For questions about the Master of Social Work program:

Amy Kirby
(414) 229-4852
kirby@uwm.edu

Master of Social Work Admission

Admission to the MSW program is limited and competitive. Factors considered in evaluating applicants are academic preparation and achievement, personal qualifications and maturity, volunteer and employment experience, and potential and aptitude for both graduate study and professional practice in social work.

Application must be made to both the Graduate School and the School of Social Welfare. The deadline for application is January 2, each year. Applicants are admitted only for the Fall semester each year.

In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the following are required for admission to the Social Work program:

  • An undergraduate CUMULATIVE grade point average of 2.75 or better (including undergraduate course work from ALL colleges attended and each attempt of any repeated courses).
  • Satisfactory completion of at least 21 semester credits in social and behavior science areas such as psychology, sociology, political science, economics, anthropology, or their equivalent.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's personal and professional background and potential for success in social work. (See application materials for more specific information).
  • Submission of a narrative statement including work experience and professional goals.



Concentrations and Methods of Practice Options

Students choose and develop 2 areas of specialization: one in social work methods and one in an area of concentration. Students should select both the methods and concentration area at the beginning of the MSW program. This will enable them to enroll in the appropriate courses and to arrange suitable field placements.

Physical, Mental and Behavioral Health
Course work provides students with knowledge, values, and skills to prepare them for professional practice in a variety of private and public settings related to physical health, mental health, addictions and substance abuse.

Students will be prepared for delivery of health, mental health and addictions services to individuals, families, small groups, and the community. Students are exposed to issues, approaches, and technologies for application in prevention, treatment, administration, and policy. These are related to risks and problems with: alcohol and other drugs, mental health and mental illness, intimate partner violence, community violence, cognitive and physical disabilities, physical illness, and other behavioral health concerns across the lifespan.

Gerontology
Course work will enable students to: understand late-life mental disorders; develop assessment skills; formulate, implement, and evaluate treatment plans; and, become aware of issues related to age and ageism as they influence social work practice.

Students will learn the complexity of the aging process from the perspective of the individual, family, society, and social policy. The concentration will cover the physical, psychological, and social processes of aging including family roles and responsibilities, cultural diversity, social support networks and the use of health and social services. Major developmental issues during the second half of life will be presented and interventions to facilitate adaptation to developmental change will be described.

Family and Child Welfare
Students will develop the advanced practice knowledge and skills necessary to provide services to children and families in a wide variety of settings. The family system represents a significant social institution, essential to communities and to society. This concentration focuses on the study of family systems, child and family welfare, and interventions to enhance the lives of children and families.




Direct Practice
Students who wish to deal with the changing impact of interpersonal and social problems on individuals, families, and groups through direct service should choose this specialty.

Macro Practice
This method is for students who are interested in planned change with organizations and committees. Students will prepare for roles in planning, policy practice, administration, program development and community practice.

Double Methods
Students who are interested in gaining knowledge and skills in working with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations may want to consider this option, which involves taking methods coursework and field experience in both Direct Practice and Macro Practice and requires approximately one extra semester of coursework (4-5 additional credits). Coursework for the second method is taken instead of other course electives. Four semesters of field are required with two semesters for Direct Practice experience and two semesters of Macro Practice experience.




Other Policies


Course Exemptions
A student may be exempt from one or more professional foundation courses under the following conditions:

  1. Graduates of an accredited baccalaureate program in social work may not have to take professional foundation courses in those curricular areas in which their undergraduate average was B or higher. This policy extends only to those who completed their baccalaureate studies within five years prior to admission to the graduate program.
  2. Graduates of other universities who (within the past five years) have completed courses equivalent to the School of Social Welfare's courses with a grade of B or higher may be exempt from professional foundation courses. Students must submit an exemption waiver and a syllabus for each course from which they seek exemption.
  3. Students may be exempt from professional foundation courses, with the exception of field education and SOC WRK 665, 708 and 709, upon satisfactory completion of exams in the appropriate curricular areas. Exams should be taken the first semester in the graduate program and may not be repeated. Exams are usually offered in July and October of each year.




