Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in South Dakota

Currently, the University of South Dakota (USD) is the only school in the state of South Dakota that offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program. USD’s Department of Social Work, which has full accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), offers an advanced generalist MSW program that provides instruction and training in both clinical and macro practice social work. While the program has an advanced generalist curriculum, USD has implemented the Path to Licensure program offered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to help prepare students who are interested in clinical social work for licensure post-graduation.

USD’s MSW program is offered at its Sioux Falls campus and in an online, distance-based format. Both program formats have an advanced standing track for qualified students who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program, as well as a traditional track that does not require an undergraduate degree in social work.

MSW program options available to South Dakota residents are detailed in the following sections:

Traditional MSW Programs in South Dakota

A traditional MSW program is a full-length master’s degree program that provides instruction and training in the professional practice of social work. These programs typically consist of two years or four academic semesters of coursework for full-time students, including at least 900 hours of site-based field education, a signature pedagogy of social work education. Part-time students generally take an additional year or two to graduate from a traditional MSW program for a total completion time of three to four years.

The University of South Dakota has a traditional MSW program that it offers in both a campus-based format and an online format. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum, which means that it prepares students for a broad range of social work roles in both clinical and macro practice settings, including therapeutic services, administration and staff supervision, policy analysis, community development, organizational planning, and advocacy. For students who enroll in the campus-based program, classes are held on Monday or Tuesday at USD’s Sioux Falls campus. The online program uses the same curriculum and has the same requirements as the campus-based program. Traditional students can complete USD’s MSW program in 24 months, which includes 900 hours of field education. Students who enroll on a part-time basis have up to four years to complete their degree.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in South Dakota

Advanced standing MSW programs are master’s programs that provide professional training in social work and are designed specifically for students who have already completed foundational social work training as part of a CSWE-accredited BSW program. Advanced standing students are not required to repeat coursework they have already taken at the BSW level and are given credit for undergraduate field education hours. As a result, they are able to earn an MSW degree in approximately one year of full-time enrollment. Part-time advanced standing students generally extend their time to completion by a year or more.

The University of South Dakota’s (USD) advanced generalist MSW program has an advanced standing track for qualified students who hold a BSW degree conferred by a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program. The advanced standing track is offered on campus in Sioux Falls, where weekly classes meet on Mondays or Tuesdays when school is in session, and via online instruction. Both options require advanced standing students to complete 500 hours of field education at program-approved sites. The advanced standing program begins in the summer term and can be completed in as few as 12 months for students who enroll part-time. Students who would prefer to enroll on a part-time basis can complete the program’s advanced standing track in two years.

Additional MSW Program Options for South Dakota Residents

South Dakota residents may want to take advantage of the opportunities presented by out-of-state colleges and universities that offer MSW programs, including programs offered by schools in neighboring states, such as Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wyoming. There are also numerous options for MSW programs offered by colleges and universities from across the United States. Additionally, there are online MSW programs offered by out-of-state schools that require limited or no campus visits.

Through online programs, students are able to complete a traditional or an advanced standing MSW program without having to relocate in order to be near the school offering the program. This can be a particularly advantageous for students who are interested in MSW specializations that are not currently offered by USD’s Department of Social Work, such as military social work. Students who enroll in an online MSW program are typically able to complete their in-person field education hours at sites in their geographical area, although students should contact a program administrator about the field placement process before applying to an online program offered by an out-of-state school. For details on CSWE-accredited online MSW programs offered by out-of-state schools, refer to our Online MSW Programs page.

All Master of Social Work Programs in South Dakota

T Traditional programs, Advanced Standing programs, Campus programs, Hybrid programs, Hybrid-Online programs (3 to ~6 campus visits per year), Online programs (fully online to 2 campus visits per year)