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The College of St. Scholastica

Build a Meaningful Career by Earning Your Master’s Degree in Social Work

Building on the academic excellence of our Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program, our Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares graduates to address individual needs in advanced clinical practice — equipping them with skills for influencing social policy. Our curriculum emphasizes the skills of advanced clinical practice, including assessment and diagnosis, evidence-based intervention and treatment, group dynamics and how social policy and social justice issues affect the practice of social work. You’ll graduate with the experience of a rigorous program that readies you for the challenges of this rewarding field.

Fast Facts

This CSWE-accredited MSW program allows students with or without a Bachelor of Social Work to prepare for careers that make a difference. Our clinically-focused program features:

  • A limited residency requirement, supplemented with an initial intensive summer experience, a weekly class and small group activities
  • A flexible, hybrid learning environment that couples on-campus and online components
  • Efficient MSW completion through an Advanced Standing track, which helps students with a bachelor’s degree in social work complete their MSW in as little as a year (38 credits vs. 62 Regular Standing credits)

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I graduated with a better sense of self, which allowed me to visualize what I can contribute to my community.

Corrie Ehrbright, MSW, LICSW

Degree Details


Tuition: $695/credit*

* Tuition rates are for the 2021-22 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change.

Program Overview

Program Format and Location

At The College of St. Scholastica, we design rigorous degree programs that are flexible enough to meet the needs of your busy life.

To that end, we have created a hybrid MSW program that blends on-campus and online courses, integrating weekly face-to-face classes which includes seminars, small group activities, labs and live lectures with web-based course delivery. You can pursue your degree in a flexible format without compromising the standards needed for Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) licensure.

Please note: because online learning is an integral part of this program, access to broadband internet is required in order to complete coursework.


Program Options

Regular Standing Track

Length: 2 years (62 credits)

This track is for students with bachelor’s degrees from fields other than social work. The track includes one year of foundational coursework built around core professional competencies. This is followed by a second-year within the program in an advanced concentration.

The Regular Standing track includes a minimum of 900 hours of supervised field practicum instruction.

Advanced Standing Track

Length: 1 year (38 credits)

This track, for students with a bachelor’s degree in social work, includes an advanced concentration, focusing a student’s studies on a particular area of interest within the field.

The Advanced Standing track includes a minimum of 450 hours of supervised field practicum instruction.

View Field Placement Information

Required Courses

SWK 6100 – Social Welfare Policy and Service Delivery

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of public policy as it affects the social service delivery system in the United States. Issues covered in the course include income poverty, homelessness, discrimination, child welfare, mental health and health care. The purpose of the course is to challenge social work students to recognize and understand the relationship of social problems, social values (including Benedictine values), social institutions and social change to the ongoing practice of social work. The course is a required course by CSWE, the social work accrediting body.

SWK 6101 – Direct Practice I

Designed to help students develop the professional foundation skills, knowledge, and values for social work services to individuals, groups, families, and communities. Prepares students to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate client systems at multiple levels. Teaching Method: The first of a four course practice sequence, the primary teaching approach in this course will be collaborative learning. Material in the course will be presented through on-campus and online tools, including discussions, readings, case studies, and individual assignments.

SWK 6102 – Foundations of Human Behavior in the Social Environment

Focuses on empirically-based theories and conceptual approaches that serve social work practice and research with individuals and families in social systems. Ecological-systems theory and a lifespan developmental framework serve as a conceptual framework for understanding social work’s person-in-environment, contextual approach to the reciprocal relationship between human behavior and the social environment. Content is drawn from empirically-based theories and knowledge that focus on the interactions between and among individual, family, small group, organizational, and community roles in human behavior as related to social work practice, including traditional and alternative theories.

SWK 6103 – Foundations of Social Justice

Helps students understand the dynamics of economic, social, and cultural factors in the lives of clients and client systems. Strategies for advancing human rights and social and economic justice in various contexts are explored. Students will use knowledge of the effects of oppression, discrimination, and historical trauma on client systems to guide treatment planning and intervention.

