Social Work MSW

About the Master of Social Work (MSW) at Loyola

Lead. Serve. Make a difference.

Social work is a career and a calling. Working with the most vulnerable among us calls for compassion, cultural sensitivity, and a strong commitment to service. A career in social work requires a human-centered focus in working with individuals, families, groups, communities, and environmental systems — as well as leadership, organizational skills, and the knowledge and persistence to influence legislation and advocate for systemic change.

Loyola’s MSW degree is designed to develop professionals who have the confidence and skills to take on the challenge to improve individual and family welfare and empower people within our communities to promote social justice. Ranked in the top 2 social work graduate programs and #28 nationally, you will gain distinguished expertise and competitive edge that will set you apart and propel you to the forefront of the field.

You will thrive in our program if you have a true passion for social justice issues and a determination to advocate and take action to help transform lives and communities. Success in the program will require emotional maturity and resiliency to manage complex issues and challenges, and excellent time management skills to balance coursework and practical internships.

Program Structure

Traditional MSW

Our MSW offers advanced practice training in clinical, school, and community settings. The MSW program requires 49 credit hours including two internships, and you can complete the degree in two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. The program requires two internships for a total of 1,000 hours.

Advanced Standing

If you’ve received a BSW degree within the past five years, the Social Work MSW with Advanced Standing program can help you complete your master’s degree in one year. The Advanced Standing program is 23 credit hours and requires one internship for a total of 600 hours. Please note the Advanced Standing Option is Fall start only.

Students in the Master's in Social Work program can select an area of specialization in Micro Practice or Leadership, Mezzo, & Macro Practice (LMMP).

Micro Practice

The Micro Practice Specialization extends foundation knowledge of generalist practice and requires a critical understanding of diverse theories and their related evidence-informed practice models with a diverse population. Critical analysis is used to examine these models from an antiracist, strengths, and systemic perspective to plan for interventions that are most effective in situations of increased complexity within our global world. Critical thinking skills, reflexivity, and an appreciation and understanding of diverse political, economic, and social systems as they impact micro practice in diverse settings (e.g. schools, mental health clinics, health care facilities, and others), are utilized to assess and engage client systems in prioritizing and managing clinical problems, and treatment goals. Practice modalities from diverse cultural contexts are emphasized to deepen students’ understanding and ability to apply, modify, and develop practice models relevant to clients’ culture and experience of oppression in society.

Students in the Micro Practice Specialization can choose a track from the following:

The Leadership, Mezzo, and Macro Practice area of specialization extend foundation knowledge and skills in working at the mezzo and macro levels of social work practice. Informed by an anti-racist framework and social work ethics, LMMP courses educate students in critical thinking, reflective attention to affective factors, and informed decision-making for action. These overarching values and processes are applied to the development of theoretical knowledge of community change, organizations, leadership and supervision, and policy advocacy.

The courses address skill development for mezzo/macro practice, including: leading people; managing programs, services, and organizations; developing and evaluating programs and policies; supervising and supporting the work of individuals, teams, and groups; assisting the professional development of others; developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating budgets; engaging in policy advocacy and coalition building; working with advisory and/or policy boards; supporting evaluation and research endeavors to assess effectiveness and efficiency; performing development activities such as fund-raising and grant writing.

The Leadership, Mezzo, & Macro Practice Specialization (LMMP) offers a track in Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP).

LMMP Suggested Electives

  • SOWK 602: Health and Behavioral Health Policy and Systems

  • SOWK 606: Practicum in Research and Evaluation

  • SOWK 654: Global Social Work: Reflective Practice for Justice and Peace

  • SOWK 663: Women in a Global Context

  • SOWK 709: Social Work and the Law

  • SOWK 714: Philanthropy, Public Policy, Community Change

  • SOWK 730: Migration Dynamics and U.S, Social Policy

  • SOWK 732: Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights

Courses meet all Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation standards and prepare you to sit for the LSW and LCSW examinations to work as a licensed social worker.

Are you a current Loyola undergrad?

This program is eligible for an Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's degree. Earn a Master’s with only one extra year of study following the completion of your eligible undergraduate degree.


Why Choose Loyola for Your MSW?

Choosing a quality degree program that will have a meaningful impact on your social work career is a primary consideration. Loyola is an accredited, nonprofit college with more than a century of academic excellence and a tradition of national recognition.

Nationally Ranked

Earn your degree from an accredited, nonprofit college rated #28 in the nation for graduate social work by U.S. News & World Report.

The internship seminar courses incorporate the innovative use of simulation to support training both inside and outside of the classroom. You’ll benefit from our extensive community partnerships that provide real-world experience through over 1,000 agencies for internship opportunities. In the Fall semester, new MSW students participate in our one-week Community Immersion Program (CIP) which allows students to participate directly with communities and learn about the social work profession.

Every facet of the MSW is grounded in the ethical and transformational values that are hallmarks of a Loyola education. All MSW program instructors are committed to building on these values and furthering the field with their research, teaching, and active participation in community involvement. All of our students share these values and a commitment to a career helping people.

If further career specialization is your goal, Loyola’s School of Social Work offers dual degrees in partnership with other schools across the university. Take your career to the next level with dual degree options in law, child and family law, divinity studies, social justice, women’s studies, and public health.

The MSW is available both online and in person with daytime and evening classes, giving you maximum flexibility to combine your degree work with other personal and professional obligations.

Obtén más información sobre nuestro programa de Maestría Bilingüe de Trabajo Social. Todos los cursos se ofrecen en línea, con formatos sincronizados en tiempo real (clases con maestros; simulaciones) y no sincronizados (foros de discusión; estudio de casos, etc.). Para estudiantes que califican para el programa de Maestría en Trabajo Social Bilingüe en línea al Nivel Avanzado, éste se ofrece como un programa que comienza en el semestre de la primavera y se puede terminar en cuatro semestres consecutivos.

