MSW degree options

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program prepares world-class practitioners committed to achieving social and economic justice, assisting vulnerable or oppressed individuals, and to improving the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities. The School of Social Work at Wayne State University offers full-time and planned part-time study programs leading to the Master of Social Work.

The first year of graduate study is called the "Core Year" and, as mandated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), provides a foundation of basic social work knowledge and skills for all students. The core curriculum stresses fundamentals of social work practice as they relate to individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities. In field education, theory is translated into practice and includes experiences for students in interpersonal practice and practice in organizations and communities.

The second year of graduate study is designated the "Advanced Year." Students select their concentration area toward the end of the Core Year or as they enter the Advanced Year. The advanced curriculum builds on the knowledge, values and skills gained in the core curriculum, with the objective of increasing students' competence to deal with greater complexities of social work practice through a focus on areas of social concern. This advanced portion of the M.S.W. degree program is designed to provide specific knowledge and practice skills in the concentrations of Interpersonal Practice or Innovation in Community, Policy, and Leadership

  • OPTION I: Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership (I-CPL)

    This concentration contextualizes student learning into three platforms of practice including developing and sustaining effective communities, developing and sustaining effective policies, and developing and sustaining effective organizations through leadership. I-CPL students will deepen their understanding of settings where this practice can take place through field placements that relate to urban social planning, community development, policy analysis and advocacy, program development, and system coordination. A full range of electives is offered to supplement the required sequence of courses, thus permitting students an opportunity to deepen and enrich their knowledge of particular areas of Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership.

  • OPTION II: Interpersonal Practice

    This concentration offers students a particular theoretical orientation and clinical method from among three theory "tracks": Cognitive-Behavioral, Family Systems, and Psychodynamic. Each track has a corresponding integrative practice methods and human behavior course incorporating content on clinical method and technique, developmental issues, and psychosocial pathology, and each is offered over two consecutive terms. A full range of electives is offered to supplement the required sequence of courses, thus permitting students an opportunity to deepen and enrich their knowledge of particular areas of Interpersonal Practice.


The Wayne State University School of Social Work offers a dual-title and joint degree at the masters level. These programs build on the natural overlap between social work and our allied professions, provide students with the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of multiple fields of study and gain the necessary skills to operate in the growing interprofessional environment. 

Master of Social Work and Infant Mental Health

The Infant Mental Health dual-title degree (MSW-IMH) helps students to gain a thorough understanding of research and clinical work with infants and families. It prepares students as research-informed clinicians to work in cross-disciplinary teams or clinically-informed researchers who have a deeper understanding of applied research and the needs of agencies and practitioners.  

Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health

The Public Health joint degree (MSW-MPH) provides students with a deeper understanding of complex determinants of health and the scientific methods necessary to operate in an interprofessional environment. It provides the knowledge base necessary to address health disparities, urban health challenges, and equips students with the skills to qualify for employment that demands the integration of prevention, research, and social epidemiological methods.


AGRADE is Wayne State University's Accelerated Graduate Enrollment program. The School of Social Work has partnered with the College of Liberal Arts and Science (CLAS) to provide ambitious undergraduate CLAS students with the opportunity to obtain their MSW degrees in less time for less money via AGRADE. 

Senior Rule

Senior Rule is an admissions status for select Wayne State undergraduate seniors that allows them to take a limited number of graduate courses that can be applied to their MSW degree, saving them time and money.


Temporary approval by the State Department of Education is required for employment as a school social worker. Wayne State University, Master of Social Work graduates who have fulfilled requirements to meet the Temporary Approval, can apply to have a SSW-310 University Recommendation completed. Prospective job applicants then can provide this form as proof of eligibility for temporary approval.