Master of Social Work

Make a greater investment in your skills and future

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

 

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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 (Current) Deadline – March 1, 2024

For the best chance of being considered for the UWO MSW Program, submit ALL application materials (including references) by March 1, 2024.

We have reviewed the first wave of applications and will be sending letters out shortly. If you are interested, we still have room in some of our track (MH/ADP) and level (generalist/Advanced Standing) combinations. We will review applications again shortly after March 1. Candidates will be assessed for suitability for the UWO MSW program and ranked by strength of application.

In mid March 2024, 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 early April 2024.

Classes for newly admitted applicants will begin in September 2024.

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 $572.22 per credit for Wisconsin residents with $78.10 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. Full details on tuition and rates for non-residents can be located on the current fee schedule.

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. 
  • Advanced standing, applicants are required to have graduated from an accredited baccalaureate social work program within the last eight years or have successfully completed a comparable Generalist 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

 

 

Curriculum

The UW Oshkosh MSW Program offers two concentrations in the Advanced curriculum: Clinical Mental Health and Advanced Direct Practice.

Advanced coursework is interdisciplinary and allows students to seek out relevant elective courses in public administration, nursing, as well as social work. Graduates are competent in the nine CSWE competencies and have practice expertise specifically in Clinical Mental Health or Advanced Direct Practice.

MSW students who complete Generalist curriculum become competent in the nine practice competencies mandated by the 2022 Council on Social Work Education-Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The Advanced curriculum in both concentrations will build on the nine CSWE practice competencies, which are measured by advanced practice behaviors specific to their specialization.

Most 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 Mental Health Care track will be able to:

1: Display ethical and professional behavior

A.1.1 Demonstrate leadership initiative with professional growth and development

A.1.2 Develop relationships with members of interdisciplinary, integrated health care teams and service providers reflecting an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in all
mental health care settings

A.1.3 Demonstrate adherence to the key principles of mental health-related laws, policies, and procedures, including the NASW Code of Ethics, guided by ethical reasoning, self-reflection, and professional supervision

A.1.4 Effectively manage professional boundary issues and other challenges by employing outside resources and clinical supervision which can arise in mental health settings, acknowledging the uncertainties that can arise when with the multiple roles characteristic of recovery-oriented practice, trauma, and other highly involved and potentially emotionally charged facets of the work

A.1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of all ethical guidelines and legal mandates, to maintain the confidentiality of all personal, mental health, and health-related information, including oral, written, and all forms of technology

2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice

A.2.1 Clearly communicate the systematic effects of discrimination, oppression, and stigma on the quality and delivery of mental health services, identifying gaps in practice settings and advocate for policy changes needed to effectively address these issues

A.2.2 Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with a wide array of professional colleagues and partners on behalf of client systems

3: Engage anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in practice 

A.3.1 Incorporate strategies that directly respect, and address inequity created by historic systemic and current discrimination from an economic, political, and social perspective against minority and oppressed populations extending throughout the life span

A.3.2 Identify specific individual perspectives and how culture, values, beliefs, and experiences have shaped client’s views and life cycle

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

A.4.1 Demonstrate an understanding of how to interpret and evaluate the benefits and limitations of various evidence-based and evidence-informed treatment models that influence and are applied in mental health settings

A.4.2 Engage in critical analysis of research findings, practice models, and practice wisdom that inform mental health practice, including how research practices have historically failed to address the needs of exploited, disadvantaged, and oppressed populations, and how cross-cultural research practices can be used to promote equity in policy, practice, and programs

A.4.3 Gather, analyze, and present data in the service of program evaluation, for an organization that addresses the emotional. legal and/or tangible needs of clients

A.4.4 Utilize research findings to strategize how these can be applied in mental health practice and the ongoing development of professional knowledge about mental health treatment, wellness, and recovery

5: Engage in policy practice

A.5.1 Demonstrate knowledge and adherence to relevant statutes, laws, and regulations related to mental health services

A.5.2 Participate in advocacy for and on behalf of client systems

A.5.3 Engage with the political and legislative groups associated with mental health, utilizing policy knowledge to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate agency, local, state, and federal policies connected to mental health practice

