This is a named option in the Social Work MSW.

The part-time MSW program is offered on two sites: the UW–Madison campus for those in the greater Madison area and on the UW–Eau Claire campus for those who live in the northwest part of the state. The part-time MSW program is designed to allow students who are not able to pursue full-time study to work toward an MSW degree on a structured, time-extended basis.

  • Courses are offered on Saturdays at both sites.
  • Fieldwork options may include place of employment.
  • Traditional and advanced standing options are offered.
  • Focus Areas in: aging, health or health and aging; child, youth and family welfare; or mental health are offered.

Applicants must meet the usual School of Social Work admission requirements to be accepted into the program.

Online applications are available through the School of Social Work website.

Effective September 1, 2018, admission to the Part-Time MSW Program-Eau Claire site is limited to those who qualify for Advanced Standing in our program; that is, we are admitting only students who hold a BSW from a CSWE accredited institution and who, are eligible for exemptions for all program prerequisites and the majority of "generalist year" courses. The Madison site will continue to admit students into both the Generalist (4 Year Program) and Advanced (2 Year Program) tracks.

Admission into the master's degree program includes the Graduate School requirement that applicants hold a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) from an accredited university or college.

Applicants apply online to through the Graduate School's application site: Graduate School Electronic Application. A complete application includes both the Graduate School application and the School of Social Work's supplemental application forms.

In addition to their application forms prospective MSW students submit: reasons for graduate study essay, official transcripts from each university or college attended, the names and e-mail addresses of three persons who will submit letters of recommendation on the applicant's behalf, criminal background check information, and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores (if applicable). The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. A School of Social Work admissions committee acceptance recommendation to the Graduate School is required for unconditional admission. Prerequisites for entrance into the MSW program include:

  1. completion of 30 semester credits of social science courses at the point the application is submitted; and
  2. completion of an approved statistics course with a grade of C or better, taken within seven years prior to entrance into the program.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Students enrolled in this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes Yes No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Grades of C are accepted only if they are offset by an equal number of credits of A. Candidates who receive more than two grades of C (in courses that do not extend beyond one term) or a grade of D or F while in the program will be dropped from the MSW Program. Candidates who receive a grade of C in the Field and Integrative Seminar courses may continue only with permission of the faculty and may not offset the grade with a grade of A. (This policy does not apply to grades received for courses taken to meet the statistics prerequisite while in the program).
Assessments and Examinations None.
Language Requirements None.

Required COURSES

First-year MSW students complete generalist/foundation practice courses unless granted an exemption:

SOC WORK 400 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar I2-6
SOC WORK 401 Field Practice and Integrative Seminar II2-6
SOC WORK 441 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups1-3
SOC WORK 442 Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations1-2
SOC WORK 605 The Field of Social Work2
SOC WORK 606 Social Policy2
SOC WORK 612 Psychopathology in Generalist Social Work Practice2
SOC WORK 640 Social Work with Ethnic and Racial Groups2-3
SOC WORK 650 Methods of Social Work Research2-3
SOC WORK 711 Human Behavior and the Environment2

In general, generalist practice/ foundation courses must be completed before beginning advanced practice courses.

In a broad social justice framework, advanced practice (students continuing from the Generalist years) or advanced standing (students entering the Program with a recent BSW) MSW students complete a generalist advanced practice specialization in a social problem focus areas. In addition to their focus area courses, students complete three free electives.

Aging Focus Area1

Required Courses
SOC WORK 821 Social Work Practice in Aging and Mental Health2
SOC WORK 875 Health, Aging, and Disability Policy and Services2
SOC WORK 840 Advanced Macro Practice2
Other courses chosen in consultation with advisor.

Child, Youth, and Family Welfare Focus Area1

Required Courses
SOC WORK 741 Interventions with Children, Youth, and Families2
SOC WORK 920 Child, Youth, and Family Policies and Services2
SOC WORK 840 Advanced Macro Practice2
Other courses chosen in consultation with advisor.

Health Focus Area1

Required Courses
SOC WORK 873 Social Work Practice in Health Care2
SOC WORK 875 Health, Aging, and Disability Policy and Services2
SOC WORK 840 Advanced Macro Practice2
Other courses chosen in consultation with advisor.

Mental Health Focus Area1

Required Courses
SOC WORK 835 Advanced Soc Work Practice in Mental Health1-2
SOC WORK 836 Mental Health Policies and Services2-3
SOC WORK 840 Advanced Macro Practice2
Other courses chosen in consultation with advisor.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

Graduate credits in equivalent foundation/generalist courses completed with a grade of B or better taken at CSWE-accredited MSW programs may be used to fulfill the Minimum Degree Credit Requirement. In general, coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the MSW Program may not be used to satisfy degree credit minimums. Graduate credits from other MSW programs/institutions may not be used to fulfill the Minimum Residence Credit Requirement.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

MSW students who have received BSWs from CSWE accredited programs may count 7 credits of their undergraduate coursework in the BSW program. UW–Madison BSWs may count only those courses numbered 300 or above toward their minimum graduate degree credit requirement. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the MSW program may not be used to satisfy credit requirements.

UW–Madison University Special

On a case-by-case basis Generalist/Foundation Social Work courses numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student may be used to fulfill degree requirements. No more than 15 credits generalist/foundation credits may be used for this purpose.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


All master's candidates are assigned to the social work academic advisors.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Students who withdraw from the Part-Time MSW Program without having completed at least 6 credits must reapply for admission to the Part-Time Program.

Master's degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.


Title IV-E Public Child Welfare Traineeships are available to Full-Time and Part-Time MSW Program students. Students enrolled in this program are not permitted to accept teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or other appointments that would result in a tuition waiver. Students are also not permitted to enroll in double or dual degree programs.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Faculty: Professors Robert (director), Berger, Brower, Cancian, Greenberg, Kramer, Magnuson, Mailick, Meyer, Schroepfer, Shook Slack; Associate Professors Curtis, Moses; Assistant Professors Bishop-Fitzpatrick, Charles, Gerassi, Ros Pilarz, Xiong;  Clinical Associate Professors Conn, Smith; Clinical Assistant Professors Dresser, Ngola, Studer, Willits. A complete list of all faculty and staff in the school is available here.