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Fast facts

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Credit Hours


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Per Credit


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2-4 yrs

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Program Benefits

  • Traditional and Advanced Standing Tracks
  • Dedicated Field Work Placement Specialist
  • No Pre-Requisites Required

The Master of Social Work from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota prepares you for advanced social work roles so you can work with a wider client base and provide a deeper level of care to those you serve.

Even without licensure, the degree can potentially earn you more. However, to diagnose and treat clients in a one-on-one setting and directly bill third parties, you need to earn your clinical social work license.

Clinical Social Work License Requirements By State

Clinical social workers are always licensed. Requirements for the program you participate in and names for social work licenses, roles, and responsibilities can all vary from state to state.

For instance, certifications that refer to "clinical," "independent," or "independent clinical" generally equate to the highest level of certification in clinical practice — you'll see them abbreviated as LCSW, LISW, or LICSW. While most states have a process for reciprocity and transferring licenses, some require you to apply as a new applicant.

Students should also be aware that applicants for social work licensure must meet additional requirements in every state and U.S. territory, including but not limited to additional training, coursework, and supervised clinical experiences. Requirements vary by state. It is the student's responsibility to verify licensing requirements with their state social work board — the links below will help you discover what those are so you can be prepared. Learn more about professional licensure here.

Please note that Saint Mary's online MSW is a clinically based program with a clinical practicum, which is required for licensure in some states.

Saint Mary's CSWE Accreditation & Schedule

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories require students to graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to be eligible to pursue clinical social work licensure.

At this time, Saint Mary's is pursuing CSWE accreditation and has formally entered the candidacy phase required to obtain accreditation. While Saint Mary's developed its program to fully align with all national standards and requirements in order to ensure a successful accreditation outcome, it cannot guarantee its accreditation status until the CSWE process is complete.

CSWE itself states that accreditation applies retroactively to graduates of a program, even if the program is in candidacy status at the time. However, some states do not recognize candidacy status and may only grant a social work license once the program is fully accredited. Students should check with their state social work board to verify their eligibility for licensure if they graduate from a program before it has been fully accredited.

Here are the benchmarks in Saint Mary's accreditation schedule:

Feb. 2020: Officially entered into candidacy status by CSWE

The Master of Social Work program at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, but has not yet demonstrated full compliance. 

Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

Feb. 2022: Anticipated date of being fully accredited

Get your questions answered.

To learn more about Saint Mary's online Master of Social Work, contact an enrollment counselor at 877-308-9954 or request more information.