Master of Social Work

Admission Requirements | Degree Requirements | Faculty | Course Descriptions

The advanced professional Master of Social Work degree is a joint effort by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to prepare social workers for advanced practice as facilitators, partners and leaders in planned change activities with service users and community service providers in the region.
The program's goal is to educate professionals ready to assume administrative and direct practice leadership roles within this region's increasingly diverse and transforming rural environments. It aims to prepare practitioners who can work to strengthen families through programs, services, and policies supportive of family and community well being, with special emphasis on family needs in rural and tribal settings. Concomitantly, the program aims to promote interdisciplinary learning and coordinated inter-professional practice to actively address social issues. Additional emphasis is placed on professional acceptance of responsibility to participate in civic life and to provide leadership in the community and to encourage the inclusion and representation of Native Americans and members of other cultures and diverse groups in the region. Finally, the advanced program strives to address adult learner expectations for ease of access and user-friendly content delivery.
Program graduates provide leadership in the social work field:

  • through their expertise in the use of skills associated with "best practice" models, particularly those that are family-focused and that serve diverse clientele;
  • by taking action to improve services, particularly in the public and tribal practice sectors and in rural social work practice;
  • by regularly utilizing research to critically analyze, improve and develop services within their areas of expertise;
  • by developing and refining services through collaborative efforts with diverse clientele;
  • by developing ongoing and innovative strategies for support of professional peers.

The program offers a full-time curriculum which can be completed in two calendar years for students entering at the foundation level or one year for students entering at the advanced level. A part-time program is also available, which can be completed in nine semesters for students entering at the foundation level or five semesters for students entering at the advanced level. To meet the needs of working students, most courses in the program are offered evenings or Saturdays. Students also integrate and apply their classroom learning in a sixteen-hour-a-week field experience. Most social work courses are offered at the UW Fox Valley campus in Menasha, a central location for Northeastern Wisconsin students. Some additional elective and interdisciplinary courses are available on either the UW-Oshkosh or UW-Green Bay campus. Please check the semester schedule of classes for specific information on course offerings.

Areas of Emphasis

In addition to requiring a common foundation of courses, the Collaborative MSW Program offers students a choice of two concentrations as part of the Advanced Curriculum: Advanced Direct Practice and Administration/Management. The Advanced Direct Practice concentration prepares students for leadership in the field through their work with and on behalf of individuals, groups and families. Work with vulnerable families who face multiple life challenges is emphasized. The Administration/Management concentration admits students who are interested in providing leadership in their supervisory and management responsibilities, particularly in public and tribal social service settings. The Social Work Administration and Management practice course (SOC WORK 722) will be offered when there is sufficient student interest.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Collaborative MSW Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a cumulative undergraduate gpa of 2.75, with 3.0 in the last two years of study;
  2. Have an academic background in the liberal arts and have completed a minimum of 18 credits in the social sciences from among courses in at least three of the following disciplines: psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science (BSW students meet this criterion);
  3. Through a written statement, three references (including one academic reference), and a relevant professional work/volunteer background, provide evidence of interest in and ability to work with social work clientele and in social work settings; documentation of breadth and depth of professional and/or volunteer experience (usually includes post-baccalaureate experience) that has prepared the applicant for advanced level practice; experience working in the social service arena is a primary criterion for admission;
  4. Have completed course work in: human biology, statistics, research methods, and life span development or submit plans for completing this work prior to taking the Advanced Curriculum in the program; students who need to complete more than two support courses will not be admitted;
  5. For advanced standing, have graduated from an accredited baccalaureate social work program within the last eight years.

The program has a two-stage admissions process. Applicants complete a Pre-Admissions process by submitting: a Pre-Admissions Application Packet, Personal Essay, online Work Resume, and contact information for three references to the Collaborative MSW Program. These materials are available at:

Applicants who are recommended for acceptance by the Collaborative MSW Program then go on to complete additional application procedures at either the UW-Green Bay or UW-Oshkosh campus.

