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MSW Program Length

The master of social work (MSW) is a 60-credit-hour degree program that can be completed through one of the four curriculum schedules listed below.

The School of Social Work offers an advanced standing program for students who have completed a bachelor of social work degree and meet all of the requirements for the program. The School also offers a Masters International Volunteer Program, which allows students interested in incorporating 27 months of Peace Corps service into their MSW program.

Students with special needs or obligations can extend their course schedule to five terms rather than four or to four terms rather than three if awarded advanced standing status.

Upon admission, students will be required to confirm which schedule they plan to elect since it determines their field placement assignment. After enrollment, students wishing to change to a different schedule must submit an "Out of Sequence" petition describing an alternate plan. The petition should not be submitted before admission to the MSW program. Such petitions will be granted only if they are deemed educationally sound and all fieldwork and course requirements can be met.

The Extended Degree Program allows students to complete the master of social work degree requirements through a combination of part- and full-time enrollment. The program increases access to the MSW degree for qualified students who cannot initially enroll full-time. Students applying for admission to the Extended Degree Program must meet the same admission criteria established for all students admitted to the Master of Social Work Program. Students enrolling in courses as non-degree students are not considered to be enrolled in the Extended Degree Program.

All applicants must submit a brief statement describing why they are applying for admission to the Extended Degree Program and their plans for completion of degree requirements. This statement must include a plan for enrolling on a full-time basis for a minimum of two terms to complete degree requirements. Only a limited number of students are admitted to the Extended Degree Program each year.

Students admitted to the Extended Degree Program must complete all degree requirements within four years of their first term of enrollment. Extended Degree Program students are permitted to earn a total of one-half (30) of the total credit hours (60) required for the MSW degree on a part-time basis prior to assuming full-time status on the Ann Arbor campus. Once students have acquired full-time status, they must remain full-time students. Any exception must be approved by the associate dean for educational programs. Full-time enrollment is defined as 9 credit hours or more per term, which may include field instruction courses. Students must inform the School in writing well in advance of the term they plan to begin full-time enrollment.

Students are required to enroll in field instruction after acquiring 15 credit hours of coursework and must spend 2-3 terms fulfilling their field instruction requirements. Students may begin fieldwork prior to accumulating 15 credit hours toward their MSW. However, students can earn field instruction credit prior to enrolling full-time only if they complete at least one methods course concurrent with their field placement. When students begin fieldwork, they should expect to follow one of three plans:

  • Plan A: (For students beginning field instruction in the fall term.) Students are in placement for two days/week in the fall term, two days/week in the winter term, and four days/week in the spring/summer term.
  • Plan B: (For students beginning field instruction in the winter term.) Students are in placement for two days/week in the winter term, four days/week in the spring/summer term, and two days/week in the fall term.
  • Plan C: (For students who prefer enrollment according to the 20-month schedule.) Students are enrolled in placement for two days/week in the fall and winter terms, do not enroll in the spring/summer term, and enroll in placement for two days/week the following fall and winter terms.

Extended degree students with an exemption from the foundation field instruction requirement (3 hours) must follow either Plan A or Plan B. They cannot enroll in the 20-month curriculum (Plan C).

Once admitted to the Extended Degree Program, students are expected to be continuously enrolled for each term in the academic year. If, after initial enrollment in the program, a student is unable to enroll for two or more consecutive terms, then withdrawal from the program is required. To re-enroll, the student must complete and submit a reapplication form to the School's Office of Student Services at least six weeks prior to the term in which the student wishes to re-enroll. Extended degree students are expected to keep the Registrar's Office informed of their enrollment plans each term.

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