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Master of Social Work

    Curriculum Overview

The MSW curriculum has both foundation and advanced courses. Foundation courses are designed to help you develop knowledge and skills for generalist social work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Advanced coursework allows you to expand your skill sets within a concentration.

You must complete 60 credit hours of classroom and field instruction (34 credit hours for Advanced Standing students) while maintaining a 3.0 grade point average, with two-thirds of the grades “B” or higher.

Concurrent full-time employment is strongly discouraged if you are in the Advanced Standing and Full-Time tracks because of the time commitment and scheduling for classes and field education.

Concentration and Specialization

The UC Master of Social Work Program has a Direct Practice concentration. The advanced curriculum in Direct Practice is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed for specialized practice. You may specialize in three fields: Children & Families, Health & Aging, or Mental Health. You will learn to use evidence-based interventions to assist individuals, families, and groups to make changes, solve problems, and become empowered. 

Advanced Standing Curriculum

You may choose this track only if ​you have a bachelor’s degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and meet other admission requirements. If you are on this track you will begin your coursework during the second half of the summer term and graduate the following April.

You must choose a concentration upon admission to the program. Field education begins in the summer term, and you will continue in the same agency placement site throughout the advanced year of study.

Full-Time Curriculum

The Full-Time track is a two-year plan of study that begins in the fall semester and continues over four semesters (with the summer off). Courses are sequenced and must be taken in order. In the first year, you will take foundation coursework. ​You will be assigned a concurrent field placement that provides opportunities to practice the skills you are learning in class.

In the spring semester of your first year, you can choose a concentration and interview with field agencies for your second year field placement. This placement is “matched” to you according to your indicated preferences as much as possible. During your second year, the advanced curriculum provides you with specialized knowledge and skills in your concentration area

Part-Time Curriculum

The part-time track is a three-year plan of study that begins in the fall semester. It is designed to allow working students to take courses in the evening in fall, spring, and summer semesters. However, you must still be able to schedule daytime hours for field education which begins in the fall semester of your second year. Part-time students have one field placement throughout their academic career.

The first year of coursework is comprised of foundation courses. In the spring semester of your first year, you will choose a concentration. During the fall semester of your second year, you will interview with field agencies and begin your field placement. At the end of your second year, ​you will have completed the foundation curriculum. In the third and final year, you will continue your field placements and complete the advanced curriculum.


If you have a BSW degree and are admitted to the full-time or part-time programs, you may qualify for an exemption from the following MSW courses:

  • SW7010 Psychosocial Theory
  • SW7020 Social Work Research
  • SW7030 Social Welfare Policy and Practice
  • SW7041 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • SW7043 Social Work Practice with Groups
  • SW7044 Social Work Practice with Organizations & Communities

To receive an exemption from any of these classes, you must have earned:

  • Their BSW within five years prior to being admitted to the MSW Program
  • A B grade or better in the equivalent undergraduate classes.

In some cases, prior graduate credits earned may be counted toward your MSW degree. Exemptions are determined after you are admitted and will reduce the number of credits required for completion of the MSW degree.


If you have completed courses equivalent to the current MSW program offerings, you may petition the course instructor for a waiver from the course. You are responsible for showing the instructor that you have satisfactory competence and knowledge in the subject area. If you waive a course, you must still complete the same number of credits by taking another class or classes.

Transfer Credit

If you transfer from another accredited social work graduate program to the UC MSW Program, you may transfer up to 30 semester or 45 quarter credit hours for the courses you have already completed. Transfer credit for field is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To receive transfer credits, you must have:

  • Completed those courses within 5 years of being admitted to the MSW Program
  • Earned a B grade or better in each class
A Social Work class at the University of Cincinnati

Visit Us

For more information, please be sure to attend one of our MSW Information Sessions!

Contact Us

School of Social Work
1515 French Hall
PO Box 210108
Cincinnati OH 45221-0108
Phone: 513-556-4615
Fax: 513-556-2077

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