Move ahead in the field that is your calling. Pursue a graduate degree in social work. Professionals in this field are agents of change. You may work as an advocate, resource broker, therapist, case manager or care coordinator. Other opportunities include community organizer, crisis intervention specialist or policy developer. Our world presents immense challenges from growing racial tensions to recovery from a global pandemic. Become part of the solution by advancing your knowledge and skill. Earn a master's degree in social work through Washburn University.

Career Forecast Bright OutlookAverage Salary $54,420on campushybrid
student in classroom

Master of Social Work at Washburn

Flexible, personal and unique best describe the master of social work program at Washburn University. We prepare you for the competent practice of clinical social work while working around your busy schedule. Options include on-campus, a hybrid of on-campus and online, full-time or part-time attendance. 

And while course delivery may differ, our commitment to students remains the same. Faculty not only teach the courses, but serve as academic advisors. We get to know you and provide support in your educational journey. 

Other reasons to choose Washburn include:

  • only program in Kansas that offers concentration in health care social work
  • flexible start dates; begin in the fall, spring or summer term
  • working adults typically come to campus only one day per week
  • candidates must have bachelor's degree; it does not have be in social work
  • accredited by the National Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • graduates are eligible to apply for state licensure at the LMSW level
  • dual degree option with Washburn University School of Law

The MSW program has an overarching commitment to ensure that students understand, adhere to and promote the value base of the social work profession. Upon completion, graduates are prepared and committed to providing direct clinical social work services to individuals, families, and groups in inner-city, urban, and rural settings, with particular emphasis on those who are at-risk, unrepresented or under-represented, culturally diverse and oppressed.

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MSW Program Options

Washburn University Department of Social Work offers both regular and advanced standing options depending on a student's prior education emphasis. Regular standing program is available to students whose undergraduate education is in a field other than social work from an accredited university. Advanced standing is available to students who earned an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program within the last 10 years.

Regular Standing

Students complete 63 credit-hours including two field education practicums allowing them to engage in social work practice in professional community settings. Full-time students can complete the program in two years. Part-time students have up to four years to complete the program.

Advanced Standing

Students complete 33 credit-hours including one clinical field education practicum in a professional community setting. Full-time students can complete the program in three terms (summer, fall, spring). Part-time students have up to two years to complete the Master of Social Work program.


Application deadlines vary based on the term in which you start the program. Requirements include an undergraduate degree and letters of recommendation.

Ichabod statue on campus

Start Dates

  • Regular Standing MSW students can begin the program in either Fall or Spring semesters.
    Advanced Standing MSW students can begin the program in Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters.

    Priority deadline for Summer or Fall start is January 15. Priority deadline for Spring start is October 15. Applications received after the priority deadline will still be given consideration based on availability.
image of WU campus


  • You must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The GRE is not required.
Morgan Hall on WU campus


  • Applicants must provide three names and email addresses for the recommendation process as well as submit a personal statement.
flowers on campus


Dual Degree & Concentrations

MSW students have the option (but are not required ) to select a specialization within the degree. Explore the options below and meet the program director, Dr. Rhonda Peterson Dealey.

Recognizing that many problems faced by people in today's complex society require solutions that cross traditional boundaries of professional expertise, Washburn University offers the Dual Degree Program in Law and Social Work which allows students to obtain Master of Social Work (MSW) and Juris Doctorate (JD) degrees.

The goal of the JD/MSW Dual Degree Program is to prepare students with combined skills in both social work and law for professional practice with complex social and legal issues in areas where social work and law converge. Although graduates of this program will be particularly well-prepared to work with clients having problems in the areas of mental health, children and youth, family relations, and the elderly, they will also possess the knowledge and skills necessary to work in any area where the legal system interacts with the social services delivery system (e.g., criminal and juvenile justice administration, legal services to disadvantaged persons, and housing and community development). The program curriculum meets all applicable American Bar Association and Council on Social Work Education accreditation guidelines.