Grades
The student's cumulative grade point average must remain at 3.0 or above (i.e., student must maintain a "B" average). Although, a grade of "C" in most courses is a passing grade, students are required to maintain a grade of "B" or better in field and methods courses (SW 721, 722, 821, 822; 708, 709, 711, 811, 713, 915, 820). Students earning less than a "B" in any field or methods course are subject to review by the Program Director and may be required to repeat the course before continuing in the practice sequence.




Transfer Credits
No more than 12 graduate credits may be transferred from another institution. Students wishing to transfer credit earned prior to admission to UWM must file an application. Transfer of Off Campus Credit, with the Graduate School, Mitchell 261. The form should be submitted no later than the first semester of enrollment at UWM.

Students who have not been admitted to the MSW program may earn a total of 6 credits that can be transferred into the program. Students are encouraged to meet with an advisor prior to registration to be certain they select appropriate classes. Completing these courses does not guarantee admission to the MSW degree program.

It is also possible to take a total of 12 credits of professional foundations courses prior to admission to the MSW program. Again, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor prior to registration to be certain the courses they select are appropriate. Completing foundation courses does not guarantee admission to the MSW degree program.




Admission on Probation
A very limited number of applicants are admitted to the MSW program on probation. Those applicants whose cumulative undergraduate gpa is below 2.75 should refer to the University policies regarding criteria for admission on probation. An applicant whose overall undergraduate grade point-average is 2.5-2.74 (4.0 scale) may be considered for admission on probation by furnishing substantial evidence of ability to do satisfactory graduate work. Such evidence must include at least one of the following:

  • Evidence of an advanced degree (3.0 GPA or above), or a grade point average of 3.0 or above attained during the final two years (60 credits) of the applicant's baccalaureate degree program.
  • Completion of six or more credits of program approved post baccalaureate coursework in an academic area directly related to the graduate program which the applicant has chosen. This must be recent coursework at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level, the grades earned must be a "B" or better ("B-" is not acceptable), and the credits earned cannot be used to satisfy the graduate degree credit requirements.
  • Submission of official score reports of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) which indicate a high probability of success in graduate school. Official is defined as having been sent directly from the testing service to UWM.
  • Graduate applicants with an overall undergraduate grade point average below 2.5, must provide two or more of the following items of substantial evidence.
  • Evidence of an advanced degree (3.0 GPA or above), or a grade point average of 3.0 or above attained during the final two years (60 credits) of the applicant's baccalaureate degree program.
  • Completion of nine or more credits of program approved post baccalaureate coursework in an area directly related to the graduate program which the applicant has chosen. This coursework must be recent coursework at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level, grades earned must be a "B" or better (B- not acceptable), and the credits earned cannot be used to satisfy the graduate degree credit requirements.
  • Submission of official score reports of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), the Graduate management Admission Test (GMAT), or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) which indicate a high probability of success in graduate school. Official is defined as having been sent directly from the testing service to UWM.

Applicants are reminded that submission of this evidence does not guarantee admission to the MSW program. In addition to the above, probationary applicants who are non-native speakers of English and take the TOEFL examination to meet the English proficiency requirement must attain a minimum score of 550. All probationary students must consult the proposed graduate program unit for further information regarding conditions of probation and the removal of probationary status which are unique to the program unit. It is the graduate program unit responsibility to communicate to the student the specific conditions of probation. A graduate student, admitted on probation, who does not clear probationary status within three enrolled semesters, must show sufficient cause for continued graduate status or will be "academically dismissed" by the Dean of the Graduate School and Research.




Dismissal
Any student whose GPA falls below the minimum 3.0 will be subject to academic dismissal from the Master's Program in Social Work. Any students who are admitted to this program on probation, and whose GPA falls below 3.0 in any given semester will be subject to academic dismissal unless they can provide satisfactory reasons for their substandard performance, and unless they can demonstrate their capacity to meet minimum standards of performance in the future. Any students whose performance in a field placement is unsatisfactory and/or who receive a grade of less than "B" in the placement will be subject to academic dismissal from the program. Any students whose performance in a methods course is unsatisfactory and who receive a grade of less than "B" in a methods course (SOC WRK 708, 709, 711, 811, 713, 915, 820) will be subject to academic dismissal. Students who are rejected for placement by three or more agencies for reasons that relate to their appropriateness or their readiness for placement will be subject to discontinuance from the program. Students whose general performance is viewed as nonprofessional will be subject to dismissal from the graduate social work program.