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Masters (MSW) in Social Work

Advance your social work career with an MSW from UK. Our online program has flexible pathways and unique concentration areas—all designed to help you pursue your passion.

This program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Our online program offers two tracks to earn your MSW:

Regular Standing (60 credit hours): This track is open to all students

Advanced Standing (30 credit hours): This track is for those students who have earned their BSW within the past seven years and have a 3.5 GPA in social work classes.

An essential component of the curriculum of UK’s MSW is the Field Education Program, which prepares students to engage with different communities as they develop proficiency in the social work core competencies and gain professional practice.

The online MSW requires 900 hours of clinical social work practicums in the regular standing program and 600 hours in the advanced standing program.

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At a Glance

Fall 2024 (priority deadline is June 1)

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025 (priority deadline is Nov. 1)

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Summer 2024

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Credits and Tuition Cost (2023-2024)

Credits Required: 30 - 60
Cost Per Credit: $737.00


Fully Online

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Learn more about the Social Work online program.
Fill out this form to be sent information specific to the UK online MSW program, including deadlines, tuition, application requirements and more!

Masters in Social Work overview

Program format
Fully Online
Total credits
Total Credits
30 - 60
Available Pathways
Available Pathways
Accelerated Option
Program level
Degree awarded
Degree Awarded

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What You'll Learn


Through our comprehensive curriculum, you’ll learn how to take an active and professional role in addressing social problems, while challenging social and economic injustice. We focus on teaching how to analyze issues, provide direct practice interventions, and develop social policies that further social and economic justice goals within human service agencies, organizations, communities, and societies.

Focus Areas

  1. Clinical Assessment and Intervention: Learn advanced techniques for assessing individuals' psychosocial needs and developing tailored intervention plans. Gain skills in conducting comprehensive assessments, diagnosing mental health issues, and implementing evidence-based therapeutic strategies to address a wide range of emotional and behavioral challenges.

  2. Social Policy and Advocacy: Delve into the intricacies of social policies, exploring their impact on marginalized populations and vulnerable communities. Learn to advocate for social justice, analyze policy implications, and develop strategies to influence positive policy changes that address systemic inequalities and enhance access to resources.

  3. Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Racist Practices: Develop a deep understanding of cultural diversity and its influence on client interactions and service delivery. Learn culturally sensitive communication, engage in self-reflection, and acquire skills to work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds, respecting and integrating their unique perspectives into the social work process.


You can tailor the elective credits required in your degree program as an Individualized Plan of Study or use these courses to build towards a certificate in addition to your degree program. We currently offer the following certificates: Clinical Social Work, Child Welfare, Substance Use Disorder, Military Behavioral Health, School Social Work, and Trauma-Responsive Practice.

Advanced Standing Track 

If you completed a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, and have a 3.5 GPA  in social work courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.0, you may qualify for our advanced standing track, which reduces the required credit hours to 30. 

Course Examples

  • SW 600 Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
  • SW 630 Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • SW 640 Foundation Practicum
  • SW 722 Psychopathology for Social Work Practice
  • SW 731 Advanced Welfare Policy and Analysis
  • SW 740 Advanced Social Work Practicum I
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How to Apply

Application Requirements

Standard graduate application requirements apply.

1. Transcripts:

You will be asked to upload copies of transcripts (unofficial is fine) from all higher education institutions attended and, in the case of domestic students, to self-report cumulative GPA’s for each institution. If you are offered admission and decide to enroll, you will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School.

2. Letters of Recommendation:

The MSW Program at the University of Kentucky requires applicants to provide two references (only an email address is required.) These references must be obtained from individuals in the following categories:

  • Instructor
  • Professional Social Worker/Field Instructor
  • Work or Volunteer Supervisor

Please exclude personal, pastoral and relative references. If you graduated within the past 5 years you must provide at least one academic reference which can include a former instructor, your field supervisor or advisor.

3. Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be approximately four pages in length, double-spaced, and the following topics must be addressed within the narrative:

  • Motivation for social service, social work education, and a career in the profession: State your reasons for wanting to pursue an MSW degree. Why are you applying to the University of Kentucky College of Social Work? What are your social service interests and career goals?
  • Personal life experiences and relevant events: Briefly describe your personal history as it relates to your interest in the profession of social work. What do you consider to be your particular strengths, skills and abilities that will contribute to your success in this field?
  • Capacities for professional social work education: Briefly describe your professional, volunteer and/or educational history as it relates to your capacity for success in graduate study in the field of social work. What characteristics, circumstances, or challenges could serve to enhance or limit your capacity to pursue graduate level education in the field of social work?

4. Ethical Dilemma Essay

In 250 words or less, describe an ethical dilemma you encountered in either your professional or personal past. Identify and define the ethical problem, the parties involved, the values you relied upon to make your decisions, and how the dilemma was resolved. Explain how the outcome has affected you and any lessons you learned.

5. Personal Résumé
Please include work and volunteer experience.

Admissions Criteria

Standard graduate admission requirements apply.

Regular-standing program: Any bachelor's degree with 3.0 cumulative GPA from an accredited institution

Advanced-standing program: A bachelor’s degree from a CSWE accredited program in social work with a 3.5 GPA  in social work courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.0


Program Contact

Amanda Brown
Director of Graduate Studies


Fall 2024 (priority deadline is June 1)

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025 (priority deadline is Nov. 1)

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Summer 2024

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Distance Learning

Licensure & Authorization

Where you live matters when completing distance education activities. If you will live outside of Kentucky while completing your program, please check the Distance Learning Authorization & Licensure page to confirm that the program can be offered in your state or country, and if relevant, that it meets professional licensure requirements in your state. Please note: Admission and enrollment in a fully-online program can NOT lead to the issuance of a J-1 or F-1 student visa. 

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University of Kentucky has been approved to participate in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Student Support

Once you become a student, you will have access to a wide variety of academic support services to maximize your success. These services are available completely online to meet the needs of our online students.

Why UK Online


No test scores required.

UK degree

Degrees are conferred by the University of Kentucky, an accredited university.

Be Supported

Access supporting services and success coaches to help you succeed.

Tuition Assistance

Explore the many options available to help fund your education.


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