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MSW: Chicago


The Chicago Semester logo

Dordt University graduate students who have advanced standing with the Master of Social Work (MSW) program are eligible to participate in MSW: Chicago, a partnership between Dordt and Chicago Semester.



MSW: Chicago is a one-year program.

Students who participate in the program enroll in online classes for the summer semester. Then, for the fall semester, students will live in Chicago, Illinois, where they will take three online courses, participate in field placement, and receive housing. They will take three classes and continue their field placement during the spring semester and, at the end of the semester, will graduate.

MSW: Chicago students will have the opportunity to practice their social work skills in urban hospitals, public schools, and other diverse settings through their field placement.

A picture of Cloud Gate in Chicago
A picture of Erin Olson

Dr. Erin Olson

program director

“The MSW: Chicago opportunity provides MSW students with a supported urban experience for their year-long MSW field placement.

It’s an amazing opportunity for our MSW students to live, study, and work in Chicago, and students will have the guidance of both the Dordt MSW faculty as well as the Chicago Semester.”

A picture of Chicago

Kendra Wright

director of the social work program with Chicago Semester

“Chicago is such a dynamic hub for social change, and we want to offer this place—this city—as a classroom to as many students as possible, especially those who share our vision of working toward a just, generous, and hospitable world.”

A Top Midwest Regional University

Dordt University is ranked number eight on the “Regional Universities (Midwest)” ranking released by the 2023-24 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges and is the top-ranked school in Iowa in the category.


The 100% online MSW program offers three areas of 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
  • SOWK 671 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • SOWK 672 Neurobiology & Social Work Practice
  • SOWK 673 Marital & Family Therapy
  • SOWK 674 Play Therapy
  • SOWK 675 Clinical Practice with Adolescents
  • SOWK 676 Grief

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 & Community Change Planning
  • SOWK 681 Nonprofit Administration & Organizational Theory
  • SOWK 682 Community Organizing & Advocacy
  • SOWK 683 Quantitative Analysis & Program Evaluation (MPA)
  • SOWK 684 Budgeting & Public Finance (MPA)
  • SOWK 685 Grant Writing & Fundraising
  • SOWK 686 Leadership (MPA)
  • SOWK 687 HR Management (MPA)

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.


  • SOWK 600 Social Work Ethics & Professional Development
  • SOWK 610 Trauma: Theory & Practice in Social Work
  • SOWK 615 Inequality, Diversity, & Social Justice
  • SOWK 621 Applied Research Project
  • SOWK 650-655 Advanced Field Experience & Seminar


  • What are the admissions requirements for the MSW program?

    To learn more, visit our admissions requirement page.

  • How many credits are required for Dordt's MSW program?

    The MSW program requires 36 credits for students qualifying for advanced standing. Regular standing requires 60 credits.

  • How long does it take to complete the Dordt MSW: Chicago program?

    This is a one-year program, including a summer, fall, and spring semester of classes.

  • 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 the majority of the years since their baccalaureate education.

    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.

  • Is the MSW program accredited?

    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.

About Dordt University

Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt University is an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective. Dordt University equips students, alumni, and the broader community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.

Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt University is a Christian university committed to helping you serve in the real world—right now, today.

The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education have consistently ranked Dordt #1 in student engagement. So you know you can expect to experience a Christian community that builds you up and pushes you to grow when you begin your graduate studies at Dordt University.

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