MSW online program

The MSW online program is designed for full-time students who plan to enroll in the Interpersonal Concentration. This concentration offers students broad exposure to contemporary practice theories; assessment of psychosocial disorders, risk, and resilience; developmental issues; and in-depth clinical assessment skills. Students have opportunities to deepen their clinical intervention skills with individuals and families by building on these foundational interpersonal practice theories and skills. 


  • The MSW Online Program application deadline is June 1

The online experience

Online learning accommodates students who may have work or family commitments that interfere with a traditional on-campus experience. Other key benefits of the MSW online program:

  1. All classes required for the Interpersonal Concentration of the MSW degree are taught online, using the Canvas educational platform.
  2. The same experienced instructors who teach in the classroom also teach in the online program. Online tools such as discussion boards, video lectures (e.g., VoiceThread), social media and other tools available through Canvas make it possible for students to complete all the same assignments, activities and other requirements that students experience in the traditional classroom.
  3. The courses are taught in an asynchronous format, which means that there are no scheduled class times. Instead, students complete the course activities at their pace each week, allowing more flexibility for students who cannot easily adhere to set meeting days and times due to family or work responsibilities.
  4. Student support is available through the School of Social Work advisors. Online mentoring, writing support, tutoring, and opportunities for Zoom and campus-based activities with peers are just some of the ways online students can access the support they need.

Factors to consider

The MSW online program is designed for students who plan to enroll in Interpersonal Concentration. The program has prescribed options.

  1. On average, successful students spend eight hours on coursework each week per course. Therefore, students are advised not to work full-time while in the full-time online program. Currently, we do not have a part-time program option.
  2. Students in the MSW online program must take all of their required courses in the online format in the sequence noted in the tables below.
  3. The MSW online program offers select electives, guaranteeing your enrollment in these online courses. Students in the online program may choose to take different electives available online or on campus, but they are not guaranteed enrollment in those courses.
  4. Courses required for the certificate programs and joint-degree programs may not have online options. Students who enroll in certificate and joint degree programs may need to take some courses on campus to fulfill their requirements.

Online learning is not for everyone, and you need to have a thorough understanding of what will be expected of you. Here are some important factors to consider:

  1. Students need easy and frequent access to a computer with a microphone and a camera and a high-speed, secure connection to the internet.
  2. Online students need to be extremely comfortable with computer technology and be willing to learn and experiment with unfamiliar technologies that are required in a particular course. Students should complete the Effective Online Learner module and the Students' Introduction to Canvas before beginning the program.
  3. All communication and coursework take place through the course website.
  4. Although the courses do not have scheduled class times, your instructors or advisor may need to meet with you virtually to discuss your progress. Many assignments and activities require working in online groups. Students are expected to attend the student orientation before they start the program.
  5. Online learning requires students to be more disciplined and self-directed than students in traditional classes. Students must have excellent time management skills and pay careful attention to deadlines.
  6. Students are responsible for keeping up with class topics and turning in assignments. While many online classes involve group projects and students often form virtual study groups, much of your study, readings, lecture and assignments will be done on your own.
  7. Online students may feel isolated from their peers, the instructor, and the School of Social Work. This can cause a high level of frustration and anxiety when students are working on assignments or trying to understand course concepts.  Students must be prepared to reach out for assistance when necessary.

Before applying to the MSW online program, take some time to think about yourself as a learner and carefully examine whether your characteristics will help or hinder your success in the MSW Online program.


The MSW online curriculum is the same as the MSW degree program on the main campus, except the online program has prescribed electives. The online program has an option for students entering the program without a BSW (core students) or those with a BSW (advanced standing students). Please click the link below for a detailed plan of work for core and advanced-standing students. View a detailed course list.

Practicum education

While all courses are taken online, students in the online program cannot complete their internship online. The practicum experience requires students to be placed in an organization working with clients so that they can develop the skills to apply their course learning to actual real life social work experiences. Students accepted to the MSW online program must be able to adjust their schedules to accommodate their internship in the community.

The Wayne State University School of Social Work has the responsibility to arrange practicum placements for students enrolled in the MSW program. Students are expected to arrange reliable transportation to and from the practicum placement site. The Office of Practicum Education does consider the location in which a student lives but cannot guarantee a practicum placement near that area.

Admission process

See our admissions page for details about admission requirements and for the application link. We encourage applicants to attend an information session to learn more about the program and application process.


Naelah Burks
Academic Advisor II for Core Students

Lawrence Robinson Jr., LLMSW
Academic Advisor II for Advanced Standing Students

Lisa O'Donnell, PhD
MSW Director and Assistant Professor