Master of Social Work

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About Dordt’s MSW


Meet the increasing needs of your community with an advanced degree from Dordt University, the Christian university known for student engagement.

Courses are 100% online with both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities and are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms.

Program Options

The 100% online MSW program offers three areas of specialization:

Foundation Courses

These foundational courses are prerequisites for the advanced standing courses (regular standing only).

  • SOWK 501 Foundations of Social Work (History, Philosophy, and Theory)
  • SOWK 511 Human Behavior & the Social Environment
  • SOWK 512 Psychopathology
  • SOWK 513 Social Work Research Methods
  • SOWK 514 Policy Planning & Analysis
  • SOWK 520 Practice I Individuals
  • SOWK 521 Practice II Families & Groups
  • SOWK 551-553 Foundation Field Experience & Seminar

Advanced Courses

  • 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
Clinical Practice

woman teaching young girl

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
Community Practice & Administration

man speaking with hands and smiling

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)
Advanced Generalist

smiling woman points at computer screen

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.


  • 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 MSW program?

    A regular standing full-time plan of study covers one and three quarter years (21 months), and a part-time plan of study covers two and three quarter years (33 months) with 15-week semesters and 8-week summer terms.

    An advanced standing full-time plan of study covers one year beginning in the summer, and a part-time plan of study covers two years with 15-week semesters and 8-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 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.

If a student is interested in becoming a mental health professional, the MSW is the most affordable path in terms of both time and money especially if they have been prepared at the BSW level.

–Dr. Erin Olson, program director

Tuition and Fees

The following breakdowns do not include any required textbooks.

  • Regular Standing
  • Tuition: 60 credits at $730/credit = $43,800
  • Technology fee: $300
  • Program completion fee: $100
  • Total cost: $44,200
  • Advanced Standing
  • Tuition: 36 credits at $730/credit = $26,280
  • Technology fee: $300
  • Program completion fee: $100
  • Total cost: $26,680


About Dordt University

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.