Learn More and ApplySocial Work (MSW)


CLASS 2024 Social Work

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program is designed to prepare students for advanced social work, with an emphasis on either community practice or forensic social work practice. The MSW degree prepares its graduates for work and leadership in broad and varied human service organizations which span child welfare, health and mental health, community planning, family services and the like. 

All students are required to complete 88 quarter hour credits; this includes 24 hours of field education. The program can be completed in either a full-time (two years) or part-time (three or four years) basis. The curriculum consists of foundation (beginning) and specialization (or advanced) content ranging from professional writing, human behavior, social welfare policy, social work research, program evaluation, fund development, beginning social work practice and either advanced community practice or forensic social work practice.

The MSW degree may also be expanded to include select graduate certificate programs covering particular areas of interest. Students participating in a combined MSW/certificate program should consult with their academic advisor to determine what coursework might count toward both programs. A separate application process for the certificate is required. Students who are interested in any of the following combination programs should contact the Graduate Student Services Office for additional information.

Program Requirements Quarter Hours
Degree Requirements 88
Total hours required 88

Learning Outcomes

​Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  • Engage in Policy Practice
  • Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements 

All candidates for the MSW degree enrolled in the 2-year or the 4-year program must complete 88 credit hours of course work, including 56 credit hours (14 courses) of course work detailed below:

Course Title Quarter Hours
Select eight credit hours of graduate level study (400 and above) as electives 18

Special topics courses (MSW 450) are included as possible electives. 

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must select and complete requirements for a concentration, detailed under the "Concentration Requirements" tab of this page.

MSW 499 is also available as an elective or substitution for some courses.

​Notice for Graduates of CSWE-Accredited Baccalaureate Programs

Every candidate for the MSW degree has to demonstrate competencies in the professional foundation of social work. For graduates of CSWE-accredited baccalaureate programs, up to 12 credit hours of eligible coursework can be waived if applicants received a grade of ‘B’ or better in corresponding undergraduate courses. These courses are limited to the following:

Course Title Quarter Hours

Applicants are assessed at the time of admission. The waivers will not count as graduate credits earned and all students granted course waivers status must meet all other requirements of the program, including a minimum of 76 earned graduate credit hours for degree completion.

Concentrations, tracks and specializations provide focus to the degree. In addition to any degree requirements, students are required to choose one of the following:​

Student Handbook

Mission Statement

The DePaul University Master of Social Work extends the university's global Vincentian mission of service to marginalized groups, particularly those in the Chicago urban community. The program offers rigorous, personalized, and responsive education, through collaboration with university and community partners in pursuit of social and economic justice. The DePaul University Master of Social Work Program is designed to foster excellence in community-based practice with an emphasis on ethics, leadership, and scholarship. Below are terms and/or academic designations which support the admissions, academic, and matriculation components.


Students enrolled in the MSW degree program will be placed on probation when their grade point average (GPA) falls below a 2.5, or when a student receives a rating of inadequate in one or more areas of the program’s professional comportment matrix. All students placed on probation will be required to take part in a continuance review to consider their plans for remediation and (possible) continuation in the MSW degree program. Students placed on probation will not be allowed to re-enroll in the program until the student has met all of the academic and professional conditions set forth in a formal continuance hearing. Students who elect not to participate in continuance reviews will be subject to dismissal from the program. Students who are dismissed can make a formal petition for reconsideration which should be addressed to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences or their representative.


Students who fail to acquire a professional field placement after a minimum of three attempts by the program to facilitate internship arrangements, who receive failing grades in either practice (MSW courses 481-483, and either MSW courses 561-563 or 581-583) or field education (MSW courses 491-493, and either MSW courses 571-573 or 591-593), who are dismissed from field due to poor performance, or who fail to make sufficient progress towards degree completion, who are found to be inadequate in one or more areas of the program’s professional comportment matrix, and/or who are found in violation with one or more of the National Association of Social Worker's Code of Ethics, may be dismissed from the MSW degree program upon the completion of a continuance review. Students who elect not to participate in continuance reviews will be subject to dismissal from the program. Students who are dismissed can make a formal petition for reconsideration which should be addressed to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences or their representative.


Students requesting readmission into the program after probation and/or dismissal must make their request in writing, based on criteria set forth in the University’s Graduate Student Handbook, the MSW Student Handbook, and/or the conditions set forth in the letter of termination or dismissal from the program. In order to be readmitted to the program, students must be able to secure an approved professional internship placement under the auspices of the MSW program’s Office of Field Education.

Transfer Credit

Students who are accepted for admission into the MSW degree program can request that graduate course work done in other accredited institutions (or other graduate degree programs at DePaul University) be considered for academic credit in the MSW Program. The Transfer of Credit Request Form must be completed by students and can be found in the appendix of the MSW Student Handbook. Students may not apply for transfer credit if those courses were counted toward a previous, completed degree. 

Students should make their request (in writing) either at the time of admission or before the end of their first academic quarter of enrollment. Students can apply transfer credits for up to twelve (12) hours of academic study in the MSW degree program. Student requests must be based on completed work and must be substantiated by transcripts (indicating grades earned) and other supporting documentation, including course syllabi, graded assignments, etc. (in addition to the form). Students must have received a grade of B or better in courses being considered for transfer credit.

Students will not be granted credit for field education, practice or concentration courses in the MSW degree program (MSW 481, MSW 482, MSW 483, MSW 491, MSW 492, MSW 493 or 500-level MSW course). Students may not apply for transfer credit if those courses were counted towards a previous, completed degree. Requests submitted after the conclusion of the student's first quarter of enrollment in the MSW program may not be reviewed. Students will be notified (in writing) of the program's decision regarding their transfer request.

Undergraduate Courses

The program does not currently accept any undergraduate level courses for credit in the graduate curriculum.

Graduation Requirements

Completion of the MSW degree requires a completion of a minimum of 88 quarter hours which can be met on a full-time or part-time basis and include two (academic) year-long, professional internships. All students must maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) to remain in good standing in the MSW program and the university. While the minimum, overall GPA required to graduate from the program and university is 2.75, DePaul MSW students should note that other programs in social work generally carry the 3.0 GPA as a minimum and upon graduation, DePaul University MSW students are likely to be compared to graduates from programs that have higher grade point expectations. It is the value of the MSW program to provide all students with frequent and proactive feedback regarding their performance(s) in classes and field placement(s). To that end, faculty and staff are committed to ongoing communications regarding student performance to ascertain whether there are certain trends or preventable situations which may impede student learning and professional performance.

Graduation with Distinction

The MSW degree program requires an overall GPA of at least 3.9 (on a 4.0 scale) for the designation of graduation with distinction.

Time Limits

Graduate students must complete their degree requirements within six years of the date of matriculation in the program. In rare circumstances, the Program Director may grant extensions based on student’s written requests, which must be submitted before the end of the final year of enrollment eligibility.