In the expansive prairies and rolling landscapes of South Dakota, a hidden gem awaits those passionate about making a difference in their communities: Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. Nestled within this serene setting, MSW programs in South Dakota offer a unique blend of academic rigor and hands-on experience, equipping students with the skills and knowledge necessary to address the diverse and complex needs of individuals and families across the state. Aspiring social workers are drawn to these programs for their academic excellence and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of South Dakota’s cultural heritage while serving its residents with compassion and dedication. In this article, we delve into the distinctive features of MSW programs in South Dakota, exploring how they prepare future social work professionals to navigate the challenges of today’s society while fostering positive change in the lives of those they serve.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in South Dakota

South Dakota Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

Unless you have already completed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program, you’ll have to enroll in a traditional MSW program. This is a two-year program that requires the completion of 60 credits. To begin the application process, collect the following documents:

  • 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

South Dakota Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements:

You can enroll in a fast-tracked option called an advanced-standing MSW program if you are a student with a BSW and a high GPA (3.5 or higher). Enrolling in this type of program will allow you to graduate in one year after completing around 35 credits. All of the traditional admissions requirements still stand. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to complete this type of program on South Dakotan soil. If you’re set on enrolling in an advanced-standing MSW program and must stay within the state’s borders, you can find plenty of online programs in other states.

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

South Dakota MSW Program Tuition and Costs

Even though South Dakota is a large state, the options are limited for MSW programs. This makes it a little easier to calculate your specific tuition costs since there is currently only one MSW program option available in the state through the University of South Dakota. This 60-credit course will set you back $340.15 per credit as a resident and 654.05 per credit as a non-resident. If you enroll online, you can expect to pay $470.45 per credit.

Are Online MSW Programs in South Dakota as Good as Campus-Based?

If you are considering an online MSW program, know that accredited options offer the same comprehensive curriculum as on-campus versions. While online MSW programs have become increasingly popular due to their flexibility and convenience, they aren’t for everyone. Review the table below and decide for yourself whether an online program is right for you.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in South Dakota

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

Whether you choose a campus-based or online MSW program in South Dakota, you'll want to ensure that your degree program is properly accredited by a trusted agency such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learn more about Social Work Degree options:

Getting Your South Dakota Social Work License

Getting licensed as a social worker in South Dakota is the next step after earning your MSW degree. Each state has different licensure requirements, so it’s important to be clear about your state’s procedure and requirements. Learn more about how to get your social worker license in South Dakota.

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.

Social worker talking to clients in their home.

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 South Dakota

Vermillion, SD

Master's Programs
414 E Clark St
Vermillion, SD 57069-2390
(605) 658-6200

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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