Full-Time MSW Program Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a category below to view some commonly asked questions. You may then click on a question to see the answer. Clicking a second time on a question or category will hide the revealed text.

 

Prospective Students

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.

 

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. To register for an information session, see this page: https://socwork.wisc.edu/infosession. 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 on our website at: https://socwork.wisc.edu/facstaff.all 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 are the Full- and Part-Time MSW Programs' admissions?

Admissions for both the Full- and Part-Time MSW Programs are 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 (https://socwork.wisc.edu/mswexemptions).

 

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 one social work elective course online, SW644 Social Work and Developmental Disabilities.

How large are classes in the program?

Depending on the course, class size can range from 10 to 70 in both the BSW and the Full-Time MSW Programs and 10 to 30 in the Part-Time MSW Program.

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.

Admissions

How do I apply to this program?

For instructions on how to apply, what is required in the application, and links to the application, review the Application Instructions: Full-Time MSW Program Application Instructions.

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

No. Do not apply to more than one MSW program in the Graduate School Application.

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

No. To apply here, you must use the UW-Madison Graduate School Application.

What are the prerequisites for admission to the MSW Programs?

For answers to this question, visit the Prerequisites page.

What is a social science course?

For more information on what constitutes a social science course and for determining whether you meet this prerequisite for admission into the School of Social Work MSW Programs, please review our Social Science Credit Guidelines.

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

Yes. In the Supplemental Application, you should provide an explanation of any special circumstances that may have contributed to your GPA. See more information about this on the MSW Application Instructions.

Will I be required to take the GRE?

GREs are not required. If your last 60 credit undergraduate grade-point average is below 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, you can provide additional evidence of your readiness for graduate study by taking the GRE.

 

For more information, refer to the MSW Application Instructions.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

You should submit three letters of recommendation.

What do I do if my recommender does not submit a letter to the Graduate School?

Identify and contact a new recommender and then add them to your online application. Keep in mind, late letters mean your application is incomplete and cannot be considered.

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 copy. 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 online 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?

Yes. For more information, please visit the MSW Application Instructions.

I recently submitted my application and the Grad Application Status shows my transcript(s) and resume/CV are not checked off. Did I submit them correctly?

To answer this question, visit the MSW Application Status page.

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

No. Advanced Standing and exemption decisions are determined after admissions decisions are made. For more information, go to our page on Advanced Standings and Exemptions.

When will I be notified of my admissions decision?

You will be notified approximately 8 weeks after the January 15th deadline.

The Full-Time MSW Program

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. You will be required to complete an Exemption Form by April 15.

 

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 "Guide to MSW Exemptions and Exemption Exams" (https://socwork.wisc.edu/mswexemptions).

What specialization and focus areas does the MSW program offer?

We offer the advanced generalist specialization with focus areas in:

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

No. Students must choose one focus area.

Financial Aid & Tuition

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

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

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.

Field Education

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 14 hours per week (for 16 weeks) in the field placement, and 2 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 18 hours per week (for 16 weeks) in the field placement and 2 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 Field Education Coordinator (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 Field Education Coordinator (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).

Licensure

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.

 


Last edited by portier on Friday, August 12, 2016 | Printer Friendly Version