Part-Time Master of Social Work Program (MSW)

Stick figures representing the number of full-ride scholarships. There were 17 full-ride admission scholarships for the Part-Time MSW Program in 2022-2023Hybrid Courses With In-Person Sessions Every Other Saturday

Applications are now open for the 2023-24 academic year!

Are you a prospective MSW student and would like to learn more about the program? Sign up for more information and we will be in touch! You can also register for a Part-Time Program Informational Session.

We also invite you to visit the Frequently Asked Questions to discover answers to common questions.

The Part-Time MSW Program is designed to allow students who are not able to pursue full-time study to work towards a master’s degree on a structured, time-extended basis with classes delivered in a hybrid format: using in-person sessions and online technology.  Some courses are designed as blended courses with a mix of online learning and in-person sessions while others are taught as online courses. In-person sessions take place every other Saturday on our Madison campus. Online sessions and courses are held either asynchronous and/or synchronous (remote meetings via Zoom). Students should plan to be on campus each semester and be available each Saturday for class. Our program’s instructional delivery is intended to meet the needs of our diverse student population, many of whom commute and/or work, as well as offering the benefits of a live classroom experience to acquire advanced practice skills and competencies.

*Please note that the move to hybrid courses is a permanent change and not related to COVID-19. In addition, admission to the Eau Claire site has been discontinued.

Why Choose the Part-Time MSW Program at UW-Madison?

  • Learn from seasoned instructors who are social work practitioners currently working in the field
  • Small class sizes lead to strong cohort bonds
  • Build connections with your instructors and classmates that last beyond graduation
  • Courses offered on Saturdays, beginning at 9:00 am allowing time to commute for in-person sessions
  • Field placement may be offered in your home community
  • Admissions Scholarships and Financial Aid Resources available
  • Focus areas in Aging; Child, Youth, and Family Welfare; Health; and Mental Health
  • Same curriculum as our Full-Time MSW Program
  • $800 per credit (plus fees) for in and out-of-state residents
  • Advanced Standing available
  • Exemption Exams for Generalist Practice courses available

Time in Program

The length of the graduate program will vary according to the student’s prior preparation and the number of credits completed each semester. Typically, for students without a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW), completion of the Part-Time MSW Program requires four years of study. For students who do have a BSW and meet criteria, minimum time for completion of the Part-Time MSW program is two years of study if admitted with complete advanced standing.

Professional Accreditation

Both our Full- and Part-Time MSW Programs are accredited through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Information on when the program was first accredited and our last accreditation review are available on their Directory of Accredited Programs.

Part-Time students pay $800 per credit tuition, segregated fees, and a $110.00 lab fee for each semester in field. Segregated fees are not included in chart below. Please see Bursar’s Office Tuition rates for semester specific rates.

PTP Generalist Plan of Study

There are two important policies we would like to briefly summarize for students in the Part-Time MSW Program:

  • Graduate Assistantship Policy: Per university policy, 131 students (which includes the Part-Time Program) are permitted to hold TA/RA/PA positions (including those above 33%) but will not receive the tuition remission that is typically part of the compensation package for a graduate assistantship.
  • Program/Course Enrollment Policy: Students in this program cannot enroll in other graduate programs. All MSW requirements must be met by taking courses in the Part-Time MSW Program. You must consult with an advisor prior to taking any coursework outside of the Part-Time MSW Program.

Financial Aid

All students interested in applying for financial aid must contact the Office of Student Financial Aid. Students should make sure they have enough financial aid to cover summer classes. We strongly recommend students talk to the Office of Student Financial Aid to create a financial aid plan that will meet your needs.

The Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work offers a number of Awards and Scholarships. Part-Time students in Child, Youth, and Family Welfare are also encouraged to apply for Public Child Welfare Training funding once they have been accepted.

Returning Adult Student Scholarships, Financial Assistance information can be found through the UW-Madison Continuing Studies Adult & Student Services Center.

For students without a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, the focus of the curriculum for the first two years of study in the Part-Time MSW Program is on Generalist Practice.

The first two years’ curriculum is generalist and is designed to provide you with foundational social work knowledge, values and skills and to prepare you for the Advanced Generalist Specialization.

Learn more about the Generalist Field Unit in the PTP by watching this video from the Field Education Office!