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

A.6.1 Effectively demonstrate utilization of interpersonal skills to engage clients and families with integrated, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed strategies that assess, and address mutually agreed upon goals within a mental health framework

A.6.2 Articulate an understanding of the various technologies employed in mental health and health care settings as they relate to ethical standards and both federal and state statutes governing privacy, health information, and service delivery in addition to how these technologies are accessed and create barriers to marginalized and vulnerable populations

A.6.3 Develop and manage self-awareness with affective responses and around engaging with resistance, trauma responses, and other potentially triggering situations with clients, families, and other providers

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

A.7.1 Demonstrate effective and ongoing critical analysis of behavioral health assessment data that:

  • Reflects client and family strengths, needs, and assists in resilience of client systems;
  • Addresses the ongoing and cumulative effects of trauma, co-morbid mental health and health conditions on treatment and recovery;
  • Demonstrates respect for client self-determination in the development of mutually agreed upon culturally relevant service goals

A.7.2 Demonstrate knowledge and skill with the application of human behavior, person-in-environment, and other appropriate theoretical models and frameworks when implementing assessment models and strategies:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of mental health diagnoses based on currently published and defined criteria

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

A.8.1 Intervene effectively and collaboratively with client and client systems, reflecting cultural humility and identified individual client needs:

  • Incorporate client and family strengths
  • Incorporation of multidisciplinary strategies and formal/informal supports

A.8.2 Effectively implement evidence-based interventions within mental health and other health care settings in the context of providing crisis response, brief and ongoing treatment, utilizing guiding principles of wellness, and resilience; including elements of psychoeducation and symptom tracking, problem-solving skill development, medication interventions, follow-up care needs, and relapse prevention

A.8.3 Effectively collaborate with client and client systems toward empowerment and transitions to other providers and services or termination of services from current service provider

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

A.9.1 Articulate and implement a vision for leadership regarding the promotion of best/evidenced based practice including ongoing research and assessment on current practices and outcomes to guide interventions and program development in mental health policy that is inclusive of cultural contexts aspects of care reflective of the needs of exploited, disadvantaged, and oppressed populations

A.9.2 Monitor and record client engagement, assessment, intervention, and outcome data in evaluation of client system and demonstrate professional articulation/documentation of these findings with clients and relevant co-workers

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

Graduates of the UWO Master of Social Work Program Advanced Direct Practice track will be able to:

1: Display ethical and professional behavior

A.1.1 Demonstrate leadership initiative with professional growth and development

A.1.2 Develop effective relationships with members of interdisciplinary, integrated teams and service providers reflecting an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in all social service practice settings

A.1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of, and adherence to the key principles of social work related laws, policies, and procedures, including the NASW Code of Ethics, guided by ethical reasoning, and employing self-reflection and professional supervision

A.1.4 Effectively manage professional boundary issues and other challenges by employing outside resources and supervision, which can arise in social service practice settings, acknowledging the uncertainties that can arise when with the multiple roles within the service community and the community at large

A.1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of all ethical guidelines and legal mandates, to maintain the confidentiality of all personal, mental health, and health-related information, including oral, written, and all forms of technology 

A.1.6 Clearly communicate with clients, colleagues and constituents orally, in writing and across all forms of technology

2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice

A.2.1 Clearly identify and communicate the systematic effects of discrimination, oppression, and stigma on the quality and delivery of social services

A.2.2 Advocate for human rights at the individual, family, group, organizational and community system levels; advocate for policy changes needed to effectively address gaps in services to address these issues

A.2.3 Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with a wide array of professional colleagues and partners on behalf of client systems

A.2.4 Engage in practices that advance human rights to promote social, racial, economic and environmental justice

3: Engage anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) in practice 

A.3.1 Demonstrate anti-racist and anti-oppressive social work practices at the individual, family, group, organizational, community, research and policy level

A.3.2 Demonstrate culturally-responsive care by applying critical reflection, self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of bias, power, privilege, and values in working with clients and constituencies, acknowledging them as experts of their own lived experiences

