Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Social workers help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities survive and thrive. With a focus on enhancing the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and marginalized people, social workers can help children and adults resolve problems in living, increase emotional and behavioral health, enhance psychological and social wellbeing, and change policies and programs to better serve communities.

Built upon a commitment to helping identify and enhance the strengths of individuals, families and communities, the Master of Social Work program offers professional education with learning opportunities in the classroom and in the field for students who want to work to increase the quality of life for all people.

Some students have earned a BSW degree before beginning the MSW program, while other students come with different educational backgrounds and undergraduate degrees. We encourage people with all undergraduate degrees to apply to the MSW program if they are passionate about helping others by providing social services and working to achieve social justice.

Full-time students who have already earned a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program are able to complete the MSW in as little as one year (summer, fall, and spring terms) with an advanced standing plan of study. Students with an advanced standing plan of study can also earn their MSW degree on a part-time basis.

Students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than social work can complete the MSW program with a traditional plan of study in as little as two years full-time. We also allow students with traditional plans of study the opportunity to earn their MSW degree part-time in three or four years.

The first year of the traditional plan of study in the MSW program prepares students for generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Generalist courses include content on human rights; social, economic, and environmental justice; policy and advocacy; applied research; professional ethics; theory for practice; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, students learn how to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate their interventions at all levels of practice in generalist MSW courses and in their first practicum placements.

Following generalist courses and field education, MSW students advance to one of two areas of social work specialization: (1) clinical practice or (2) macro practice. The clinical practice specialization prepares students for social work with individuals, families, and groups in a counseling setting. The macro specialization prepares students for leadership positions in organizations and communities. Macro specialization courses include advanced content in the administration of programs and agencies, as well as community practice and advocacy.

The MSW program is offered in Lawrence, at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, and in other Kansas communities such as Pittsburg and Garden City.

Social Work & Law

Joint Degree in Social Work and Law

The Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work joint degree program combines into 4 years of study the 3-year Juris Doctor program offered by the School of Law and the 2-year MSW degree offered by the School of Social Welfare. The social work practitioner gains an understanding of the legal environment and its impact on social problems. The legal practitioner learns how social problems shape the law. Applicants must apply to and meet the criteria for admission to both schools. Contact each school for separate admission information.