Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work degree program prepares students with the competencies and practice behaviors necessary for advanced social work practice in an area of specialization.

The foundation portion of the MSW curriculum provides a generalist perspective on social work practice. Curriculum areas include social work practice, human behavior and the social environment, social work research, social welfare policy and services, and field instruction.

The specialization portion of the MSW curriculum builds upon the foundation. Advanced curriculum content, tailored to the specialization, is provided in the areas of mental health, child and family services, organization and community practice, and school social work practice.

Program Options


Full-Time Option: Full-time students complete the program in two academic years. Foundation classroom courses require two days per week and field instruction requires an additional two days per week. The student is assigned a first-year class schedule by the college and attends classes during the day. The student selects a specialization for the second year; specialization courses require two days per week and field instruction requires an additional two to three days per week.

PM-Extended Study Option: (leading to the MSW degree in three years) In this program option, PM-Extended Study students extend the usual first year of full-time study over two years, with classroom courses being scheduled in the late afternoon and evening. For their first two years of study, PM-Extended Study Option students are tracked (assigned to specific courses and course sections) and must register as tracked. In their third year, PM-Extended Study Option students must register for full-time study and may register for daytime or evening sections of classes.

Advanced Standing Option: If, within the past six years, you have completed or are in the process of completing a baccalaureate degree in a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, you must apply for the Advanced Standing option. You may be granted a maximum of 28 credit hours toward the degree.

Transfer Option: Students transferring from other institutions must also meet the minimum admission requirements and complete the application by the deadline. Credit is not automatic and the number of hours that may be transferred is determined on an individual basis. Requests for transfer of course credit will be assessed on a case by case basis.

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MSW Specializations


Child and Family: The Child and Family Specialization emphasizes trauma-informed, strengths-based and family-centered practice and community-based services as contexts for helping graduates provide children and their families integrated services. A unique feature of this specialization is its focus on the family, broadly defined to include extended and augmented family members in their communities. With an emphasis on culturally grounded services in urban environments, the curriculum equips students to work in a variety of interprofessional settings.

Mental Health: The Mental Health Specialization prepares students with competencies for specialized practice in a variety of public and public-supported behavioral health settings. The curriculum is designed to give students an understanding of various clients ranging from those with mild distress to those with severe mental health conditions including mood, anxiety, psychotic, personality disorders and substance use disorders. Throughout the courses students are taught a strengths-based and ecosystems approach to assessment and intervention with at-risk populations in an urban environment.

Organization and Community Practice: The Organization and Community Practice (OCP) Specialization prepares students for advanced organizational development and community practice in urban communities. Conceptually grounded in the social determinants of health and a human rights framework, this specialization emphasizes a macro approach to advancing social justice. It prepares students to build urban organizations and communities that are physically, socially, economically and environmentally healthy. Students will gain the skills required to address structural inequities through organizational leadership, community practice, advocacy and policy reform.

School Social Work: Urban school systems are at the center of contemporary efforts to improve the quality of life for the most at-risk urban populations. The School Social Work Specialization prepares students with competencies for advanced practice in urban public school settings. Employing an ecological perspective to develop school social work practice, the specialization focuses on the transactions between students and their environment, and Critical Service Learning is a key component of the curriculum. Students in the specialization are equipped to intervene at multiple levels and systematically analyze schools and make recommendations for change at the individual, group, school-wide, district-wide, community or larger levels.

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Curricular Enhancements


Certificate in Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice with Children Program: Only students enrolled in the Mental Health Specialization are eligible to apply for admission into the certificate program.

Jane Addams Child Welfare Traineeship Project:Traineeships are available only to students enrolled in the Child and Family Specialization who have a longstanding interest in a career in child welfare and have an academic status in good standing.

Project LEAD (Leaders Enhancing outcomes for Adjudicated youth with Disabilities with intensive needs in urban settings): This program is available to currently enrolled Foundation students. Project LEAD prepares special educators and school social workers through grant-funded scholarships to earn initial certification in their respective programs and additional training to improve outcomes for youth with disabilities who are involved or at risk for becoming involved in the juvenile justice system.

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Interdepartmental Specializations


Interdepartmental Specialization in Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS): Students must be accepted into the MSW program before they can be eligible for the GWS specialization. Completion of the specialization requires a minimum of 16 credit hours (typically four semester-long courses). Further information can be obtained from the GWS website.

Interdepartmental Specialization in Violence Studies: See the Violence Studies (Interdepartmental Graduate Specialization) section of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences online catalog for more information.

