Site Search

A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.A smiling female student drips a chemical into a vial.

Social Work

Master of Social Work – Credits: 39 (advanced standing program)   - 57 (regular program) (program code:  0350)

Program Description

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is committed to developing students’ personal and professional growth, appreciating diversity, using an advanced generalist perspective to make a difference in rural environments, and preparing graduates to be highly competent, effective and well regarded social work practitioners. Our MSW program prepares students to respond professionally and creatively to the increasingly complex matrix of rural human needs and strengths in a changing society. It also provides students with a theoretical and professional practice focused curriculum in social work that promotes an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and its importance to competent advanced generalist practice. Built on a professional advanced generalist curriculum model, the program prepares students to work in direct and indirect practice and develops their leadership capacities to prevent and meet needs that affect people in southwestern Pennsylvania, including urban environments, and is designed for students with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, social sciences, sociology, liberal arts and other disciplines.

The 57-credit regular MSW program begins in the fall semester. The full-time regular program requires two years (four semesters). The part-time regular program takes three years; students must register for at least 6 credits each semester, are required to follow the plan for appropriate course sequencing, and must complete degree requirements within six years. The advanced standing program has 39 credits, and is designed for students with bachelor's degrees in social work from Council on Social Work Education accredited programs. It takes three semesters of full-time study (fall, spring, fall). Part-time advanced standing students follow requirements for part-time students and normally finish in two years (four semesters). 

Program Objectives

  • Prepare ethical, competent, self-regulating MSW graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and values for advanced generalist practice, with an emphasis on practice in rural and small town environments.
  • Develop social workers committed to social and economic justice, the promotion of human rights, and universal respect for human diversity.
  • Develop leaders in social welfare prepared to create needed and enhance existing services through nonmetropolitan-focused research, consultation, collaborative efforts and continuing education.

Delivery Mode

Traditional (on-ground, face-to face delivery, with some online/distance elements)

Accreditation

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Admissions Criteria

Regular Program

  • Minimum 3.00 GPA in a baccalaureate degree* verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • MSW application
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal professional statement (portfolio)
  • Completion of 30 credits of upper-level liberal arts work
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee
  • *For applicants with undergraduate GPA of less than 3.00, conditional acceptance may be possible.

Advanced Standing Program

  • Minimum 3.00 GPA in a baccalaureate degree* verified with official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • MSW application
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal professional statement (portfolio)
  • A social work degree from an accredited BSW program within six years of application to the MSW program
  • Minimum 3.25 GPA in social work major
  • Graduate School Application plus $25 nonrefundable application fee

Advanced Standing Program

Transfer Credit:

A maximum of 12 credits of prior MSW coursework and 3 credits of related graduate coursework may be submitted for faculty review. Transfer credits must have been completed within six years of entrance into the program, must have a grade of B or better, and must be the equivalent of any courses they replace. No credit is given for life experiences, previous work experiences or non-course credit work.

Curriculum

Full-time Regular Program (57 credits):
Course NameCredits
Foundation Year, Fall Term
*SWK 701 Generalist Practice I3
*SWK 705 Human Behavior and the Social Environment3
*SWK 709 Social Welfare Policy, Services and Program Design3
SWK Elective3


Foundation Year, Spring Term
*SWK 702 Generalist Practice II3
*SWK 707 Human Diversity3
*SWK 716 Social Work Research Methodology and Data Analysis3
SWK 730 First Year Field Practicum I6


Concentration Year Two, Fall Term
SWK 801 Advanced Generalist Practice3
SWK 803 Differential Assessment3
SWK 806 Rural Family and Community Policy3
SWK 829 Advanced Field Practicum I6


Concentration Year Two, Spring Term
SWK 808 Advanced Practice Evaluation 3
SWK 812 Practice in Supervision and Administration3
SWK Elective3
SWK 830 Advanced Field Practicum II6

*May be waived through examination

Full-time Advanced Standing Program (39 credits):
Course NameCredits
Fall Term
SWK 705 Human Behavior and the Social Environment3
SWK 715 Research, Policy and Rural Social Work Practice3
SWK 801 Advanced Generalist Practice3
SWK 829 Advanced Field Practicum I6


Spring Term
SWK 812 Practice in Supervision and Administration3
SWK 808 Advanced Practice Evaluation3
SWK 830 Advanced Field Practicum II6
SWK Practice Elective3


Fall Term
SWK 803 Differential Assessment3
SWK 806 Rural Family and Community Policy3
SWK Elective3
Advanced Practice Special Topics
Course NameCredits
SWK 811 Practice with Aging in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 813 Practice in Health Care and Health Planning in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 814 Practice in Mental Health/Mental Retardation in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 815 Juvenile and Adult Justice System Practice in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 816 Practice with Children and Youth in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 821 Social Work with Substance Abuse/Addictions in Rural and Small Town Environments3
SWK 840 Electives (varied)3

Field Practicum: The program makes extensive use of a wide variety of practicum sites.

Advisement

Students in the social work program receive academic and professional advisement from the program coordinator and program faculty. Each student is assigned to an academic adviser from the time he/she is accepted into the program of study. Advisers work with students to discuss, monitor and provide advisement as it relates to their program of study.

Application Questions

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Eberly 202B
250 University Ave.
California, PA 15419
724-938-4187
gradschool@calu.edu

Program Coordinator

Norma Thomas, D.S.W. (University of Pennsylvania), M.S.W. (Temple University), B.S.W. (Pennsylvania State University), Assistant Professor
Web Page
: http://www.calu.edu/academics/faculty/Norma-Thomas.aspx
Email: thomas@calu.edu
Phone
: 724-938-1597

Graduate Faculty

For faculty bios, visit: www.calu.edu/academics/faculty/index.htm.

Sheri Boyle, B.A. (University of California, Los Angeles), M.S.W. (University of Pennsylvania), Assistant Professor, Field Coordinator
Margaret Christopher, M.S.W., M.P.H., Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), B.A. (Mount St. Mary's College), Associate Professor
Gwendolyn D. Perry-Burney, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), B.S.W., M.S.W. (Temple University), Associate Professor
Rosalie Smiley, M.S.W., L.M.S.M., M.P.H., Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), Professor
Pamela C. Twiss, Ph.D., M.S.W. (University of Pittsburgh), B.A. (Point Park College), Associate Professor