Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Varner Hall, Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
512 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2371

Social Work, M.S.W.

About the M.S.W Program

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W) degree program at Oakland University provides students with the requisite theoretical knowledge, evidence-based interventions, and ethical framework for advanced social work practice with diverse client systems. OU M.S.W students will be uniquely trained through an integrated advanced generalist. All M.S.W students will demonstrate advanced mastery of nine Core Competencies by the CSWE, which will allow them to assume clinical and macro social work practice roles upon graduation. Students who wish to pursue licensure as clinical or macro social workers after graduation will have the necessary course preparation and field experience to do so. Those students who seek more intensive training in a specialized area will have the option to complete one of three optional specializations (integrated health, community and organizational leadership or school social work).

Depending how students enter the M.S.W program, (Advanced Standing versus Traditional) students have two options for completing the proposed M.S.W degree: a Traditional curriculum, including 64 hours of coursework and 900 hours of field education, and an Advanced Standing program that requires 34 credit hours of coursework and 450 hours of field education. The M.S.W can be completed in two (2) calendar years of full-time study. Student may complete the M.S.W Program part-time and can developed an individualized plan to complete on a part-time basis.

The traditional program of study includes one year of foundational coursework on the principles of social work as a profession (including issues of social justice, diversity, and professional ethics), conducting and critiquing research, generalist practice in social work across a variety of scales and systems, and understanding human behavior. Students in their second year or first year advanced standing students master advanced generalist practice across the life course, and may choose two courses focused on practice in distinct contexts (restricted electives). Students also complete 450 hours of supervised field education in the first year, and 450 hours in the second year, to reach the 900 hours.


Mission of Oakland University’s M.S.W. Program:
Guided by the principles of social and economic justice, cultural competence, and the values and ethics of the social work profession, Oakland University’s MSW Program prepares students for competent and effective advanced generalist social work practice to serve the needs of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in a multicultural and global society. Utilizing critical thinking, scientific inquiry and evidence-based practice skills, graduates of the program are prepared to serve as leaders to enhance community well-being, promote socially just, culturally-responsive and theory-informed interventions and advocate for social justice in the delivery of social services to diverse populations of Southeast Michigan


Faculty and staff in the Social Work Program value a close working relationship with students and feel that careful advising and mentoring are critical. 

Students can schedule half-hour appointments with an Academic Adviser as needed when they have questions about their major program, class scheduling, or any issues related to their academic progress at Oakland University or questions about the application process. 

For More Information Contact 

Heather El-Khoury, LMSW 
Coordinator of Field and Student Services
(248) 370-3914

  • To prepare advanced generalist social workers who identify with the social work profession, model the values and ethics of the profession, and are committed to continuing their learning after graduation
  • To prepare advanced generalist social workers for leadership roles in an interprofessional environment within the community and at all system levels
  • To prepare advanced generalist social workers to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate on all systems of social work practice dealing with increasingly complex social problems.
  • To prepare advanced generalist social workers to engage in advocacy, policy practice, and social change to advance social and economic justice in diverse communities and the global society.
  • To prepare advanced generalist social workers who use scientific inquiry, critical thinking and evidence-based to deliver equitable and interculturally effective programs, policies and services.

Student may choose to specialize in one of our three optional specializations where 4 credits can double count for the M.S.W program elective requirement. Students would only need to take an additional 4 or 6 credits to earn a specialization in a social work practice area. Students may also choose not to specialize in one area, and may take 4 electives from among any the program offers.

Specialization in Integrated Health 8 Credits

The M.S.W program offers an optional sub-specialization area that focuses on integrating health and behavioral health practice. The curriculum is designed to meet the contemporary workforce needs with regard to healthcare reform and to underscore the major contributions MSW graduates are qualified to make in the future of healthcare systems that address both physical and behavioral health. The primary goal is to prepare graduates in this area with advanced generalist practice in clinical services, advocacy, and management roles in the dynamic fields of health care and behavioral health.

Core for Specialization (8 credits)

  • SW 5630 – Advanced Social Work Practice in Integrated Healthcare (4 credits)
  • SW 5640 - Integrated Health Policy and Services (4 credits

Specialization in Community and Organizational Leadership 8 Credits

 The M.S.W program offers an optional sub-specialization area that focuses on community and organizational leadership, preparing students for advanced generalist practice within the community and in organizations. This specialization emphasizes a macro approach to advancing social justice.  Students will gain the skills required to address structural inequities through organizational leadership, community practice, advocacy, and policy reform.

 To earn the specialization in community and organizational leadership, students select course for 8 credits from the following:

  • SW 5730 - Program Development and Evaluation (4 credits)
  • SW 5740 - Community Organizing (4 credits)
  • PA 6500 - Fundraising and Philanthropy (4 credits)
  • PA 6510 - Grants: Politics and Administration (2 or 4 credits)

Specialization in School Social Work 8 credits.

The M.S.W program offers an optional specialization area that focuses on school social work. Individuals employed as school social workers must meet the criteria set forth by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in the Public School Code.

Core for Specialization (8 credits)

  • SW 5830 - Policy and Practice of School Social Work in Educational Settings (4 credits)
  • SW 5835 - Diagnosis & Assessment of Mental Health and Educational Disabilities in School Social Work (2 credits)
  • SW 5840 - Social Work Interventions in an Educational Setting (2 credits)
Candidacy Status

The Master of Social Work program at Oakland University is seeking Candidacy status for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation. Candidacy for a 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. This process generally takes three years. 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.


For our MSW Assessment Plan, click the link below