Program Requirements — Master of Social Work

These requirements will apply to students enrolling at AU in the 2017-2018 academic year. Current students can find the requirements that apply to them by consulting the relevant academic catalog.

The MSW curriculum is comprised of courses that constitute 60 semester credit hours of study. In the first half of the program, you will be introduced to concepts in human behavior in the social environment/theories of human development; social welfare and policy; social work practice; diverse populations; social work with groups; social work electives and social work research. Field instruction during the foundation year consists of 15 clock hours per week  during each semester for a total of 450 clock hours for the academic year.

In the second year, you will complete the clinical concentration in advanced-level courses in social work theory; policy and practice; psychopathology, advanced social work electives; and advanced social work research. Field instruction during the concentration year consists of approximately 20 clock hours per week during each semester for a total of 600 clock hours for the academic year.

Program Options

On the Aurora campus, students have many options for pursuing the MSW course of study: full-time, part-time and advanced standing. Full-time students complete the program in two years; part-time students may select either a three-year or four-year option; and students with advanced standing may choose a one-year full-time option or two-year part-time option. Courses in the MSW program are offered in the day and evening.

Advanced Standing

Students who have graduated within the last five years with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) are eligible for advanced standing status. Students may receive up to 30 semester hours of graduate credits. Transcripts are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Aurora campus degree options
  • Two-year full-time MSW program
  • Three-year part-time MSW program
  • Advanced standing full-time MSW program
  • Advanced standing part-time MSW program

George Williams College

The MSW program at the George Williams College campus offers two courses of study: part-time and advanced standing. Part-time students typically complete the program in three years, and students with advanced standing typically complete the program in two years. Classes at GWC are held Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Summer course work is required for students attending the GWC campus.

George Williams College campus degree options

  • GWC three-year part-time MSW program
  • GWC advanced standing two-year part-time MSW program

MSW Program Requirements


Statistics (completed a basic statistics course with a grade of "C" or better prior to enrollment)

Foundation Curriculum 
30 semester hours

SWK6140  Social Welfare Policy and Institutions (3)

SWK6150  HBSE I: Theories of Human Development I (3)

SWK6160  HBSE II: Theories of Human Development II (3)

SWK6370  Social Work Practice I: Individuals & Families (3)

SWK6381  Social Work Practice II: Group Work (3)

SWK6382  Social Work Practice II: Community Practice(3)

SWK6390  Social Work Practice with Diverse & Vulnerable Populations (3)

SWK6250  Research I: SW Research Methods (3)

SWK6730  Field Instruction I: Beginning Internship (3)

SWK6740  Field Instruction II: Beginning Internship (3)

Concentration Curriculum                                                          
30 semester hours

SWK6500  Social Work Perspectives on Psychopathology (3)

SWK6511  Social Work Practice III: Clinical Theory and Methods (3)

SWK6521  Social Work Practice IV: Advanced Clinical Knowledge and Application (3)

SWK6533  Advanced Social Policy (3)

SWK6283  Practice and Program Evaluation (3)

SWK6750  Field Instruction III: Advanced Internship (3)

SWK6760  Field Instruction IV: Advanced Internship (3)

Social Work Electives: Three additional courses (9 semester hours)


Specialization in Addictions

Upon successful completion of this specialization, students are eligible to take the Illinois CADC examination.

SWK6340  Survey of Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment (3)

SWK5410  Psychopharmacology (3)

SWK5420  Addictions Counseling I (3)

SWK6400  Addictions Counseling II (3)

This specialization is not available in the on-line program.

Specialization in Administrative Leadership

This specialization is offered in partnership with the School of Business and Public Policy. By taking MBA6030 and two of the courses listed below, you will earn a specialization (concentration and certificate) in leadership along with the MSW degree.

MBA6030  Leadership and Organizational Behavior (3)

Two of the following leadership courses (6):

MBA6610  Leading Organizational Development (3)

MBA6620  Leading Strategically (3)

MBA6630  Leading Teams (3)

Specialization in Child Welfare

SWK6700  Effects of Trauma on Children (3)

SWK6720  Vulnerable Children and Families (3)

SWK6725  Child Welfare Services (3)

This specialization is not available in the on-line program.

Specialization in Faith-Based Social Work

SWK5598 Spirituality, Meaning Making, and Faith-Based Practice (3)

Two approved electives (6) in one of the two Faith-Based Specialization Focus Areas noted below. Complete list of electives by specific Focus Area is available on the MSW Faith-Based Specialization Moodle page.

Dual specializations, which require one additional elective (3), are available between the Faith-Based Specialization and the Advanced Clinical Social Work Specialization or the Health Care Specialization. Complete information on dual specializations and list of electives is available on the MSW Faith-Based Specialization Moodle page.

Specialization in Forensic Social Work

SWK5300 Forensic Social Work (3)

SWK6720 Social Work with Vulnerable Children and Families (3)

SWK6721 Mediation (3)

Specialization in Gerontology

SWK6010  Medical Social Work (3)
Note:  It is highly recommended that this class be taken first; however, it is not required.

SWK5100  Social Work Gerontology: Assessment and Intervention (3)

SWK5110  Social Work Gerontology: Biology and Health of Aging (3)

For students who wish to earn both the health care and gerontology specializations, one additional health care elective is required.

Specialization in Health Care

SWK6010  Medical Social Work (3)

Two of the following social work elective courses (6)
SWK5100  Social Work Gerontology: Assessment and Intervention

SWK5110  Social Work Gerontology: Biology and Health of Aging

SWK5200  Suicide Prevention, Intervention, Postvention and Community Action

SWK5250  Perspectives on Infertility and Assisted Reproduction

SWK5410  Psychopharmacology

SWK5610  Social Work with the Exceptional Child

SWK6030  Bereavement Counseling

SWK6035  Hospice SWK

SWK6045  Psychiatric Hospital Social Work

SWK6050  Self-Injury and Eating Disorders

SWK6055  Oncology SWK

SWK6060  Fund Raising for SWK

SWK6560  Hospital Social Work

SWK6581  Mindfulness

SWK6810  Social Work and the Military

Specialization in School Social Work

Upon successful completion, student are eligible to apply for the Illinois Educators' License with School Social Work Endorsement. Students must also pass the IL Test of Academic Proficiency (400) or have an Illinois State Board of Education waiver processed and received by the July 1 prior to the advanced coursework and the school social work internship. Students must also pass the IL School Social Work Exam (184) prior to the end of their first semester of SWK6410. Please note that the school social work specialization must begin in August and ends at the conclusion of their school placement in late May or early June.

SWK5610  Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child (3)

SWK6410  School Social Work Policy and Practice I (3)

SWK6420  School Social Work Policy and Practice II (3)

SWK6000 Reading Content and Reading Methods for School Social Workers

This specialization is not available in the on-line program.

Dual Degree Program of Study: Master of Social Work (MSW) Aurora University and Master of Divinity (MDiv)

The dual degree is available both fully on-ground and online in partnership with McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago (on-ground) and Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago (online). The dual degree program of study is unique for each individual student. It typically can be completed in four (4) years which is one year less than if both degrees were taken individually - two (2) years for the MSW and three (3) years for the MDiv. The dual degree program of study includes specific requirements related to course work and field placements. To participate in the dual degree program students must register and be accepted by both institutions, Aurora University and McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago or Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago.