Master of Social Work

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Dordt’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers a Christ-centered social work education with courses that are 100% online. 

Through Dordt’s MSW program, you will learn about diverse communities and broadening perspectives on social justice all while remaining rooted in the belief that all people are image bearers of God. You will also be equipped to serve others professionally in non-profit agencies, counseling clinics, schools, and government agencies.

Dordt’s MSW program offers three program tracks to help students focus their learning for their projected career path:

With engaging faculty and insightful coursework, Dordt's MSW program will help you to tailor your learning to your career.


Program Mission Statement

The Dordt University Social Work program empowers students for evidence-informed professional practice and lives of service in the name of Christ. Through engaging perspectives on social justice and practice in communities, the program prepares students for work with diverse populations, recognizing that all people are made in the image of God.

Dordt's new accelerated social work program is now available.

In this program, you'll receive your bachelor's in social work in 3 years, and finalize your master's degree in the fourth year. 

Download a sample course plan


  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior  
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice 
  • Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice 
  • Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • Engage in policy practice 
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities 
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities 
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities 
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities 
  • Articulate and understand a Reformed Christian response to social work and social welfare


What are the admissions requirements for the MSW program?

To learn more, visit our admissions requirements page.

How many credits are required for the MSW program?

The MSW program requires 36 credits for students qualifying for advanced standing. Those with a BSW degree older than seven years must complete the Application for Advanced Standing. If approved, these students will be required to take 45 credits. Regular standing requires 60 credits.

How long does it take to complete the MSW program?

Because your MSW plan of study will be custom tailored based on your interests and objectives, your time to complete the program may vary.

A regular standing full-time plan of study typically takes 1¾ years (21 months), and a part-time plan of study typically takes 2¾ years (33 months) with 15-week semesters and two 7.5-week summer terms.

An advanced standing full-time plan of study typically takes one year beginning in the summer, and a part-time plan of study typically takes two years with 15-week semesters and two 7.5-week summer terms.

What is the difference between regular standing and advanced standing?

Preference for admittance to Advanced Standing will be given to those students who completed their BSW degree no more than five years prior to application. If students completed their BSW more than five years before applying to the MSW program, they must demonstrate that they have engaged in continuing education and professional social work practice during a majority of the years since their baccalaureate education. Students can contact with any questions.

A copy of the Field Evaluation from BSW field experience(s) documenting satisfactory generalist practice experience and skills in the internship is required. While prospective students may be admitted conditionally based on their performance in the field, full admission is contingent upon receipt of final field evaluation. When the final field evaluation is not available, the applicant must submit the Field Verification Form.

Students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in an area other than social work will have regular standing.

How much does the MSW program cost?

Tuition is $760 per credit with a one-time technology fee of $300. There are no application or registration fees. We provide online payment and financial aid options as well.

Are all the MSW courses 100% online?

Yes, all courses are 100% online, with both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

How many weeks are in each semester?

Courses are offered in 15-week semesters and two 7.5-week summer terms.

Tell me about the accreditation of this MSW program.

Dordt's MSW program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission. The program has entered candidacy with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and will be fully accredited by February 2023. Accreditation status will then be retroactively applied to all who graduate from the program before it is fully accredited.


The following 18 credits of foundational courses and 6 credits of foundation field and seminar are required for regular standing students before they can proceed to the advanced standing courses:

  • SOWK501: Foundations of Social Work (History, Philosophy, & Theory) (3 credits)
  • SOWK511: Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3 credits)  
  • SOWK513: Social Work Research Methods (3 credits)  
  • SOWK514: Policy Planning & Analysis (3 credits)  
  • SOWK520: Practice I Individuals (3 credits)  
  • SOWK521: Practice II Families & Groups (3 credits) 
  • SOWK 553: Foundation Field & Seminar (450 hours) 

Students take 15 credits of advanced courses and 6 credits of field and seminar:

  • SOWK600: Social Work Ethics and Professional Development (3 credits)  
  • SOWK610: Trauma: Theory and Practice in Social Work (3 credits)
  • SOWK612: Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • SOWK615: Inequality, Diversity, and Social Justice (3 credits)   
  • SOWK621: Applied Research Project (3 credits)  
  • SOWK653: Advanced Field & Seminar (450 hours)  

Practice Specialization Course Options

Students will choose five 3-credit practice specialization courses.

Clinical Practice Specialization:  

A Clinical Practice specialization will prepare you for social work in a clinical mental health setting. If you're interested in working in direct practice with individuals, families, or groups in a counseling or mental health setting, you might consider the clinical specialization. 

  • SOWK 670: Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (3 credits)    
  • SOWK671: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3 credits)  
  • SOWK 672: Neurobiology and Social Work Practice (3 credits)
  • SOWK 673: Marital & Family Therapy (3 credits) 
  • SOWK 674: Play Therapy (3 credits)   
  • SOWK 675: Clinical Practice with Adolescents (3 credits)   
  • SOWK 676: Grief (3 credits)  
  • SOWK 677 Advanced Behavioral and Social Interventions for Exceptional Children (3 credits)
  • SOWK 678 Crisis Intervention (3 credits)
Community Practice and Administration Specialization: 

The Community Practice and Administration specialization will prepare you to work in public or non-profit organizations, communities, and faith-based agencies at the administrative or community level. You'll learn to apply evidence-informed and asset-based community practice frameworks and methods of intervention to develop responsive systems, sustainable physical and social environments, and social justice-oriented public and institutional policies.

  • SOWK 680: Organizational and Community Change Planning (3 credits)  
  • SOWK 681: Non-Profit Administration & Organizational Theory (3 credits)
  • SOWK 682: Community Organizing and Advocacy (3 credits)
  • SOWK 683: Quantitative Analysis & Program Evaluation (MPA) (3 credits)
  • SOWK 684: Budgeting & Public Finance (MPA) (3 credits)
  • SOWK 685: Grant Writing & Fundraising (MPA) (3 credits)
  • SOWK 686 Leadership (MPA) (3 credits)
  • SOWK 687 HR Management (MPA) (3 credits)
Required coursework by admissions standing:
  • Regular Standing Students (60 credits; students not holding a BSW degree)
  • Advanced Plus Standing Students (45 credits; students with BSW degree older than 7 years)
  • Advanced Standing Students (36 credits; students with BSW degree within last 7 years)
Advanced Generalist SPECIALIZATION:

The Advanced Generalist specialization is a good option if you're open to a career path that might take you into direct or indirect practice. This specialization allows you to pick and choose courses that are most interesting or seem most useful to you.

Students will choose courses from the Clinical and Community Practice & Administration specializations.