Program Overview

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) from the George Williams School of Social Work at Aurora University program prepares you to help individuals, families, and communities. You’ll learn to advance social change that improves the well-being of vulnerable populations. And you’ll develop solutions to issues at the individual, community, and societal levels. All of this will launch you into a career in one of the fastest-growing fields. Through required field instruction, you’ll have the opportunity to apply theories to real-world situations. While some students choose to pursue a generalist track by taking electives from several areas of interest for a holistic approach to mental health and community advocacy, we also offer a variety of tracks that strengthen your knowledge in specific areas of the field. In AU’s MSW program, you have the option to participate in the following curriculum tracks:

  • Addictions
  • Child Welfare
  • Forensics
  • Gerontology
  • Health Care
  • Leadership Administration
  • Military and Veteran Social Work
  • School Social Work

Make a difference in the lives of others with our premier-clinical, CSWE-accredited social work programs. This graduate-level program in social work is also offered on the Aurora University campus.

Accredited by the CSWE Board of Accreditation


Aurora University’s online MSW provides you with a broad academic background, specialized study, and field instruction in clinical social work. Each class is taught by faculty members with real-world experience who are dedicated to helping you find your place within the social work profession. Social work courses at AU Online leverage technology through simulation-based education with Simucase. With an emphasis on developing clinical competency to prepare students for post-graduation success, Simucase helps students apply their classroom knowledge to real-world diverse scenarios in a safe, controlled, and accessible learning environment. Students practice their skills in this convenient and flexible learning format with immediate feedback.

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Available Specialization


Offer elevated care and improve lives with the online Master of Social Work specialization in addiction. This track equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a fulfilling and successful career supporting individuals and families experiencing substance abuse disorders. You'll receive guidance from expert faculty with experience in the social work field, and upon graduation, you'll be qualified to take the Illinois Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) examination for addiction specialty certification in the state of Illinois. You may also complete additional credits to prepare for the Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders certificate.

Child Welfare

Improve the lives of children and their families with the online Master of Social Work track in child welfare. Supported by expert educators with real-world social work experience, you'll be prepared for careers that protect children from abuse and neglect, reunite families, and find permanent placements for those who cannot safely return to their homes. When you complete your degree, you'll be eligible to take the Illinois Child Welfare Licensing Exam and work in the child welfare field in Illinois.

Forensic Social Work

Gain the expertise to excel in the social work field with this track. When you earn your Master of Social Work online and choose to specialize in forensic social work, you will learn to apply principles of social work in legal settings. This track focuses on providing students with an understanding of forensic social work practice and theory, challenging existing biases, and learning specific clinical skills to help various subpopulations. Coursework includes relevant topics in mediation and working with vulnerable populations.


Prepare for careers that help older adults lead productive and meaningful lives with the online Master of Social Work track in gerontology. With personalized attention from educators with diverse social work experience, you'll explore the ever-changing field of gerontology and discover what it takes to make a difference in assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, hospice care settings, and more.

Health Care

Impact the rapidly growing and ever-changing medical field with the online Master of Social Work track in health care. Graduates are prepared to assist and advocate for clients in a number of medical social work settings, including hospitals and nursing homes. Learn to collaborate with medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and administrative staff to ensure your clients receive the care and services they need.

Leadership Administration

Thrive in business management and administration in the fields of social work and human services with the online MSW in leadership administration. This track is offered in partnership with the Aurora University Dunham School of Business and is designed to prepare graduates to lead teams and manage social work processes in nonprofit settings, public health, and more. Coursework allows students to choose from MBA-level electives in management and leadership to align their studies with their specific career goals.

Military and Veteran Social Work

Serve active duty and veteran military members and make a positive impact in their lives with the Military and Veteran Social Work track. This track includes nine credits of specialized coursework that explores topics such as military culture, customs, traditions, and clinical social work practice with military and veteran populations. As a military and veteran social worker, you can pursue careers in contexts like the Department of Veterans Affairs, personnel or case management, and counseling.

