Master of Social Work

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   (920) 424-1419
    Swart Hall 230

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The Master of Social Work is a strengths-based graduate program that prepares students for advanced professional practice and leadership in both local and global social work contexts, with a commitment to evidence-based knowledge, critical thinking, and a high value on social justice.

The curriculum offerings align with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) of the Council on Social Work Education.

The vision of the Social Work Department reflects a central belief that its curriculum be guided by the principle of doing what is right and just. We teach students to willingly accept the professional responsibility to act as the “heart and conscience” of the profession, and to advocate on behalf of those who suffer discrimination and oppression. The Department’s mission and goals stem from this vision.

Graduates of the UW Oshkosh MSW program are competent professionals who will meet the social service practice needs of the Fox Valley and beyond.

MSW Goals: 

  • Prepare advance degree social workers to assume leadership roles in clinical/mental health care and advance direct practice settings in order to meet the growing needs of Northeast Wisconsin.
  • Prepare professional social workers to engage in activities that will contribute to the development and improvement of social policy at local, regional, state, and national levels as it pertains to culturally relevant mental health and health care services.
  • Engage in collaborative partnerships with other academic units and degree programs at UW Oshkosh, as well as with organizational entities in the commitment to social justice, natural and social environments, and advance community well-being and sustainability.
  • Engage in teaching, research and evaluation activities that promote best practices in mental health and advance direct practice and encourage innovation and discovery to improve the well-being of those in need.


View latest MSW Competency Outcomes




Field Studies



We are so glad you are considering becoming a part of the UWO MSW community. 

Applying for graduate school can be an anxiety-producing process. Part of that anxiety is not knowing when to expect an answer. Therefore, please take a look at the following timeline.  

Secondary Deadline – February 10, 2023  

For the best chance of being considered for remaining slots in the UWO MSW Program, submit ALL application materials (including references) by February 10, 2023.  

Shortly after February 10, 2023, the MSW Admissions Committee will meet to review all completed applications. Candidates will be assessed for suitability for the UWO MSW program and ranked by strength of application. 

In mid-February 2023, decision letters will be emailed to the applicant’s preferred email address. This letter will offer either admission, denial, or wait list. Applicants who are offered a spot in the program will be asked to respond within two weeks with their decision. Admitted applicants who decline their spot or do not respond to their acceptance letter will forfeit their place in the UWO MSW program, and that spot will be offered to the next applicant on the wait list. This process takes time. Applicants can help expediate this process by providing an up-to-date, well-monitored preferred email address, and responding to communications from the UWO MSW program promptly. Those on the wait list can expect an updated admission status letter by late February 2023. 

Classes for newly admitted applicants will begin in June 2023.

The Program is particularly interested in applicants who want to develop expertise in the areas of advanced direct practice with a focus on sustainability and mental health care practice. Applicants should be comfortable with developing their expertise in working from a strengths-based perspective, with developing skills to work in both rural and metropolitan areas, and in working with clients from diverse cultures and circumstances.

The program cost is currently $561 per credit for Wisconsin residents with 65.57 per credit in student fees. Some courses may have additional fees assessed. Credit plateau is not applicable to MSW courses. MSW students taking courses in other departments (including, but not limited to: Nursing, Public Administration, Psychology), are subject to the tuition rates of those programs. 

Application Requirements
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75, with 3.0 in the last 60 credits of study;
  • Have an academic background in the liberal arts and have completed a minimum of 18 credits in social sciences among courses in at least three of the following disciplines: psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science (BSW students meet the criterion);
  • Submit personal essays which address the following (these are submit as part of the supplemental application; we recommend that you draft your responses in a word processing document):
    • Examples of how you apply social work values and principles
    • Explanation of how your skills, knowledge and abilities support a career in Social Work
    • Description of your career goals;
  • Three completed electronic reference questionnaires (one academic, one work, and one professional reference; see supplemental MSW application for more details);
  • Demonstrate relevant professional work/volunteer experiences (submit via the supplemental application):
    • Report number of hours of relevant work experience
    • Report number of hours of relevant volunteer experience;
  • Have completed course work in: Biological Life Sciences, Statistics, Research Methods, and Life Span Development or submit plans for completing this work prior to taking the Advanced Curriculum in the Program. Those with a BSW from an accredited program are considered to have met these criteria. At least two of these prerequisites must be completed before entering the program.
  • Advanced standing, applicants are required to have graduated from an accredited baccalaureate social work program within the last eight years or have successfully completed the Foundation Curriculum at a CSWE accredited MSW program.
  • Applicants who completed their degrees at foreign universities may be required to complete the TOEFL. For applicants who are Registered Aliens of the United States who have lived in the United States for more than one year or who have completed academic work in English, the TOEFL is not required. Registered Aliens who do not meet these criteria will enter the program on probation and give evidence of their English proficiency through satisfactory performance in their first-semester course work.
  • The GRE is not required.

Keeping with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accreditation Standard 3.2.5 (EPAS 2008), the Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Applicants are reminded that when submitting the supplemental application, please report work and volunteer hours in number form, even if an estimate.


