Des Moines MSW Program


Application deadlines:

  • December 1st for the Accelerated Advanced Standing program

  • February 1st for the Regular and Advanced Standing program

Cheryl Hayes, 2020 graduate, in cap and gown 

Cheryl Hayes, a Spring 2020 graduate of our Des Moines MSW program, has long focused on advocating for social justice within her community. After retiring from her previous career in 2005, she started volunteering more with several restorative justice organizations while also pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

These experiences ultimately led Hayes to the MSW program for a second career in social work. Hayes has since accepted a position with Des Moines Public Schools and views this as an excellent way to effect change and continue her advocacy.

Read her full profile from the University of Iowa Graduate College HERE.

The University of Iowa, School of Social Work has offered the MSW program in Des Moines since 1967, and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It is administered by the School of Social Work in cooperation with the Distance and Online Education Programs.

Both full and part-time MSW programs are available at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, on Grand Avenue downtown. Most required courses are taught by University of Iowa faculty who live in Iowa City or Des Moines. Electives and a few required courses are taught by adjunct faculty who hold MSW degrees and are seasoned social work practitioners in the community with reputations for excellence in the content areas in which they teach. Some courses are taught via ZOOM, a web-based interactive communication system that allows long-distance learners to participate in classrooms across the state.

Students may complete the entire degree program at the Des Moines center, or they may travel to the main UI campus in Iowa City for selected elective courses offered during the summer semester.

The Des Moines program offers students unique opportunities in policy advocacy and access to state government as well as the variety of services available in the state's largest city. Des Moines is a diverse metropolitan environment, providing a wide range of field and practicum opportunities to students.

For those without an accredited BA Social Work degree, the MSW program requires 60 semester hours. For those with a BA Social Work, the program can be completed in either 41 semester hours (one-year, full-time program; minimum social work GPA of 3.5 and minimum overall GPA of 3.2; BA Social Work earned within last five years) or 48 semester hours. To see curriculum matrixes, click here.

Students from diverse academic and experiential backgrounds are valued and actively recruited by the program. Previous experiences in human services and cross cultural perspectives are desirable. Those admitted to the MSW program are eligible to apply for diversity scholarships that provide support for four consecutive semesters. The Alumni of Diversity group provides support and mentoring to those students who request it.

To attend an informational meeting in Des Moines, please see Registration for Des Moines MSW Information Sessions

For more information, please contact:

Christy Thies, MSW, LMSW -

Des Moines and Online Program Coordinator