Generalist Practice Plan of Study

PTP Generalist Plan of Study

In a broad social justice framework, advanced practice (students continuing from the Generalist years) or advanced standing (students entering the Program with a recent BSW) MSW students complete a generalist advanced practice specialization in one of four social problem focus areas. Students may also choose to have no focus area.

Aging and/or Health

Children, Youth, and Family Welfare

Mental Health

Hear from our Focus Area Chairs on the opportunities each option provides in the recorded informational session below.

To view the document referred to in the video please see the PTP Advanced Generalist Specialization Handbook. 

Given the substantial overlap in curriculum, students may choose to combine Aging and Health into a joint focus area, or choose to focus on one area.

Aging Focus Area

The Aging focus area prepares students to work successfully in a variety of settings that tackle the unique and intersecting issues related to aging.

All students in this focus area learn advanced practice skills in brokering, care/case management, assessment, and interdisciplinary teamwork. They develop knowledge and skills around cutting-edge social work topics such as consumer-directed care, consumer-centered assessment, and end-of-life care.

Students also learn about current services and policies related to aging and critically examine opportunities for policy and program improvements. Students who graduate with this focus area are well-trained to take professional positions in a variety of settings from community-based service programs and organizations, to hospitals and residential facilities, to policy positions at the state and national level. Students may specialize in one or both of these areas by:

  1. participating in field units devoted to this area of specialization (aging placement). Learn more about the Aging field unit in the PTP by watching this video from the Field Education Office. 
  2. choosing among specialized advanced practice electives within the focus area (e.g., Social Work Practice in Health Care, Social Work and Issues in Developmental Disabilities, or Grief, Death, Loss, and Life).

Health Focus Area

The Health focus area prepares students to work successfully in a variety of settings that tackle the unique and intersecting issues related to health. All students in this focus area learn advanced practice skills in brokering, care/case management, assessment, and interdisciplinary teamwork. They develop knowledge and skills around cutting-edge social work topics such as consumer-directed care, consumer-centered assessment, and end-of-life care.

Students also learn about current services and policies related to health and critically examine opportunities for policy and program improvements. Students who graduate with this focus area are well-trained to take professional positions in a variety of settings from community-based service programs and organizations, to hospitals and nursing homes, to policy positions at the state and national level. Students may specialize in one or both of these areas by:

  1. participating in field units devoted to health; Learn more about the Heath field unit in the PTP by watching this video from the Field Education Office.
  2. choosing among specialized advanced practice electives within the focus area (e.g., Social Work Practice in Aging and Mental Health, Social Work and Issues in Developmental Disabilities, or Grief, Death, Loss, and Life).

Focus Area Chair

Tracy Schroepfer, MSW, PhD

Plan of Study

Health & Aging Plan of Study

Child, Youth, and Family Welfare Focus Area

The Child, Youth, and Family Welfare focus area in the Part-Time MSW Program is intended for students with an interest in school social work, child welfare, or advanced generalist social work practice with children, youth, and families in other contexts and systems (e.g., juvenile justice, community-based services). The focus area exposes students to the policies and practice philosophies of multiple service systems, the ways in which these varied systems intersect, and models of coordinated service delivery for families involved in multiple systems. Students are exposed to innovative prevention and intervention strategies designed to reduce risk and promote resilience in children, youth, and families from diverse backgrounds and family structures.

Learn more about the CYFW field unit in the PTP by watching this video from the Field Education Office. 

Focus Area Chair

Ellen Smith, MSSW

Plan of Study

CYFW Plan of Study

Mental Health Focus Area

The Mental Health focus area in the Part-Time MSW Program prepares social workers for advanced practice roles in community mental health and substance abuse services organizations, particularly those that address the needs of the most marginalized, oppressed, and disadvantaged members of our communities. A recovery orientation, consumer empowerment, and cultural competence are woven into the mental health focus area curriculum.

Although the focus area embraces a life course perspective, it primarily focuses on clinical social work practice with children, youth, and adults who are living with, or at risk for, serious mental health and substance abuse problems. Students must become familiar with conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding the nature, etiology, course, and consequences of major mental disorders, and both evidence-based and emerging models of clinical social work practice. Effective social work practice also requires an understanding of how social policies and mental health and substance abuse funding streams affect service delivery systems and consumers of service and their families, particularly members of marginalized, oppressed and underserved populations.

