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MSW Degree

The Master of Social Work degree program at UNC-Chapel Hill is one of the highest-ranked academic programs in social work in the United States. Our School enrolls about 300 students each year, and our focus is on evidence-based education.

Our MSW program embraces core values of the social work profession:

  • Equal access to services
  • Respect for individual worth and human dignity
  • Right of self-determination
  • Availability of human social institutions that are responsive to human needs
  • Positive regard for the unique characteristics of diverse populations
  • Personal responsibility for the ethical conduct, the outcomes of practice and the continuous acquisition of knowledge and skills


Choosing A Program Option

Our School offers several options for pursuing the Master of Social Work degree:

Students who have not already earned a BSW must complete 62 semester credit hours and up to 1,100 hours in field education in the MSW curriculum (2-Year MSW Program and 3-Year MSW Program — Chapel Hill). The Advanced Standing option requires fewer semester credit hours, reflecting social work academic credit earned at the undergraduate level.

The School does not award academic credit for life experience or previous employment experience. These experiences cannot be used as a replacement for either coursework or field education.

However, students who are already employed as social workers and who are enrolled in the 3-Year MSW Program may be able to use their current employment as a field placement, under certain circumstances. This requires the approval of the program director and the associate dean for field education.


Choosing A Concentration

Our MSW students choose one of two concentrations, based on their career interests — either direct practice (DP) or community, management, and policy practice (CMPP), also known as macro social work. Whichever concentration you choose will influence many of your decisions here, including your elective courses, your field education assignments, and your career path.

Direct Practice (DP)

Generally, students in direct practice want to work with individuals, families, and small groups in face-to-face settings. You may want to establish a private practice as a counselor, or you may choose work in a clinical setting within an organization — a hospital, a school, a public agency, or a nonprofit organization, for example.

Community, Management, and Policy Practice (CMPP)

Our CMPP concentration prepares students for leadership careers in community organizing, human services administration, policy development, or advocacy. You may want to help develop and implement policies that impact populations, or you may have an interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship.