Online Master of Social Work

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Welcome to the Online Master of Social Work at University of Nevada, Reno

Our mission is to create effective, ethical social work leaders and practitioners. We are a constitutionally established land-grant university that emphasizes 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.


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


On average, students pay less in tuition than at comparative online MSW programs


Program designed to prepare students for licensure


Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)


Ranked among the top 150 national universities in research and development


Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities



globeRecognized as a national Tier 1 University (U.S. News & World Report)indicator
paylessOn average, students pay less in tuition than at comparative online MSW programsindicator
certificateProgram designed to prepare students for licensureindicator
trophyAccredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)indicator
capRanked among the top 150 national universities in research and developmentindicator
universitiesAccredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universitiesindicator
greNo GRE requiredindicator

Why Choose the University of Nevada, Reno?

Our online Master’s in Social Work is one of only a handful of degrees solely structured around advanced generalist practice (AGP), which prepares versatile social workers equipped for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Social work is not an exclusive discipline. That’s why our aim is not to prepare 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.

Two Paths. One Mission.

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:

BSW degree: 32-credit-hour program

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.

Non-BSW Degree: 62-credit-hour program

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

We’re a top public research university. What does that mean for you?

It means we care about the science side of social work. It means we help you focus on the evidence-based knowledge needed to collaborate across multiple disciplines. It means we 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) reflects Nevada with its unique character of urban and frontier settings and the limited resources for social programs. The focus prepares online graduates of the Master’s in Social Work to deal with 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.

"Our graduates quickly advance in their careers and need to be prepared for anything. Advanced generalist practice empowers social workers to work effectively in a wide variety of agencies and situations."  

– Dr. Goutham Menon, Director of the School of Social Work

Career Outlook

The social work profession continues to evolve to meet the ongoing challenges of health care reform, an aging population, economic decline, racial division and other issues. Qualified professionals are in demand.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 12% growth rate for social workers through 2024.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ranks social workers as the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 10,000 professional social workers.

The Red Cross estimates that more than 40% of its disaster mental health volunteers are professional social workers.

Where do social workers work?

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
Lower average tuition than at comparative online MSW programs. We believe a high-quality education should be available to all and come with a great return on investment. In the field, salaries vary depending on the type of work, experience required and geographic factors. Social workers with many years of experience, in supervisory roles and/or with MSW degrees can earn average salaries of more than $60,000, according to

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). 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
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:

Foundation Courses for Traditional Students

Concentration Courses for All 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

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.

Click here to read a full description of each course.

  • 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: Concentration Practicum I
  • SW 781: Advanced Practicum II
  • SW 000: Culminating Project OR Thesis
  • Elective: SW Elective OR Thesis*
*Students will have the option of completing a thesis in place of selecting the SW elective and Culminating Project during their last two semesters. Approval is required.

The Master’s in Social Work concentration courses prepare competent, advanced generalist practitioners of social work who are able to practice effectively across diverse populations and contexts with a high degree of independence and success.

Click here to read a full description of each course.