Social Work

Head of the School: Dean Wynne Korr
1010 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 333-2261

Director of Graduate Studies: Associate Dean Min Zhan

Major: Social Work
Degrees Offered: M.S.W., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentrations: Advanced Clinical (M.S.W. only) and Leadership and Social Change (M.S.W. only)

Outreach Program: Social Work
Degree Offered: M.S.W.
Graduate Concentrations: Advanced Clinical (M.S.W. only) and Leadership and Social Change

Joint Degree Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Master of Public Health
Degrees Offered: Ph.D. and M.P.H.

Joint Degree Program: Master of Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work
Degrees Offered: M.S.W. and Ph.D.

Graduate Degree Programs

The School of Social Work offers programs leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The MSW program offers courses on the Urbana campus and off-campus through its MSW Outreach program.


For the MSW program, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad;
  2. a grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) or greater for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work;
  3. 20 hours of completed coursework in a liberal arts core consisting of social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, and biological sciences
  4. evidence of personal attributes that are suitable for the profession of social work;
  5. a score of 103 or above on the TOEFL test;
  6. provision of a written supplementary statement.

For the Advanced Standing MSW program applicants must meet all the requirements above, and in addition have earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE accredited program in the past 7 years.

For the Ph.D. program, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

1. a master degree in social work or in related disciplines;

2. a GRE score within the last 5 years;

3. demonstrating a potential for research and other scholarly work;  

4. aptitude for leadership in the field of social work.

iMSW Program

Designed for the working professional who cannot attend a graduate program on the University of Illinois campus, the iMSW Program allows students to remain in their home community while pursuing a graduate degree. The School offers a three-year part-time program of study through its iMSW Outreach. This program is offered across the state and for students in adjoining states. Classes are offered in on-line and hybrid/blended learning formats. Face to face class sessions are offered on weekends. In their third year students complete complete two concentration courses on campus. After completing their coursework students do an internship/field placement back in their home communities. Students complete the same course requirements as students in the on-campus MSW program (see above). iMSW students who qualify for the Advanced Standing program may complete a shorter two-year course of study (see above).

Post-MSW Certification Program

The School offers the Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with Endorsement in School Social Work. Individuals with an MSW from an accredited School of Social Work are eligible to apply for the endorsement program. Individuals enrolled in the PEL program take two School Social Work courses and complete a one semester internship in a public school. Students whose MSW did not have sufficient clinical coursework may be required to complete additional coursework to meet ISBE criteria. Upon completion of the program students are eligible for the School Social Worker on an Illinois Professional Educator License from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Master of Social Work in Social Work

The master's degree provides specialized study for advanced social work practice. Students take foundation and advanced courses in social work practice methods with individuals, families and organization, in policy and services, in research, and in human behavior and the social environment. A two-semester field placement/internship (minimum 900 hours) in a social service agency is required. A total of 64-72 hours of graduate coursework is required for the M.S.W. degree. The determination of the number of hours needed within the range is determined on a case-by-case basis after considering each student’s prior coursework and experience. The curriculum may be completed in 16 to 24 months of full-time study.

Students choose from one of the two concentrations listed below. Students in the LSC concentration prepare for advanced macro practice which focuses on work with communities and organizations rather than work with individuals and families. In the LSC concentration students are prepared to work in either leadership/administration or advocacy/policy. Students in the Advanced Clinical concentration prepare for clinical practice with individuals, families and groups, and in one of the focus area's.

  1. Master of Social Work, Leadership & Social Change (LSC) Concentration
    • The LSC concentration is focused exclusively on macro practice and is not for students interested in direct service.

  2. Master of Social Work, Advanced Clinical

Advanced Standing MSW

Students with a Bachelors degree in Social Work (BSW) within the past seven years from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and a GPA of 3.0 (A = 4.0) or greater for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work are eligible for the advanced standing program. This is a three semester/44 hour program that may be completed in 12 months by most students. Students with a concentration in school social work participate in a one semester internship during their second Fall semester for a 3 semester/44 hour program completed in 16 months.

  1. Advanced Standing Master of Social Work, Leadership & Social Change (LSC) Concentration
  2. Advanced Standing Master of Social Work, Advanced Clinical

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

The Ph.D. program is typically a 64 graduate hour program for students who enter with an MSW or other master's degree. The program is interdisciplinary and has a strong research emphasis. The Ph.D. program is organized around five curricular components: (1) seminars in social welfare policy, social work practice theories, and teaching; (2) research methodology and statistics; (3) an interdisciplinary area of study; (4) a qualifying exam; and (5) the dissertation. While the curriculum focuses on issues of relevance to social work and social welfare policy, students select courses not just in the School of Social Work but also from the full range of graduate courses offered, for example: educational psychology, human and community development, sociology, labor and industrial relations, psychology and anthropology. Candidates prepare for teaching, research, policy analysis, and leadership in social services.

SOCW 579Social Work Practice Theories4
SOCW 585National Social Welfare Policy4
SOCW 593Applied Qualitative Research4
SOCW 595Quantitative Research Designs4
SOCW 575Social Work Teaching Seminar4
SOCW 594Individual Research (2 semesters of enrollment required)8
Focus Area (2-3 courses outside of Social Work)12
3 courses in statistics and research methodology, 2-3 from outside of Social Work12
SOCW 599Dissertation Research12
Total Hours 64

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Masters Degree Required for Admission to PhD? Yes
Qualifying Exam Required: Yes
Preliminary Exam Required: Yes
Final Exam/Dissertation Defense Required: Yes
Dissertation Deposit Required: Yes
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Graduate Minor in Gender Relations in International Development

WGGP 581Gender Relations & Intl Dev4
One elective at the 500 level from a list approved by the GRID faculty advisory committee.4
One elective from a list of 400- and 500-level courses approved by the GRID faculty advisory committee.4
Total Hours12

Other requirements:

Other requirements may overlap.
For this multi-disciplinary graduate minor, students must select courses from at least two departments or units.

Master of Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work

Admission to the Joint MSW – Ph.D. program is restricted to students who have a master's degree in a related field and who intend to complete a Ph.D. in the School of Social Work. Both degrees (MSW, Ph.D.) will be awarded upon completion of the program.

Master of Public Health and Ph.D. in Social Work