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Social Work Department at NMU

NMU's newly Master of Social Work (MSW) program is an exciting opportunity for human services professionals to earn a graduate degree and take their careers to the next level. Our mission is to prepare advanced practitioners of social work by extending the department's and profession's commitment to higher learning that promotes service, social justice, human rights, and dignity, worth and well-being of individuals, groups, families, organizations, and communities through specialized clinical and macro practice.

At NMU's graduate tuition rate, our 50-credit regular standing program or 36-credit advanced standing program, are some of the most affordable routes to an MSW in Michigan. With a wide array of field placement opportunities across the Upper Peninsula, our flexible global campus option for distance students, and our options for clinical or macro concentration, we offer students an education that meets their individual career interests and learning needs.

On-campus or Global Program Options

NMU offers two program options for MSW students:- 

  • Traditional Campus (in-person) - Learn and practice from our beautiful campus located in Marquette, Michigan, in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
  • Global Campus (online) - Complete the program from anywhere in the region, allowing for more flexibility to meet the work life balance.  

While both program options follow the same curriculum and course sequence, work with the same professors, and are part of the same graduating cohort of students, there are some key differences designed to accommodate your unique learning and living circumstances.

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ONC students

Traditional Campus

  • Most classes take place on campus in traditional, brick-and-mortar, classroom settings.  
  • Students will have the option to take many elective courses in-person or online if preferred.
  • Students will work closely with other in-person students within their courses, but will also have the opportunity to connect with Global Campus students through virtual learning.
  • The program’s Field Coordinator will play an active role in selecting and facilitating the field placement process.

When applying to the program, potential students should specify their preference for Traditional or Global Campus in their personal statement.

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GC student

Global Campus Option

  • All classes take place online.
  • Most classes offered within the program are delivered in a synchronous format, meaning you will attend classes at a specific time, often in the same group as the traditional students.
  • Students will have the opportunity to work closely with other Global students, but will also have the chance to build connections with traditional students, all in a convenient virtual format.  
  • Global Campus uses Zoom and other online platforms to keep students connected.  
  • The student will be the primary person to identify and apply for field placement in their unique geographical area.  

For Global Campus admission, preference will be given to students living in the Upper Peninsula (outside of Marquette County), northern lower Michigan, and northern Wisconsin, however please apply if you live outside these areas.

Social Work Department at NMU

Accreditation of a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process.  An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Commission on Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. 

NMU’s Master of Social Work program

is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Accreditation 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.

For more information about social work accreditation, you may contact Accreditation.

MSW Program Information

  • The MSW Student Handbook contains information about support services, student rights, responsibilities and College academic policies.
  • The MSW FIELD EDUCATION MANUAL contains information that students must know prior to beginning their placement(s).

Check here the Program admission requirements and policies here.

Students enrolled in the NMU MSW Program will have the choice of concentrating on one of two areas: Clinical or Policy, Planning and Administration (PPA). The NMU MSW Program offers several curriculum options based on admission standing and chosen concentration.  

1. Regular Standing Option

Students admitted under Regular Standing will complete the 50-credit program beginning in fall semester over the course of two academic years, with four total semesters.  During the first year, students will focus on developing competency in generalist practice, developing proficiency in a variety of skills, knowledge, values and emotional and cognitive processes.  This knowledge base will prepare students to practice social work in a wide variety of settings and populations.  Students will develop the ability to work with all service levels, from practice with individuals and families, through community organizing and interaction with social policy.  Field placements will be selected based on the agencies ability to provide practice opportunities at many practice levels, assisting students in developing generalist practice.

During the second year of the program, students with choose between the Clinical or Policy, Planning and Administration (PPA) concentration.  Clinical students will develop entry-level proficiency in therapeutic counseling skills, including mental health therapy and diagnostics, while continuing to exercise competencies gained in the first year of the program.  Students will work with the field coordinator to select a field placement in a particular area of clinical interest, including mental health with adults, children and families, and co-occuring disorders.  In the PPA concentration, students will develop specialized skills and knowledge in policy development, community organizing and advocacy, and administration.  These students will also work with the field coordinator to select a placement site that emphasizes the area of macro practice the are most interested in.  

2. Advanced Standing Option

Students admitted under Advanced Standing will complete the 36-credit program in one calendar year, or three semesters total, beginning in summer semester.  The summer semester will focus on consolidating entry-level social work competencies and linking them to the concentration curriculum beginning in fall semester.  Beginning in fall semester, students will begin concentration courses in either Clinical or Policy, Planning and Administration (PPA).  As with the second year of the Regular Standing program, students will specialize courses and field placements in their chosen area of concentration.  

Clinical students will develop entry-level proficiency in therapeutic counseling skills, including mental health therapy and diagnostics, while continuing to exercise competencies gained in the first year of the program.  Students will work with the field coordinator to select a field placement in a particular area of clinical interest, including mental health with adults, children and families, and co-occuring disorders.  In the PPA concentration, students will develop specialized skills and knowledge in policy development, community organizing and advocacy, and administration.  These students will also work with the field coordinator to select a placement site that emphasizes the area of macro practice the are most interested in.  

CURRICULUM LAYOUT AND COURSE OPTIONS

NMU GRADUATE COURSE SEARCH 

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NMU offers a unique opportunity for field placement in an urbanized rural setting.  The field placement is incorporated into social work education and critical in the preparation of competent social work professionals. All MSW students are required by the Council on Social Work Education to complete a minimum of 900 field hours (about 2-3 days per week in an academic semester) in a real-world setting under the instruction of a degreed social worker. At NMU, the MSW field coordinator identifies organizational settings that provide individualized, hands-on experiences that allow students to practice social work skills and apply their classroom knowledge. The field coordinator matches students to specific field placements that are able to meet their learning needs.

  • Regular Standing - Students admitted under regular standing will complete two field placements while at NMU.  During their first year (fall and winter semesters), students will complete approximately 400 hours in the field practicing generalist competencies.  The second year they will complete a 500 hour placement in their area of specialization, either Clinical or in Policy, Planning and Administration (PPA).
  • Advanced Standing - Students admitted under advanced standing are able to count 400 hours of their BSW field placement toward the total 900 required field hours for an MSW.  During the advanced standing year, students will complete 500 hours in the field in their area of concentration, either Clinical or Policy, Planning and Administration (PPA).  
  • Global Campus - Students completing the program in the global campus option will be asked to assist the field instructor in finding placement options in their local area. This may consist of the student identifying local agencies that are interested in, connecting the field coordinator with local agencies, and/or directly connecting with local agencies to secure placements.  The field instructor will be actively engaged in the process, but the student's involvement will be necessary in order to select placements that will meet educational goals.  
  • Child Welfare Certificate - If a student is working toward the Child Welfare Certificate, they will be required to complete their Child Welfare placement during their first, generalist, year of placement.  The certificate will not be available for students in the Advanced Standing program due to the generalist nature of the certificate.  

Field Placement Application Process

When students are selected for the NMU MSW program, they will be required to complete the below materials and submit them to the Field Placement Coordinator as soon as possible to begin the matching process.

Regular Standing
Advanced Standing

Students will also be required to be familiar with the MSW FIELD EDUCATION MANUAL prior to beginning their placement(s).

Resources

MSW Curriculum Grid

View the Master in Social Work (MSW) Curriculum Map.

Personal Statement Outline

View a personal statement outline for the MSW Application.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

View form AS 4(M) for our most recent student learning outcomes.