Steps Toward the Degree

  1. Prospective student submits a pre-admission application to the MSW program and is recommended for admission.
  2. Applicant is admitted to the graduate program.
  3. Student submits a Graduate Program Plan (GR-1 form) to the Graduate Studies Office no later than the end of the semester in which the first six graduate credits are completed.
  4. As part of advanced standing coursework, the student registers for SOC WORK 731 (fall) and develops a professional project proposal. Proposal is reviewed and approved by the course instructor.
  5. After successful completion of SOC WORK 731, the student registers for SOC WORK 734 (spring), professional project credits, and completes IRB materials and the form GR-2 is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  6. Student files Application for Graduation with the Registrar's Office.
  7. Student registers for SOC WORK 732; Field Research Consultation (summer) and continue work on their project. Upon successful completion, the course instructor submits a grade. The instructor also files form GR-4 with the Office of Graduate Studies, indicating satisfactory completion of the project.
  8. Graduate receives diploma.

For more detail on the process, please consult the student handbook at

Degree Requirements

For program applicants who do not have a BSW degree completed within the last eight years, 60 credits are required for graduation. This includes a 28-credit two-semester foundation curriculum (fall and spring), and a 32-credit three-semester advanced curriculum (fall, spring, and summer). Applicants who have completed a BSW degree within the last eight years receive advanced standing and recognition for having completed all foundation requirements.

Students in the program are required to maintain a grade of B or better in all required social work courses.

Part-Time Option

Students entering the Foundation Program complete the part-time option in four years. Students entering the Advanced Standing curriculum complete the part-time option in two years.

(1) completed in first year
(2) completed in second year

Foundation Curriculum Requirements, 28 credits

Foundation Courses:

A 28-credit set of foundation courses is required for all non-BSW students and for BSW students who received their degree more than eight years before entering the program. Eight credits of the foundation curriculum involve a field practicum in which students practice as social workers in a supervised field setting, carrying out a variety of generalist practice responsibilities.

  • (1)SOC WORK 701    Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 702    Generalist Practice I, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 703    Skills Lab with Individuals, Families and Small Groups, 1 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 704    Generalist Social Work Practice II, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 705    Skills Lab with Large Groups and Communities, 1 cr.
  • (1)SOC WORK 706    Social Welfare Institutions, 3 cr.
  • (1)SOC WORK 707    Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 3 cr.
  • (1)SOC WORK 708    Social Welfare Policy: Contemporary Approaches, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 709    Field I: Foundation Social Work Field  Practicum, 4 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 710    Field II: Foundation Social Work Field Practicum, 4 cr.

Advanced Curriculum Requirements, 32 credits

All students are required to take 12 credits of required advanced course work. In addition, Advanced Direct Practice students are required to take 6 credits of required course work and 6 credits of additional electives. Administration/Management students are required to take 9 credits of required course work and 3 credits of additional electives. Eight credits of the advanced curriculum are associated with a field practicum in which students practice as social workers in a supervised field setting, with either advanced direct practice or with administrative responsibilities.

Advanced Requirements: Required For All Students, 20 credits

  • (1)SOC WORK 720    Practice Competence in a Diverse Community, 3 cr.
  • (1)SOC WORK 728    Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 729    Field III: Advanced Social Work Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar, 4 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 731    Advanced Research Applications in Social Work Practice, 3 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 732    Field Research Project, 1 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 733  Field IV: Advanced Social Work Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar, 4 cr.
  • (2)SOC WORK 734   Field Research Consultation, 2 cr.


Advanced Requirements: Direct Practice Concentration, 12 credits

  • (2)SOC WORK 721    Multi-Level Family Intervention, 3 cr.
  • (1) or (2)Advanced HBSE Selection, 3 credits:
    •    PSYCH 530 (UWOSH) Adult Development and Aging, 3 cr.
    •    HUM DEV 544 (UWGB) Dying, Death, and Loss, 3 cr.
    •    Women’s Studies 550 (UWOSH)  Women, Race and Class, 3 cr.
    •    EDUC 552 (UWGB)  Social and Family Influences on Early Development and Learning, 3 cr.
    •    PSYCH 690 (UWOSH) Special Topics (see MSW Coord.), 3 cr.
    •    SOC WORK 727  Psychopathology and Strength-based Assessment, 3 cr.
  • (1) or (2)Electives, 6 credits


Advanced Requirements: Administration/Management Concentration, 12 credits

  • (2) SOC WORK 722    Social Work Management and Supervision in the Social Services, 3 cr.

