Wisconsin MSW Programs

Thousands of social workers are represented across the state of Wisconsin. Specifically in mental health and substance abuse, salaries range between $32,360 to $67,340, with high concentration in the northwestern portion of the state.

Wisconsin CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

Many programs under the University of Wisconsin name offer Master's degrees in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Having an accredited program from this established organization means that it has gone through rigorous review and meets nine competencies to successfully teach students with an abundance of resources and academics required for state licensure.

Click to view all online MSW programs that are currently accepting applications.

Finding a Campus Based Wisconsin MSW Program

Master's degrees in social work can be found at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Whitewater, and more. Social work specializations include management or administrative duties, mental health treatment, and working with youth or family members. Mental health social work is highly paid in many locations across the state, including the south central portion.

University of Wisconsin-Madison's Master of Social Work

The School of Social Work offers the MSW program at the Madison campus, which provides students with foundational and specialized courses for an advanced generalist. There are four specializations to consider as an advanced generalist.

  • Aging / Gerontology
  • Child, Youth, and Family Welfare
  • Health Care
  • Mental Health

Full-time or part-time enrollment is allowed, but part-time students must pursue at least two courses in each semester. At least one semester of studies must include eight credit hours of coursework, which is needed for all semesters for full-time consideration. As the program is mostly customizable, time to complete the degree varies on course load.

While this program is not available online, students will likely be taking some courses in a virtual setting. Students that earned an accredited Bachelor's degree in social work over the last five years may be eligible for advanced standing, and those with an older degree may be able to still test out of foundational work. Class size ranges between 10 to 70 students, and there is no potential to transfer credits from other courses except in minimal circumstances.

Field Experience

Internships will take place in a total of four semesters at two different internship sites. The foundational session requires 512 total hours among both semesters, and this requirement increases to 640 total hours for the advanced practice session. Background checks are required prior to entering the internship, and places of employment may be considered if approved by the program director.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's Master of Social Work

Students can pursue the MSW program on a full-time or part-time basis as an advanced generalist with specializations in various fields. Full-time students are able to complete the full program in two years, or potentially just one year with advanced standing. Part-time education can be accomplished between five to nine semesters.

Curriculum Structure

At least 54 credit hours are needed to complete the full program, with 28 credit hours needed for specialization studies. Six credit hours worth of electives are needed regardless of pathway, and potential course options in this category include Psychopathology for Clinical Social Work, Clinical Theories for Mental Health Practice, and Policy and Practice in Forensic Social Work.

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for the main program, prospective students should have a Bachelor's degree with a 3.0 cumulative GPA, or the same GPA earned over the last 60 credit hours of work. At least 12 credit hours of coursework should be in social sciences, and prerequisites are needed in statistics, research methods, and more. Those admitted on a provisional basis must complete nine credit hours worth of work with a B grade to become fully admitted.

Students can be admitted into advanced standing, which eliminates the foundational requirement, if they have completed a Bachelor of Social Work program. This degree must be from a CSWE-accredited program and earned within the last seven years. Another option is having a degree with 6,240 experience hours in the last 10 years and a social work certification for the state of Wisconsin.

Careers, Licensures, and Salaries in Wisconsin

Thousands of workers are represented in social work across the state of Wisconsin. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 4,500 social workers specialize in youth development and school services. This type of work deals with families that may be suffering from relationship issues that affect a child’s well-being, or developing a plan to improve academic performance for the student if they are struggling.

Average Salary of a Wisconsin Social Worker

Workers in the field of children, families, and school social work make an annual mean wage of $47,470. This estimate is on par with mental health workers, and these figures hover around the national average in these professions. The Appleton metropolitan area typically sees higher salaries than the statewide average in many social work categories.

Wisconsin Social Work Licensure Requirements

Four different credentials are available when pursuing state licensure in Wisconsin. This includes the Certified Independent Social Worker (CISW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), which both require the completion of a Master’s degree and 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised experience.

In addition to the proper exam distributed by the Association of Social Work Boards, a Wisconsin law exam must be passed as well if it has not been taken in the last five years.

Endorsement and Renewal Requirements

Applicants without a Bachelor’s degree in social work may still be able to receive a Social Work Training Certificate, which replaces the BSW requirement for the Certified Social Worker licensure. The state of Wisconsin does endorse other state licensures assuming they have equivalent criteria that must be met and the applicant passes the state law exam.

Renewals take place during odd years by the end of February, and all license holders are expected to complete 30 credit hours of continuing education.

Online MSW Programs in Wisconsin That Are CSWE Accredited


Campus-Based Wisconsin MSW Programs

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Green Bay
  • Concentration focuses on advanced generalist practice exploring social justice and policy implementation. Can further expand into specific fields, including clinical mental health and child welfare. May also select customizable electives for any career opportunities. Options include crisis intervention, psychopathology, and nonprofit budgeting. Program completed between two to four years based on pathway selected.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Madison
  • Concentrations offered in gerontology, mental health, and youth and family welfare. There is no capability to blend more than one specialization in these studies. Students have the ability to enroll full-time and extend their education time frame. Requires one semester with a full-time schedule and two courses each semester. Offers post education in social work with a focus on school or clinical activity. The school focus requires 2 to 12 credit hours and can take up to one year online.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Milwaukee
  • Five different concentration areas, including mental health and organizational leadership. Certification is also available in different categories, such as gerontology and nonprofit management. Requires at least a 2.75 GPA for admission. Should have prior academic background in social and behavioral science courses. Students begin the program during the fall semester.

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Oshkosh
  • Concentrations focus on clinical mental health or general health care. Some electives students can choose are only applicable to a certain concentration. Elective options in either concentration include crisis intervention and child and family welfare. Applied to positions in military service, hospitals, nursing homes, and government agencies. 15 to 16 hours per week needed for field education in both internship experiences.