Department of Social Work


The Final Examination consists of an approximately one and one half hour oral exam. Students are expected to make a presentation to the examining committee that addresses advanced generalist practice and its relationship to their course work, field experiences, social work ethics, and future career. The Masters Portfolio will also be used by the Examining Committee as a basis for questions. The Examining Committee consists of two Social Work Faculty members. The primary reader is the student's advisor.

Those students needing to complete Field II during the summer will not be eligible to take their Final Oral Exam until they have successfully completed their Field II placement. They will need to submit their Field II ratings on concentration year practice behaviors (also known as the Field II evaluation) as one of their portfolio elements. Only students who have successfully completed all Field II requirements may sit for their Final Oral Exam. Summer Field II students should plan to register for Grad 0999 in order to maintain their active status as a graduate student until they complete their Final Oral Exam.

Use these procedures for scheduling the oral examination:

1. Confer with your advisor to make a joint decision that you are ready for the examination. Keep track of deadlines for scheduling this exam in order to be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies.

2. Schedule a room in the library for your oral exam. Contact the Student Services Specialist ( to request information on how to schedule a room.

3. The Student Support Assistant will give your advisor the Masters Project Approval and Transmittal Form prior to or on the day of the final examination. The primary readers sign off on the approval and transmittal after your final revisions are done and your revised Master's Project is turned into your primary readers.

4. The format for the exam is as follows:

Fifteen - twenty minute oral student presentation
 addressing the following areas:

-Social Work practice and theory within the advanced generalist model.
-Advanced generalist practice and its relationship to the student's course work, field experiences, Masters Portfolio and future career. -Content related to diversity and cultural competence
-Social Work values and ethics (including an example of a professional ethical issue you have faced).-Brief overview of the Masters Portfolio.
You are permitted to bring written notes outlining the presentation.

Twenty-five to forty minutes of questions
 by the Committee for the purpose of clarification and elaboration.

Five to ten minutes - 
Committee makes it decision.

Ten to fifteen minutes - 
Feedback to you.
5. We strive to continually improve the quality of our MSW program and your feedback helps us in this endeavor.
When you have scheduled your oral exam, contact the Student Support Assistant with the date/time of the exam.

You will be sent an evaluation form via email. Send the completed evaluation to

Your presentation/discussion will be evaluated based on whether it is effective, organized, relevant, informative, thorough, and clear.

6. You may be asked to make further revisions on your Masters Portfolio or to submit additional written materials prior to final approval. Revisions should be submitted to your advisor. When satisfactory revisions have been made, your committee members will sign the Master Portfolio approval form. Your grade for the Field II course must be changed from an incomplete in order for you to clear for graduation.

7. Your official graduate date will be the last working date of the month in which you completed all program requirements along with submitting your "Application for Degree" form to the Grad School the month before.

8. In case of failure, unanimous consent of the Examining Committee is required to retake the final examination.

When you have been informed that you passed, you will be asked whether you would like to share your evluation of the program verbally with your Readers.

From your experience, what are the strengths of the UMD MSW program?

From your experience, what can we do to strengthen the program?

Student Checklist for Final Oral Exam

_____ Submit the "Application for Degree" form to the Graduate School. You must file this on or before the first working day of the month you wish to graduate.

____ Check the Graduate School's coursework balance letter (that you'll usually receive 6-8 weeks after your Application for Degree Form is processed by the Graduate School) and clear up any incompletes or errors.

____ Confer with your advisor to determine readiness for your Final Exam.

_____ Contact your Examining Committee to schedule a time.

_____ Ask the Student Support Assistant to reserve a room for your exam.

_____ Obtain approval from your advisor to distribute copies of your Masters Portfolio.

_____ Distribute the Masters Project to your Examining Committee.

_____ Prepare a presentation for the final oral examination

____ Complete the written evaluation form you received electronically and give to your primary reader the day of your Oral Exam.

_____ If revisions are requested in the Master Portfolio subsequent to the final exam, submit these as soon as possible to your advisor.

Important: The official transcript showing the award of your degree will be available at the Office of the Registrar approximately two - three weeks after your official graduation date. You will be mailed your diploma approximately three months after your official graduation date. Be sure you have your current mailing address online. Your diploma is mailed from the Twin Cities campus and they will mail your diploma to the address which is on your "Application for Degree" form. If you now have a different mailing address you need to email and send your name, Student ID# and current mailing address.

Celebrate!! You deserve it!

UMD Social Work Department

220 Bohannon Hall
1207 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN 55812

1 (888) 534-9734
(218) 726-7245

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