Exemption Exams Information and Schedule

Some exemptions may be attained by examination. Exemption exams are offered each semester during the week before classes begin. The specific time and date for each exam will be posted below and on our Facebook page. Two hours are allotted for each exam. There is no fee for each exam. The registration form is found at the bottom of this page.

If you are looking for more information on Advanced Standing, refer to Prospective Graduate Students.

EXEMPTION EXAM SCHEDULE — all exams will be proctored remotely.

Exemption Exam Next Scheduled Full-Time MSW Program Exam Next Scheduled Part-Time MSW Program – Madison Site Exam
SW 605 Field of Social Work TBD August 21, 2021  9-11 am
SW 606 Social Policy Tuesday, January 19, 2021 1:00-3:00pm August 28, 2021 9-11 am
SW 612 Psychopathology for Generalist Social Work Friday, January 22, 2021 10:00am-12:00pm May 29, 2021 9-11 am
SW 710 Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice in Social Work
(Formerly SW 640)
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 10:00am-12:00pm Jan 9, 2021 9-11 am
SW 650 Research Methods Thursday, January 21, 2021 1:00-3:00pm May 22, 2021 9-11 am
SW 711 Human Behavior and the Environment TBD Jan 16 from 9-11 am
Statistics TBD May 15, 2021 9-11 am


The following exams are available only for students who have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited social work program. BSWs who did not achieve a grade of “B” or better in one or more of these courses or for whom their BSW is older than five years from the academic year of graduation to the academic year of enrollment are eligible to take these exams.

Exemption Exam Next Scheduled Full-Time MSW Program Exam Next Scheduled Part-Time MSW Program Exam
SW 400 & 401 Field & Integrative Seminars I & II See Full-Time Program Field Handbook (found @ Student Resources) for more information on exemption from first year of Field See Part-Time Program Field Handbook (found @ Student Resources) for more information on exemption from first year of Field
SW 441 Practice II: Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families & Groups TBD September 4, 2021, 9-11 am
SW 442 Practice III: Generalist Practice with Organizations & Communities TBD Jan 9, 2021 1-3 pm



This is a special exam and exam process only open to BSWs who graduated more than five years from the academic year of graduation to the academic year of enrollment in the MSW Program. Please see the Field Handbook found in the Student Resources section of the website for complete details and necessary forms for this exam. The exam is for both courses.

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SW 441 focuses on developing generalist social work knowledge and skills for working with and on behalf of individuals, families, and groups. Lecture and labs focus on development of basic social work direct practice skills and techniques necessary for working at the micro level, with individuals, groups and families. It integrates content on multiculturalism, diversity, social justice, and social change issues.

To prepare for this exam, review and study any of the following:

Kirst-Ashman, K. & Hull, G. Jr. (2002). Understanding generalist practice (3rd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning.


Kirst-Ashman, K. & Hull, G. Jr. (2006). Understanding generalist practice (4th ed.). Belmont, CA:Thomson Higher Education.


Kirst-Ashman, K. & Hull, G. Jr. (2009). Understanding generalist practice (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

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SW 442 is designed to assist the student in learning about the theory and practice of planned change in communities and organizations and to incorporate a generalist model into practice at these levels of intervention. The course focuses on developing knowledge and skills that will allow the student to intervene in a variety of organizations and communities. It integrates content on multiculturalism, diversity, social justice, and social change issues.

Students preparing for this exam should study:

Brueggemann, W.G. (2006). The practice of macro social work (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

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SW 605 provides a basic introduction to the history, evolution, and current status of the profession of social work and social welfare institutions. It covers historical and political development that shaped the emergence and role of the social work profession and highlights critical issues for the profession as we move into the 21st century.

Students preparing for the 605 exam should review and study the following:

Day, P., & Schiele, J. (2013). A new history of social welfare (7th. Ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Popple, P. & Leighninger, L. (2005 or 2008) Social work, social welfare and American society (6th or 7th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Trattner, W. (1999). From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America(6th ed.). NY: The Free Press.

Wilensky, H. and Lebeaux, C. (1965). Industrial society and social welfare:The impact of industrialization on the supply and organization of social welfare services in the United States. NY: Free Press, Ch 6, 10, and 11.

