Frequently Asked Questions

MSW Admissions

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Can I apply to both the Full-Time MSW Program and the Part-Time MSW Program at the same time?

No. We can only consider an application for one program. Applying to both programs will mean that your application will not be considered for either program.

Can I apply to both the Part-Time MSW Program Madison site and the Eau Claire site at the same time?

No. Do not select more than one site in the Graduate School Application. The admissions criteria is the same for both sites; therefore, we only consider one application in an admissions cycle for an academic year.

Do you accept applications from application services, such as the Social Work CAS (Centralized Application Service)?

No. You must use the UW-Madison Graduate School Application.

What are the prerequisites for admission to the MSW Programs?

Visit Prerequisites for the MSW Programs for more information.

What is a social science course?

Visit Social Science Credit Guidelines for more information on what constitutes a social science course and to determine whether you meet this program prerequisite.

Can I apply if my undergraduate GPA for my last 60 credits is below a 3.0?

Yes. In the space provided in the “Supplemental Apps” section of the UW-Madison Graduate School Application, you should provide an explanation of any circumstances that may have contributed to your GPA.

Visit Master of Social Work Full-Time Program Application Instructions and Information or Master of Social Work Part-Time Program Application Instructions and Information under the “Social Work MSW Supplemental Application” section for more information.

Will I be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

GREs are not required. If your last 60 credit undergraduate grade-point average is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, GRE scores can enhance your application and provide evidence of your readiness for graduate study.

Visit Master of Social Work Full-Time Program Application Instructions and Information or Master of Social Work Part-Time Program Application Instructions and Information under the “GRE Scores (Optional)” section for more information.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

You should submit three letters of recommendation; any additional letters will not be considered.

Visit Master of Social Work Full-Time Program Application Instructions and Information or Master of Social Work Part-Time Program Application Instructions and Information under the “Three letters of recommendation” section for more information.

What do I do if my recommender does not submit a letter?

If it is BEFORE the application deadline, identify and contact a new recommender and log back into your UW-Madison Graduate School Application with your original application login username and password. You will click the “Recommendations” button and be able to add a new recommender at any time.

If it is AFTER the application deadline, your application will be considered incomplete.

I went to UW-Madison. Do I need to submit an official UW-Madison transcript?

You need to submit a UW-Madison transcript, but it can be an unofficial transcript (i.e., your Student Record which you can access in your Student Center through MyUW). If you attended any institution other than UW-Madison, you are still required to submit official transcripts from those schools.

I am a current student. Do the grades for the semester in which I am now enrolled need to be on my transcript?

No. You can upload a transcript to the application that does not include your current semester grades.

The envelope containing my official transcript indicates it will no longer be considered official if I open it. Am I allowed to open the envelope?

When I apply, am I automatically considered for admission with Advanced Standing or with some exemptions from the generalist foundation year courses?

No. First you are admitted to the program and then Advanced Standing and exemption decisions are determined. Visit Prospective Graduate Students for more information about Advanced Standing and Exemptions Exam Information and Schedule for more information about exemption exams.

When will I be notified of my admissions decision?

Visit the “Application Status” tab on MSW Applications for more information.

Can I defer admissions to next year?

The School of Social Work does not allow applicants to defer their admissions to the next academic year. You would need to reapply.

Field Program

Full-Time MSW Field

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Can I be exempted from part of the field placement if I have a BSW degree?

If you received a BSW from a CSWE accredited school of social work within five (5) years of the academic year you graduated to the academic year you enrolled into the MSW Program and attained a grade of B or better in the field course, you can apply to be exempted from the first year of field placement. Please contact your School advisor for more information.

How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

Generalist Practice students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and SW 401 in the spring semester. Advanced Practice students register for five credits for SW 800 in the fall semester and six credits for SW 801 in the spring semester.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

Generalist Practice Students must acquire a minimum of 256 hours per semester (512 hours total for both semesters), which includes their field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to about 16 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement, and 2.5 hours per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

Advanced Practice students must acquire a minimum of 320 hours per semester that includes their field placement and integrative seminar (640 hours total for both semesters), which averages out to 20-21 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement and 2.5 hours per week in their field unit integrative seminar.

