Degree Requirements

Full-Time Program

The two-year full-time program is available for students who can devote themselves to full-time academic and field study in social work. Students complete 60 academic credits required for graduation in two years.

Advanced Standing Program

The Advanced Program at the Chicago State University Department of Social Work is an intensive program for students who have graduated from a CSWE (Council of Social Work Education) accredited baccalaureate social work program. A limited number of qualified applicants are accepted. Applicants must have received their BSW undergraduate degree within four years prior to admission.

Applicants to the Advanced Standing Program must have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 in the social work major.  Students who receive a "C" in any undergraduate social work course must repeat the equivalent course in the MSW program.  Advance standing students are required to complete a minimum of 33 credit hours toward the MSW degree. Applicants accepted into the program may be waived from courses required in the foundation year of the M.S.W. program based on an evaluation of transcripts.

Part-Time Program

The Part-Time Program allows students flexibility in meeting the requirements for the M.S.W. degree in three or four years. Students are expected to register for a minimum of two courses per semester, including summer.

The Curriculum for the Master's Degree Program

The CSU Graduate catalogue lists courses offered by the MSW Program. Appended to this handbook are sample programs for each semester. These samples provide a brief overview of the core elements of the MSW curriculum. The master’s degree requires a minimum of 60 credits. The following is a listing of courses required by all students and that of each concentration. All required courses are three credit hours each.


School Social Work Degree Admissions and Degree Requirements

If you are not selected for the School Social Work Specialization, you may select the Direct Services Specialization or the Program Planning and Administration Specialization.  

School Social Work Specialization Application For Current CSU MSW Students


The Chicago State University, School Social Work Concentration Application is required to assist the faculty in determining the best candidates for this demanding concentration. The requests for this concentration exceed the demand and therefore all qualified candidates will not be selected. Your opportunities will be enhanced by completing the following materials on or before the designated timelines.           

The School Social Work Concentration Application Deadline is December 30th .   

Step To Apply

Step One: You must be an MSW student in good standing. Only those students who hold a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0 with at least a grade of B in all courses in the Social Work major will be considered. 

Step Two: You must complete the brief Specialization Application and the Field Placement Application and submit it to the Department of Social Work no later than December 30th.

As part of your application, please obtain two letters of recommendations

  • One must be from your current field instructor
  • One must be from a CSU MSW faculty member able to speak to your academic performance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How many hours are needed for the schools field placement?

  • 600 clock hours are required by the Illinois State Board of Education for the School Service Personnel Certificate for School Social Work. That translates into about 21-24 hours weekly (depending on the length of the school day) or 3 full days per week.

 Is there a stipend?

  • Some school Districts offer a small stipend to their interns. Conditions and amounts vary and should be verified during your interview with a District.

 Can I do my internship during the evenings?

  • No- you must meet a number of learning standards that require work during the traditional school day. Even if you are placed in a community school, which may have a longer school day, the bulk of your hours will be completed before 3pm.


Is it true that I may have to continue my field placement after I graduate?

  • Yes- many districts require a commitment for the full school year. Our department and the Illinois State Board require 600 clock hours therefore, even if you are completing hours through the end of the District’s school year, you should remain within the clock hour requirement.

Can I choose my own school placement?

  • We have affiliation agreements with Chicago Public Schools and several suburban districts in the Chicagoland area. We will work with you but in some cases (e.g. CPS) assignments are made through the District.

When do I take the PEL (Professional Educators License) exam?

  • During the fall semester before you graduate. You are strongly encouraged to pass the exam prior to the start of field placement spring semester. Additional information on initial licensure is available at:

Is Chicago State University MSW program approved for the PEL(Professional Educators License) for school social work?

  • Yes- CSU received approval from ISBE to offer the Type 73, now the PEL for school social workers in March, 2005.

 Will there be other changes to my academic plan of study?

  • Yes- the school social work concentration only allows for 2 elective courses due to the requirement that students complete S ED 5301,Characteristics of the Exceptional Child through the Department of Education. If you have completed this course at the undergraduate level within the last 5 years you will still take 3 graduate elective courses.