Northeastern Illinois University’s master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree prepares advanced social work practitioners to serve vulnerable populations and contribute to the functioning and well-being of underserved communities. A master’s degree in social work is a vital step toward licensure and allows social workers to hold clinical, supervisory, or program director roles in the field.

Classes are offered during the late afternoon and evening hours to accommodate working professionals. The program may be completed full or part-time, requiring two or four years of study to complete, respectively.

Northeastern Illinois University's MSW program has achieved full accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation

Social Work Courses

The master’s in Social Work curriculum begins with the foundation-level courses and then moves into the advanced level. Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Work can enter at the advanced level, skipping the foundation courses. However, students with bachelor’s degrees in other areas must start with the foundation curriculum.

The MSW Foundation curriculum provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills of a generalist social worker, whereas the MSW Advanced curriculum provides students with concentrations in specialized areas of practice, determined by the needs and demands in the community in which the program is located. These concentrations are generally on the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level and are taken only after the student has completed the foundation curriculum (unless they enter with a bachelor’s in Social Work.).

NEIU’s full MSW program admits students for the fall semester only, and the advanced program admits students for the summer semester only. The full MSW degree program (including the foundation courses) consists of 60 credit hours. The advanced program alone consists of 33 hours.

Master of Social Work Concentrations

The MSW program offers two concentrations, each of which offer a specialization as well. They are:

Micro Concentration: Practice with Vulnerable Populations

The specialization within this concentration is Practice with Children and Families. The objective of the specialization is to promote well-being for vulnerable children and families by tending to their needs and aiding in their healthy functioning. Students who choose this specialization can look forward to a career serving children and their families in public and private agencies that assist vulnerable children or dysfunctional families. Professionals in the field serve in a variety of job roles as therapists, counselors, advocates, mediators, and brokers.

Macro Concentration: Leadership and Change

The specialization within this concentration is Advocacy and Change. The objective of the specialization is to spearhead actions around perceived needs in communities and organizations that serve special populations and communities. Students graduating with an MSW degree with a specialization in Advocacy and Change will work on behalf of organizations in the public arena, directing their efforts toward public policies that affect vulnerable populations, or on behalf of communities, serving the needs of vulnerable populations in a variety of ways.

School Social Work Specialization

Students in either concentration can also choose the School Social Work specialization. The specialization prepares students with the knowledge and skills to be professional school social workers. Students in this specialization are eligible to earn a Professional Educator License (support personnel only) endorsed in School Social Worker (pre-k to age 21) in the State of Illinois. This specialization is a State-approved program by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Social Work Careers

A master’s degree in Social Work leads to careers in areas such as:

  • Mental health and substance abuse
  • Medical and public health
  • Child, family, and school social work
  • Social work with rural and aging populations

Advance Your Social Work Career with an MSW

Prepare for a career in professional social work serving individuals, families and communities with a master’s degree in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact the Social Work department Interim MSW program director and advisor Dr. Aissetu Ibrahima at You can always feel free to request more information now.

Completion of the Master of Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University will satisfy standards for social work licensure as required in Illinois by the Association of Social Work Boards. Northeastern Illinois University has not made a determination as to whether the Master of Social Work meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in any of the other of the 54 U.S. states and jurisdictions. Specific requirements for licensure or certification in states other than Illinois vary from state-to-state. In some cases, you may need to take additional coursework or exams to meet individual state requirements and/or you may need to complete background checks.

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