Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in Nevada

Two of Nevada’s public universities currently offer Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs: the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV); and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The School of Social Work at UNLV has an MSW program with concentrations in Direct Practice (clinical social work) and Management and Community Practice (macro social work). The program has a traditional, full-length track as well as an advanced standing track for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). UNR’s School of Social Work has an Advanced Generalist MSW program that provides training and instruction in both clinical and macro practice social work. The program offered by UNR also has traditional and advanced standing tracks.

Both UNLV and UNR are fully accredited by the CSWE:

  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Accredited)
  • University of Nevada, Reno (Accredited)

For students who live in or near Las Vegas or Reno, both UNLV and UNR offer programs with campus-based instruction that require students to attend classes on campus. For students interested in pursuing their degree online, UNR offers an online program that allows students to complete their didactic coursework through online instruction. Online students still need to complete in-person, site-based field education at approved social work agencies and human services organizations.

Details about each of the MSW programs and program options offered by Nevada’s public universities and information about MSW programs offered by out-of-state schools that accept applicants from Nevada are provided in the following sections:

Traditional MSW Programs in Nevada

A traditional MSW program is a full-length master’s degree program that takes most students roughly two years of full-time enrollment to complete. These programs do not require applicants to hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program and typically accept applicants regardless of their undergraduate major. (Note: some programs may prefer students who have a background in human services, sociology, psychology or a related field, so it is best to check admissions requirements before applying to a traditional MSW program.) In addition to didactic instruction, which can be delivered in a campus-based classroom setting or via online instruction, traditional MSW programs require students to engage in a minimum of 900 hours of field education at social work and/or human services agencies and organizations. Students who opt to enroll on a part-time basis in a traditional MSW program generally extend their time to completion by one or two years and graduate in three to four years.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) has a campus-based MSW program that offers students a choice between two specializations: a Direct Practice clinical social work specialization; and a Management and Community Practice macro social work specialization. The program, which has a two-year, full-time completion plan and three- and four-year options for part-time students, focuses on social work practice in urban settings and among diverse populations. The program’s field education requirements are broken up into four practicums: two 225-hour first-year foundation practicums; and two second-year, 300-hour concentration practicums for a total of 1050 hours of field education. Part-time students complete the concentration practicums in their third and/or fourth year. The 63-credit program gives students the option of completing a master’s thesis or a final capstone project.

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) offers a traditional MSW program with an Advanced Generalist Practice (AGP) curriculum that provides training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work. The program has a campus-based option with a full-time, two-year enrollment plan and a part-time enrollment plan that allows students to take three or four years to graduate. The program also has an online MSW program option that provides students with all of their didactic instruction online and does not require any campus visits. Students who opt to complete their degree online can do so in eight consecutive semesters (30 months), including summer terms. Both the campus-based and the online program options require students to complete four 225-hour practicums for a total of 900 total hours of field education at program-approved sites.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in Nevada

Students who have completed a Bachelor of Social Work (MSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program and who meet other admissions requirements may be eligible for an advanced standing MSW program. Students admitted into an advanced standing MSW program are credited with the coursework and field education hours they have already completed as part of their BSW training, and are typically not required to repeat foundational courses and practicums.

As a result, students begin their MSW studies in what would typically be the concentration year (second year) of a full-time, traditional program and are able to graduate in roughly half the time, relative to a traditional standing student who does not hold a BSW; in general, advanced standing students can complete their MSW in one year of full-time study or two or more years of part-time study. Field education requirements vary by program and by student, but students are generally required to complete a minimum of 450 to 500 hours of field education, depending upon how many hours they are credited from their undergraduate program.

It is important to note that while admission to advanced standing MSW programs requires a BSW degree, it may be contingent upon additional factors as well, such as a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA). Advanced standing programs may also require applicants to have completed their BSW degree within the past five to seven years. BSW graduates who do not qualify and/or are not admitted to an MSW program’s advanced standing track can still earn their master’s degree in social work by enrolling in a traditional MSW program.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) offers its campus-based MSW program with an advanced standing option for qualified students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program with an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher. The advanced standing track requires students to take four foundational MSW program courses during the summer term prior to beginning the concentration year coursework and to achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher in those foundation courses in order to retain their advanced standing status. Advanced standing students then choose to pursue a concentration in Direct Practice (clinical social work) or Management and Community Practice (macro social work) and must complete a total of 42-credits of coursework and field education (600 hours) in order to graduate. Students can complete the advanced standing track in one year of full-time enrollment, inclusive of the initial summer term. The advanced standing track gives students the option of completing a master’s thesis or a final capstone project.

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) has an advanced standing track that allows qualified students to complete its Advanced Generalist Practice (AGP) MSW program in one to two years on campus or in 15 months (four consecutive terms) utilizing online instruction. To be eligible for the advanced standing track, applicants must have completed their BSW degree within the past seven years and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or 3.25 or higher in the second half of their undergraduate program. The advanced standing track requires the completion of 32 credits, including 450 hours of site-based field education. UNR’s advanced standing MSW program track is offered in a campus-based format and in an online format that does not require students to attend any campus visits.

Additional MSW Program Options for Nevada Residents

Nevada residents who are able to relocate to earn their degree have numerous options for MSW programs, including those offered by schools in neighboring states, such as programs offered by schools in California, Arizona and Utah, and through programs offered by schools across the United States. Students who are not able to relocate for graduate studies who would like additional options for earning their MSW may want to explore online MSW programs offered by out-of-state schools that accept students from Nevada.

Online MSW programs provide students with additional options to focus their studies in different specializations and may also be ideal for students who cannot commute to a college campus for weekly lectures and classes for personal or professional reasons. Potential applicants to online programs offered by out-of-state schools should be aware that some programs may require a limited number of campus visits, and not all online programs accept students from all states. For more information and a complete list of CSWE-accredited online MSW programs, including traditional and advanced standing programs, refer to our Online MSW Programs page.

All Master of Social Work Programs in Nevada

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