All students remain in the same field placement for 2 semesters.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of your program’s Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program) and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state or country when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Director of Field Education.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

Part-Time MSW Field

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Can I be exempted from part of the field placement if I have a BSW degree?

If you received a BSW from a CSWE accredited school of social work within five (5) years of the academic year you graduated to the academic year you enrolled into the MSW Program and attained a grade of B or better in the field course, you can apply to be exempted from the first year of field placement. Please contact your School advisor for more information.

How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Associate Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

Generalist Practice students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and four credits for SW 401 in the spring semester. Advanced Practice students register for 2 credits for SW 800 in the summer prior to their final year, four credits for SW 800 in the fall semester and four credits for SW 801 in the spring semester. Students entering the Program with Advanced Standing may be required to take five credits for SW 801 in the spring semester to meet their credit requirements for graduation.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

Generalist Practice Students: You must acquire a minimum of 512 hours total for the academic year, which includes your field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to 16 hours per week in the field placement (which is based on 14 week semesters, and can vary depending on whether you continue in your field placement over winter break and during exam weeks) and 2 hours and 30 minutes per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

Advanced Practice Students: You must acquire a minimum of 640 hours total for the academic year, which includes your field placement and integrative seminar. These hours are acquired during the months of August, and the fall and spring semesters. This averages out to 18-20 hours per week in the field placement (which is based on 14 week semesters, and can vary depending on whether you continue in your field placement over winter break and during exam weeks) and 2 hours and 30 minutes per week in their field unit integrative seminar.

Students remain in the same field placement for two semesters, and may not end their field placement prior to the last week of class in May.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of the Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program) and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Associate Director of Field. Currently, the School is not developing international field placements for students in the Part-Time MSW Program.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

What days of the week am I in my field placement?

The School schedules classes and the field unit integrative seminar on Saturdays, leaving significant blocks of time for field placements during the week. Students and their agency supervisor should plan a schedule together, taking into account agency and student needs. Field agency placement hours must not conflict with course work.

BSW Field

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How do I obtain a field unit and a field placement?

You will submit an electronic Field Unit Preference Form on which you will designate your interests in particular field units and provide other information in a narrative. The Director of Field Education will use this information to determine your field unit assignments. You will receive information regarding which field unit you have been placed in and the field faculty assigned to that unit.

Subsequent to receiving the field unit assignment, the Field Faculty for that unit will contact you with information about the field unit, as well as how their specific field placements will be made. Field Faculty do not begin the placement process at the same time; rather, each has their own agencies or programs with which they have a relationship and specific field placement slots. Each of the field placements, in conjunction with the integrative seminar, provides generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration, and application of the key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Although the competencies are the same for the generalist and advanced practice years, the advanced practice behaviors are specific to the Advanced Generalist Concentration (see Section I). Your Field Faculty and Agency Supervisor will work with you to identify, to the degree possible, individualized assignments, activities and other methods that measure practice behavior progress and, therein, achievement of the competencies. Students include the assignments, activities and methods in the learning plan. Additional guidelines for field placements for each year are also found in Section I of the Field Handbook.

How many credits is the field placement and integrative seminar?

BSW students register for four credits for SW 400 in the fall semester and SW 401 in the spring semester.

How much time do I spend at my field placement?

BSW Students must acquire a minimum of 256 hours per semester (512 hours total for both semesters), which includes their field placement and integrative seminar. This requirement averages out to about 16 hours per week (for 15 weeks) in the field placement, and 2 hours per week in the field unit integrative seminar.

All students remain in the same field placement for 2 semesters.

Is a caregiver/criminal background check required for field placement?

Yes. The State of Wisconsin requires a caregiver/criminal background check for those working with vulnerable populations. The Field Office will provide you with information on how to complete the requirements of the required background check. Background checks conducted by current or prior employers through other vendors are not valid.

Are employment-based field placements available?

The field course is an educational experience and requires a learning experience and a level of autonomy beyond existing job descriptions and/or goals of an individual agency. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to complete a field placement in an agency where a student is employed. To ensure that field placements in employment settings achieve high educational standards, considerable pre-planning is involved and prior approval for the field placement must be obtained from the Director of Field Education (Full-Time MSW Program, BSW Program) or Associate Director of Field (Part-Time MSW Program).

