We offer the MSW program in Iowa City, Des Moines, Sioux City, and Online. 

  1. Regular Standing (54 s.h. option)
    Designed for individuals who have completed a degree in a discipline other than a CSWE-accredited social work degree program.

  2. Advanced Standing (36 s.h. option)
    Designed for individuals who have completed the BA in Social Work or the BSW from a CSWE-accredited social work degree program.

In 2024, we will be admitting to the following locations: (click on location to access webpage)

Des Moines

  • Advanced Standing can be completed in 1 year (3 semesters) or 2 years; admits annually, starts in summer.
  • Regular Standing can be completed in 2, 3 or 4 years; admits annually, starts in fall.

Iowa City

  • Advanced Standing can be completed in 1 year (3 semesters) or 2 years; admits annually, starts in summer.
  • Regular Standing can be completed in 2, 3 or 4 years; admits annually, starts in fall.


  • Advanced Standing is completed in 2 years; admits annually, starts in summer.
  • Regular Standing can be completed in 2, 3, or 4 years; admits annually, starts in fall.

Sioux City

  • Advanced Standing is completed in 2 years; admits in summer.

The Regular Standing program in Sioux City is not admitting in 2024; the next cohort starts in summer 2026.

If you meet the following criteria, then you are qualified to apply:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale of undergraduate study, (or foreign equivalent as determined by the Office of Admissions), or on 12 semester hours of graduate course work is required for the Regular Standing and Advanced Standing MSW programs.
  • You can explain a little about your goals and interests in seeking the MSW.
  • You can identify two individuals to provide written references (preferably one academic and one professional).
  • There are a few additional requirements for international applicants.

Absolutely. In fact, about 62% of our students have degrees other than social work.  It’s helpful to have some background in liberal arts and sciences.

If your undergraduate cumulative GPA is below 3.0, and you haven’t earned any graduate hours yet, you can enroll in graduate-level courses as a non-degree student. When you earn 12 semester hours of letter-graded graduate work, you are eligible for admission.

Non-degree students are allowed to earn a maximum of 12 semester hours.  Non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid.

Application deadlines are posted on our Admissions webpage.

Yes, we regularly hold Information Sessions for each location.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about the program, admission criteria, the application process, and course schedules.  We encourage questions as well.

The Advanced Standing program starts in summer at all locations - Des Moines, Iowa City, Online, and Sioux City*

*Sioux City admits every three years.  The next Advanced Standing cohort starts in summer 2024.

The Regular Standing program start session depends on location:

  • Summer – Sioux City
  • Fall session – Des Moines, Iowa City, and Online.

We do NOT require GRE scores for the MSW program.

Yes, the UI MSW program has been continually accredited since 1951.

We offer two social work specializations: Clinical Practice or Leadership Practice.

  • Clinical Practice specialization will prepare students for mental health work with individuals and families in organizations like nonprofits, hospitals, schools and in private practice.
  • Leadership Practice specialization will prepare students to partner with communities, develop programs, lead organizations and advocate for social, economic and racial justice.

Students select one of these specializations.

We ask you to identify the specialization you are most interested in when you apply. However, you can change this up through the spring semester prior to beginning the specialized courses.

Advanced Standing students only complete the Specialist (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum.

Regular Standing students will complete a Generalist Practicum and the Specialized (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum.

Students work with their practicum supervisor to create their learning plan and set their schedule.

Have questions:  Contact info here.

  • Generalist Practicum is 300 hours.
  • Specialist (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum is a minimum of 600 hours; 300 hours each in the final fall and spring semesters.

Advanced Standing students only complete the Specialized (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum.

Regular Standing students will complete a Generalist Practicum and the Specialized (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum.


Generalist Practicum

Specialist (Clinical or Leadership) Practicum

Advanced Standing


300 hours in final fall semester + 300 hours in final spring semester

(approx. 20 - 22 hours per week)

Regular Standing

300 hours*

300 hours in final fall semester + 300 hours in final spring semester

(approx. 20 - 22 hours per week)

The timing of the Generalist practicum session depends on the learning center and the number of years you take to complete the program. 

*If Generalist Practicum (300 hours) is in:

  • Spring session, plan to spend approximately 20 – 22 hours per week to complete.
  • Summer session, plan to spend approximately 25 hours per week to complete.  Summer session is shorter, it’s only 12 weeks.

Have more questions? Contact info here.

There are a variety of resources to assist you, including Director of Practicum Education, Practicum Administrator program coordinators and advisors.

All students will get access to a database “IPT” to search for agencies in your region that are seeking or have previously had an MSW practicum student.  The Director of Practicum or Practicum Administrator conduct information sessions regarding the planning process.

Planning ahead is important.  We recommend communicating with your work supervisor/employer early to establish expectations and begin conversations about future work schedules.  A flexible work schedule is ideal.

