Master of Social Work Program

Wichita State University initiated a Kansas Board of Regents' approved Master of Social Work graduate program in the fall of 1999. The mission of WSU's MSW degree program is the education of students for advanced generalist practice in social work. The advanced generalist is adept at direct service delivery with individuals, families, groups, and communities, and also has indirect practice capabilities in the areas of supervision, administration, program development, and evaluation.

This program makes specific, continuous efforts to provide a learning context in which understanding and respect for diversity (including age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation) are practiced.

The MSW program received initial accreditation in June 2000, and received reaffirmation in June 2021 for eight years, through June 2029.
Mission, Goals, and Competencies

The mission of the MSW program at Wichita State University:

The mission of the Master of Social Work program at Wichita State University is to prepare graduates for autonomous Advanced Generalist practice. This mission is accomplished through the preparation of advanced social workers capable of practice in complex, diverse-and ever-changing environments. Emphasis is placed on developing evidence-based knowledge and skills for ethical, culturally competent, socially just, and empowering interventions on all practice levels.

Goals of the MSW program:

To prepare Advanced Generalist social workers:

  1. For ethical, competent, autonomous advanced generalist social work practice with multiple systems and diverse populations within urban environments.
  2. Who can contribute and engage the community through evidence-based knowledge, skills and ethical practice.
  3. With an understanding of and a commitment to empowerment, social justice, cultural competency and multidimensional practice.

Core Competencies of the MSW Program:

(Core Competencies defined by The Council on Social Work Education)

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
Advanced Generalist Practice Model

Advanced generalist practitioners possess a broad range of practice skills. They employ an eclectic and disciplined approach, and are committed to evidence-based practice, including clinical social work. Social work at Wichita State University builds on this understanding of Advanced Generalist Practice by advancing four educational themes:

  • Social Justice
  • Cultural Competency
  • Multidimensional Practice
  • Empowerment

These themes are woven together to develop the school's model for Advanced Generalist Practice. The model incorporates the values and multiple role capability the social worker brings to each intervention. These core values and roles help integrate the practitioner's understanding of practice within a multi-system framework.

The multi-system framework is used on the assumption that human events can best be understood in their context. Human behavior and social problems are “nested” within a hierarchical structure. Smaller systems (individuals and families) are affected by the actions of larger systems (organizations, communities and societies) in such a way that effective practice requires skills with all system levels.

Whatever the setting or client, Advanced Generalist Practitioners are prepared to bring evidence-based practice skills to bear in each intervention. The complex and changing practice environments require that direct practitioners also be able to function in clinical work with individuals and across a spectrum of practice up to national policy analysis. Practice with individuals, groups, communities and society requires an ability to fulfill multiple practice roles, including:

  • Administrator
  • Advocate
  • Broker
  • Case manager
  • Lobbyist
  • Policy Practitioner
  • Researcher
  • Supervisor
  • Therapist
  • and more

Cultural Competency

Data concerning population trends in Wichita of Sedgwick County and its surrounding counties support an advanced generalist curriculum that prepares social workers to provide culturally competent services and develop and evaluate programs that are inclusive and which seek to remove cultural barriers to service delivery. A curriculum that incorporates cultural competency will not only provide students with basic knowledge on different racial and ethnic groups, but will develop students' ability to think critically about diversity in social work assessment and practice.

Cultural competency includes the acquisition of the awareness, knowledge, sensitivity, and practice skills necessary to effectively understand and address the cultural/racial/ethnic world-views, strengths, issues, and needs of minority populations. The ultimate goal in the development of cultural competency is to actively utilize the appropriate practice methods that foster the outcome of greater development of cultural/racial ethnic identity and cultural/racial/ethnic empowerment.

Social Justice

Within the Wichita Metropolitan area, ethnic and racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and the young, are the most vulnerable to experiencing difficulties arising out of economic and social change. To be just means to treat all people fairly. In its most basic meaning, pursuing social justice means to advocate for equal rights, opportunities, protection and treatment for all people. Additionally, social workers who pursue social justice can identify unfair laws and policies that affect their clients, and work to have these laws and policies changed. In order to be meaningful, social justice must apply to a wide range of social and economic circumstances, since legal justice has little meaning if not supported by more substantive forms of equality.

The MSW program focuses on social justice as one of its four themes. Students learn that social justice is a part of every social work interaction. As part of this emphasis, the curriculum seeks to develop skills in both community development and in effecting social change through the political process.


As in many urban environments, there is an unequal distribution of goods and services within the Wichita community, and discrimination and oppression may contribute to these inequalities.

