Frequently Asked Questions – Full-Time MSW

Full-Time MSW Program FAQs

Prospective Students (Full-Time MSW)

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Can I tour the Campus and the School of Social Work?

Yes. The beautiful UW-Madison campus is architecturally and historically rich. Due to COVID-19, you can sign up for an official UW-Madison virtual tour through Campus and Visitor Relations: http://info.wisc.edu/plan-your-visit/.

To request more information about the Full-Time MSW Program, you can sign up for a Group Information Session or fill out your contact information and we will be in touch.

Can I transfer between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW Programs?

No. It is not possible to transfer between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW programs.

You can, however, reapply to the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

Part-Time MSW Program course sequencing means that applications from Part-Time MSW students seeking entry into the Full-Time MSW Program can only be considered if the applicant has completed the generalist foundation course sequence (years 1 & 2) and is ready to enter the Full-Time MSW Program at the start of the advanced practice year (year 3). Thus, Part-Time MSW students would apply to the Full-Time MSW Program in the fall of their second year.

Current students considering reapplying to the other MSW program in the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work are required to meet with their advisor as soon as possible.

How selective is the Full-Time MSW Program's admissions?

Admissions for both the Full-Time MSW Program is highly competitive. To prepare a competitive application, carefully follow all of our application instructions.

Can I transfer courses from another graduate program to this MSW Program?

No. We do not transfer credits. However, students may be eligible for exemptions.

I obtained my BSW over five years ago. Am I eligible to qualify for exemptions from Generalist class and field coursework?

Yes, applicants whose accredited BSW degree is older than five years can exempt from all Generalist coursework by passing exemption exams.

For information about classroom course exemptions, go to the MSW Exemption Exams page.

If you meet the following criteria you are eligible to complete a portfolio field exemption exam to exempt from Generalist field coursework:

  1. You have post-BSW Social Work practice experience, the equivalent of two full-time years in the last five years;
  2. You graduated from an accredited Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) school of social work more than five years from the academic year of graduation to the academic year of enrollment in the MSW Program; and,
  3. Your field grade was a “B” or better or a “Pass” at a “B” or better level.

See the Field Handbook chapter titled “Policy for MSW Program Exemption from the Generalist Year of Field SW400 & SW401” for details.

Is it possible to waive some of the academic requirements for students with many years of experience in the field?

Our accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), does not permit us to give academic credit for life or prior work experience.

As a Certified Social Worker who does not have a social work degree, and may or may not have work experience in a social service setting, will I qualify for an exemption from the Generalist Practice field placement and field seminar?

No. The Social Work field course is an educationally directed experience not a work experience. It involves educational and professional social work learning experiences, as well as a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Fieldwork, employment, or volunteer experience that was not obtained while attending an accredited Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) BSW program will not qualify you for an exemption from the Generalist Practice field placement and field seminar.

Do you offer an online MSW Program?

No. We do, however, offer a few social work courses online. Please visit the Course Search & Enroll app (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-search-enroll/) to see which social work courses are currently being offered online.

How large are classes in the program?

Depending on the course, class size can range from 10 to 70.

How many students are currently in the Program?

The Full-Time Master of Social Work Program currently has approximately 200 students across two years of study. We accept about 100 new applicants each year.

Does the University offer childcare assistance to students?

Yes. To read more about the Madison Campus Office of Child Care & Family Resources, please go to their website, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Are there any benefits for my domestic partner?

Yes. UW-Madison has a Domestic Partnership Policy that specifies that domestic partners are entitled to access to benefits extended to spouses.

What is it like being a graduate student at UW-Madison?

See the UW-Madison Graduate School’s Guide to Graduate Student Life.

Full-Time MSW Program

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Can I transfer between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW Programs?

No. It is not possible to transfer between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW programs.

You can, however, reapply to the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

Current students considering reapplying to the other MSW program in the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work should see their advisor as soon as possible.

Part-Time MWS Program course sequencing means that applications from Part-Time MSW students seeking entry into the Full-Time MSW Program can only be considered if the applicant has completed the generalist foundation course sequence (years 1 & 2) and is ready to enter the Full-Time MSW Program at the start of the advanced practice year (year 3). Thus, Part-Time MSW students would apply in the fall of the second year to the Full-Time MSW Program.

What is Advanced Standing, and how is it determined?

Advanced Standing is granted to students who have obtained exemptions from the first year (Generalist Year) of the MSW Program. To qualify, an incoming student must have:

  1. Completed a BSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program within five years from the academic year of graduation to the academic year of enrollment in the MSW Program
  2. Earned a grade of B (3.0) or better in all comparable generalist social work courses, field work and statistics.

Advanced Standing is determined after you have been accepted to the MSW Program. Incoming students must complete an Exemption Form documenting that they have completed an approved statistic course and/or generalist courses to be granted advanced standing status.

Exemptions are based on course syllabi review of completed comparable course work. These courses must have been completed with a grade of B or better, statistics with a grade of C or better. Exemptions are not granted for Advanced Practice courses.

For more information on exemptions and exemption exams, visit Exemption Exams Information and Schedule.

What specialization and focus areas does the Full-Time MSW Program offer?

We offer one specialization in Advanced Generalist Practice.

Within the Advanced Generalist Specialization students can focus their advanced studies in:

  • Aging
  • Child, Youth, and Family Welfare
  • Health
  • Mental Health

In the Advanced Practice Specialization Year can I choose more than one area of focus?

Students are not required to choose a focus area. Students are welcome to take courses in other focus areas as electives in the advanced year of the program. However, students should consult with their advisor when choosing courses, particularly if they wish to pursue a particular license or certification.

Financial Aid & Tuition (Full-Time MSW)

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How do I determine if I am a Resident of Wisconsin for tuition purposes?

Visit the Registrar’s Office page on Residence for Tuition Purposes for questions relating to residency, appealing nonresident status, and information on Minnesota reciprocity.

Can I get financial aid?

How much will school cost?

Costs are based on number of credits taken. Tuition rates, fees, and payment schedules can be found on the Bursar’s Office Tuition and Fees website.

Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid find out more about the cost of graduate school at UW-Madison. The Office of Student Financial Aid has prepared a sample budget for students from Wisconsin or Minnesota or from Out-of-State to cover the costs of attending graduate school at UW-Madison.

Will I incur any special fees when I register for the program?

Yes. Students in our professional programs are charged a lab fee of $110.00 per semester enrolled in field. This fee is used to provide students with supplemental experiences and information designed to shape “the professional character and competence” of students and to help promote a culture “congruent with the values of the profession and the mission, goals and context of the program.” (2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, Implicit Curriculum, Council on Social Work Education)

Health & Housing (Full-Time MSW)

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Does the University offer childcare assistance to students?

Yes. To read more about the Madison Campus Office of Child Care & Family Resources, please go to their website: occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Can I get health care and health insurance?

Yes. For information on health care visit University Health Services (UHS) and for health insurance visit Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

Are there any benefits for my domestic partner?

Yes. UW-Madison has a Domestic Partnership Policy that specifies that domestic partners are entitled to access to benefits extended to spouses.

Where can I live?

The University has limited on-campus housing available for graduate students. For more information, visit the University Housing’s website on University Apartments.

For more information on off-campus housing, the Campus Area Housing Listing Service maintains a searchable database for listings of private housing, including apartments, houses, rooms, efficiencies, co-ops, and roommates.

Madison is home to about 10 cooperative houses. For more information, visit the website of Madison Community Co-op.

Licensure, Certification, and Continuing Education

Review the Certification & Licensure and Continuing Education tabs for questions relating to those topics.

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