Master of Social Work

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.

50% Off Your First Course
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A Top Midwest Regional University

Dordt University is the highest-ranked university in Iowa, according to the "Regional Universities (Midwest)" ranking by 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges. Dordt is the highest-ranked institution within the Great Plains Athletic Conference as well.

Program Options


These foundational courses are prerequisites for the advanced standing courses (students not holding a BSW must take foundation and advanced courses).

  • SOWK 501 Foundations of Social Work (History, Philosophy, and Theory)
  • SOWK 511 Human Behavior & the Social Environment
  • SOWK 513 Social Work Research Methods
  • SOWK 514 Policy Planning & Analysis
  • SOWK 520 Practice I Individuals
  • SOWK 521 Practice II Families & Groups
  • SOWK 553 Foundation Field Experience & Seminar (6 credits, 450 hours)


(all students will take advanced standing courses)

  • SOWK 600 Social Work Ethics & Professional Development
  • SOWK 610 Trauma: Theory & Practice in Social Work
  • SOWK 612 Psychopathology
  • SOWK 615 Inequality, Diversity, & Social Justice
  • SOWK 621 Applied Research Project
  • SOWK 653 Advanced Field Experience & Seminar (6 credits, 450 hours)


The 100% online MSW program offers three areas of specialization (students will select 5 courses from their chosen area 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
  • SOWK 677 Advanced Behavioral and Social Interventions for Exceptional Children
  • SOWK 678 Crisis Intervention

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.

Connect With Us

Submit your information to request more information about Dordt and this program, and receive 50% off your first course in the MSW program.

Must enroll within 12 months of completing this form. Offer applies to the tuition of one course for new students only, non-transferable.

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more, visit our admissions requirement page.

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

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.

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.

Dordt's MSW program is approved and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.