SWK 6201 – Direct Practice II

Examines and uses evidence-based practice theories and frameworks, methods, skills, ethics and values for service delivery in working with individuals, groups, families and communities. Emphasis on multidimensional approaches in engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation.

SWK 6202 – Research Design in Social Work

Provides foundation-level knowledge of the scientific approach used in social work research methodology and evidence-based practice. Students gain knowledge and skills necessary to understand the problems that social workers in advanced clinical practice encounter as well as the methods for evaluating change in all areas of practice. Students gain an appreciation and understanding that research (both quantitative and qualitative) is a basic tool for advanced social work clinical practice. The course emphasizes the practice-research link focusing on ethics and human diversity related to age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability.

SWK 6205 – Preparation for Field Practicum I

Students assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available field placement sites, explore and develop professional interviewing skills, complete necessary documentation, and interview with prospective field placement sites. Assignments will cover placement readiness, personal learning style, how to choose a field placement site, the role of the professional social worker through the NASW Code of Ethics, student application process for field placement, interviewing skills, contracting with an agency, developing a learning plan, and the effective utilization of supervision.

SWK 6255 – Field Practicum I

Provides students with the opportunity to integrate direct practice with acquired theoretical knowledge and skills. The seminar facilitates the integration of classroom content and direct practice experience from the field experience. Attention is given to the relationship between the purpose, values, and principles expressed in the NASW Code of Ethics and evidence-informed practice of social work. The practicum socializes students to perform the role of practitioner and contributes to the development and assessment of requisite foundation competencies.

SWK 6300 – Assessment and Differential Diagnosis

Presents assessment and diagnostic techniques associated with mental health and mental disorders within the context of the lifespan (child; adolescent; adult; and aging perspectives). Categories of psychiatric disorders are considered with respect to their differentiating characteristics, explanatory theories, and relevance for social work practice according to the DSM, ICD, and other diagnostic tools. Students will learn models of assessment to evaluate human functioning throughout the lifespan. Addresses the impact of race, ethnicity, social class, age, gender, and other sociocultural variables on the diagnostic processes.

SWK 6302 – Evidence-Based Intervention and Treatment

Develops the knowledge and skills necessary for working with client systems using principles of evidence-based practice for clinical treatment planning. Students will become familiar with evidence-based practices, as well as specific evidence-based interventions to use for client wellbeing. Students will learn to examine the research literature to determine the various levels of scientific support for specific interventions, essential principles for translating research into practice, and how to identify appropriate treatment outcomes that reflect quality practice with diverse groups.

SWK 6400 – Advanced Policy & Community Mental Health

Prepares students to critically engage community and policy practice within the area of mental health across the life-span. Building on foundational knowledge, the course examines advanced skills in the development, analysis, advocacy, and implementation of policy as it pertains to advanced practice with individual clients, families, groups, interdisciplinary teams, service providers, and community. Focus includes service delivery systems, technological advances, and ways of engaging and changing regulatory strategies. Consideration will be given to the effects of age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status on social welfare policy and community practice.

SWK 6402 – Practice Evaluation I

Focuses on the research process within the context of advanced social work practice. Content covers the theory and practice of evaluation as a method of assessing advanced social work practice. Emphasis is on developing the knowledge and skills required to critically assess empirically based evidence for practice with clients across the lifespan and to design ethical and feasible approaches to practice evaluation.

SWK 6404 – Advanced Practice with Groups

Provides students an in-depth understanding of how clinical social work practice applies to the context of group, organizational, and community systems. Students learn to advanced clinical skills to facilitate treatment groups. Students will identify and address interrelated group dynamics, and apply major theoretical frameworks with culturally sensitive modifications to various types of treatment groups, such as trauma informed, gender sensitive groups.