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

A.4.1 Demonstrate an understanding of how to interpret and evaluate the benefits and limitations of various evidence-based and evidence-informed treatment models that influence and are applied in social service practice settings

A.4.2 Engage in critical analysis of research findings, practice models, and practice wisdom that inform social service practice, policy and programs

A.4.3 Gather, analyze, and present data in the service of program evaluation, for a social service  organization

A.4.4 Maintain current knowledge of best practice models for addressing the needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

A.4.5 Identify ethical, culturally informed, anti-racist and anti-oppressive strategies that address inherent biases for use in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods to advance the purposes of social work

5: Engage in policy practice

A.5.1 Use social justice, anti-racist, anti-oppressive lenses/theories/frameworks to assess how social welfare policies affect the delivery of and access to social services

A.5.2 Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, racial, economic, and environmental justice

A.5.3 Demonstrate knowledge of and adherence to relevant statues, laws, and regulations related to social service practice services

A.5.4 Engage and advocate with political, legislative, and special interest groups associated with social service practice setting, utilizing policy knowledge to effectively develop, implement, and evaluate agency, local, state, and federal policies

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

A.6.1 Effectively demonstrate utilization of interpersonal skills to engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

A.6.2 Apply knowledge of human behavior and person-in-environment, as well as interprofessional conceptual frameworks, to engage with clients and constituencies

A.6.3 Incorporate empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to engage in culturally responsive and trauma-informed care

A.6.4 Develop self-awareness to identify and manage bias with effective responses to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

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

A.7.1 Apply theories of human behavior and person-in-environment, as well as other culturally responsive and interprofessional conceptual frameworks when assessing clients and constituents

A.7.2 Demonstrate respect for client self-determination during the assessment process by collaborating with clients and constituents in developing a mutually agreed-upon plan

A.7.3 Demonstrate effective and ongoing critical analysis of assessment processes that:

  • Reflects individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities’ strengths and needs
  • Addresses ongoing and cumulative effects of economic, racial, social and environmental injustice
  • Demonstrates respect for client self-determination in the development of mutually agreed upon service goals

A.7.4 Demonstrate knowledge and skill with the application of human behavior, person-in-environment and other appropriate theoretical models and frameworks when implementing assessment models

A.7.5 Incorporate culturally responsive and trauma-informed knowledge and techniques that assess and address mutually agreed upon goals within an advanced direct practice framework

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

A.8.1 Intervene effectively with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities while collaborating with interdisciplinary team members

  • Incorporate strengths into goal planning
  • Incorporate strategies that include intervention with multiple systems when appropriate

A.8.2 Effectively implement evidence-based interventions

A.8.3 Incorporate culturally responsive methods to negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of clients and constituencies

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

A.9.1 Demonstrate application of multiple methods of evaluation and assessment of service and program delivery, including culturally responsive methods

A.9.2 Critically analyze outcomes and apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

A.9.3 Monitor and record engagement, assessment, intervention outcome data in evaluating the client system and demonstrate professional articulation/documentation of these findings with clients and relevant members of interdisciplinary teams

A.9.4 Effectively terminate services with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

Curriculum GENERALIST (Full Program)

This list indicates the current approved curriculum. Please note that the curriculum is in the process of being updated for the 2023-2024 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)

5

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

5

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

2

SW 728 – Advanced Policy Practice

2

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

5

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

5

SW 724 – Advanced Practice Methods in Mental Health

3

SW 725 – Advanced Direct Practice Methods

3

May Term
SW 741 -Qualitative Research Methods

2

SW 741 -Qualitative Research Methods

2

 

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

    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.

    Clinical Mental Health

    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 Generalist year, and the second during the Advanced year.

    The Genernalist 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

    Paul Perales, MSW, LCSW, SAC-IT
    peralesr@uwosh.edu

    UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN OSHKOSH
    Social Work Department

    (920) 424-1419
    socialwork@uwosh.edu
    Swart Hall, Room 115