Budgeting Course, 3 credits:

  • (1 or 2) MPA 752 (UWOSH) Public Budgeting & Finance, 3 cr.
  • PU EN AF 615 (UWGB) Public and Nonprofit Budgeting, 3 cr.

Advanced HBSE Selection, 3 credits:

  • (1) or (2) MANAGMNT 753  (UWGB) Organizational Theory and Behavior, 3 cr.
  • (1) or (2) MPA 723 (UWOSH) Organizational Structure and Behavior, 3 cr.

(1) or (2) Elective, 3 credits

Advanced Requirements: Electives

In addition to advanced HBSE options, students select electives from the following approved list:

  • SOC WORK 701 (For BSW Students Only) Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work, 3 cr.
  • SOC WORK 735 Emerging Issues in Child Welfare, 3 cr.
  • SOC WORK 737 Social Work and Crisis Intervention with Vulnerable Populations, 3 cr.
  • SOC WORK 747 Mental Health Theories, 3 cr.
  • SOC WORK 795 Special Topics, 3 cr.
  • SOC WORK 798 Independent Study, 3 cr.
  • Social Work 575 (UWOSH)
    SOC WORK 757 (UWGB) Treatment and Mistreatment of Offenders, 3 cr.
  • Social Work 571 (UWOSH) Child and Family Welfare, 3 cr.
  • MANAGMNT 750 (UWGB) Team Dynamics and Problem Solving, 3 cr.
  • MANAGMNT 757 (UWGB) Leadership and Innovation, 3 cr.
  • MANAGMNT 776 (UWGB) Organizational Communication and Conflict, 3 cr.
  • MPA 760 (UWOSH) Administrative Law, 3 cr.
  • MPA 729 (UWOSH) Health Care Organization and Management, 3 cr.
  • MPA 797-071 (Fall) (UWOSH) Nonprofit Management, 3 cr.
  • MPA 797-071 (Spring)(UWOSH) Labor Management Relations in the Public Sector, 3 cr.
  • MPA 711 (UWOSH) Politics, Policy and Public Administration, 3 cr.

Advanced Requirement: Professional Project

Students in the program meet professional project requirements by completing a research project during their final semester in the program (SOC WORK 732). Students develop their project proposal in the Advanced Research Applications course (SOC WORK 731), and finalize their project proposals in the Field Research Consultation course (SOC WORK 734). This field-related research project is completed when students finish their two-semester Advanced Social Work Field Practica (SOC WORK 729 and 733).


Akakpo, Tohoro Francis, UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. B.A . (1986) , University of Benin, Togo, West Africa; M.P.A. (1994) , University of Michigan-Flint; M.S.W. (2002) , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Ph.D. Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Fields of interest: include at-risk families and juvenile delinquents; juveniles transitioning from residential facilities into community; child abuse and neglect; international social work, child labor and human trafficking; and the role of non-governmental organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Altepeter, Donna, UW-OSHKOSH, Lecturer. B.A. Theology (1981), M.S.W. (1983) St. Louis University, CICSW and ACSW.
Fields of interest: social work in health care and severe mental illness.

Aspenson, Karen J., UW-OSHKOSH, B.S. Psychology and Sociology, Troy State University, Dothan, Alabama; M.S.W. (2007) UW - Green Bay and UW Oshkosh Collaborative MSW Program.
Fields of interest:  Karen is currently the Executive Director of NAMI Fox Valley, where she coordinates programs and services for individuals, and families living with chronic and persistent mental illness. Karen teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate Social Work courses.

Bates, Cheryl, UW-OSHKOSH, Assistant Professor. B.A. Psychology (1984) University of Washington; MSW (2001) University of Alabama; Ph.D. Social Work (2008) University of Alabama.
Fields of interest:  working with minority populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT); juvenile sexual offenders; understanding how the subtle forms of oppression and discrimination are carried out through exclusion from legislative protection and social policy.

Brown, James, UW-OSHKOSH, Assistant Professor. B.S.W. (1992) Northern Michigan University; M.S.W. (1993) University of Michigan; Ph.D. in Social Work and minor in Education (2010). Dr. Brown's practice experience has been in relation to: substance abuse prevention, foster care casework, and school social work.
Fields of interest: School bullying and anti-bullying policy, juvenile youths access to mental health care, and prenatal assessment and intervention.

