online information session to learn more.

Admission Requirements

  • Admission to the MSW program is limited and competitive. Factors considered in evaluating applicants are academic preparation and achievement, personal qualifications and maturity, volunteer and employment experience, and potential and aptitude for both graduate study and professional practice in social work.
  • A graduate entrance exam such as the GRE or MAT is not required for admission. An advanced standing track is available for students coming to the MSW program who have earned a BSW within the past seven years.
  • We admit applicants only for the fall semester. Applications open each year on October 1. The deadline to apply is April 15.

Minimum Requirements

  • An undergraduate cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or better (including undergraduate course work from all colleges attended and each attempt of any repeated courses).
  • Satisfactory completion of at least 21 semester credits in social and behavior science areas such as psychology, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology or their equivalent.

The chart below shows the differences among the advanced-standing online MSW, the foundation track online MSW, and the on-campus MSW. Please note that only our on-campus MSW program allows for a path to certification as recognized by the state of Wisconsin for substance abuse counseling and school social work.

Advanced-Standing Online MSWFoundation-Track Online MSWOn-Campus MSW
Open only to those with a bachelor’s degree in social work earned within seven years of starting the MSWOpen to those who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than social workTracks for both advanced-standing and foundation students
Part-time students only (two classes a semester)Part-time students only (two classes a semester)Options for both full-time and part-time students
Curriculum offers all online program students the same pathwayCurriculum offers all online program students the same pathwayCurriculum includes student choice in elective pathway
Two-year program (includes summers)Three-and-a half-year program
(includes summers)
Program length can vary; can be completed in two years or less for both advanced-standing and foundation students who enroll full-time
All classes are online and asynchronousAll classes are online and asynchronousMajority of classes offered in-person with a few online course possibilities
Three semesters of field placement (internship) in year twoFour semesters of field placement in years two and three of the programField placement integrated as appropriate to either a full-time or part-time schedule

Students planning to enroll in the advanced-standing online MSW program must have earned a bachelor’s in social work within the past seven years from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited institution.

The foundation track within the online MSW program offers a path for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than social work but want to pursue social work at the master’s level. Foundation-track students first gain a groundwork in social work principles before moving on to the advanced-level courses.

Portrait of Amy Kirby (white woman), clinical associate professor and MSW program coordinator
  • Clinical Associate Professor, Social Work
  • MSW Program Coordinator, Social Work

MSW Program Mission and Goals

The mission of the UWM MSW Program is to prepare advanced social work practitioners who can promote positive change through social work practice, advocacy, education, research and leadership. This is accomplished through the MSW curriculum being anchored in core courses for all MSW students that build knowledge and skills in crucial advanced social work competencies related to social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities, as well as knowledge and skills in the areas of social welfare policy, social justice, and evaluation of practice and programs.

The values of this curriculum align with the goals of the UWM Social Work Department to prepare:

  • Highly skilled, advanced practitioners to work in a variety of ecological levels, including with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and governments
  • Ethical practitioners guided by the principles and values of the social work profession, including dignity and worth of the person, and importance of human relationships
  • Culturally competent social workers who promote and advocate for social justice and human rights
  • Social workers who engage in critical thinking and actively apply research evidence to practice, policy, advocacy, education and leadership
  • Social workers who conduct practice and program evaluation to advance knowledge and practice
  • Competent advanced generalist practitioners who may additionally become prepared to develop specialized practice skills through various elective pathways, field placement training and certificate and certification programs
  • Social workers who address human service needs in the state of Wisconsin and the region