The Registrar’s Tuition & Fees table can be found here:  https://tuition.ais.its.uiowa.edu/rates

  • Select Session
  • College – select Graduate College
  • Area of Study – select Social Work
  • Primary Program of Study – select your program and location you plan to attend.

Questions?  Contact the Registrar’s office at registrar@uiowa.edu or 319 384-4300

For students enrolled in the Iowa City and Des Moines MSW program, tuition rates are based on classification of residency in Iowa.  Students not classified as residents of Iowa, will pay out-of-state tuition.  https://registrar.uiowa.edu/classification-residents-tuition-purposes

All students in the Online and Sioux City pay the same in-state tuition.  NOTE:  The Online program admits students from Iowa and states surrounding Iowa only.

The majority of MSW students are paying their educational expenses with student loans.

Details about the FAFSA form and other financial aid are available on The Office of Student Financial Aid webpage.

In graduate school, 9 semester hours is considered full-time.

Questions about financial aid or FAFSA?
Please contact Jess Graham, a UI financial aid advisor, at:

Phone: 319-467-3187

Visit the Funding webpage to view scholarships and other funding opportunities for currently enrolled students. 

This information is shared by our national professional organization is the National Association of Social Workers.  If you want to learn more about social work as a career, please visit their informative website:


“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

Social work is different from other professions because we focus both on the person and their environment. Social workers deal with the external factors that impact a person's situation and outlook. And we create opportunities for assessment and intervention, to help clients and communities cope effectively with their reality and change that reality when necessary. Social workers help clients deal not only with how they feel about a situation but also with what they can do about it.

In thousands of ways, social workers help people of every age and background, all across the country. The most well-known aspect of the social work profession is providing direct services or therapy directly to clients. We help guide people to critical resources and counsel them on life-changing decisions. We also advocate for change to improve social conditions and strengthen the social net.”

We invite you to visit our website for more information: https://socialwork.uiowa.edu/why-social-work

What are the advantages of an MSW from the University of Iowa School of Social Work?

  • There is an extensive network of UI MSW alumni located throughout the state of Iowa and surrounding states, which facilitates practicum placement and job opportunities
  •  Our graduates are highly valued by agencies seeking employees. 
  • The University of Iowa MSW program is the largest and highest ranked MSW program in Iowa and the only program that offers learning centers distant from the main campus.
  • The School offers the MSW in Iowa City, Des Moines, Sioux City and Online. Each site provides a structured sequence of courses as well as opportunities for students to choose electives, and tailor their practicum sites to their areas of interest and the region where they intend to practice.
  • All sites have opportunities to access the resources of a Research University, including our own designated librarian.

Applications from students seeking to transfer from another MSW program are processed if the applicant meets the following conditions: 

  • All admission criteria previously specified. 
  • Completed recommendation form from advisor and other faculty from previous school.
  • Agree to complete at least 30-36 semester hours of coursework after admission to the MSW program at Iowa and agree to meet all requirements of the Iowa program. 
  • Timeline:  Transfer requests may be made in any semester, but accepted applicants may only register for required courses when prerequisites have been met.  This may mean a delay in matriculation. 

Transfer requests must be first directed to the School’s Admission Office: ssw-admissions@uiowa.edu, so the School can notify Graduate Admissions that a transfer request is coming, and you will be informed of additional materials needed to assess your status. Graduate College deadlines for application are stated on the Graduate College Application.

Reapplication is required of students who: 

  • Withdraw from the program.
  • Do not enroll in classes for two (2) consecutive semesters. 
  • Were admitted to the program but did not enroll in classes and did not receive written permission to defer enrollment. 
  • Submitted completed applications but were denied admission.
  • Were dismissed from the program.

Yes, you can apply. You should be aware that a criminal history may limit or prohibit your ability to obtain licensure, secure a practicum placement, and may limit or prohibit employment in social service agencies following graduation. 

For more information, contact the Board of Social Work licensure in the state where you wish to reside and be licensed.  A listing of boards by state is available online.  In addition, applicants need to be aware that many social service agencies that meet our requirements for field/practicum placements now require background checks, some at the student's expense.  These are the policies of social service agencies throughout this area, not The University of Iowa or the School of Social Work policy.

Times of course offerings depend on the program location.  You can view a sample course sequence (click on the specific center below) according to the program option and the number of years taking to complete.  Most students also enroll in summer courses.

Des Moines

  • Classes generally meet weekly and students take a mix of day and evening classes.
  • Most required courses meet in person at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center.
  • Most electives are offered online.

Iowa City

  • Classes take place during daytime and evening hours; students must be able to do a combination of both.
  • Most required courses are in-person on the Iowa City campus.
  • Many of our electives are offered online.


  • Required courses meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday via Zoom.
  • Electives are offered synchronously and asynchronously online

Sioux City

  • Required courses for this program are on Tuesday evenings in a classroom at Briar Cliff University.
  • Some electives are offered other nights of the week, online.

We have a job listing page for employment opportunities within Iowa and surrounding states, updated monthly.