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Section 1.03.00: Exemption Policies and Procedures for Essentials Courses

MSW students are encouraged to pursue exemptions for essentials courses if they have already covered the material and demonstrated the relevant competencies in coursework completed within the past seven years of the beginning of the semester enrolled, with grades of B or better. (See details below.) If coursework was completed prior to the last seven years and covered major components of a course, a student should meet with the assigned academic advisor to request a course substitution, which must be approved by the MSW program director and would not reduce the number of credits required to graduate. If necessary, the academic advisor may recommend that a student meet with the Technical Advising Team ( ). The exemption process is web-based and student-initiated.

The following essentials courses are eligible for exemptions:
SW 505
* "Engaging Social Justice, Diversity and Oppression in Social Work"
SW 506 "Essentials of Interpersonal Practice"
SW 507 "Research Basics for Social Work Practice"
SW 508 "Essentials of Social Welfare Policy"
SW 509 "Essentials of Community & Organizational Practices"

* Exemptions from SW 505 are very rare and approved only under extraordinary circumstances.

Students who are enrolled under the MicroMasters/MasterTrack curriculum schedule do not need to pursue an exemption from SW 505.

Exemption Criteria
• Exemptions from essentials courses will be granted when students have prior undergraduate or
graduate course work comparable to the content of an essentials course. Students need to have
completed at least two relevant undergraduate courses or one relevant graduate course to be
eligible for an exemption from an essentials course.
• The courses utilized for exemption review must have been completed within the seven years prior to
initial enrollment in the MSW program with a grade of B or better.
• Courses that are graded by narrative evaluation will also be considered for exemption review.
When completing the
exemption request form, if the course was not graded, but included a narrative
evaluation, please indicate the grade as “narrative” in the appropriate box.
• Courses graded pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, or on similar evaluative scales cannot be
utilized for exemption review unless they are to support exemption from field education (SW 515).
(Note: Courses that were graded by narrative evaluation can be considered for exemption review.
Please indicate 'narrative' in the grade section of the
exemption request form for these courses.)
• Prior work experience is not a basis for exemptions. However, significant prior work experience may
be grounds for a course substitution.

Receiving an exemption from an essentials course does not lower the number of credit hours needed for graduation. Students receiving exemptions will still need to complete 60 graduate credit hours (45 if eligible for advanced standing). Receiving exemptions will increase the number of elective credits that a student can complete in the program.

Advanced-Standing Students
Advanced-standing students do not need to pursue exemption approval for the following courses: SW 506, SW 507, SW 508, SW 509, SW 515.

Students Renouncing Advanced-Standing Status
Advanced-standing-eligible students who renounce advanced-standing status are automatically exempted from the essentials courses, which are not required for advanced-standing students: SW 506, SW 507, SW 508, SW 509, SW 515.

Students with a BSW who are not offered advanced standing status may be eligible for an exemption from SW515 if they received an A grade or S grade for their undergraduate field courses.

Visit this link to access the exemption request form:

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