Professional Educator License in School Social Work (PEL)

Make a difference in students’ lives as you enhance your skills with this track, which is designed to prepare you for social work roles in public and private school settings. Coursework explores topics in social work policy, exceptional children, and reading content, and includes field instruction. This track prepares Master of Social Work graduates to provide social services and assistance that improves the social and psychological functioning of students and maximizes well-being and academic success.

Aurora University School of Education programs are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Dual MSW/MBA Program

The online MSW curriculum is the foundation of the dual MSW/MBA program. This dual-degree option instills students with superior social work practice, leadership, and business skills. Students will receive substantial business education that complements their social work education and will prepare them for leadership roles in social service. By combining social work skills with core business knowledge, students will be ready to serve their community.

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Dual MSW/MPA Program

The online MSW degree curriculum is the foundation of the MSW/MPA program. This dual-degree option allows students to specialize their education for leadership careers at the intersection of social work and public administration. It combines a foundation in clinical social work practice with additional public administration and nonprofit management coursework. This program is designed for students to efficiently complete two graduate credentials.

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Program Details

  • Next Start Date:July 1, 2024
  • Est. Program Length:2-3 Years
  • Credit Hours:60
  • Course Length:8 Weeks
  • Cost Per Credit:$618

Generalist Curriculum: 27 hours

  • SWK6140 Social Welfare Policy and Institutions – 3 hours
  • SWK 6180 HBSE I: Building Professional Social Work Competence – 3 hours
  • SWK 6185 HBSE II: Life Course Development – 3 hours
  • SWK6370 Social Work Practice I: Individuals and Families – 3 hours
  • SWK6381 Social Work Practice II: Group Work – 3 hours
  • SWK6382 Social Work Practice II: Community Practice – 3 hours
  • SWK6250 Social Work Research Methods – 3 hours
  • SWK6730 Field Instruction I: Beginning Internship – 3 hours
  • SWK6740 Field Instruction II: Beginning Internship – 3 hours

Specialist Curriculum: 33 hours

  • SWK6500 Social Work Perspectives on Psychopathology – 3 hours
  • SWK6511 Social Work Practice III: Clinical Theory and Methods 3 – hours
  • SWK6521 Social Work Practice IV: Advanced Clinical Knowledge and Application – 3 hours
  • SWK6533 Advanced Social Policy – 3 hours
  • SWK6575 Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity in Social Work Practice – 3 hours
  • SWK6750 Field Instruction III: Advanced Internship – 3 hours
  • SWK6760 Field Instruction IV: Advanced Internship – 3 hours
  • Social Work Elective – 12 hours



  • SWK5420 Addictions Counseling 1 – 3 hours
  • SWK5600 Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorder (COPD1) – 4 hours (Optional)
  • SWK6340 Psychopharmacology of Substance Abuse Disorders – 3 hours
  • SWK6400 Addictions Counseling 2 – 3 hours

Child Welfare

  • SWK 6700 Effects of Trauma on Children – 3 hours
  • SWK 6720 Vulnerable Children and Families – 3 hours
  • SWK 6725 Child Welfare Services – 3 hours


  • SWK5300 Forensic Social Work – 3 hours
  • SWK6720 Social Work with Vulnerable Children and Families – 3 hours
  • SWK6721 Mediation – 3 hours


  • Medical Social Work – 3 hours
  • Social Work Gerontology: Assessment and Intervention – 3 hours
  • Social Work Gerontology: Biology and Health of Aging – 3 hours
  • Internship with aging populations to be completed in the advanced year.

Health Care

  • SWK6010 Medical Social Work – 3 hours
  • Two elective courses from health care-related social work electives – 6 hours

Leadership Administration

  • This track is offered in partnership with the Aurora University Dunham School of Business and Public Policy. By taking all three elective courses listed below, you will earn a track in leadership administration.
  • MBA6030 Leadership and Organizational Behavior – 3 hours
  • MBA6200 Human Resource Management – 3 hours
  • MPA6350 Nonprofit Management and Leadership – 3 hours

Military and Veteran Social Work

  • SWK5350: Military Social Work Culture, Customs, and Traditions – 3 hours
  • SWK6170: Clinical Social Work Practice with Military and Veteran Populations – 3 hours
  • Students must also complete 450 hours of the 600-hour field placement requirement working with military and veteran populations in a social service or medical setting.