On its own, the JD program at Washburn University School of Law requires 90 credit hours; the MSW program at the Washburn University Department of Social Work requires 66 credit hours for regular-standing students or 33 credit hours for advanced-standing students. Thus, pursued separately, the two degree programs would require a total of 156 credit hours for regular-standing MSW students or 123 credit hours for advanced-standing students. Under the Dual Degree Program, certain courses are accepted for credit by both schools: six credit hours of law school courses may count toward the MSW, and six credit hours of graduate social work courses may count toward the JD. Students can therefore obtain both degrees with a total of 144 credit hours for regular-standing MSW students or 111 credit hours for advanced-standing MSW students.

JD/Regular-Standing MSW Program


Required Hours (if pursued separately)

Joint-Degree Hour Reduction Joint Degree Required Hours
JD 90 6 84
MSW Regular 66 6 60
TOTAL HOURS 156 12 144

JD/Advanced-Standing MSW Program

PROGRAM Required Hours (if pursued separately) Joint-Degree Hour Reduction Joint Degree Required Hours
JD 90 6 84
MSW Advanced 33 6 27
TOTAL HOURS 123 12 111

The MSW Program Director in conjunction with the student’s academic advisor from the Department of Social Work will determine which law school courses will count toward the MSW degree. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Law School will determine which MSW courses will count toward the JD degree.. (Grades will not transfer between schools; for the transferee school, the courses will be treated as credit/no-credit.) No credits for social work courses will transfer to the Law School until the student has obtained 12 credits of social work courses.

Students may choose to begin either their legal studies or their social work studies first. However, credit for social work classes taken before students have completed their first year of law school will not transfer to the law school. Whenever they start the law school program, students must take the full first-year curriculum without interruption. Students will not be permitted to take social work courses during the first year of law school. After the completion of the first year of law school, students may choose in each semester whether to take courses in the social work department, in the law school, or in both. If students simultaneously take courses in both programs, the total number of credits enrolled in at one time must stay within the parameters required by the American Bar Association's standards governing accredited law schools. Students are also required to participate in the various orientation and assessment activities of both programs.

Students must separately apply to and be accepted by both academic programs. Students are asked to indicate to each school, at the time of application, that they are applying to the JD/MSW Dual Degree Program. Students will pay tuition for law school courses at the normal rate for that school and will pay tuition for social work courses at the normal rate for that school.

Within the clinical emphasis of Washburn's MSW program, students may choose to receive specialty training in school social work. For students in the School Social Work Concentration, nine (9) credit hours of clinical elective courses are required.

To be consistent with the requirements of most states, the Department of Social Work at Washburn University requires students in the school concentration to successfully complete three graduate-level electives (for a total of nine hours) with emphasis on social work practice in educational settings.

For more information, visit the School Social Work Concentration page.

In the field of social work, health care settings have been a top employer of social workers consistently for many years, and their prevalence in healthcare settings is only going to grow. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that 25% of professional social workers will be employed in healthcare. A concentration in healthcare social work practice will not only provide you with the knowledge and skills specific to practice in healthcare settings, but also makes you more marketable in your post-graduation job search!

For more information, visit the Healthcare Concentration page.

Washburn University is committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Our diversion, equity and inclusion statement is:

Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The profession of social work is rooted in the core value of social justice.  Social workers strive to meet individual and collective human needs within social contexts and to promote social change and empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed, or living in poverty.  Approaches of cultural humility and reflective practice inform our efforts to learn new ways to be inclusive, embrace diversity, and work toward equity in the world and in our profession.  We believe that anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) are vital to the success of our faculty, students, community partners, and stakeholders, and strive to create learning environments that are inclusive, equitable, and honor the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of our students.  Specific objectives related to ADEI can be found in the Student Learning Goals and Outcomes listed above and reflect the efforts of CSWE (Council and Social Work Education) and NASW (National Association of Social Workers) to promote equity and inclusion within the profession.


By the Numbers

CAREER FORECAST: bright outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts employment in this field to grow by 16% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth varies by specialization.

Faculty/Student Ratio


Certification Pass Rate


Median Salary



How to Apply

Apply for the MSW program by completing an online application form by March 1, 2025. Unofficial transcripts are required with the application. Official transcripts are required when accepted into the program.


Social Work
Benton Hall, Room 412
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Ph: 785.670.1616

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