About the MBA and Social Work

Prepare for a leadership role in social work administration.

Combine your Master of Social Work degree with an MBA designed specifically to build business, management and leadership skills for social work administrators.

PennWest California’s MBA in Social Work Administration supplements your MSW degree with the business knowledge required to manage a professional practice or take a leading role at a social service agency or nonprofit organization.

The Master of Business Administration portion of this dual degree program can be completed 100% online or through blended on-campus and online study. You can earn the MBA in 15 months of full-time study, or on a part-time schedule.

Students wishing to study on-campus or through a combination of on-campus and online coursework (multi-modal) must begin their MBA program in the Fall semester.

Develop specialized skills in social work administration.

This program is intended for students currently enrolled in PennWest California’s accredited MSW program or for recent graduates of an approved Master of Social Work program. It introduces managerial and leadership principles, along with skills in quantitative analysis and decision-making that add value to your MSW degree.

As a graduate of the dual MBA-MSW programs, your commitment to service will be rooted in sound business principles and social-work ethics. You’ll be well prepared for leadership roles in a variety of public, private and nonprofit settings.

Program Highlights: MBA-MSW

FLEXIBLE MBA OPTIONS: PennWest California’s 36-credit MBA: Social Work Administration program includes a mix of online and on-campus courses. Online courses are asynchronous, so you have access to learning at any time, from anywhere. You can choose to attend on-campus courses in person or through web conferencing technology. This “distance learning” option gives you the flexibility to fit classes into your busy schedule or complete your degree entirely online.

SUPPORT FOR MSW STUDENTS: PennWest California’s accredited Master of Social Work program includes at least 660 hours of practicum that provides the knowledge, skills and experience needed for employment. As graduate student in social work, you may be eligible for a $10,000 stipend if you focus your practicum on behavioral/mental health in rural or medically underserved areas, or on the opioid crisis and substance misuse.

ACCREDITED PROGRAMS: Both components of the MBA-MSW dual degree program are fully accredited. PennWest California’s MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the only accrediting body for social work education programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels.

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of PennWest California's MSW students are employed at graduation, our graduate survey shows.
Median salary for social work managers in the United States, according to
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Degree Benefits

Like all specialized Master of Business Administration programs at PennWest California, the concentration in social work administration includes:

  • Core cross-disciplinary courses that build decision-making and leadership skills.
  • Concentration courses that let you pursue specialized study.
  • Electives that help you tailor your degree to your individual goals.

In the 3-credit capstone course, you’ll take part in simulated leadership experiences that demonstrate your ability to make ethical decisions regarding organizational strategy.

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Graduate Outcomes

As the U.S. population ages, the need for social workers is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Graduates of PennWest California’s MSW program have gone on to careers such as executive director of a local American Red Cross chapter, supervisor in a long-term skilled nursing facilities, and managers in leading human services agencies in western Pennsylvania.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs


Course Credits
Core Courses  
MBA 700  Business Foundations 3
MBA 710  Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis 3
MBA 720  Leading the Enterprise 3
MBA 730  Managerial Decision Making 3
MBA 740  Business, Government and Society 3
MBA 750  MBA Capstone 3
Course Options (Specialized Courses)  
SWK 705  Human Behavior and Social Environment 3
SWK 707  Human Diversity 3
SWK 709  Social Welfare Policy and Services 3
SWK 812  Practice in Social Work Supervision and Administration 3
Business Electives (500-level or higher ACC, BUS, ECO, ENP, FIN, HRM, MGT, MIS or MKT) 6
Total 36

View Cohort Sequences

Admission Requirements


  • Applicants must meet the MBA Admission Requirements and hold or be enrolled in an MSW from PennWest California or comparable MSW program from another regionally accredited school. (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited institution


  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • MSW degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • GMAT with a 550 or higher may be requested


  • Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

    This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.



  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit official transcripts by mail or email to:

    • School of Graduate Studies and Research
      PennWest California
      Box 91
      250 University Ave. 
      California, PA 15419
      Phone: 724-938-4187
Related Programs

Other MBA Concentrations:

  • Applied economics: Learn to apply economic theory and analysis skills to address issues in business, public policy and behavioral analysis.
  • Business analytics: Explore trends in information technology and transform data into meaningful tools that drive business strategies.
  • Healthcare management: Develop tools and skills pertinent to business careers within a variety of healthcare settings.
  • ManagementEnhance personal leadership competencies and build skills that can be used to solve problems and generate results. 


An MBA MSW alumni works as an administrator.

Big Picture

Rather than providing direct care, social work administrators focus on steering an agency or human services organization toward success. Among other duties, these professionals typically create budgets, design service programs and/or develop policies – all tasks that require a solid foundation in business practices, quantitative analysis and ethical decision-making. The MBA program imparts these skills, so graduates can help their organizations thrive.

Students in the MBA MSW program are prepared for leadership roles.

Fresh Thinking

In addition to studying business principles, students in the MBA: Social Work Administration program think deeply about problems and their solutions. In “Leading the Enterprise,” you’ll examine various leadership styles and methods for leading change. “Managerial Decision Making” addresses common biases and inferential errors. In “Business, Government and Society,” you’ll explore globalization, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and other challenging social issues.



Dr. Stephanie Adam
Associate Professor; MBA Program Coordinator

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Dr. Ahmet Akgun
Associate Professor

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Dr. Adnan Chawdhry
Associate Professor

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Dr. Joshua Chicarelli
Associate Professor

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Dr. Paul Hettler

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Dr. Elizabeth Jones
Associate Professor

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Dr. Richard LaRosa
Associate Professor

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Dr. Mark Lennon
Associate Professor

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Dr. Edmund Matecki
Associate Professor

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Dr. Kimberly Yost
Assistant Professor

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