Encyclopedia of Social Work. (2008) Articles on Historical Overview, Origins of Casework, History of Social Work as a Profession and Community Organization (20th ed.). Silver Spring, MD: NASW.

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Social Work 606 has three main purposes: To provide an overview of American social welfare policy, particularly income support policy (including descriptions of all the major social programs); to provide an analytic framework that can be used in understanding current social policy discussions; and to provide a brief overview of policy making processes. The course also includes content on the measurement of poverty, trends in poverty, causes of poverty, and the antipoverty effectiveness of various social programs.

Students preparing for the Policy exam should have knowledge of current events and should study:

Dolgoff, R. & Feldstein, D. (2013). Understanding social welfare: A search for social justice (9th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

The Social Work Library has this textbook on reserve now.

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Please be aware: If you exempt from this course and plan to seek licensure for clinical social work in the State of Wisconsin, you will need to take SW712!

This foundation course prepares social work students to recognize major mental health concerns across the lifespan. The course includes an introduction to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (DSM) as the organizing framework for reviewing major mental disorders and critique of the current “medical model” approach to mental health in the United States. The course considers mental health issues from a generalist perspective including the role of the social environment, culture and stigma in mental health services, access and policy.

Students preparing for the 612 exemption exam should review and study the following:

  • Review the SW 612 syllabus.
  • Review the course materials on stigma and cultural formulation.
  • Corcoran, J. & Walsh, J. (2015) Mental health in Social Work: A Casebook in Diagnosis and Strengths-based Assessment (2nd Ed). New Jersey: Pearson Education.

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Social Work 710 (formerly 640) is designed to provide students with a knowledge base that should enable them to make their assessments and interventions more responsive to racial and ethnic differences. Typical themes include socio-economic inequality, discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, assimilation, biculturation, cultural pluralism, traditional helping networks, etc. Problems are explored in light of the combined implications of having simultaneous membership in multiple groups — racial, ethnic, gender, class, and/or sexual-affectional orientation groups.

Students preparing for this exam should study and review:

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo, 1962-. (2014). Racism without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.,

Anderson, Margaret L. & Collins, Patricia Hill (2016). Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, 9th edition. Cengage Learning. ISBN: 978-1-305-09361-4

Tracy E. Ore, (2018). The Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality, 7th edition. Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0-190-64796-

Carbado, D. et al. (2013) “Intersectionality: Mappings the Movements of a Theory.” DuBois Review, 10:2 (2013) 303–312.

Takaki, Ronald T., 1939-2009. (1993). A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

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The purpose of SW 650 is to develop students’ understanding and skills in the approaches, techniques, and challenges of conducting social work research and to enable students to be competent and discerning consumers of social science literature.

Students preparing for the Research Methods exam should study:

Rubin, A. & Babbie, E. Research methods for social work (7th ed. or later). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thompson Learning. [NOTE: Chapters 22 and 23 will not be covered on the exam.]

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Social Work 711 surveys the behavioral science knowledge base of social work practice as it relates to understanding and intervening in the problems of clients and constituents. It draws together relevant social science theories – primarily from sociology and psychology but also from biology, anthropology, economics, history and political science – to form a multi-disciplinary view of human behavior. Current knowledge about individuals, both male and female, families, communities, including racial and ethnic minority communities, society and culture is included in the course. The primary social work practice goal is to facilitate the process of problem identification and assessment, and intervention planning at both direct and indirect service levels.

Students preparing for the 711 exam should study:

Hutchison, E. (2018). Dimensions of human behavior: The changing life course (6th ed.). CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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Students preparing for the statistics exam should study any basic text in statistics. It is not advisable to take this exam unless you have taken a course in statistics.

  • Course topics that must be covered include: distributions, measures of central tendency, dispersion and shape, the normal distribution, experiments to compare means, standard errors, confidence intervals, effects of departure from assumptions, method of least squares, regression, correlation assumptions and limitations, basic ideas of experimental design.
  • The statistics course must have been completed within the past five years from academic year of graduation to academic year of enrollment in the MSW Program.
  • A grade of C or better in a statistics course is required (no C- or CD).