Master of Social Work (MSW) Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions | Registration | Coursework | Fieldwork | Student Support | Accreditation | Cost


The online Master of Social Work offers six start terms per year: two each in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Each term consists of two 8-week sessions. Students take one course per 8-week session.

To speak with an Enrollment Counselor, contact us at 877-863-6791 or Ready to begin an application? Visit the application portal today!

The admission requirements vary for both program tracks (Traditional and Advanced Standing). Please visit our Admissions page for a full list of admissions requirements.

No! Applications are reviewed holistically as a determination of academic readiness. The admissions committee values previous academic performance as indicated on transcripts and considers it as part of the review process.

The GRE is not required as part of the admissions process. If you have taken the GRE, you are welcome to provide your score as part of your application package, but the GRE is not a requirement.

This program is aligned with State of Maine social work licensing requirements, but can fulfill the requirements for licensure in other states. Because licensing requirements vary by state, we encourage you to research the requirements for the state in which you intend to practice. For more information, see our interactive map of state licensing requirements. You may also want to review our ‘Accreditation’ section below.

This program uses the Brightspace D2L learning management system.

For a full list of technical requirements, please visit our Technical Requirements page.

Non-matriculated courses are available on a case-by-case basis. Please contact an enrollment counselor for more information.

Students may apply to transfer up to three 3-credit courses (maximum of nine credits) into the Master of Social Work – Advanced Standing program or up to three 3-credit courses (maximum of nine credits) into the Master of Social Work – Traditional program.

Transfer courses must:

  • Be classified as graduate level
  • Be from a CSWE accredited institution
  • Be equivalent to a required program course, not an elective
  • Have been taken within seven years of application
  • Have been completed with a grade of “B” or better (P/F courses will not be accepted for transfer credit)

To request consideration for transfer credit, a student must provide an official transcript and a course syllabus for each course. Your enrollment counselor or student support specialist can assist you with this request. Transfer credit is awarded at the discretion of the School of Social Work based on specific program details listed above. Requests for approval of transfer credit should be submitted to, and will be granted at the discretion of the Program Director.

Policy Exceptions

The School of Social Work reserves the right to make exceptions to the transfer credit policy and to make changes or exceptions, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.



Applications are accepted on a rolling basis six times per year. The online Master of Social Work program runs year-round with three terms per year: Spring (January-April), Summer (April or May-August), and Fall (September-December). Each term consists of two 8-week sessions.

Students taking one course per 8-week session are considered full time students, and are eligible to receive financial aid.


Master of Social Work Courses

No, this program is completed 100% online with no campus visits required.

First, the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree is required to apply for the program. Based on the type of bachelor’s degree you hold, you have two program options. Our Advanced Standing program option is for students who do possess a Bachelor of Social Work earned from a CSWE accredited institution within the last seven years. It consists of 30 credits (nine courses and one practicum internship). If you don’t have a BSW, our Traditional program option consists of 60 credits (sixteen courses and two practicum internships). Degree requirements, course plans, and curriculum framework differ for each program option. For more information, please visit our degree requirements page.

There are two 8-week courses per term, and three terms per year (Summer, Fall, and Spring). This allows students to complete six to twelve courses per year.

Our 100% online classes are held in an asynchronous format, which means that you don’t have to log in at any specific time—though you are encouraged to participate in the discussions on multiple days throughout the week. You can log in and do your work on your own schedule (so long as you are engaged in the weekly discussions multiple days throughout the week and pass everything in by weekly due dates). We have three 16-week semesters a year (Spring, Summer, and Fall), and there are two 8-week course sessions per semester.

Courses include a variety of learning activities such as readings, presentations, discussion threads, case studies, group work, and video-based interactive roleplaying scenarios. This diversity in materials and assignments is intended to illustrate important course concepts and build a tight-knit community of learners.

For the best outcomes, it is recommended that students reserve approximately 15-20 hours per week for coursework and studying; this will increase when you enter field placement. For additional information, see the Field Placement section of this FAQ.

Yes, the MSW program is specifically designed with the working professional in mind. In fact, in a 2022-23 poll of UNE Online students and alumni, 87.3% reported that they were working (64.7% full-time, 22.7% part-time) while completing their degree.

However, students working 40 hours a week will not be able to complete the field placement requirement of the program unless some adjustment is made in their work schedule.

While enrolled in the MSW program, students can choose to pursue a particular area of study as their specialty. UNE offers four MSW Focus Areas for students to choose from, listed below. Students complete a Focus Area by taking three specific elective courses related to their chosen field. The Focus Area is completed within the normal course of the MSW program; students do no need to enroll in any additional coursework. You can learn more about each Focus Area here. Currently, our students can choose from:

  • School Social Work
  • Medical Social Work
  • Advanced Clinical Skills
  • Trauma Informed Practice

It is important to note that choosing a Focus Area is completely optional; students can work with their Student Support Specialist to choose their own elective courses, if they would like. Typically, our MSW students don’t take their elective courses until near the end of their program; so there is also no pressure to declare a Focus Area right away!


Field Placement

For Traditional Standing students, two field placements (the first 400-hour placement completed at end of generalist coursework and the second 500-hour placement at the end of specialized coursework) are required. For Advanced Standing students, one 500-hour field placement (completed at end of advanced coursework) is required. For additional information regarding field placement, please download our field planning FAQ.

Months before you are scheduled to start your field placement, you will be assigned a Field Practicum Coordinator who will help guide you through the process of securing a placement.

The Field Practicum Coordinator will:

  • Be available to offer suggestions and helpful tips when interviewing or establishing sites.
  • Help ensure your placement aligns with your generalist/ specialization year requirements, as well as UNE policies and regulations.
  • Support your search and answer any questions you have during the entire process.

Though they are a unique and immense source of support, Field Practicum Coordinators do not find field practicum sites for you. You will be asked to make your own personal contacts with potential sites in your area. To guide your search, upon enrollment, you can access a database of placement sites that our MSW students have previously had success with. More information can be found on our Field Practicum FAQ sheet.

Place of employment fieldwork sites require special approval through the MSWO Field Team. For more information, please contact an Enrollment Counselor at (877) 863-6791 or

We’ve compiled a document with 22 more common field planning and placement questions and answers concerning definitions, steps, stipends, and the the #1 reason students typically can’t find an agency, among other topics.


Student Support

Our motto is “A successful student is a supported student.” After entering the program you will be assigned a dedicated Student Support Specialist to provide you with support and to answer any questions you may have.

Your Support Specialist is your on-the-ground advocate at the University – from questions on textbooks to registration to financial aid and more, they are there to help you make your academic journey successful. This dedicated support is provided in addition to the tremendous support you will receive from program staff, your academic advisor, course instructors, and fellow classmates.

For additional information on student resources, please visit our Student Support and Resources page.

UNE Online recognizes students who are seeking higher education come from a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities, and responsibilities. To that end, we offer a range of support services including:



Yes, University of New England is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE). To learn more, please see

UNE Online recognizes students who are seeking higher education come from a wide variety of backgrounds, abilities, and responsibilities. To that end, we offer a range of support services including:

Yes, UNE’s online Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. This partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.

CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet them. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE’s recognition body, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.



Please visit our Tuition and Fees page to learn more about the costs associated with our MSW program.

At UNE, more than 90% of our students receive some form of financial aid. Please visit our financial aid page for more information.




If you have any questions about application requirements, the coursework or program requirements, please speak to one of our enrollment counselors at the email or phone number below.