See the “Field Placement in Employment Settings Policy” in Section III of the Field Handbook for more information on the process.

Are block field placements available?

Since our curriculum design calls for concurrent fieldwork, field seminar participation, and course work, block placements (a full-time semester in field) are generally not a field option. Block placements may be considered based on a unique educational opportunity and compelling student need. Significant advanced planning with the Director of Field Education and Field Faculty is necessary.

Are field placements available during the summer?

The School does not have field placements during the summer.

Is it possible to have a field placement in another state or country?

The School will consider a field placement in another state when it is a unique educational opportunity and a compelling student need. Organizing such a placement takes a great deal of planning and requires the approval of the Director of Field Education.

Do I need a vehicle for a field placement?

Having access to a vehicle is a requirement for many field placements; however, placements that do not require a vehicle are available.

Is the field course graded or pass/fail?

Students receive grades in the field course. The grade reflects performance in both the field placement and in the field unit integrative seminar. Grades are assigned by the field faculty member after consultation with the agency supervisor. Since the field course reflects the student’s ability to apply knowledge and skills to actual client situations, as well as enhance professional development, the field course grade is of special significance (See Section III: Significance of the Field Course Grade-Graduate Student Policy).

What should I know about the field placement?

BSW students complete a year-long social work field placement as part of the program. Visit Field Education (BSW tab) website for information about Field Units and Field Education.

MSW Program FAQs

Full-Time MSW Program

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. You can sign up for an official UW-Madison tour through Campus and Visitor Relations: http://info.wisc.edu/plan-your-visit/. The campus tour does not include the School of Social Work Building, but you are welcome to stop by and walk through our building during normal business hours. It is a small four story building with classrooms, a student lounge, a state-of-the-art Practice Skills Lab, faculty offices, and a library. Email admissions-ft-msw@socwork.wisc.edu or call (608) 263-3660 to schedule a tour.

Prospective student interested in the Full-Time MSW Program should consider attending an Information Session during the summer or fall. This is your opportunity to meet our academic advisors and other prospective students, ask questions, and learn more about the program. Prospective students interested in the Part-Time MSW Program can also follow this link to request more information and get in touch with a Program academic advisor.

You can also visit a Social Work class with permission from the instructor.

  1. To look up Social Work classes, go to: http://registrar.wisc.edu/schedule_of_classes_students.htm and click on “Public Class Search”
  2. For Subject, choose “Social Work”
  3. Scroll down to find the “Class Meeting / Instructor” section and fill out days and times that work for you
  4. Click on “Search”
  5. Click on “View Sections” for any course you are interested in attending and find the instructor’s name. You can find instructor contact information in the Directory on our website in order to request permission to visit their class.

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

No, it is not possible to change between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW programs.

If you want to change programs, you must, reapply to the School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

Current students considering reapplying to the other MSW program in the School of Social Work should see 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 defer admissions to next year?

The School of Social Work does not allow applicants to defer their admissions to the next academic year. Applicants would need to reapply.

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. However, we offer some courses 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: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Are there any benefits for my domestic partner?

Yes. For complete details on how to access these benefits, see the policy statement and the list of benefits available issued by the UW-Madison Office of the Provost.

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 change between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW Programs?

No, it is not possible to change between the Full-Time and Part-Time MSW programs.

If you want to change programs, you must, reapply to the School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

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

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 (insert this link: https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs.aspx )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 (update link: https://socwork.wisc.edu/students/exemptions/).

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:

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

No, students must choose one focus area.  Students are welcome to take courses in other focus areas as electives in the advanced year of the program.

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 website of the Office of the Registrar’s 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: www.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. For complete details on how to access these benefits, see the policy statement and the list of benefits available issued by the UW-Madison Office of the Provost.

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

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If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I meet the Wisconsin licensure requirements for LCSW?

Yes. Since 2002, those who wish to be licensed as clinical social workers in the State of Wisconsin must meet certain requirements. The statute states that the student must complete a Master’s level “Clinical Concentration.” The Mental Health focus area meets these requirements.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to meet the requirements to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure?

