Social Work, MSW

Master of Social Work Degree

University of Nebraska at Omaha

  • Fully Online
  • 39
  • $375.00
  • $617.00

Program Overview

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program prepares students for social work practice within a variety of settings. The program is designed for those who are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty and other forms of social injustice.

Students may pursue an MSW degree through one of two paths:

  • The Master of Social Work (Advanced Standing) degree program is designed for those who have earned a Social Work, BS (BSSW) degree from an accredited school of social work within the last 10 years. This program requires 39 credit hours.
  • The Master of Social Work (Foundational Level) degree program is designed for those who do not hold a bachelor's degree in the area of social work and are looking to move into the field. This path requires 63 credit hours due to additional coursework.

Students who are driven to increase their impact through the work they do with others choose this program because:

  • The program is accredited through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body for all social work education.
  • Courses are offered in a variety of modalities, which is ideal for busy working professionals who are looking to advance or change their career path.
  • They have a desire for meaningful work and a need to serve others in the field of social work.

Through activities in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation, administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, evaluation, research and evaluation, Social Work maintains a dual focus on individual well-being in a social context and on the betterment of society.

The MSW program is offered by the Grace Abbott School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Abbott's social activism and writings contributed to programs that safeguarded mothers and families, protected immigrants from abuse, and rescued child laborers. Today, that tradition is embodied in students, faculty and proud alumni.

Career Outlook: Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs, helping people to identify and address the environmental forces that create and contribute to problems in living.

Masters level social workers are employed in public and private agencies, including medical settings, mental health agencies, schools, residential treatment centers, court and correctional agencies and community planning and development agencies. Between 2014-2024, the demand for social work professionals is expected to grow by 12%, faster than the national average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career fields include:

  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Mental health/substance abuse social worker
  • Medical/public health social work
  • Case manager/supervisor
  • Clinical social worker
  • Child or family social worker
  • School social worker
  • Program manager/supervisor
  • Social Policy analyst
  • Program director

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A Bachelor's degree

    For the advanced standing, the student must have earned a BSSW from an accredited school of social work within the past 10 years.

  2. 3 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale

  3. Completed coursework

    Completion of the following undergraduate prerequisite courses is required before entering the MSW Program: a human biology course or equivalent such as anatomy, a research methods course (Note: There is a waiver exam available for this prerequisite) and a statistics course.

  4. A written personal statement

  5. letters of recommendation

    The letters must be professional in nature. Each recommender should describe how they know you (how long and in what capacity), and why they believe you would be a good candidate for the Master of Social Work program.

  6. Official transcripts from all previous schools

  7. Resume: Current resume detailing employment history, nature of duties and responsibilities, accomplishments, leadership roles, and community involvement.

  8. Statement of Purpose. Please contact an advisor for the specific information that should be included in the statement of purpose.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  1. Complete and submit the online application for admissions.
  2. Pay the $50 non-refundable application fee.

Courses You’ll Take

Course Information

MSW Degree Plan: Foundational Level = 63 credit hours | Advanced Level = 39 credit hours

Foundational Level Core Courses:

  • 8070 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
  • 8080 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
  • 8090 Social Welfare Policy
  • 8110 Institutional Oppression
  • 8130 Generalist Practice I
  • 8150 Generalist Practice II
  • 8160 Generalist Social Work Practicum I
  • 8170 Generalist Social Work Practicum II

Advanced Level Core Coursework outlined below. (9 Hours of elective coursework)

Advanced Level Core Courses: 

  • 8190 Research and Computer Applications
  • 8220 Clinical Social Work with Individuals
  • 8230 Clinical Social Work with Groups
  • 8290 Social Work Practice in Health and Mental Health
  • 8400 Advanced Social Work Practicum I
  • 8410 Advanced Social Work Practicum II
  • 8540 Planning for Social Change
  • 8650 Health/Mental Health Policies for Social Work
  • Advanced Research. Students choose 1: 8940 Evaluation of Social Programs, 8950 Research Methods in Clinical Practice, 8960 Research Other than Thesis, 8990 Master's Thesis (9 Hours of elective coursework).

