Master of Social Work

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MSW information sessions

You are invited to learn more about the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Western Michigan University by attending an information session.

About the Master of Social Work program

The graduate professional program in social work  at Western Michigan University prepares you for direct-service and leadership positions in the field of social welfare. It begins with a twenty-four-hour foundation curriculum, built on a liberal arts base that will provide you with the knowledge, values and skills leading to an informed perspective on the  profession, and prepare you for entry into one of two  concentrations:  interpersonal practice or policy, planning and administration.

Coursework in human behavior, social policy, culture/ethnicity, research and social work practice makes up the foundation curriculum and introduces different approaches to problem solving. Field education provides opportunities for practical experience under careful supervision by a seasoned social work professional in a human service setting. 

The 60-hour full-time and extended-study graduate curriculum is highly structured and sequential. In the 39-hour advanced-standing program, students begin their coursework during the summer II session, followed by concentration courses beginning in the fall semester.

Field education is considered the pedagogical experience in social work education. Full-time and extended-study students have two field placements, one during the foundation year and the second during the concentration year. Advanced-standing students have one field placement in their concentration.


The MSW program provides a choice from two concentrations: Interpersonal practice focuses on direct practice with individuals, groups and families. Policy, planning and administration focuses on leadership and the macro-level issues of social work practice.

Interpersonal practice  Policy, planning and administration 


In your concentration you will build upon your foundation by choosing a specialization. The trauma specialization will prepare you for professional practice with individuals who have experienced different types of trauma, for example childhood trauma, physical and emotional abuse, and PTSD. The Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy curriculum focuses on work with children ages 4-18 who have been exposed to trauma.

The MSW program provides curriculum and field experience necessary for certification as a school social worker in the State of Michigan. Three content areas are required: policies and standards; assessment; and interventions. Applications for the School of Social Work are handled through the Office of Admissions and Student Services.


In addition to WMU’s main campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Master of Social Work program is offered at our Grand Rapids and Southwest regional locations. While the requirements are the same, courses at WMU regional locations are tailored toward adult non-traditional students, featuring evening and weekend classes. Check course listings or visit the Extended University Programs website for more information.