SWK 6405 – Preparation for Field Practicum II

Students assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available advanced clinical field placement sites, explore and develop professional interviewing skills, complete necessary documentation, and interview and familiarize themselves with prospective advanced clinical field placement sites. Assignments will cover placement readiness for advanced clinical social work, preferred supervision style, how to choose an advanced clinical field placement site, the role of the professional social worker through the NASW Code of Ethics, student application process for the advanced clinical field placement, interviewing skills, contracting with an agency, developing a learning plan, the effective utilization of clinical supervision and licensure standards.

SWK 6501 – Advanced Practice

Focuses on reinforcing, integrating and building advanced social work practice skills, including engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation of clients with special attention devoted to complex practice situations encountered by social workers. Students learn practice skills and strategies through evidence-based approaches and theories to promote change in client systems. Topics vary according to practice situation. Course may be repeated when topics vary.

SWK 6502 – Practice Evaluation II

Focuses on practice evaluation methods to assess advanced social work practice effectiveness and guide practice decisions for client and community well-being. This course will focus on the direct application of the analytical skills and knowledge associated with developing and implementing evaluation designs that are appropriate for advanced social work practice.

SWK 6555 – Field Practicum II

Integrates acquired knowledge, skills, and values through an advanced social work field practicum experience. The seminar facilitates the integration of classroom content and direct practice experience in the field. Attention is given to the relationship between the purpose, values, and principles expressed in the NASW Code of Ethics and evidence-informed, advanced social work practice. The field practicum socializes students to perform the role of a clinical practitioner and contributes to the development and assessment of advanced clinical competencies.

SWK 6777 – Topics in Social Work

Topics in Social Work


LICSW Licensure

The College of St. Scholastica’s MSW program meets the Minnesota licensure standards which require LICSW candidates to document 360 clock hours (24 credits) in six clinical knowledge areas.

In addition to the completion of an MSW program, prospective licensees must complete 4,000 hours of practice. Of those hours, 1,800 are clinical and 200 are supervised. You’ll also need to pass an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam.

Do you have questions about licensure, degree requirements or our program? Take a moment to review The College of St. Scholastica’s MSW admissions information.

Prepare for Advanced Clinical Practice

By pursuing your master’s degree in social work at The College of St. Scholastica, you’ll be prepared to enter an in-demand field with opportunities to practice in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings, including community mental health centers, hospitals and clinics, state and local government, child welfare agencies and more.

Be a leader for social change and use your career to advocate for others.

Career Outlook

More than ever, social workers are taking on a greater role in activism, social justice and social change — leading higher education professionals from across the country to argue that the master’s in social work is becoming the new law degree.

As such, the job market is strong for MSWs and clinical social workers are in high demand. Duluth, the North Shore and much of greater Minnesota (excluding the Twin Cities) are designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This means the demand for mental health professionals greatly outweighs the number of practitioners in the area. It also means those who practice in an area designated as an HPSA may be eligible for federal or state loan forgiveness programs.


CSWE Accreditation logoSt. Scholastica’s Master of Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

View Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Admission Information

Visit our admissions page for information about transcripts, online application, international admissions and financing.

Application Deadlines

Both the Regular Standing Track and Advanced Standing Track offer two deadlines for applications, the priority deadline offers students an opportunity to learn of their acceptance into the program earlier in the application cycle. Applications will continue to be accepted until the application final deadline. Deadlines are:

Regular Standing Track Timeline

Cohort start time: Sept.
Application priority deadline: Feb. 15
Application final deadline: Aug. 1

Advanced Standing Track Timeline

Cohort start time: May
Application priority deadline: Feb. 15
Application final deadline: April 15


New Students
  • Applicants should have a minimum of 3.0 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) or better on the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
  • BA/BS degree from a regionally accredited institution. No specific baccalaureate major is required.
Note: Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission.
Returning Students

A returning student is a student who was admitted and enrolled in a program at St. Scholastica but has been absent from the program for at least three continuous semesters, including summer. To return to the same program at St. Scholastica, a returning student must be in good academic standing and must apply for readmission to the College.


  • No GRE required

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who bring their deep experience to online and on-campus classrooms. Our values of community, respect, stewardship and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.