Learn more about the MH field unit in the PTP by watching this video from the Field Education Office. 

Focus Area Chairs

Tally Moses, MSW, PhD
Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW

Plan of Study

Mental Health Plan of Study

The Part-Time MSW Program (PTP) follows a different schedule than the UW-Madison academic calendar. All classes held in-person occur on Saturdays unless otherwise listed.

Fall 2022

Week of class Fall Semester Dates In-person sessions meet ODD/EVEN blended course in-person
Week 1 Wednesday, Sept. 7 – Sunday, Sept. 11 Saturday 9/10 ODD
Week 2 Monday, Sept. 12 – Sunday, Sept. 18 Saturday 9/17 EVEN
Week 3 Monday, Sept. 19 – Sunday, Sept. 25 Saturday 9/24 ODD
Week 4 Monday, Sept. 26 – Sunday, Oct. 2 Saturday 10/1 EVEN
Week 5 Monday, Oct. 3 – Sunday, Oct. 9 Saturday 10/8 ODD
Week 6 Monday, Oct. 10 – Sunday, Oct. 16 Saturday 10/15 EVEN
Week 7 Monday, Oct. 17 – Sunday, Oct. 23 Saturday 10/22 ODD
Week 8 Monday, Oct. 24 – Sunday, Oct. 30 Saturday 10/29 EVEN
Week 9 Monday, Oct. 31 – Sunday, Nov. 6 Saturday 11/5 ODD
Week 10 Monday, Nov. 7 – Sunday, Nov. 13 Saturday 11/12 EVEN
Week 11 Monday, Nov. 14 – Sunday, Nov. 20 Saturday 11/19 ODD
week off for Thanksgiving Monday, Nov. 21 – Sunday, Nov. 27 Saturday 11/26 n/a
Week 12 Monday, Nov. 28 – Sunday, Dec. 4 Saturday 12/3 EVEN
Week 13 Monday, Dec. 5 – Sunday, Dec. 11 Saturday 12/10 ODD
Week 14 Monday, Dec. 12 – Sunday, Dec. 18 Saturday 12/17 EVEN
Blended ODD courses: SW 400, SW 441, SW 606
Blended EVEN courses: SW 741, SW 800, SW 835, SW 840, SW 870, SW 873
Online courses: SW 605, SW 815, SW 836, SW 875, SW 920

Spring 2023

Week of class Spring Semester Dates In-person sessions meet ODD/EVEN hybrid course in-person
Week 1 Tuesday, Jan. 24 – Sunday, Jan. 29 Saturday 1/28 ODD
Week 2 Monday, Jan. 30 – Sunday, Feb. 5 Saturday 2/4 EVEN
Week 3 Monday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 12 Saturday 2/11 ODD
Week 4 Monday, Feb. 13 – Sunday, Feb. 19 Saturday 2/18 EVEN
Week 5 Monday, Feb. 20 – Sunday, Feb. 26 Saturday 2/25 ODD
Week 6 Monday, Feb. 27 – Sunday, March 5 Saturday 3/4 EVEN
Week 7 Monday, March 6 – Sunday, March 12 Saturday 3/11 ODD
week off for Spring Recess Monday, March 13 – Sunday, March 19 Saturday 3/18 n/a
Week 8 Monday, March 20 – Sunday, March 26 Saturday 3/25 EVEN
Week 9 Monday, March 27 – Sunday, April 2 Saturday 4/1 ODD
Week 10 Monday, April 3 – Sunday, April 9 Saturday 4/8 EVEN
Week 11 Monday, April 10 – Sunday, April 16 Saturday 4/15 ODD
Week 12 Monday, April 17 – Sunday,  April 23 Saturday 4/22 EVEN
Week 13 Monday, April 24 – Sunday, April 30 Saturday 4/29 ODD
Week 14 Monday, May 1 – Sunday, May 7 Saturday 5/6 EVEN
Blended ODD courses: SW 401, SW 442, SW 710
Blended EVEN courses: SW 742, SW 801, SW 821, SW 840, SW 842, SW 929
Online courses: SW 644, SW 646, SW 656, SW 711, SW 817

Part-Time Program Student Spotlights