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MSW Program Info Sessions

Come learn about the program, MSW specializations, program options, field placements and more. There are many dates and times to accommodate your schedule.

Requirements, Cost and Financial Aid

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission all applicants must possess the following:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (see note below);
  2. A grade point average of at least 2.75 (A=4.0) for the final 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate study.
  3. A liberal arts background consisting of credit received on the collegiate level in the following areas:
    • English composition, with a minimum grade of “C”
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (20 semester hours in some combination of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics and or Political Science);
  4. A course in statistics passed within the past six years with a minimum grade of “C”.

Note: Most applicants will meet the minimum admission requirements at the time of application. For applicants who have not yet completed the requirements (e.g. an applicant who is in the final semester of undergraduate studies at the time of application) the minimum requirements should be met by June 15. For these applicants all materials documenting completion of the minimum requirements must be received by June 15 unless otherwise arranged in writing with the Admissions Office.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. During the application review process several factors are considered to determine if the applicant meets the minimum requirements and has the potential to succeed as a social worker. These factors include but are not limited to commitment to the profession of social work and the mission of the College, the ability to do graduate work, strong writing skills, strong interpersonal skills, and relevant work/volunteer experience. All complete applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed and given consideration.

Interviews are generally not required as part of the application process and applicants may not request an admission interview. However, the Director of Admissions does require interviews for Transfer applicants and some Advanced Standing applicants.

Degree Requirements

The professional foundation portion of the MSW curriculum (completed in the first year of full-time study) provides a generalist perspective on social work practice. Curriculum areas include social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social work research, social welfare policy and services, and field instruction.

The advanced specialization portion of the MSW curriculum (completed in the second year for full-time students and in the third, full-time year for the PM students) builds upon the foundation. Four advanced specialization are offered: child and family, organization and community practice (OCP) ,  mental health, and school social work . In subsequent years, the College may revise its specialization offerings. Advanced curriculum content, tailored to the specialization, is provided in the areas of social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social work research, social welfare policy and services, and field instruction.

Students may apply for advanced standing in the MSW program. Students who graduated within the past six years with a degree from an accredited social work program can receive up to 28 semester hours credit for courses that have been completed and are determined to be equivalent to those foundation courses required by the college for the MSW.

Students in the full-time program option may not use their place of employment as a field placement.

Hours – Candidates must complete 62 semester hours at the 500 level, including work in each of five curriculum areas: human behavior and the social environment; social work practice; social work research; social welfare policy and services; and field instruction. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 (A=4.00) must be maintained.

The full-time master’s degree program option is structured around 28 semester hours in a first-year foundation and 34 semester hours of advanced study in an advanced specialization.

A three year program option is also available. Requirements for the foundation are completed in two part-time years and the specialization requirements are completed in a full-time resident year of day classes.

Residence – A minimum of 9 semester hours must be earned at the University of Illinois at Chicago in each of two consecutive terms.

Thesis – A thesis is optional. Not less than 6 and not more than 12 semester hours may be counted toward the degree requirements. The thesis must be defended before a committee appointed by the dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the Jane Addams College of Social Work faculty.

Transfer of Credit – A maximum of 28 hours of credit may be transferred for work taken elsewhere. No course with a grade less than B can be transferred.

Time Limit – All requirements must be completed within six years, excluding military service.

Plan Of Study

Please review the Plan of Study here.

Cost Of Attending

Tuition and fees for the MSW program vary by program option and are assessed based on the range or number of semester hours taken each semester. The ranges for each program option are as follows: 

Full-time Option: Tuition is Range I (12 Hours or More) for Year 1 and Year 2

Advanced Standing Option: Tuition is Range I (12 Hours or more)

PM/Extended Study Option: Tuition is Range II (6 to 11 hours) for Year 1

and Year 2, and Range I (12 Hours or more) for Year 3.

To see cost of attending the MSW Program here at JACSW, click below:

For more information,  click here for UIC Tuition and Fees.

If you have questions about financial aid for the MSW degree, please contact the college’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at:
Telephone: 312-996-3218
E-mail: jacswadm@uic.edu.

You may also contact the UIC Office of Student Financial Aid with questions concerning student loans, work study, or the FAFSA.

+ Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission all applicants must possess the following:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university (see note below);
  2. A grade point average of at least 2.75 (A=4.0) for the final 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate study.
  3. A liberal arts background consisting of credit received on the collegiate level in the following areas:
    • English composition, with a minimum grade of “C”
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (20 semester hours in some combination of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics and or Political Science);
  4. A course in statistics passed within the past six years with a minimum grade of “C”.