Empowerment is defined as the process and goal of increasing personal, interpersonal, and political power so that people can take action to improve their life situations (Gutierrez, DeLois, & GlenMaye, 1995). As a curriculum theme, empowerment is linked to four basic processes:

  1. Analysis of the social arrangements/institutional structures which create and sustain power inequalities which lead to relative advantage and disadvantage for certain groups in our society.
  2. Understanding of the dynamics of oppression and discrimination which woro disempower people by limiting choices and confining people to low status and devalued social positions.
  3. Increasing personal and group power through building on individual and group strengths and facilitating efficacy-enhancing skills, knowledge, and experiences.
  4. Utilizing empowerment-oriented techniques and values in practice, including a participatory/collaborative worker/client relationship with shared power, active involvement of clients in the change process, raising awareness of structural inequalities and their relation to individual problems, advocacy and mobilization of resources, and a professional commitment to efforts to create a more just and equitable society.

Multi-dimensional Practice

Social service delivery systems in the Wichita Metropolitan area are a complex web of public, non-profit, and for-profit agencies. Agency structure, which includes its purpose, scope, size, and type of clients served, is constantly changing. Further, with the onset of privatization in the state, agency boundaries are not always clear. Social workers are serving on teams in which both public and private agencies are represented (Lewandowski & GlenMaye, in press). Most agency funding comes from a variety of private and public sources. Over the past ten years, local agencies have experienced changes in the type and scope of services provided and in the clients they served. These agencies are undergoing changes due to external and internal factors and these changes have contributed to the increasing complexity of agency services and clients served.

The multi-dimensional framework draws upon chaos and complexity theory to develop a practice model that more accurately reflects the dynamic complexity of social work practice.

The multi-dimensional perspective suggests that change and human interactions both occur and affect several levels and dimensions simultaneously. Within an individual, the dimensions consist of the multiple levels of development, including biological, social, psychological, and spiritual development. As individuals interact with their environment, multiple dimensions include the variety of levels of social organization, such as family, groups, and organizations. Rather than being either/or and linear, a multi-dimensional perspective suggests a both/and, nonlinear approach to understanding human interactions (Lewandowski, GlenMaye, & Bolin, 2001).


Regular Program

The regular program, consisting of 63 credit hours, begins in the fall semester and requires two (2) years as a full-time student or four (4) years as a part-time student.

Advanced Standing

The advanced standing program is for those who have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The advanced standing program, consisting of 37 credit hours, begins in the summer and requires one (1) year as a full-time student or two (2) years as a part-time student.

Foundational Regular Program


Advanced Standing Specialist Program 


Informational Sessions

Informational Sessions are held throughout the Fall semester. For dates in the current semester, click the following link to visit our Current Events page for information.


Current Events

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements for the MSW Program

The GRE is not required for admission into the MSW program.

To apply to the Master of Social Work program, you need to:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with evidence of a strong liberal arts background (see Liberal Arts Education Requirement).
  • Have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or higher in the last 60 hours of graded course work.

Liberal Arts Education Requirement

The MSW program requires that all incoming students have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning with evidence of a strong liberal arts background. To meet this requirement, students should have completed the following undergraduate course work:

  • two (2) course in humanities
  • three (3) courses in the social sciences
  • one (1) course in oral communication
  • two (2) courses that stress written communication
  • one (1) course in human biology
  • one (1) course in analytical skills
  • one (1) course in human diversity

Application Steps

  1. Submit online application to Graduate School.
  2. Attach your MSW Program Application Personal Narrative and your 3 references to the Graduate School application (after paying the application fee).

Priorty Application deadline is the 2nd Friday in January

Life Experience and Previous Work Experience

The School of Social Work at Wichita State University does not grant social work core credits for life experience or previous work experience. It is our policy in the School of Social Work in accordance with Council on Social Work Education accreditation requirements, academic credit will not be given for life experience or work experience in coursework or field practicum. There will be no credit toward the social work degree for prior life or work experience.

Financial Aid and Fellowships

There are various ways in which a student can obtain payment for class. Click Here for Financial Aid information. 

Click Here to learn more about the Scholarship Universe, which is where students can find and apply for scholarships

Click Here for a graduate student tuition calculator

Graduate Assistantships

The School of Social Work offers graduate assistant positions within the department. Graduate assistant positions are for 10, 16 or 20 hours per week. The number of assistants and the hours they will work depends on the funding we receive and can vary from year to year.

Our positions are for Graduate Research Assistants. The duties include assisting faculty with their research and other duties as assigned by faculty.

Applications are preferred by mid-May for the fall semester.

To apply, complete the application and return to the School of Social Work office either in person at 525 Lindquist Hall, or by email to

Graduate Assistantship Application Form


In accordance with Kansas Law, graduates must sit for the licensure exam to practice social work and to be able to call themselves "social workers". MSW Graduates can take the LMSW exam during their last semester or after graduation. MSW graduates can also become eligible for the LSCSW exam.

To receive an application for the LSW exam, contact the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB) in Topeka, 785-296-3240. The complete application and BSRB regulations can also be found on the BSRB website at

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