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 8410Advanced Social Work Practicum II3
This course is designed to provide supervised, individual professional learning experiences offered within the setting of a social service agency in the student's chosen concentration, typically the same agency as in SOWK 8400. This course builds upon opportunities provided and competence achieved in Advanced Social Work Practicum I.
SOWK 8650Health/Mental Health Policies for Social Work3
This course emphasizes the development of health and mental health policy analysis skills and knowledge for social work students. Major topics include government response to health care, cultural and historical perspectives, service provision and epidemiological trends across the life span. It provides a framework for clinical interventions in a variety of health and mental health settings.
SOWK 8290Social Work Practice in Health and Mental Health3
This course emphasizes the development of advanced level clinical and social work practice skills for working with selected acute and chronic health and mental health conditions affecting individuals across the life cycle.
SOWK 8540Planning for Social Change3
This course is a macro practice course in social planning in the context of strategic planning and its application to social policy and program change, administrative planning for social services, and planning at the program, agency and community level.
SOWK 8080Human Behavior and the Social Environment II3
This course covers the major contributions of theories from the biological, behavioral and social sciences relevant to understanding human functioning across the life span, particularly young adulthood through late adulthood within the social environment at the micro- and macro-level (e.g., individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions and communities) as they relate to effective generalist social work practice.
SOWK 8170Generalist Social Work Practicum II3
This course is designed to provide supervised, individual, experiential learning offered within the setting of a social service agency, typically the same agency as in SOWK 8160. This course builds upon opportunities provided and competence achieved in Generalist Social Work Practicum I.
SOWK 8090Social Welfare Policy3
This course is an introduction to social welfare policy analysis. The course examines social welfare policy taking into account historical, political, economic, social, and cultural perspectives. Basic concepts and choices are examined in relation to values, ethics, context, social functioning and social consequences.
SOWK 8190Research and Computer Applications3
This course focuses on the use of research and computer programs in social work practice. Social and behavioral science research methods are reviewed. Students learn to analyze existing data using SPSS and to write an empirical research report. The use of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint in social work practice are explored.
SOWK 8130Generalist Practice I3
This course provides an introduction to the values, ethics, knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice. Using constructs from the Generalist Intervention Model, systems theory, and the strengths-based perspective, students learn about engagement, assessment, planning and contracting, intervention, evaluation and termination. Diversity and case management are emphasized as part of bringing planned change to client systems, including individuals and families..
SOWK 8220Clinical Social Work with Individuals3
This advanced course provides an in-depth study of several theories of personality and behavior, and of therapeutic approaches derived from the theories. Major focus is on therapy with individuals across the life span, but application to family systems is also considered, as well as the fit of each theory within the broader social systems framework.
SOWK 8510Social Work Leadership3
This course is an introduction to the administration of social welfare programs in the areas of clinical supervision, administrative leadership and personnel practices. It provides a basic understanding for professionals who work in agency settings and a foundation for supervisory and administrative practice. It is expected that those who become administrators will build upon this base with specific legal, technical and procedural knowledge related to their type of agency and level of responsibility.
SOWK 8150Generalist Practice II3
This practice course is an introduction to a goal-oriented planned change process with an emphasis on educational, support and task groups, organizations and communities. The focus is on building knowledge and developing indirect practice skills in collaboration, planning, empowerment and advocacy to effect social change using the Generalist Intervention Model.
SOWK 8230Clinical Social Work with Groups3
This advanced course provides knowledge of and experience in working with groups as systems. It includes both assessment of dynamics as well as developing skills in intervention modalities appropriate for working with various types of groups.
SOWK 8160Generalist Social Work Practicum I3
This course is designed to provide supervised, individual and experiential learning offered within the setting of a selected social service agency. The student will be introduced to a variety of social work practice roles, develop professional relationships with client systems and learn to apply different interventions to effect change across the life span. In order to facilitate integration of classroom theory with practice, students will attend a seven-week practicum seminar (2 hours per week).
SOWK 8070Human Behavior and the Social Environment I3
This course covers the major contributions of theories from the biological, behavioral and social sciences relevant to understanding human functioning across the lifespan, particularly infancy through adolescence, within the social environment at the micro- and macro-level (e.g., individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions and communities) as they relate to effective generalist social work practice.
SOWK 8400Advanced Social Work Practicum I3
This course is designed to provide supervised, individual professional learning experiences offered within the setting of a selected social service agency in the student's chosen concentration. The student will be introduced to a variety of advanced direct and indirect social work practices. The Dual Degree Program is a part of Integrated Practice. Dual Degree students may take SOWK 8400 as their administrative practicum. If so, then PA 8010, 8050 and 8090 must be taken prior to and one course from concentration prior to or concurrently.
SOWK 8110Institutional Oppression3
This course is about institutional racism, sexism and classism as it relates to social policy and social injustice. The focus is on how institutional oppressions are related and are mutually reinforcing. The consequences of institutional racism, sexism and classism are examined at the individual, group, family and agency levels.

