Downtown Iowa City in Autumn

University of Iowa Online Master of Social Work, Iowa

Why University of Iowa?

The online Master of Social Work program at the University of Iowa invites applications from students with an interest in professional education in social work. The University of Iowa,  a large public research university in Iowa City, Iowa, expects applicants to hold an undergraduate degree with a reasonable distribution of courses in the liberal arts and sciences (the humanities and the social, behavioral, and biological sciences). All students must live in Iowa or adjoining states, and demonstrate that they would be unable to attend classes regularly in-person at a University of Iowa campus.

Standardized test scores are not required, and there are no minimum GPA requirements.

Program Snapshot

University Name University of Iowa
Location Iowa City
State Iowa
Niche.com Grade A
Name of Degree Master of Social Work
School or Department Administering Program School of Social Work
Credits 54
Cost per credit $580
Tuition for Entire Program $31.320
Test Requirements No
Minimum GPA none
Prerequisite Courses and Skills reasonable distribution of courses in the liberal arts and sciences (the humanities and the social, behavioral, and biological sciences).
Campus Visit Required? No Visit Required
Typical Time to Complete 3 years
When Can Students Start the Program? every other years
Program Concentrations family-centered practice or integrated practice
Synchronous Classes Some
Required Courses
  • Thinking Like a Social Worker
  • Development of Professional Use of Self
  • Theory and Skills for Working with Organizations and Communities
  • Theory and Skills for Working with Individuals and Families
  • Social, Economic and Environmental Justice I and II
  • Engaging with Evidence
  • Generalist Practicum Seminar
  • Summer Institute
  • Advanced Practicum Seminar
  • Program/Practice Evaluation
Does the Program Include a Capstone? No
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? Yes
Other Features that Make the Program Unique Students placed in learning-communities based on their home locations, meeting once per semester to share resources and support, and mentored by a social worker in their vicinity; Summer Institute requires students to travel to Iowa City each summer 
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) Prepare students to shape the profession’s future by providing education in family-based, community-based, and culturally competent practice approaches using the person-in-environment framework; and prepare competent professionals for autonomous practice and leadership within the professional community, including advanced interventions at multiple system levels, supervision, program development, program administration, training, evaluation of practice, dissemination of new models of practice, and policy development.
Program Description This 54-credit program prepares students to be advanced generalist practitioners with a strong network of peers and a range of professional skills. Students are supported through online learning communities and formalized practicum mentorship.  A capstone is not required but all students must complete a practicum.  Students can concentrate in family-centered practice or integrated practice. 

What will I Learn?

The University of Iowa program prepares students to shape the profession’s future by providing education in family-based, community-based, and culturally competent practice approaches using the person-in-environment framework.  Coursework and practicum experiences prepare competent professionals for autonomous practice and leadership within the professional community, including advanced interventions at multiple system levels, supervision, program development, program administration, training, evaluation of practice, dissemination of new models of practice, and policy development. Students can choose to specialize in one of the following concentrations:  family-centered practice or integrated practice. 

The curriculum has recently undergone a revision, so exact course titles may vary. However, students can expect to take two introductory courses in professional skills:  Thinking Like a Social Worker, and Development of Professional Use of Self. Students learn key professional skills in Theory and Skills for Working with Organizations and Communities and Theory and Skills for Working with Individuals and Families. Students debate controversial foundational issues in Social, Economic and Environmental Justice I and II. They learn to contribute to the research base of the profession in Engaging with Evidence and Program/Practice Evaluation. The required practicum is accompanied by required Practicum Seminar courses. 

Students also travel to Iowa City for a few days each summer to participate in the  program’s required Summer Institute course,  giving students the opportunity to meet in person with their instructors, mentors, and each other.

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within 3 years and pay $580 per credit for a total of 54 credits, or $31,320.

How does the program fit into my life?

Most courses are synchronous, meaning that students attend classes at a scheduled time for a “live” class session. Most classes are scheduled in the evening. Students are required to attend a Summer Institute in Iowa City once during the course of the program. Students also meet online once per semester with members of their geographically-distributed online learning community. Most students complete the program within 3 years. The program accepts new students every other year, beginning in the Summer semester.

Summary

Aimed at students living in Iowa and adjoining states, the University of Iowa’s online Master of Social Work program is designed to educate advanced generalist practitioners who bring strong professional skills and a research-informed perspective to the social work profession. Students gain connections with instructors and peers through synchronous classes, formal learning community groups, and required campus visits. Tuition is fairly low, especially for a program at a flagship state university.