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, themes of the program, 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.

Use these procedures for scheduling the oral examination:

1. Check the Graduate School's coursework balance letter (that you'll receive by email, 6-8 weeks after your Application for Degree Form is processed by the Graduate School) and clear up any incompletes or errors. If you did not graduate within the time period indicated in your balance letter, you must contact the Graduate School in the Twin Cities as indicated in the letter.

2. Confer with your advisor to make a joint decision that you are ready for the examination. When your advisor (first reader) informs you that you are ready, coordinate a time when you, your first reader (advisor) and your second reader can attend. You should schedule it for an hour and a half.

3. Reserve a room for your exam in coordination with the Student Support Assistant ( or 726-8497) and inform the Student Support Assistant and your 1st and 2nd readers of the date/time/place for your exam.

4. The Student Support Assistant will give your advisor (first reader) the Masters Project Approval and Transmittal Form prior to or on the day of the final examination. The first and second readers sign off on the approval and transmittal form after your final revisions are done and your revised Master's Portfolio is turned in to your first reader. The Student Support Assistant will also email you forms for you to complete and bring to the exam.

5. 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, and future career. Discussion and application of the key themes of the program: cultural competence, social work practice with American Indians, and social justice.

-Social Work values and ethics. Present your ethical dilemma from the portfolio and apply the NASW Code of Ethics.

-Brief overview of the elements of your Portfolio

You are permitted to bring written notes outlining the presentation or use a power point presentation.

Twenty to forty minutes of questions by the Committee for the purpose of clarification, discussion and elaboration.

Five to ten minutes - Committee makes a decision on whether you passed or failed the oral exam


Ten to fifteen minutes - Feedback to you.

Your feedback- We strive to continually improve the quality of our MSW program and your feedback helps us in this endeavor. You will be given opportunity to turn in written feedback anonymously to the Student Support Assistant electronically. Feedback will be stripped of identifiers and compiled. You will also be invited to give feedback orally at the end of the final examination in terms of: 1) strengths you observed in the program, and 2) ways the program could be strengthened. This is optional.

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

7. You may be asked to make further revisions on your 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 Masters Project approval form. Your grade for the Field II course must be changed from an X in order for you to clear for graduation.

8. Your official graduate date will be the last working date of the month in which you completed all program requirements.

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

UMD Social Work Department

220 Bohannon Hall
1207 Ordean Court
Duluth, MN 55812

(218) 726-8497
1 (888) 534-9734

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