College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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MSW - Graduate Degree

Welcome to the MSW Program Homepage   

Department of Social Work Mission Statement

The mission of the MSW program is to provide students with a trauma-informed foundation within a generalist perspective that will prepare them for advanced social work practice and leadership.
Core values of the program include the inherent dignity, rights, and strengths of all individuals, families, and communities, regardless of social, historical, economic, and cultural contexts. Critical thinking, a fundamental program component, is supported by the promotion of multicultural sensitivity, human rights, and social and economic justice.

About the MSW Trauma-Informed Care Specialization

Trauma-Informed Care refers to an approach to service provision that takes into account an individual’s past, which may include trauma, and involves practices to reduce the risk of retraumatization. It is a systematic approach valuable to clinics and hospitals, schools, human service agencies, policy making spaces, and anywhere social work takes place.

  • In the advanced practice courses, students learn an integrated approach to treating both acute and complex forms of psychological trauma. This approach includes elements from various cognitive and body-centered psychotherapies and approaches, including mindfulness, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), sensorimotor psychotherapy, somatic experiencing therapy, yoga, and tai chi.
  • Based on the latest research regarding the effects of trauma brain and body, students are trained on how to build client safety through mirroring and co-regulation, developing cognitive and somatic resiliency, and maintaining heart rate control, all of which serve to decrease the likelihood of clients becoming triggered and reaching uncontrolled states of hyperarousal during therapy. Traumatic memories are introduced and processed in pieces, which makes the overall therapeutic process more manageable for the client. To further ensure client safety, and decrease the potential for hyperarousal, an approach and withdraw method is used, which allows the client the time and space necessary to calm down and re-stabilize during processing. All students are provided extensive opportunities to practice and refine these techniques while under supervision.

UNI offers the only trauma-informed care specialization MSW program in the Midwest.

Program Highlights

The MSW program offers:

  • A wide range of internship opportunities in various agencies
  • Diverse faculty with extensive experience in a variety of social work settings
  • On-campus full-time and part-time program options
  • Online, part-time distance education
  • Advanced Standing Option (for students who have an undergraduate Social Work degree from a CSWE-accredited program)
  • Professional leadership skills and development
  • Affordable tuition, whether you live in state or out of state
  • The only trauma-informed curriculum in the Midwest

Program Goals:


  • Provide a foundation curriculum rooted within a generalist perspective that addresses knowledge and skills necessary for effective and ethical practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Provide a concentration curriculum built on the professional foundation that prepares students to practice autonomously as advanced level professionals in either trauma-informed or administrative practice within a wide range of client systems and practice settings
  • Infuse social work values and ethics throughout students’ educational experience to serve as guides for practice in field placements and future professional social work practice
  • Promote student understanding of diversity through curriculum that identifies the experiences and needs of vulnerable and oppressed groups while emphasizing resilience and strengths
  • Increase students’ understanding of the types and processes of discrimination and oppression and enhance their ability to promote social and economic justice through advocacy and social reform
  • Prepare students to critically assess and apply empirically-based knowledge, evaluate their own practice effectiveness, and participate in the evaluation of programs and policies


The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and students who successfully complete the program are eligible for social work licensure.

Useful Links for Current MSW Students

MSW Student Handbook

Academic Advisement Report and Student Request Training

Social Work Licensing

2019 Orientation PowerPoints


Dr. Matthew Vasquez, MSW Program Director

Donna Raubs, Graduate Secretary