Yes. The MSW Program’s Child, Youth, and Family Welfare (CYFW) focus area meets the requirements for licensure as a School Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin LCSW. Can I complete the necessary course requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required LCSW requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure. Can I complete the necessary course and field requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required School Social Worker requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

Part-Time MSW Program

Prospective Students (Part-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. You can sign up for an official UW-Madison tour through Campus and Visitor Relations: http://info.wisc.edu/plan-your-visit/. The campus tour does not include the School of Social Work Building, but you are welcome to stop by and walk through our building during normal business hours. It is a small four story building with classrooms, a student lounge, a state-of-the-art Practice Skills Lab, faculty offices, and a library. Email admissions-ft-msw@socwork.wisc.edu or call (608) 263-3660 to schedule a tour.

Prospective students interested in the Part-Time MSW Program can also request more information or schedule an appointment with one of our Part-Time Program Academic Advisors. 

You can also visit a Social Work class with permission from the instructor.

  1. To look up Social Work classes, go to: http://registrar.wisc.edu/schedule_of_classes_students.htm and click on “Public Class Search”
  2. For Subject, choose “Social Work”
  3. Scroll down to find the “Class Meeting / Instructor” section and fill out days and times that work for you
  4. Click on “Search”
  5. Click on “View Sections” for any course you are interested in attending and find the instructor’s name. You can find instructor contact information in the Directory on our website in order to request permission to visit their class.

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 School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

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

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

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

Can I defer admissions to next year?

The School of Social Work does not allow applicants to defer their admissions to the next academic year. Applicants would need to reapply.

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.

How long will the program take me to complete?

The length of time it takes to complete the program depends on prior academic degree and number of exemption exams passed successfully.

  •  Applicants who hold or are currently completing a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited institution and who qualify for Advanced Standing can complete the program in two years
  • Applicants without a BSW can complete the program in four years – available only at the Madison site

Do you offer an online MSW Program?

No. However, we offer a few social work courses online:

  • SW612 Psychopathology in Generalist Social Work
  • SW644 Social Work and Developmental Disabilities
  • SW646 Child Abuse and Neglect
  • SW650 Research Methods
  • SW861 Social Work Practice in Schools

How large are classes in the program?

Depending on the course, class size can range from 10 to 30.

How many students are currently in the Program?

The Part-Time Master of Social Work Program has around 250 students across four years of study.

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: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Although neither campus has normal business hours on Saturday, both campus childcare centers report that if there is enough interest, they will consider opening a center on Saturday. To read more about the Madison Campus Office of Child Care & Family Resources, please go to their website: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program. For information on the Eau Claire Campus Children’s Center, visit their website at www.uwec.edu/Children/.

Are there any benefits for my domestic partner?

Yes. There are health insurance options available for domestic partners through Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

Part-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 School of Social Work for acceptance into the other MSW program.

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

What is Advanced Standing, and how is it determined?

Advanced Standing means an applicant has obtained exemptions from the first year of the MSW Program. To qualify, the applicant must have completed a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited program within five years from the academic year of graduation to the academic year of enrollment and who earned a grade of B (3.0) or better in all social work courses and field work. Advanced Standing is determined after you have been accepted to the MSW Program.

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 Exam Information.

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

We offer the advanced generalist specialization with focus areas in:

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

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

Given the overlap in curriculum in the Aging and Health focus areas, students can easily combine their interests in a joint focus area. Students interested in Child, Youth, and Family Welfare or Mental Health must choose only one focus area.

Can I enroll in other programs or courses while a student in the Part-Time MSW Program?

Students in this program cannot enroll in other graduate programs nor take courses outside the prescribed curriculum.

What is the class schedule for Saturdays?

Class hours are listed in the plan charts found at the Part-Time MSW Program.

For approximate course dates, review the University Academic Calendar. Due to a Saturday class schedule, the Part-Time MSW Program academic calendar may differ from the University academic calendar. Contact an advisor for specific dates.

Can I work full-time (40 hours/week) while attending the Part-Time Program?

