As the demand for skilled professionals in the field of social work continues to rise, Iowa stands as a beacon of opportunity with its diverse array of Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. Nestled within the heartland of America, Iowa offers prospective students a unique blend of academic excellence, hands-on experience, and a commitment to fostering compassionate, community-focused practitioners. With a landscape rich in both urban centers and rural communities, MSW programs in Iowa cater to a broad spectrum of interests and career aspirations, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to embark on a rewarding journey in the field of social work.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Iowa

Iowa Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

Traditional MSW programs are typically geared toward students with bachelor’s degrees unrelated to social work. They require a full two years plus 60 credits. Below are a few admissions requirements typical of one of these programs:

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology or a related area, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Resume or CV outlining relevant experience
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as psychology, sociology, or human services)
  • GRE scores (some programs may waive this requirement)
  • Interview (some programs may require an interview as part of the application process)
  • Background check and/or fingerprinting

Iowa Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

If you already have a BSW and you’ve kept your grades above a 3.4 GPA, you may want to go the advanced standing MSW route. You can obtain your MSW with as little as 35 credits in as little as one year. You’ll need a BSW and all of the above requirements to apply. Below are a few options for students in Iowa:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Iowa MSW Program Tuition and Costs

If you’re looking for an affordable MSW program, Iowa is a good place to start. Compared to the national average, Iowa offers several affordable schools at as little as $19,382 for residents. If you aren’t currently residing in Iowa, online options can be a great way to cut back on tuition costs.

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Iowa$626 (Resident)
*Non-resident upon request
54$33,804 (Resident)
*Non-resident upon request
University of Northern Iowa$323 (Resident)
$692 (Non-resident)
60$19,382 (Resident)
$41,548 (Non-resident)
St. Ambrose University$80560$48,300

Are Online MSW Programs in Iowa as Good as Campus-Based?

Online options can be a great way to cut costs, but they aren’t for everyone. Take a look at the table below to see if the convenience of an online MSW is convenient enough for you.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Iowa

Traditional MSW ProgramsOnline MSW Programs
FormatIn-person classesOnline classes with some in-person requirements
FlexibilityLimited scheduling optionsMore flexibility in scheduling, often part-time options
LocationGeographically limitedAccessible from anywhere with internet connectivity
Learning EnvironmentClassroom-basedVirtual classroom, discussion boards, and online resources
NetworkingLocal networking opportunitiesNetworking with students and professionals from diverse locations
CostTuition, commuting, and relocation expensesGenerally lower tuition and flexibility to continue working
Hands-on ExperienceField placements and internshipsVirtual or field placements and internships arranged in the student's local area

When applying to MSW programs, you must ensure that your degree program is properly accredited by a trusted agency such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This ensures you’ll meet the state board’s requirements when it comes time to get licensed.

Learn more about Social Work Degree Options:

Getting Your Iowa Social Work License

Becoming a licensed social worker in Iowa is the next step after earning your MSW degree. Each state has different licensure requirements. Learn more about how to get your social worker license in Iowa.

Popular Social Work Careers

Discover the specializations available to you within social work. These social work careers can help you work with diverse populations in a variety of environments.

Female social worker talking with elderly female woman

School Social Worker

School social workers provide counseling, support, and advocacy for students facing social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop student success strategies, provide crisis intervention, and facilitate support groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers assess patients' social, emotional, and practical needs. They provide counseling and support, coordinate care with healthcare providers, advocate for patients' rights, and connect patients and their families with community resources to ensure holistic and comprehensive care.

Court Social Worker

Court social workers assess the needs of individuals involved in court cases. They develop intervention plans, provide counseling and support, monitor progress in court-ordered programs, collaborate with legal professionals, and advocate for clients' best interests in legal proceedings.

List of MSW Degree Programs in Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA

1227 W 27th St
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0005
(319) 273-2311

Davenport, IA

Master's Programs
518 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52803-2898
(563) 333-6000

Iowa City, IA

101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1316
(319) 335-3500

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Tara Moretti, LMHC
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