Note: Most applicants will meet the minimum admission requirements at the time of application. For applicants who have not yet completed the requirements (e.g. an applicant who is in the final semester of undergraduate studies at the time of application) the minimum requirements should be met by June 15. For these applicants all materials documenting completion of the minimum requirements must be received by June 15 unless otherwise arranged in writing with the Admissions Office.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. During the application review process several factors are considered to determine if the applicant meets the minimum requirements and has the potential to succeed as a social worker. These factors include but are not limited to commitment to the profession of social work and the mission of the College, the ability to do graduate work, strong writing skills, strong interpersonal skills, and relevant work/volunteer experience. All complete applications submitted by the deadline are reviewed and given consideration.

Interviews are generally not required as part of the application process and applicants may not request an admission interview. However, the Director of Admissions does require interviews for Transfer applicants and some Advanced Standing applicants.

+ Resource Guides
+ Program Requirements

Degree Requirements

The professional foundation portion of the MSW curriculum (completed in the first year of full-time study) provides a generalist perspective on social work practice. Curriculum areas include social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social work research, social welfare policy and services, and field instruction.

The advanced specialization portion of the MSW curriculum (completed in the second year for full-time students and in the third, full-time year for the PM students) builds upon the foundation. Four advanced specialization are offered: child and family, organization and community practice (OCP) ,  mental health, and school social work . In subsequent years, the College may revise its specialization offerings. Advanced curriculum content, tailored to the specialization, is provided in the areas of social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social work research, social welfare policy and services, and field instruction.

Students may apply for advanced standing in the MSW program. Students who graduated within the past six years with a degree from an accredited social work program can receive up to 28 semester hours credit for courses that have been completed and are determined to be equivalent to those foundation courses required by the college for the MSW.

Students in the full-time program option may not use their place of employment as a field placement.

Hours – Candidates must complete 62 semester hours at the 500 level, including work in each of five curriculum areas: human behavior and the social environment; social work practice; social work research; social welfare policy and services; and field instruction. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 (A=4.00) must be maintained.

The full-time master’s degree program option is structured around 28 semester hours in a first-year foundation and 34 semester hours of advanced study in an advanced specialization.

A three year program option is also available. Requirements for the foundation are completed in two part-time years and the specialization requirements are completed in a full-time resident year of day classes.

Residence – A minimum of 9 semester hours must be earned at the University of Illinois at Chicago in each of two consecutive terms.

Thesis – A thesis is optional. Not less than 6 and not more than 12 semester hours may be counted toward the degree requirements. The thesis must be defended before a committee appointed by the dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the Jane Addams College of Social Work faculty.

Transfer of Credit – A maximum of 28 hours of credit may be transferred for work taken elsewhere. No course with a grade less than B can be transferred.

Time Limit – All requirements must be completed within six years, excluding military service.

+ Plan of Study

Plan Of Study

Please review the Plan of Study here.

+ Cost of Attending

Cost Of Attending

Tuition and fees for the MSW program vary by program option and are assessed based on the range or number of semester hours taken each semester. The ranges for each program option are as follows: 

Full-time Option: Tuition is Range I (12 Hours or More) for Year 1 and Year 2

Advanced Standing Option: Tuition is Range I (12 Hours or more)

PM/Extended Study Option: Tuition is Range II (6 to 11 hours) for Year 1

and Year 2, and Range I (12 Hours or more) for Year 3.

To see cost of attending the MSW Program here at JACSW, click below:

For more information,  click here for UIC Tuition and Fees.

+ Financial Aid

If you have questions about financial aid for the MSW degree, please contact the college’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at:
Telephone: 312-996-3218
E-mail: jacswadm@uic.edu.

You may also contact the UIC Office of Student Financial Aid with questions concerning student loans, work study, or the FAFSA.

Application Due Dates

  • Full-Time (Domestic Applications)

    January 31, 2018

  • PM/Extended Study (Domestic Applications)

    January 31, 2018

  • Advanced Standing

    January 31, 2018

  • Transfers from other CSWE accredited MSW Programs

    January 31, 2018

  • International Applications for all program options

    January 31, 2018

  • MSW/MPH Joint Degree

    January 31, 2018

For more detailed information, please visit our MSW Application page.

Why Choose Jane Addams College of Social Work?

Is the MSW Program right for you?

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