We highly encourage students to NOT work 40 hours a week while in graduate school. That being said, some of our students are able to balance their schedule and continue to work full-time. Please note, however, that field placements offering night and weekend hours are very limited. This is due to the fact that most social work agencies only provide services during business hours. Therefore, it is important to consider the flexibility of your work schedule with regard to participating in field education during years 2 and 4.

Financial Aid & Tuition (Part-Time MSW)

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Can I take a position as a graduate assistant while in the Part-Time MSW Program?

Students enrolled in this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver.

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 website of the Office of the Registrar’s 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)

Part-Time Program students at both the Eau Claire and Madison sites pay a $125 per semester (fall and spring only) term fee.

Health & Housing (Part-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: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Although neither campus has normal business hours on Saturday, both campus childcare centers report that if there is enough interest, they will consider opening a center on Saturday. To read more about the Madison Campus Office of Child Care & Family Resources, please go to their website: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program. For information on the Eau Claire Campus Children’s Center, visit their website at www.uwec.edu/Children/.

Are there any benefits for my domestic partner?

Yes. There are health insurance options available for domestic partners through Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).

Licensure (Part-Time MSW)

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If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I meet the Wisconsin licensure requirements for LCSW?

Yes. Since 2002, those who wish to be licensed as clinical social workers in the State of Wisconsin must meet certain requirements. The statute states that the student must complete a Master’s level “Clinical Concentration.” The Mental Health focus area meets these requirements.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to work towards a Wisconsin LCSW if I do not select the Mental Health Focus Area?

Yes. Your MSW degree will entitle you to work towards your LCSW in the State of Wisconsin. Some additional work will be required if you are not in the Mental Health Focus Area. Please consult with an academic advisor for more information.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to meet the requirements to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure?

Yes. The MSW Program’s Child, Youth, and Family Welfare (CYFW) focus area meets the requirements for licensure as a School Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin.

I am interested in obtaining my Independent Clinical Social Work license (LICSW) from the State of Minnesota. Will I be able to obtain the Minnesota Board of Social Work required clinical clock hours if I enroll in the MSW Program?

Yes. It is possible to complete all 360 clock hours while in the Part-Time MSW Program. Please consult with an academic advisor for more information.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin LCSW. Can I complete the necessary course requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required LCSW requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure. Can I complete the necessary course and field requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required School Social Work requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

BSW Program

Prospective Students (BSW)

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How large are classes in the program?

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

How many students are currently in the Program?

The Bachelor of Social Work program has approximately 30-35 students 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: www.occfr.wisc.edu, where you will also find information on a childcare financial assistance program.

Financial Aid & Tuition (BSW)

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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)

Certification & Licensure

This is not a complete listing of all information available on this question. For more information, see the NASW Wisconsin Chapter website or the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services website.

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Are there any specific topics I need to include in my 30 hours?

Yes, the rules require that at least two hours be completed in social work ethics and two hours in issues concerning professional boundaries.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I meet the Wisconsin licensure requirements for LCSW?

Yes. Since 2002, those who wish to be licensed as clinical social workers in the State of Wisconsin must meet certain requirements. The statute states that the student must complete a Master’s level “Clinical Concentration.” The Mental Health focus area meets these requirements.

If I enroll in the MSW Program, will I be able to meet the requirements to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure?

Yes. The MSW Program’s Child, Youth, and Family Welfare (CYFW) focus area meets the requirements for licensure as a School Social Worker in the state of Wisconsin.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin LCSW. Can I complete the necessary course requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required LCSW requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

I have an MSW degree and would like to apply for Wisconsin School Social Work licensure. Can I complete the necessary course and field requirements at the School of Social Work?

Yes. You may register as a special student in the Part-Time MSW Program to take select courses needed to complete the required School Social Worker requirements. Contact an Advisor for details.

I am interested in obtaining my Independent Clinical Social Work license (LICSW) from the State of Minnesota. Will I be able to obtain the Minnesota Board of Social Work required clinical clock hours if I enroll in the MSW Program?

Yes. It is possible to complete all 360 clock hours while in the Part-Time MSW Program. Please consult with an academic advisor for more information.

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