Send official higher education transcripts to:

UW Oshkosh Office of Graduate Studies
800 Algoma Blvd
Dempsey Hall, Rm 345
Oshkosh, WI 54901-8621




The UW Oshkosh MSW Program offers two concentrations in the Advanced curriculum: mental health (clinical) and advanced direct practice.

Advanced coursework is interdisciplinary and allows students to take relevant elective courses in public administration, nursing, as well as social work. Graduates are competent in the 9 CSWE competencies and have practice expertise specifically in mental health (clinical) or advanced direct practice.

MSW students in the Foundation curriculum become competent in the nine practice competencies mandated by the 2015 Council on Social Work Education-Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The Advanced curriculum will build on the nine CSWE practice competencies, which are measured by 23 advanced practice behaviors.

Courses meet in the evening (5pm or later) in order to accommodate working students. All classes have an in person meeting at least once per week to foster the interpersonal skills necessary to Social Work. Effort is made to arrange classes to minimize the number to evenings students must be an campus. The average student can expect to be on campus two nights per week. 


MSW Competencies

Graduates of the UWO Master of Social Work Program will be able to:

1: Display ethical and professional behavior

1.1 Demonstrate leadership and professionalism in social service practice settings.

1.2 Demonstrate initiative in professional growth and development.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of interdisciplinary ethical practice within mental health (clinical) and/or advanced direct practice settings.

1.4 Successfully resolve ethical dilemmas encountered in mental health (clinical) and/or advanced direct practice settings.

1.5 Demonstrate professional, accurate and effective written and oral communication appropriate to the practice setting.

2: Engage diversity and difference in practice

2.1 Effectively employ social work knowledge and skills with diverse client systems, especially those who are vulnerable and oppressed.

2.2 Demonstrate cultural competency in all social work contexts.

3: Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice

3.1 Identify and attend to resource gaps in relevant practice settings.

3.2 Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with other professionals on behalf of client systems.

4: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

4.1 Demonstrate understanding and knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and their application within the mental health (clinical)/advanced direct practice setting.

4.2 Critically evaluate practice interventions to determine if theory-based, best/evidence-based practices are being employed in the practice setting and suggest improvements when warranted.

5: Engage in policy practice

5.1 Actively engage in policy practice to improve client system outcomes for mental health (clinical)/advanced direct practice services.

5.2 Advocate for and on behalf of client systems.

6: Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

6.1 Demonstrate initiative and effective skills in engaging with client systems.

6.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the variety of technologies employed in mental health/health care practice, critically examine these in relation to social work values, and suggest improvements when warranted.

7: Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

7.1 Effectively, systematically, and collaboratively assess client system needs and professionally articulate/document these findings to clients and relevant co-workers.

7.2 Demonstrate knowledge, and skill in the application of a wide range of assessment and intervention models relevant to mental health (clinical)/advanced direct practice, including the Person in Environment and the DSM.

8: Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

8.1 Effectively and collaboratively identify and employ best/evidence-based interventions to meet client system needs.

8.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a wide range of theoretical and practice frameworks relevant to mental health (clinical)/advanced direct practice settings, including ecological systems theories and the strengths perspective.

8.3 Effectively and collaboratively terminate client services when goals have been met.

9: Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

9.1 Articulate and implement a vision for leadership regarding the promotion of best/evidence-based practice in mental health (clinical)/advanced direct practice policy.

9.2 Effectively and collaboratively evaluate client system outcomes and professionally articulate/document these findings with clients and relevant co-workers.

9.3 Demonstrate application of multiple methods of evaluation and assessment of service delivery.


Curriculum Full Time/Foundation (Full Program)

This list indicates the current approved curriculum. Please note that the curriculum is in the process of being updated for the 2022-2023 academic year to reflect a new track (Advanced Direct Practice) and new courses. Courses will continue to be offered evenings. 

Courses marked with an asterisk* are hybrid courses; a portion of the course work is completed online.

Summer I
SW 701- Ethical Standards of Social Work Practice 2
SW 711- History of Social Work 2
SW 712- Social Work Seminar 0
Fall I Credits Spring I Credits
SW 702 – Generalist Social Work Practice (First seven weeks)* 3 SW 704 – Generalist Practice II 3
SW 703 – Interviewing Lab (Second seven weeks)* 2
SW 707 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3 SW 709 – Field and Seminar I (17-weeks, 18 hours/week) +17 hours of seminar in the classroom 6
January Term Credits
SW 708- Social Welfare Policy 2
Summer II
SW 710 – Field and Seminar II (8 weeks, 18 hours/week + 8 hours of seminar in the classroom) 4
SW 736- Practice in a Diverse Community 3

When students complete the Foundation Curriculum, they move on to the Advanced Curriculum

Curriculum Advanced Standing


Advanced Mental Health (Clinical) Credits Advanced Direct Practice Credits
Summer I
SW 712- Social Work Seminar 0 SW 712- Social Work Seminar 0
SW 736- Practice in a Diverse Community 3 SW 736- Practice in a Diverse Community 3
Fall I
SW 727 – Psychopathology and Strengths –based Assessment 3 SW 726- Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice 3
SW 729 – Field (17-weeks, 15 hours week + 17 hours of seminar in the classroom hrs/week)


