Social Work (MSW)


The Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers a full-time blended in-person and online classroom experiences. The focus on Advanced Generalist social work practice, with an emphasis on the uniqueness of small and rural communities, prepares students for both advanced direct practice and indirect practice in a wide variety of public and private social service, healthcare, clinical and educational settings. Students learn from faculty dedicated to high quality social work education through extensive field work, innovative teaching techniques, and applied learning opportunities. Once students complete the program and pass the entry-level MSW licensure exam, graduates are eligible to apply for the LGSW level social work licensure in Minnesota and throughout the United States, which is required for most advanced practice social work. Students are provided with core clinical content knowledge and skills to pursue clinical social work licensure. 

Catalog Year



Master of Social Work

Major Credits


Total Credits




Career Cluster

Government and Public Administration

This program satisfies licensure-to-practice standards for Minnesota and may satisfy standards for other states or US territories.

Licensure/Certification Disclosure

Program Requirements

Common Core

Proseminar is an introduction to the sociology graduate programs at MSU Mankato and broader issues related to graduate education. Students will learn about program requirements; differences between capstone options (thesis or alternate plan paper) how they are structured and time-lines for completion; department plagiarism policy and how to avoid plagiarism; become familiar with library resources; become familiar with the policies and procedures of the IRB; meet department graduate faculty and become familiar with their areas of expertise, scholarship, and graduate courses they teach. Proseminar is an important course that prepares students for a timely completion of their graduate degree.

Prerequisites: none

A survey and analysis of major scientific approaches to human social behavior.

Prerequisites: none

Appreciation of basic multivariable methods in the analysis of sociological data. Includes computer applications using SPSS and application to various social issues.

Prerequisites: none

Advanced-level introduction or review of social science research methods, including entire research process: problem definition, literature review, hypothesis development, method development, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication; focuses on quantitative methods.

Prerequisites: none

An overview of sociological theory that spans the classical and contemporary traditions within the discipline and focuses on current theoretical issues and controversies within the field.

Prerequisites: none

This course is an analysis of the meaning, social construction and significance of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and other boundaries within the pluralistic culture of the United States and in a global world. The course unpacks the mechanisms by which inequalities are maintained in organizations of education, politics, labor market, criminal justice system, sports, neighborhood boundaries, marriage and family, migration, nation, and citizenship. The course explores the matrix of domination and structural dimensions of life by considering sociological critiques of social institutional analyses.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Choose 9 - 12 Credit(s). Any 500/600 level elective courses selected in consultation with an advisor.

Prerequisites: none

Capstone Course

Choose Thesis or APP - Choose 1 - 3 Credit(s).

Preparation of an alternate plan paper under supervision of the student's graduate advisor. Prereq: must be enrolled in the MS program in Sociology.

Prerequisites: none


Prerequisites: none


For all MSW Program policies refer to the MSW Student Handbook.

Admission Requirements

In addition to completing the admission requirements for the College of Graduate Studies and Research, the following are required:

  1.   Completed a bachelor’s degree.   For the Traditional Program (TR) a BA or BS in any major or discipline.  Course content in human services, social sciences, health sciences, political science, or related studies is beneficial. For the Advanced Standing (AS) (accelerated program), a bachelor's degree from a CSWE accredited social work program (BS, BA, BSW, BSSW). If the degree is not completed when making application, verify that the degree will be earned by the beginning of the first semester in the program (summer semester for the AS program and fall semester for the TR program).
  2. Earned GPA of at least 3.0 on 4-point scale. Applications are considered if GPA is below 3.0. Submit a letter explaining GPA and preparedness for graduate level education in the online application system.
  3. Documented experience in the human or social services, corrections, education, public health, health/mental health care, public policy, non-profit or public administration, or community work as a paid staff member, intern, consultant, or volunteer.
  4. Three letters of academic and/or professional recommendation. Provide names and email addresses for three recommenders in the online application system.
  5. Upload an Application Essay of five pages that responds to the five application prompts and is grounded in an understanding of social work in the online application system. Refer to the NASW Code of EthicsNASW Standards and Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice, and Minnesota State University MSW program vision, mission, goals and advanced generalist social work orientation. The application essay is used to assess written academic ability, understanding of social work, and goodness-of-fit with our advanced generalist MSW program. Applicants are expected to adhere to the following academic formatting: cover page (not included in the 5-pages), double-spaced, one-inch margins, page numbers in the upper-right hand corner, and, as applicable, citations and a references page (preferably APA style).
  6. Upload a Resume via the online application system.

MSW Program Scholastic Standards Policy

It is the expectation of the MSW program that students earn a grade of “B-” or better in all required MSW courses and in the course selected/approved to fulfill the 3 elective credits. A letter grade of “C” or below result in academic warning, probation, and/or dismissal as outlined in the MSW Program Scholastic Standards Policy.

Students admitted to the Advanced Standing (AS) program must pass SOWK 650: Advanced Standing Preparation Seminar with a grade of “B” or better to remain in the program. Students earning a “B-” or less in SOWK 650 will automatically be dismissed from the Advanced Standing program.

Refer to the MSW Student Handbook for information about academic warning, probation, and dismissal. 

Graduation Requirements

To earn the MSW degree in the Traditional (TR) 2-year program requires completion of 59 credits, including 3 elective credits and 20 credit hours of practicum and seminar.

To each the MSW degree in the Advanced Standing (AS) program requires 34 credits, including a 3-credit advanced standing preparation seminar, 3 elective credits, and 10 credit hours of practicum and seminar.

A student may graduate from the MSW program under academic warning or academic probation status. A student in the Advanced Standing program in the last semester of study will not graduate from the MSW Program with a second incidence of a grade of “C” in a required MSW course. A student in the Traditional program in the last semester of study will not graduate from the MSW Program with a third incidence of a grade of “C” in a required MSW course. A student in the last semester of study in the MSW program who is out of compliance with the Scholastic Standards Policy can request an incomplete from the respective course instructor or make a written grade appeal.