Program Requirements — Master of Social Work

mswgrads08The MSW curriculum is comprised of courses that constitute 60 semester credit hours of study. The first 30 semester hours of study in the MSW program introduces the student to the area of generalist social work practice. The remaining 30 semester hours allow students to select a concentration in one of two areas: clinical practice, or leadership and community practice. The MSW program is offered on both the Aurora campus and the George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

On the Aurora campus, students have many options for pursuing the MSW course of study: full-time, part-time and advanced standing. Full-time students complete the program in two years; part-time students may select either a three-year or four-year option; and students with advanced standing may choose a one-year full-time option or two-year part-time option. Courses in the MSW program are offered in the day and evening.

The MSW program at the George Williams College campus offers two courses of study: part-time and advanced standing. Part-time students typically complete the program in three years, and students with advanced standing typically complete the program in two years. Classes at GWC are held Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Summer course work is required for students attending the GWC campus.

Aurora campus degree options

George Williams College campus degree options

MSW program concentration

The MSW program offers one concentration: clinical practice.

Clinical practice

The clinical practice concentration is designed to educate graduate MSW students to practice in a variety of clinical social work settings such as mental health settings, family service agencies, schools, child welfare agencies, hospitals, forensic settings, YMCAs and YWCAs, and many other social service arenas. The clinical concentration strives to educate MSW. students about the wide range of theories and skills necessary to practice in all of these settings. In addition, students learn how to assess, intervene and evaluate their clinical work from an integrative perspective.

MSW program requirements


  1. Statistics (The School of Social Work requires that all students have completed a basic statistics course within the past five years with a grade of "C" or better prior to enrollment in the MSW program.)
  2. Completion of mandatory orientation

Foundation curriculum (30 semester hours)

Social welfare (3 semester hours)

     SWK6140 Social Welfare Policy and Institutions

Human behavior and social environment (6 semester hours)

     SWK6150 HBSE I: Theories of Human Development: Infancy to Adolescence
     SWK6160 HBSE II: Theories of Human Development: Adult Lifespan

Social work practice theory and methods (12 semester hours)

     SWK6370 Social Work Practice I: Individuals and Families
     SWK6381 Social Work Practice II: Group Work (1.5 semester hours)
     SWK6382 Social Work Practice II: Community Practice (1.5 semester hours)
     SWK6390 Social Work Practice with Diverse & Vulnerable Populations
     SWK6500 Social Work Perspectives on Psychopathology

Research (3 semester hours)

     SWK6250 Research I: SW Research Methods

Field instruction (6 semester hours)

     SWK6730 Field Instruction I: Beginning Internship
     SWK6740 Field Instruction II: Beginning Internship

Concentration curriculum (30 semester hours)

Social work practice and policy (9 semester hours)

     SWK 6533: Advanced Macro Practice


     SWK6511 Social Work Practice III: Clinical Theory & Methods

     SWK6521 Social Work Practice IV: Clinical Adv. Clinical Knowledge & Application 

Research (3 semester hours)

     SWK6283 Practice & Program Evaluation

Social work electives (12 semester hours)

Advanced field instruction (6 semester hours)

SWK6750 Field Instruction III: Advanced Internship
SWK6760 Field Instruction IV: Advanced Internship

Total required to graduate: 60 semester hours

Specializations (optional)

The MSW program also offers a variety of specializations. The specializations are optional for students and not required. The five specializations are addictions, child welfare, gerontology, school social work and MBA leadership certificate. In addition, the school offers the Post-MSW Type 73 School Social Work certification and Post-MSW Addictions Certification (leads to CADC).


The addictions specialization prepares students to work with substance-abusing individuals and their families within a primary substance abuse treatment setting. The course work focuses on educating students about various aspects of substance abuse, challenging some of their own biases regarding this population, and learning specific clinical skills to help the various sub-populations of addictions. Within the clinical concentration, students complete a field internship at an approved addictions site. Upon successful completion of this specialization, students are eligible to take the Illinois state CADC examination. (Offered on Aurora campus)

Child Welfare

The child welfare specialization focuses on coursework to address issues surrounding families facing turmoil and struggles, protecting children from abuse, and finding permanent placements for those who cannot safely return to their homes. Internship experiences include positions in case management, shelter care services, criminal justice, substance abuse agencies and therapeutic foster care services. Within the clinical practice, students complete three electives and a child-welfare-specific internship. Courses pertain to child welfare services, practice with vulnerable children and families and effects of trauma. (Offered on Aurora campus)


The gerontology specialization focuses on coursework providing an in-depth understanding of individuals in their later years. Initially, students learn to identify normal biological and psychological changes of the later years as well as the health concerns of older adults. Students recognize changes older adults face socially over the years by examining social supports of older adults including families, groups and various living environments. Finally, students learn different assessment tools and counseling techniques for older adults. Within the clinical concentration, field internship experiences include positions in case management, hospice, hospitals and adult day care settings. (Offered on Aurora campus)

School Social Work

The school social work specialization prepares students to become certified as school social workers in Illinois. Advanced course work focuses on working with children, adolescents and families. The three required courses for school social work explore the dynamics of working with exceptional children, the practice of social work in the schools, and the policies that drive the public educational system. The advanced year field internship, within the clinical concentration, is in the public schools. Students are required to take and pass both the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) 400 and the School Social Work Content Examination 184 prior to their internship and advanced course work. (Offered on Aurora and GWC campuses)

MBA Leadership

Students in clinical practice may take elective courses from the MBA (Master of in Business Administration) leadership curriculum. This advanced business curriculum is ideal for MSW students interested in learning more about business management and administration in the field of social work. Students complete courses in organizational management, leading teams, and leadership strategies. Upon completion of this specialization, students receive a certificate in leadership for the not-for-profit sector. (Offered on Aurora campus and Woodstock Center)