Loyola offers an entirely online Social Work MSW program. The online program gives you access to our distinguished coursework from anywhere in the world. If you are passionate about making a difference in the world, this degree can equip you with the advanced training you need for a position in the social work profession.

Meet the Faculty

Loyola is proud to have talented and nationally-recognized scholar-teachers as part of our diverse community of exceptional faculty, students and staff. Loyola faculty are known for their commitment to teaching, the dissemination of knowledge through innovative and interdisciplinary scholarly research, and a commitment to social justice and cura personalis, or care for the whole person. Visit the School of Social Work faculty and staff directory to learn more about the teachers and mentors involved with the Social Work MSW program.

Faculty and Staff

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Curriculum and Program Outcomes

While courses for the Social Work MSW program may vary from semester to semester, Loyola’s extensive Academic Catalog will always house the official listing of courses, programs of study, academic policies, degree requirements, and specialization or concentration options.

Additionally, this resource will provide Social Work MSW learning outcomes, showcasing the commitment to specific skills and growth graduates can expect to achieve following completion of the program.

2024-2025 Catalog
Browse Academic Catalog

Costs, Scholarships, and Aid

Loyola University Chicago is committed to making your graduate and professional studies a reality. Our Cost & Financial Aid page can help better inform you about the costs and potential funding opportunities through scholarships, loans, and aid for graduate and professional education.

If you are a current Loyola undergraduate or recent alum, you may be eligible for a Returning Rambler discount. Learn more and see if you qualify on our Returning Rambler Scholarship page.

Tuition and Costs

The estimated tuition and fees for the Social Work MSW totals $52920.00, or 49 credit hours at a cost of $1,080.00 per credit hour. Please note that tuition and fees for all of Loyola's academic programs are subject to change.

For more detailed information about tuition and fees, and a breakdown of how these costs are calculated on a yearly basis, please visit Tuition and Fees from the Office of the Bursar.

School of Social Work Scholarships

The School of Social Work offers several scholarship opportunities specifically for MSW students:

Performance-Based Scholarships Focused on Student Need

Incoming MSW students who demonstrate financial need, community engagement, a commitment to academic success, and promise in the social work profession are eligible to apply.

Most graduate programs across the nation only offer merit-based scholarships; we are one of few that offer an award based on student financial need — all students, including international, DACA, and undocumented students qualify for this scholarship application.

Lester Czernik Scholarship

The Lester Czernik Scholarship is awarded at the start of each academic year to one to two incoming MSW students who demonstrate financial need and promise in the social work profession.

View a complete list of School of Social Work scholarships, including external scholarship opportunities.

Appointments and Events

Whether you’re just beginning your search, in the midst of the application process, or eager to explore our graduate and professional programs, our admissions staff is here to assist you every step of the way.

Schedule an Appointment

The School of Social Work offers graduate open houses, information sessions, individual appointments, open Zoom and text sessions, and a multitude of other ways to get to know us better.

View all Events

Visit and Connect With Us

With our visit opportunities, you can tour our beautiful Chicago campuses and learn more about Loyola's ties to one of the most prestigious cities in the world.

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Application Process

Application Deadlines

The available start terms and corresponding application deadlines for the Social Work MSW are listed below. Please keep in mind that both the application and the required materials must be submitted by the specified deadline.

Priority: March 1
Final: May 1
Fall 2024 only: August 1

Priority: October 1
Final: November 1

Application Requirements

Application requirements for the Social Work MSW include:

  • Official Transcripts

  • 2 References

  • Resume/CV

  • Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose Details

The personal statement component of your application to the MSW Program at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work will be used to assess your writing, critical thinking, and capacity for self-awareness in terms of readiness for graduate level work and supervised practice in the field.

Please submit (one) well-developed 1500 word, double spaced personal statement that shares your interest in the field of social work and motivation to pursue the MSW Program at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

The personal statement submitted must be a comprehensive essay that addresses all of the questions posed in the three topics below:

Topic 1: Describe your understanding of the social work profession. How have you incorporated the values of service and social justice (held by the profession) in your human service experiences and interactions with others?

Topic 2: Discuss your career interests and goals. In what population or area of social work practice are you interested? How will a Social Work education from Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work prepare you for work in your area of interest? What do you hope to accomplish with an MSW?

Topic 3: Discuss your timing to pursue a graduate program now. What personal and/or professional factors have led you to want to pursue an MSW now? How do you intend to complete the program? How do you plan to balance the academic and field responsibilities of the program with outside responsibilities and obligations? How will you finance your studies?

If you are a transfer student currently or previously enrolled in a MSW program elsewhere, in addition to addressing the questions above in your personal statement, please address you interest in transferring to Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work from your current or past institution.

Official Documents

Official transcripts are those that are sent directly by the college/university to Loyola University Chicago. Transcripts sent by the student to Loyola are considered unofficial documents, and while they may be utilized for initial review of your application, official transcripts are still required. Official documents should be sent by the institution to

International Applicant Requirements

An official English language proficiency exam is required for international applicants whose native language is not English. If you have non-U.S. educational credentials, you are required to submit an official transcript evaluation. The transcript evaluation cannot be waived.

Please visit our International Applicant Requirements page for specific information regarding the application process for international students.

International Applicant Requirements
Start Your Application

Applying online to the Social Work MSW program is a swift, uncomplicated, and cost-free process. After submission, you can proceed to send and upload any additional requirements.


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