Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW)

Social worker pointing toward a person in support group circle

Prepare for your future career with a master’s in social work

Social work professionals provide services that help individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities on a daily basis. Offered through the School of Social Welfare, the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree prepares graduates for advanced social work practice in one of two broad specializations — either clinical social work practice with individuals, families and groups, or social work macro practice aimed at social service administration, social policy development and social advocacy. The curriculum was designed with community and student input to ensure a dynamic, educational experience that incorporates real-world opportunities. KU’s MSW program has consistently ranked in the top 12% of public institution social work programs according to U.S. News and World Report.

What jobs can I get with an MSW degree?

Overall employment of social workers nationwide is projected to grow 16% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. From employee assistance, large corporation and hospital positions, to private practice, schools and therapy roles, options abound for social workers with a Master of Social Work degree from the KU School of Social Welfare. Health care, schools, and macro settings often require this level of education.

Master of Social Work (MSW) career opportunities

Is master’s degree in social work right for me?

KU’s Master of Social Work degree is aimed at students who have completed a bachelor’s degree and offers newly revised courses designed with community and student input to ensure a dynamic, educational experience that incorporates real-world opportunities. Graduates of KU’s MSW program are equipped with the knowledge to provide counseling and direct services to individuals, families and groups and make changes in organizations, communities, and policies that affect large populations in our society.

KU’s MSW degree is divided into two curriculum tracks: Traditional, and Advanced Standing. Students who have already earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited social work program will apply to the Advanced Standing Plan of Study; all others will apply to the Traditional Plan of Study.


Amea Chandler
Assistant Director Jayhawk Academic Advising

How is the Master of Social Work degree structured?

The Master of Social Work degree program offers two plans of study. The Traditional plan of study, which admits individuals with any accredited bachelor’s degree requires 64 credit hours, including 26 credit hours of practicum that is completed over two years. The Advanced Standing plan of study is a one-year program which admits individuals with a BSW degree from a Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program who have strong academic records requires 38 credit hours including 14 credit hours of practicum that is completed over one year. Both plans of study have part time and full time options. 

Why a KU social work degree?


  • Fully online courses available
  • Interdisciplinary skillset
  • Electives allow students to tailor their degree to their interests


  • Credentialed, experienced faculty
  • Globally recognized academics
  • KU is one of 65 members of the American Association of Universities


  • Learn it today, use it tomorrow
  • Courses address technical skills and career development
  • Courses apply to a variety of in-demand careers