School Social Work

  • All foundation curriculum (27 hours) and advanced curriculum (33 hours) currently listed for online Master of Social Work students are required, in addition to these track courses. Students must obtain a B or higher.
  • SWK5620 Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child – 3 hours
  • SWK6410 School Social Work Policy and Practice I – 3 hours
  • SWK6420 School Social Work Policy and Practice II– 3 hours
  • SWK6650 Advanced PEL Field Instruction I – 3 hours
  • SWK6660 Advanced PEL Field Instruction II – 3 hours

Dual MSW/MBA Program Courses

  • In addition to all required MSW coursework, you may complete the MSW/MBA dual-degree option with the following courses (33 semester hours):
  • MBA6020 Marketing Management – 3 hours
  • MBA6030 Leadership and Organizational Behavior – 3 hours
  • MBA6075 Operations Management – 3 hours
  • MBA6085 Ethics & Decision Making – 3 hours
  • MBA6045 Budgeting and Financial Management – 3 hours
  • MBA6100 Strategic Management – 3 hours
  • MBA6200 Human Resource Management – 3 hours
  • MPA6350 Nonprofit Management and Leadership – 3 hours
  • MBA Electives – 9 hours

Dual MSW/MPA Program Courses

  • In addition to all required MSW coursework, you may complete the MSW/MPA dual-degree option with the following courses (33 semester hours):
  • MBA6130 Economics – 3 hours
  • MPA6110 Administration of Public Institutions – 3 hours
  • MPA6120 Public Policy and Analysis – 3 hours
  • MPA6130 Government and Community Relations – 3 hours
  • MPA6140 Public Finance and Budgeting – 3 hours
  • MBA/MPA6170 Applied Research, Insights, and Evaluation – 3 hours
  • MPA6200 Advanced Seminar in Applied Public Administration – 3 hours
  • MPA6360 Grant Writing, Philanthropy, and Advancement – 3 hours

Course details are based on information available at the time of publication. Specific program requirements are subject to change.

Note: Tuition and fees are subject to change without prior notice. Please contact the Office of Student Accounts for questions or information on current tuition, fees, room, board and other rates.

  • A completed admissions application
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited liberal arts institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Professional Resume
  • Submit a personal statement. This document should be typed, double-spaced, and no more than 1500 words that reflect standards of graduate level writing and demonstrating evidence of critical thinking.
    1. The School of Social Work at Aurora University empowers students through a holistic and transformative education. Why have you chosen to study social work at AU?
    2. Our inclusive learning community works to prepare social workers to competently build justice and systematic change for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities while guiding students toward professional engagement. How will the mission of the program apply to your educational and professional aspirations?
    3. Upon completion of the program, how will you utilize your newly attained the master’s in social work degree? In other words, what area of social work are you interested in practicing?
    4. If your undergraduate grade point average was below a 3.0, please explain the following:
      1. Why was your GPA below 3.0?
      2. Why do you think you can be successful as a graduate student at Aurora University?
      3. What strategies will you implement to ensure academic success?
  • Two (2) professional letters of recommendations.
  • Transcripts (official, sealed in envelope) from all previously attended colleges or universities.

Information About State Licensure

Aurora University may not accept applications to the MSW program from persons located in the states of California, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah at this time.

All AU Online students must have unrestricted access to a computer or mobile device with high-speed internet to participate in online courses. AU Online uses Moodle to host its online classes.

Graduate-level course credit is transferable, allowing students to earn their degree faster than ever. Graduate-level credit earned at regionally accredited institutions of higher education graded “B” or better may be transferred to Aurora University and applied toward a master’s or other post-baccalaureate programs prior to enrollment into Aurora University.

Check your credits with our Transfer Evaluation System.

Learn more about Transfer Credits

Online Master of Social Work Career Outcomes

  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Community Leader
  • Forensic Social Work Practitioner
  • Health Care Social Worker
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Mental Health Social Worker
  • Nonprofit Leadership
  • Private Practice Therapist
  • School Social Worker
  • Social Service Administrator
  • Substance Abuse Counselor

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