MSW Resources & FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

What, When, Where, and How?
The Department of Social Work is planning for a new MSW program to be offered by Concordia University Wisconsin. The program will be offered as a seated program on the Mequon campus beginning in August 2017.

When will the MSW program be available?
We are planning to begin offering classes in August 2017.

Who is eligible to apply for an MSW degree?
Anyone with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in Social Work to apply for an MSW?
No. You can have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. Many people return to graduate school at different times in their lives, change careers, or decide to strengthen their career with an MSW.

How long will it take me to get an MSW?
As a full-time student in the regular graduate program it will take you 2 years. As a full-time student with advanced standing, it will take you one year.

Will I be able to attend the program part-time?
Yes. We offer a part-time option for students in the regular program and the advanced standing program. Students in the regular 2-year graduate program can complete the program in 2, 3, or 4 years. Students with advanced standing can complete the program in 2-years.

How is the Advanced Standing program and the regular program different?
Students admitted with advanced standing are only required to take the second year (specialization year) of the graduate program. The regular program is 66 credits. The advanced standing program is 39 credits.

Why don’t advanced standing student take the first year of the graduate program?
Every Social Worker who graduates from an accredited Social Work program has what is known as the knowledge base of the profession. Undergraduates learn the knowledge base in their BSW program…offered at the undergraduate level of study. Graduate students get the same knowledge base, offered at the graduate level of instruction during the first year of their graduate program. Both regular students and advanced standing students take the same courses offered during the second year of the MSW program, known as the specialization year.

What is the CUW MSW program concentration?
We will be offering an Advanced Generalist specialization. The Advanced Generalist specialization has become a strong selection for states with a large rural population. The Advanced Generalist is a well-rounded specialization, offering advanced level classes at all systemic levels of practice (micro, mezzo, and macro). As Social Workers matriculate through the life of their careers they will probably practice at multiple levels of practice, and in multiple settings; this is especially true if you live in a more rural community. The Advanced Generalist specialization provides graduates with knowledge that will support positions at all levels of practice.

How can I augment my MSW to support my specific interests for practice?  
Students select electives that will strengthen practice in an area of specific interest. We will be building a wide variety of electives. Social Workers are also life-long learners. We continuously take workshops, attend conferences and trainings that educate us on areas of interest and needs to our specific profession. So once you graduate, be prepared to continuously update and educate yourself.

Do I need a minor?
No. Graduate students do not have minors.

Can I work full-time while I attend the MSW program?
We strongly do not recommend working full-time while attending the MSW program as a full-time student. Between the class-time, time needed for study, and the internship, a full-time job would make the integration of knowledge extremely stressful and difficult.  We recommend full-time students work only 20 hours a week.

Is the program accredited?
We are in the process of becoming accredited and are working with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It will take three years for the program to become fully accredited. Accreditation is retroactive to the first graduated class. The Council on Social Work Education mentors new programs through the accreditation process over a period of three years. Throughout the accreditation process, a CSWE accreditation specialist is assigned as a consultant to the program. The consultant is available to review documents and provide consultation and support to the program. The accreditation process is designed for program success and this will be the third time Dr. Talbot, Chair of the Department of Social Work, has gone through this process.

What is Advanced Standing and am I eligible?
Advanced Standing is available to students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from a CSWE accredited program at the time the degree was awarded. To be eligible to apply for advanced standing status students must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in all Social Work courses, or a 3.0 with one year of experience. Students accepted for advanced standing must begin their graduate program within 7 years of completing their undergraduate degree.

When will the first Advanced Standing class be admitted?
The first Advanced Standing cohort will be begin classes in 2017.

I don’t have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Can I still apply for the MSW program?
Yes! You would apply for the regular 2-year MSW program.

I don’t have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, but I have years of experience in the field. Can I apply for the Advanced Standing program?
No. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), who accredits all Social Work programs, stipulates that only those applicants who graduate from an accredited BSW program can be eligible to apply for Advanced Standing.

May I apply for Advanced Standing if I’ve already completed graduate coursework in a Social Work related field?
Advanced standing is only available to applicants who hold an undergraduate degree in Social Work earned in a program accredited by CSWE.

What are the application requirements?

  1. A completed application for the MSW program, through the CUW website,
    • Social Workers with an earned BSW degree within the last 7 years may apply for the Advanced Standing program.
  2. A completed Bachelor’s degree from an accredited University, along with all official transcripts leading up to the degree.
  3. Three professional letters of recommendation. One recommendation should be from an academic advisor/ or university faculty, and one letter from a current/previous supervisor.
    • Applicants seeking advanced standing must have: 1) a letter of recommendation from their BSW academic advisor, 2) a faculty member from their BSW program, and 3) a current supervisor from a social service agency.
  4. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, for the last 2 years of undergraduate study, or demonstration that the applicant is able to maintain a 3.0 in graduate study. This can be demonstrated if a student has successfully completed 2 or more graduate courses.
    • Applicants for advanced standing must have a minimum of 3.5 GPA in their Social Work courses, or a 3.0 with one year experience.
  5. Evidence of the completion of the following prerequisites, with a minimum grade of C or better, is required before beginning the MSW program:
    • A biology course with human biology content
    • A course in statistics (within 7 years)
    • A course in human development across the life span (non-BSW students only)
  6. Resume: A current detailed resume including the following: education, paid work experience, volunteer experience and community involvement, and any military experience. Please include start and ending dates for each.
  7. Background check completed by CUW specified agency. Felony convictions may result in denial for admission and/or eligibility for Social Work licensure.
  8. A 1½-2 page purpose statement concisely written using the APA format (American Psychological Association), describing your reasons for pursuing the MSW at Concordia University Wisconsin. Please include the following:
    • Why do you want to be a Social Worker? How has your life led you to this profession?
    • What are your career goals and how will obtaining an MSW from CUW help you reach those goals?
    • How do you plan to adjust your life to accommodate the intense demands of studying for an MSW program (time, energy, commitment, change, frustration)?
  9. Interview with Department of Social Work admissions committee.

*In keeping with the standards for accreditation established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the CUW MSW program does not grant academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.