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Master of Social Work

Social Work is a profession that makes a difference in the lives of others. If you are interested in positive social change, Grand View’s Master of Social Work program will help you achieve your goals.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares students for professional practice with diverse people and systems, with an emphasis on competent, ethical services. Students will develop the skills they need to take an active role in addressing social problems and challenging social, economic, and environmental injustice.

We offer three distinct degree specialties — Administration and Leadership, Clinical Social Work and School Social Work to accommodate the personal and professional interests of our students.

 What to Expect

Grand View’s MSW program will prepare you to carry out inclusive practice with diverse and vulnerable groups in a variety of professional settings. Coursework reflects the requirements of the Council on Social Work Education and ensures you are prepared with the knowledge, skills, and values of the profession. In coursework you will be actively engaged in and out of the classroom and apply your learning to practice and leadership activities.

Coursework and field experiences may be completed in an accelerated (3-term) schedule, regular schedule, and part-time or full time. The type of schedule you choose depends on the undergraduate degree you have completed and how quickly you want to complete the program. Students enrolled in the Grand View MSW program are eligible to sit for the Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW) exam in the term in which they graduate.

View Course Descriptions

Admission and Program Requirements

Applications are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Priority consideration is given to applications received by February 1 for students applying to start coursework during the summer term, by June 1 for students applying to start coursework in the fall term, and by November 1 for students applying to start coursework in the spring term.

1) A baccalaureate degree or a degree completion plan that meets the requirements of the program.

2) Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater (based on all hours attempted), or a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the last 60 hours of undergraduate studies or from at least 12 credits of graduate level coursework.
Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements, including the 3.0 GPA requirement, may still be considered for admission to the program on a case-by-case basis. In these instances, the applicant will be interviewed by the department’s Admissions Committee.

3) Complete the application for admission.

4) Complete the International Graduate Student Enrollment Checklist (International Students Only)

Application to the MSW program and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission to the program may be limited by space.

Submit the Following

  • Statement of Purpose (750-1,000 words). This statement will be used to assess the student’s written communication skills and commitment to the social work profession.
    • What are your career goals after completion of graduate school?
    • How do you see yourself carrying out the ethical principle of social justice in your practice?
    • What strengths will you bring to the graduate program?
    • What experiences contribute to your capacity to complete a graduate program?
  • 2 recommendations which speak to the applicant’s academic strengths, professionalism, and capacity to complete a greater degree program. May be provided by an undergraduate instructor, employer, or someone who knows the applicant well in reaction to the criteria above.
  • Professional Resume
  • Transcript from Baccalaureate granting institution if attended a school other than Grand View. If requesting credit for existing graduate coursework, transcripts from that institution must also be provided.
Core Courses
All students in the MSW program complete core courses which prepare them to provide socially just leadership and practice. You will also learn to evaluate social work practices to ensure quality provision of services.
Specialty Courses

Coursework in the specialty area is completed alongside core courses to provide students the opportunity to apply the social work values of social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion to their intended practice setting.

Embedded in the program is the opportunity to complete a certificate in diversity, equity, and inclusion, which may be completed alongside the MSW or as a stand-alone graduate-level certificate.

Field Experience

The field placement provides students with hands-on experience applying their learning to a practice setting. This may be completed alongside coursework, or after completion of required classes, depending on the schedule you choose. The MSW Field Education Director provides assistance in securing a placement that is uniquely tailored to your specialty area and fits with your educational and career goals. Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in social work from an accredited institution will complete a foundational field experience prior to the advanced placement.

View Field Education Handbook

Note: A personal background check may be required, depending on the student's placement location. The agency accepting the student will identify what is required and conduct their checks accordingly. Personal liability insurance may also be required, depending on placement agency.

Degree Checklists & Plans of Study

Each degree specialty has it's own degree checklist as well as differing checklists for student standing when entering the program. Click the links below to view the degree checklists.

Administration and Leadership Specialty

Clinical Social Work Specialty

School Social Work Specialty

Advanced Standing: Students who have graduated in the last 10 years from a Bachelor of Social Work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education are eligible for advanced standing. Students applying for the accelerated advanced standing program must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25 for the degree as a whole or in the last 60 hours of the degree.


The following requirements must be met after acceptance but prior to the start of classes: 

  • Background Check (may be required based on placement)
  • Liability Insurance (may be required based on placement)

Note: Students are responsible for understanding licensure requirements for the state and the setting in which they intend to practice. The State of Iowa code regarding master’s level social work practice and required licensure is provided here.

Master of Social Work Accreditation

The Master of Social Work program at Grand View University has been granted candidacy through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation. Programs in candidacy are evaluated, through a national peer review process, as working toward meeting each of the standards for assessment of program quality. The process assures students that the Grand View MSW program meets rigorous standards that enable them to:
  • Gain the knowledge, skills, and values of the profession in order to think critically
  • Solve complex problems for individuals, families, organizations, and communities
  • Advocate for justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion
Students who graduate from a program in candidacy are able to sit for the state licensure exam upon graduation.
All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their master of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent master of that particular competency.


“I have had nothing but positive experiences in my time at Grand View and I can’t imagine a better academic program set of instructors. While I am excited to be over half way done with my MSW program, I know I will miss Grand View when I finish.

I plan to pursue a career in macro social work, through policy, program development/coordination, or as an outreach coordinator. The graduate degree will open a lot more doors to me on my career path.”

- Joe Wernau

Why Grand View?

  • Grand View is located in Iowa’s largest metro area, offering more access to clinicals, learning experiences and jobs.
  • Experienced faculty committed to your academic and career success.
  • Intensive advising from full-time faculty to support student growth and career development.
  • A rigorous academic program and preparation that will prepare you for a rewarding career as a social worker.
  • Students may transfer in up to 12 credits of graduate level coursework.
  • Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree may take up to 12 credits in the MSW program as non-degree seeking students without being accepted.