Elective Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
SOWK 8026Social Work with the African American Family3
This course seeks to develop in students an awareness and understanding of some of the social and psychological/cognitive realities influencing the behavior of African American youth and families across the lifespan. The content draws upon theories, research and social work practice skills relevant to African American youth and families, as well as the cognitive process and social systems which impact African youth and families.
SOWK 8696Assessment and Case Assessment in Substance Abuse3
This course focuses on assessment of clients and their environment, and diagnosis and referral for substance abuse treatment. Emphasis is given to assessment instruments, treatment levels, treatment planning, case management and social justice.
SOWK 8886Topical Seminar in Social Work3
Specific seminar topics will focus on advanced content in social work theory and practice. The course description will be announced when a specific topical seminar is proposed. The topics selected will be consistent with School of Social Work program objectives, faculty expertise and student needs. This course may be repeated for up to nine hours credit.
SOWK 8280Social Work Practice with Couples and Changing Family Structures3
This is an advanced practice course designed to prepare students to provide therapy for couples and families at all life stages who are experiencing problems in intimacy, marital, divorce, or remarriage adjustment.
SOWK 8250Social Work Practice with Families3
This course considers the family context as a system for therapeutic intervention. The family unit and its diverse forms are defined; theories for assessment and understanding family's interactions across the lifespan are considered and the alternative modalities useful for treating family dysfunction are presented. As a practice-oriented course, it emphasizes the development of professional skills in working with the family across the lifespan.
SOWK 8240Social Work Practice with Children3
This advanced practice course provides an overview of several social work interventions used with children and adolescents. A brief review of normal child development and the family life cycle is the context for presenting a range of children's problems and special needs. The course will cover several intervention models and address their application in various service settings and in individual, family, group and social action formats. Children in diverse family settings, institutions and in minority families and cultures are considered to understand unique therapeutic issues present for them.
SOWK 8516Treatment Issues in Chemical Dependency3
This course addresses chemical dependency treatment issues including denial, minimization, relapse and its prevention, resistance, family dynamics, poly-substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, spirituality and the influence of self-help groups. The education will include the clinical treatment needs of individuals suffering from chemical dependency, taking into consideration diversity, gender, culture and lifestyle.
SOWK 8570Administration of Social Welfare Agencies3
This course is an advanced macro practice course in administration of social welfare agencies and programs which focuses on resource acquisition, leadership, and financial management in public, non-profit and for-profit social agencies.
SOWK 8686Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Alcohol/Drug Use and Addiction3
This course introduces students to substance abuse disorders and their impact on the individual, family, and society. It covers psychopharmacology, alcohol and drug interactions, drug classifications, theories of chemical dependency, various models of treatment, vulnerable populations and ethical and legal issues.
SOWK 8626Trauma and Resilience3
This course provides an overview of issues related to trauma including: the factors related to development of trauma, definitions of trauma, the impact of trauma on individuals, families and communities and the programs and practices that are most effective and appropriate regarding the social work role in responding to trauma.
SOWK 8260Social Work Practice with Older Adults3
This course in the advanced social work practice curriculum focuses on micro- and macro-level practice skills essential to effective social work practice with older adults. This course emphasizes clinical interventions that focus on individuals and small groups as well as community practice skills that involve social marketing and community organizing, networking and collaborating with community professionals.
SOWK 8610Family and Community Violence3
This course covers family and community violence across the life span with an emphasis on gaining knowledge of the issue, skills in policy analysis, and a broad framework for developing effective services in various service settings.
SOWK 8806Social Work and the Law3