SW 729 – Field (17-weeks, 5 hours week + 17 hours of seminar in the classroom hrs/week)


SW 731 – Program Evaluation, Practice Outcomes & Evidence-based Practice 2 SW 731 – Program Evaluation, Practice Outcomes & Evidence-based Practice 2
January Term
SW 728 – Advanced Policy Practice


SW 728 – Advanced Policy Practice


Spring 1
SW 733 – Field (17-weeks, 14.7 hrs/week +7 hours of seminar in the classroom)


SW 733 – Field (17-weeks, 14.7 hrs/week +7 hours of seminar in the classroom)


SW 724 – Advanced Practice Methods in Mental Health


SW 725 – Advanced Direct Practice Methods


May Term
SW 741 -Qualitative Research Methods


SW 741 -Qualitative Research Methods



All MSW Student are required to take one 3 credit elective at any point in the program

Consult MSW Advisor to develop a part time schedule


Advanced Curriculum Concentrations

Mental Health (Clinical) Concentration

Clinical and mental health Social Workers assess, treat and prevent psychological, behavioral, emotional, social and environmental issues affecting patients of all ages in hopes to alleviate the major stresses that impact their daily life. This could include: helping employees within an organization with personal problems or workplace concerns, adjusting to life events, substance abuse treatment, and treatment of psychological disorders.

Examples of clinical and mental health care include:

  • Community mental health programs
  • Disaster relief programs
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Military and veteran services
  • Private practice
  • Hospital and skilled nursing facilities
  • Schools
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Correctional programs

    Advanced Direct Practice

    Advanced direct practice students will learn to critically apply central social work theoretical frameworks to make ecological assessments that include the biological, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental. They will learn that ecological interventions take the social work person-in-environment to its logical conclusion. They are interventions that work for the best outcome for both the individual and their environment in its most complete conceptualization with the understanding that the two are one. The health of both is directly proportionate. Ergo, the term “client system” refers to, for example, a family, the community they live in, and the natural environment in which the two are embedded.

    Advanced direct practice may include interventions that address issues of environmental justice, food insecurity, disaster preparedness or recovery, ecosystem interventions, developing sustainable communities. At a minimum, practitioners will learn to recognize the larger concept of the person-in-environment relationship in its fullest sense and how to integrate ecological practice principles into every-day practice.


    Electives in the MSW Program should be selected thoughtfully based on each students’ learning goals and any requirements needed for future licensure or certification. Electives within the Department of Social Work (Social Work 795) always meet the elective requirement but not necessarily the clinical requirement (See below). Any course selected must be at the graduate level. If an undergraduate course is desired, it must be adapted for graduate students. Consult with your academic advisor if you are unsure about a course meeting the qualifications. Each student must take 3 credits of electives to qualify for MSW graduation. 

    Mental Health (Clinical)

    Students who plan to eventually sit for the LCSW exam need to take at least one course beyond the required curriculum that meets one of the following criteria;

    •  (a) Case management,
    • (b) Clinical assessment and treatment of specific populations and problems, such as children, adolescent, elderly, alcohol and drug abuse, family or couples relationships.,
    •  (c) Psychopharmacology,
    • (d) Psychotherapeutic interventions,
    • (e) Electives such as family therapy, social work with groups, sex- or gender-related issues, and topics. 


    Mental Health- Non-Clinical


    Mental Health courses that do not qualify for the clinical requirement can focus on issues such as predictors of mental health, community education efforts, administration, or history of mental health. Other topics can meet this requirement as well.


    Advanced Direct Practice


    Advanced Direct Practice students are planning for a wide variety of vocational paths. Selecting an elective, either within the department or external to it, varies too much to provide a definitive list. Consult with your academic advisor to select an appropriate course. Outside of Social Work electives in Psychology, Sociology, Nursing, and Public Administration are common but not an exclusive list.





    Field Studies

    All students in the MSW program are required to complete field experience. A student’s field experience is one of the most vital aspects of their education, as it is where everything a student learns in the classroom is used to strengthen them as an advanced level practitioner. Students can expect that placements, especially those at the Advanced level, will take place between 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and are typically unpaid. This is the time during which MSW-level supervision of interns is most likely to be available.

    MSW students have field placements at two different agencies, one during the Foundation year, and the second during the Advanced year.

    The Foundation field placement is for 16 hours a week over the course of two semesters and helps students integrate their generalist practice skills.

    The Advanced field placement is for 15 hours a week over the course of two semesters and helps students perform more effectively in their specialty (advanced direct practice, mental health (clinical)).

    Field placement planning is organized by the MSW Field Coordinator, who educates students about the field placement process, works with students to meet their professional interests, contacts and licenses field agencies, and helps students with issues and concerns that arise during the course of their placements. The Field Manual describes this process and field policies in greater detail.

    MSW Field Coordinator

    Dr. Nicole Schneider, MSW, PhD
    (920) 424-0146

    Social Work Department

    (920) 424-1419
    Swart Hall, Room 230

    (920) 424-1419
    Swart Hall, Room 230