Our mission is to create effective, ethical social work leaders and practitioners. We are a constitutionally established land-grant university emphasizing education that best serves the needs of the state, region and nation. Our online Master of Social Work can help you gain the knowledge to address complex problems in diverse environments, including underserved rural communities.

Globe Icon: Illustration of a pedestal globe representing that UNR is a National Tier 1 University according to U.S. News & World Report

Recognized as a national Tier 1 University (U.S. News & World Report)

Savings Icons: A blue circle with a dollar sign and downward pointing arrow inside. This represents tha on average, students pay less in tuition at UNR than at comparative online MSW programs
On average, students pay less in tuition than at comparative online MSW programs
Certificate Icon: A blue circle containing an illustration of an education degree certificate because graduates can be prepared for licensure

Program designed to prepare students for licensure

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No GRE required

Why choose the University of Nevada, Reno for Your Online MSW?

Our online Master’s in Social Work is one of only a handful of degrees solely structured around advanced generalist practice (AGP), which prepares social workers to be more versatile for the diverse array of challenges and opportunities they may face in their careers. Social work is not an exclusive discipline. It’s not our aim to prepare rigid specialists. Social workers collaborate with many professions, including psychology, public health, education, business and medicine. Social work is changing, and our mission is to prepare agents of change.

Ranking Icon: A blue circle with an illustration of a three-tiered award stage representing UNR's Ranking among the top 150 national universities in research and development
Ranked among the top 150 national universities in research and development
Ribbon Icon: A blue circle with an award style ribbon inside. This represents our accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
CSWE Icon: A blue circle with an award style ribbon inside. This represents our Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accreditation
Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Two Paths for Earning Your Master’s in Social Work.

Our program is open to applicants with bachelor’s degrees from a variety of fields. It is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and intended to prepare students for any level of practice, including clinical social work. We have designed the program to serve different learning needs, as follows:

Advanced Standing Program
This is a 32-credit-hour program for students with a BSW degree. You can graduate in as few as 15 months.

Traditional Program
This is a 62-credit-hour program for students with non-BSW degrees. The foundation program also includes a three-day residency featuring time at the University of Nevada School of Medicine patient simulation facilities.

Social Work Career Outlook

The social work profession continues to evolve to meet the ongoing challenges of health care reform, an aging population, economic fluctuations, cultural differences and a variety of other social issues. Qualified professionals are in demand.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12% growth rate for social workers from 2014 to 2024.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 10,000 professional social workers.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ranks social workers as the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers.
  • The Red Cross estimates that more than 40% of its disaster mental health volunteers are professional social workers.

Choosing a Master of Social Work online that offers the advanced generalist practice curriculum provides training for the broadest range of opportunities and settings, including:

  • Administration
  • Aging/Gerontology
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Organization
  • Corrections
  • Disabilities Programs
  • Employee Assistance
  • Family Services
  • Health Care
  • Homeless Services
  • Mental Health
  • Politics
  • Private Practice
  • Public Welfare
  • Research
  • Schools

We’re a top public research university.

At the University of Nevada, Reno, we care about the science side of social work. Our online Master of Social Work program relies on scientifically supported research and knowledge to prepare you for work across multiple disciplines. We also teach you how to drive change through innovative problem-solving. When you become a social worker, you must be prepared for anything. So our program is structured that way, too.

About advanced generalist practice
Advanced generalist practice (AGP) is the perfect fit for Nevada’s unique urban and rural settings, particularly in areas with limited resources for social programs. The emphasis prepares Master’s in Social Work graduates for working in a variety of situations. Generalists have the advantage of being able to work autonomously with individuals, groups, couples and families, as well as serve as members of integrated multidisciplinary care teams.

Online MSW Admission Requirements

To be eligible for admission into the online Master of Social Work, you must meet the following requirements:

Advanced Standing (BSW students)

  • Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution
  • A course in statistics AND research methods is required
  • Graduate school application fee of $60
  • MSW application form with essays
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Graduation from a CSWE-accredited program
  • 3.00 overall GPA or 3.25 overall GPA in last 60 hours (“B-” in each social work course)
  • Documentation of outstanding performance in a BSW field experience

Traditional (Non-BSW Students)

  • Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited institution (non-social work bachelor’s degree needs substantial preparation in the liberal arts, including the social sciences, humanities, research and human biology)
  • A course in statistics AND research methods is required
  • Graduate school application fee of $60
  • MSW application form with essays
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • 3.00 overall GPA or 3.25 in last 60 hours

Master of Social Work online curriculum

The goals of the Master of Social Work build upon the profession’s core competencies as articulated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). These abilities are integral to the program’s approach to advanced generalist social work practice and are promoted through a holistic, complex and dynamic view of social work practice as evidenced by our curriculum.

When you enroll in the online program at the University of Nevada, Reno, you can gain competencies that allow you to:

  • Demonstrate leadership and a vision for change
  • Engage with others in ways that motivate and empower
  • Analyze data and use research to inform practice decisions
  • Navigate diverse, ambiguous and changing practice contexts
  • Promote the well-being of individuals, families, groups and society
  • Promote social and economic justice

Students completing the foundation curriculum are not yet autonomous social work practitioners. However, they do have the skills, knowledge base and perspective to pursue further studies in the concentration curriculum.

Foundation Courses for Traditional Students

SW 610: Structural Oppression I

SW 611: Structural Oppression II

SW 620: Social Work Methods with Individuals

SW 621: Social Work Methods with Groups

SW 623: Social Work Methods with Organizations, Communities and Legislatures

SW 624: Social Work Methods with Couples and Families

SW 630: Social Work History and Social Welfare Policy

SW 640: Elements of Evidence Informed Practice

SW 680: Foundation Practicum I

SW 681: Foundation Practicum II

Concentration Courses for All Students

SW 710: Advanced Multi-dimensional Assessment

SW 720: Intervention Approaches with Individuals

SW 723: Social Work Administration I

SW 724: Therapeutic Interventions with Families

SW 725: Social Work Administration II

SW 741: Practice and Program Evaluation

SW 780: Advanced Practicum I

SW 781: Advanced Practicum II

SW 793: Integrative Case-Based Seminar – Advanced Generalist Practice

Elective: SW Elective