Bruno, David, UW-OSHKOSH
Fields of interest:  Dr. David Bruno received a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling from Wayne State University. He also holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Art in Marriage and Family Therapy from Wayne State University.
Dr. Bruno has practiced with children and families for seventeen years in the areas of individual, marital, and family counseling. His direct practice interests include marital counseling, as well as working with persons experiencing reactive depression. His research interests include: mentorship with youth and family response; youth cognitive styles and its relation to depressive features; and, qualitative research on the affective experience of persons with severe and chronic physical disabilities.

Ebert, Thomas G., UW-OSHKOSH, Associate Professor. B.A. (1973), M.S.S.W. (1974) University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ph.D. Urban Social Institutions (1998) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Fields of interest: mental health, program evaluation research, scholarship of teaching, social welfare history.

Giesler, Fredi, UW-OSHKOSH, Associate Professor. B.A. Social Welfare (1981) Pacific Lutheran University; M.S.W. (1991), Ph.D. Social Welfare (2002) University of Washington Seattle.
Fields of interest: prevention science, child welfare, community-based program evaluation.

Groessl, Joan, UW-Green Bay, Lecturer and B.S.W. Field Coordinator. B.S.W. (1984) UW - Green Bay, M.S.W. (1989) UW - Milwaukee; LCSW.
Fields of interest: working in mental health (particularly seriously and persistently mentally ill); working with the forensic and homeless populations and administration

Hand, Carol, UW-OSHKOSH, Associate Professor. B.A. Social Work (1983) University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.S.S.W. (1984) University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ph.D. Social Welfare (2003) University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fields of interest: community and organization practice, program development and evaluation, urban Native American health, First Nations child welfare and Liberatory praxis.

Hansen, Colleen, UW-OSHKOSH, Associate Professor. B.A. Social Work (1994) University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; M.S.W. (1996) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Fields of interest:   oncology, palliative care and hospice.

Higgins, Doreen, UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. B.S.W. (1990) UW-Green Bay; M.S.S.W. (1991) UW-Madison; Ph.D. Social Work (2008) University of Kansas.
Fields of interest: the racial wealth gap; health care policy; minority health and health disparities; community reentry of aging ex-offenders; inclusion of aging content in social work curricula.

Jick, Karen, UW-Green Bay, Lecturer. B.S. Social Work (1972);, M.S.S.W. (1974) UW-Madison. LCSW; ACSW.
Fields of interest: child welfare; behavior health issues for children; marriage and family therapy; field education for social work students; social work ethics; international studies.

Martin, Judith A., UW-Green Bay, Professor and M.S.W. Program Coordinator. B.S. Sociology (1968) University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.S.S.W. Social Welfare (1972) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Ph.D. Social Work (1978) University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fields of interest: child welfare service and policies; child abuse; marital violence; attachment issues; gender, racial and ethnic issues in foster care and adoption.

Mattila, Matthew, UW-Green Bay, Child Welfare Coordinator. B.S.W. (1977) Pacific Lutheran University; M.S.W. (1985) Portland State University.
Fields of interest: direct practice with children and families, family and divorce mediation, child welfare, forensic social work, and adult education.

Sallmann, Jolanda M., UW-Green Bay, Associate Professor and Program Chair. B.S.W. (1992), M.S.W. (1996) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Ph.D. (2005) University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fields of interest: violence against women across the life course, including its broader effects on mental health, substance use, criminal justice involvement, poverty and homelessness.

Sullivan, Quintin E., UW-OSHKOSH, Associate Professor and Department Chair. B.A. Social Welfare (1975) University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; M.S.S.W. (1984), Ph.D. Social Welfare (1989) University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fields of interest: administration, program evaluation, poverty, international social welfare, programs targeted at low income adolescents which aim to prevent welfare dependence.

Trimberger, Gail E., UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. B.S.W. (1981) University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; M.S.S.W. (1982) University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin LCSW.
Fields of interest:  End-of-life, aging, grief, hospice and palliative care, bioethics.

Williams, Amy F., UW-OSHKOSH, Academic Staff, Undergraduate and M.S.W. Field Coordinator. B.A. Psychology (1992) Concordia University; M.S.W. (1999) University of Minnesota.
Fields of interest: school social work practice, grant procurement, and program evaluation.

Course Descriptions

Descriptions for Social Work Courses