This course presents the fundamental principles of criminal and civil law that have relevance to the practice of social work. Topics include the legal system; legal research methods; professional ethical/legal responsibilities and liabilities; family law; elder law; criminal law; juvenile law; personal injury law; employment discrimination law; capacity to make contracts and wills; rights of institutionalized patients and rights of handicapped children to an education.
SOWK 8856Hospice and Other Services for the Dying Patient/Family3
This course examines the hospice concept and other related services available in the community. The student will learn that hospice is an alternative to the traditional medical model.
SOWK 8900Special Studies in Social Welfare3
This independent study course allows students to pursue a special selected area or topic within social welfare in order to deepen knowledge and/or skills in that particular area.
SOWK 8560Advanced Community Practice3
The course uses a community-based service-learning pedagogy designed to help students develop an analytical and empirical approach to empowering communities. The course builds on the social work "person-in-environment" perspective by focusing on the client system and their environmental contexts as a partner in practice. This course is particularly relevant to direct practice with and advocacy for diverse disempowered groups in society.
SOWK 8270Social Work Practice with Sexual Concerns3
This course provides a survey of the current knowledge base, theory and research in human sexuality with a focus on advanced practice intervention and prevention approaches for a variety of sexuality issues faced by individuals, couples and families throughout the lifespan.
SOWK 8550Social Justice and Social Advocacy3
This course provides a perspective on national and international social and economic injustices experienced by people under corporate globalization. Practice implications for social workers are addressed.
SOWK 8816Spirituality and Social Work Practice3
Social work literature defines spirituality as the human striving for a sense of meaning, purpose, values, and fulfillment. Spirituality is expressed through diverse forms throughout a client's lifespan; it is central to clients' understanding of suffering and their attempts to resolve it. This course examines major issues pertaining to spiritually-sensitive social work practice with clients of diverse religious and non-religious (i.e., outside sectarian institutional contexts) perspectives.
SOWK 8600Permanence for Children3
This course is about the child welfare system and focuses on policies, laws, and agency structures designed to help abused and neglected children and their families.
SOWK 8420Advanced Social Work Practicum III3
This course is designed to provide a third supervised, individual professional learning experience offered within the setting of a social service agency in the student's chosen concentration. This course builds upon opportunities provided and competence achieved in Advanced Social Work Practicum II.
SOWK 8836Crisis Intervention3
This course is designed to increase knowledge and skills for practice with crisis situations. The prevalence of crisis experiences within our society and lifespan development necessitates that social workers acquire a knowledge and skill-base for effective and professional crisis intervention practice. Students will study the ABC Model of Crisis Intervention and how to ethically practice with diverse and vulnerable populations. Students will apply crisis intervention theory and models of intervention to various concern areas including but not limited to: suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, substance abuse, grief and loss and violence. A systems, strengths, and cultural emphasis will be applied to the various crisis situations covered.
SOWK 8056Ethnic Diversity and Social Work Practice3
Students meet with young girls and young women from Girls Inc. to discuss their motivations and barriers to college. The UNO students create a college resource guide for Girls Inc. to utilize with their college readiness curriculum.
SOWK 8046Working with Minority Elderly (SOWK 8046)3
This course is designed to provide the student with knowledge of the differing status, attitudes and experiences of the elderly within minority groups. This course examines various service systems and practice models in terms of their relevance and effectiveness in meeting needs of the minority elderly.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

About Faculty

University of Nebraska online courses are taught by expert faculty who embody the qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience. Students learn from faculty with a variety of backgrounds, many of whom are published researchers in their fields. NU faculty who teach online do so in a way that optimizes learning within the online modality and because technology enables students to access education they may otherwise may not be able to pursue.

Application Deadlines
  • Fall SemesterJan 16
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)