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In Dominican’s MSW school social work track, you’ll train to provide services to students, families and school personnel, and to promote students' academic and social success. You’ll also learn to collaborate with co-workers and parents in advocating for positive social change in school settings.

Our school social work program prepares you to obtain a Professional Educator License (PEL) with the endorsement needed for social work positions in K-12 public schools in Illinois.

School social workers play a critical role in helping students manage obstacles to learning that can range from homeless and food insecurity to mental health disorders and family instability. Dominican’s MSW school social work track is designed to prepare you to provide leadership on school policy, crisis management and culturally responsive intervention.

  • Gain hands-on experience through field placements in schools
  • Courses taught by leading faculty with real-world experience in schools

Start advancing your career today. Request information today


Social work professionals serve as an important link between schools, families and the wider community. At Dominican, you’ll become ready not only to help individual students but also to provide leadership for your school and district in promoting effective policy and services.

You’ll learn to assess student needs and to develop and implement culturally responsive intervention strategies to effect personal and social change. The coursework is designed to develop your skills in areas that include: resource brokering, school climate, trauma-informed mental health services, racial inequities, the needs of English Language Learners, special education services and more.

All courses are taught on campus and online by leading faculty who have real-world experience in classrooms and schools of all kinds. You’ll enjoy access to a variety of field placement options in schools around the Chicago area. You’ll be ready to provide competent service to this important population and to advocate for social change. Read detailed course descriptions.

Required Courses

Students in the school social work track are required to take the following courses in addition to the general MSW curriculum:

  • Exceptional Students: Characteristics and the Special Education Process (SPED 522)
  • School Social Work (SWK 664)
  • Advanced Social Work Practice: Models within a Family Context (SWK 610)
Gain Hands-On Social Work Skills through Field Placements

The internships required for licensure in Illinois are your opportunity to gain experience and confidence. Our director of field placement will work with you to explore options for placements.


The Dominican University experience is one that embraces unique viewpoints, values hands-on learning and fosters collaborative relationships—among faculty, students and the communities that we hope to influence through our values-centered degree programs. When you study for your Master of Social Work here, you’ll get the benefit of modern learning designed for working professionals as well as a relationship-focused atmosphere that will help you become a stronger leader in your field.


Along with opportunities for financial aid through loans and grants, the School of Social Work offers a variety of departmental scholarships for outstanding academic achievement and graduate assistantships for those who wish to work with faculty while pursuing their degree. Contact our Office of Financial Aid to learn more. We can be reached at (708) 524-6809 or


What can I do with an MSW in the school social work track?

Your graduate-level training in social work will qualify you to work in schools and districts in support of their academic mission. You’ll be able to work directly with students to help them manage the social factors that can negatively affect their learning. And you’ll be ready to serve as a liaison to the community, resolve conflict and advocate for district policies in areas like discipline and equity that will improve learning outcomes.

What are the different roles of school social workers?

Social work professionals in schools don’t just work directly with students, they’re also a resource for teachers, schools and district administrators. You’ll be prepared to play a role in formulating district-wide policies, developing staff in-service training programs and ensuring your district receives adequate support social and mental health agencies. You’ll also serve as a link between schools, families and the broader community.

How do I obtain a Professional Educator License (PEL) endorsed in school social work?

You’ll need to complete an internship. The director of field placement will work with you to explore placement options. You will also need to take the school social work content exam through the Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS).

Professional Educator License endorsed in School Social Work: Full Instructions (pdf opens in a new window)

Ready to take the next step? Apply now online


Request information today