Social Work Master's Degree

Social Work Master's Degree Graduate Degree Program (M.S.W.)

About the Social Work Master's Degree

Advance your practice and professional skills in the field of social work.

The master of social work at California University of Pennsylvania prepares you to work with individuals, families, small groups, communities and organizations in today's American communities.

As a professional social work master's degree program in a public university located in a rural, small-town area, the M.S.W. program at Cal U is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people within the surrounding Pennsylvania region and in our broader society.

Gain specialized skills to serve our region's communities.

The M.S.W. program offers the advanced generalist specialization with a rural focus:

  • Train as a social work professional who is skilled to work at all levels of practice across many population groups.
  • Complete social work research projects for all master's degree classes.
  • Work alongside social work faculty on grant-funded projects such as a recent study of aging and older adults.

Cal U's M.S.W. graduate degree program is fully 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.

HRSA Grant

Cal U’s graduate Counselor Education and Social Work Programs are the recipients of a $1.9 million Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program grant.  The purpose of this program is to prepare Cal U students to work in rural and medically underserved communities with a focus on mental and behavioral health. Our mission is to collaboratively educate, train, and provide services that will benefit the health and health equity of the underserved and vulnerable people in our community by producing quality behavioral health professionals for the region’s workforce.  This program allows students to apply for an opportunity to receive a $10,000 stipend, while completing their required practicum or field experience. 

Students accepted into the graduate Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, or Social Work programs are eligible to apply for the grant before completing their programs practicum or field experience.

In addition to the stipend, students receive additional training and increased opportunities for interdisciplinary development.

If you have questions regarding the HRSA BHWET program, contact HRSA Program Coordinator Molly Jenkins at


Two tracks
Social work students can choose from two tracks: A 4-semester, two-year program or a 6-semester, three-year program. An advanced standing program is available to those with bachelor's degrees in social work from CSWE-accredited programs.

In the field
M.S.W. students complete up to 900 hours of practicum, or 660 hours for advanced standing students. This practical field experience is overseen by Cal U faculty and social workers in the field with an M.S.W. and post-grad experience.

Learn more about applying

Expected job growth through 2026 for social workers, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Of M.S.W. graduates are employed at graduation.
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Degree Benefits

Cal U's social work master's degree program prepares students to respond professionally to increasingly complex rural human needs. M.S.W. students also:

  • Learn with a theoretical and professional practice-focused curriculum in social work.

  • Gain an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and its importance.

  • Work in direct and indirect practice and develop their leadership capacities.

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Graduate Outcomes

Cal U's graduate program in social work is committed to developing students' personal and professional growth, preparing you to be competent, effective and well-regarded by communities and employers. Our social work graduates are:

  •  Among the largest providers of community behavioral health services.
  • Employed in aging-related services in nursing homes, residential facilities and community-based care.
  • In positions at hospitals and other medical and healthcare facilities.
Master of Social Work

Get Involved


A very active Graduate Social Work Student Association promotes involvement in community service, supports academic excellence, and serves as a liaison between students and the M.S.W. faculty. Cal U also has an alumni association for M.S.W. graduates.


Study abroad

M.S.W. students may choose to study abroad to learn about social services programs in other countries. Cal U social work students have studied in Israel, Jamaica and Germany.

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M.S.W. and Bachelor of Social Work students are eligible to be recognized by the national social work honorary society, Phi Alpha. Cal U's chapter advances the profession of social work by recognizing service, leadership and academic excellence.

Master of Social Work Courses

Courses prepare M.S.W. graduates with the knowledge, skills and values for advanced generalist practice, with an emphasis on practice in rural and small-town environments. The 57-credit M.S.W. program begins in the fall term.



Course Credits
SWK 701  Generalist Practice I 3
SWK 702  Generalist Practice II 3
SWK 705  Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3
SWK 707  Human Diversity  3
SWK 709  Social Welfare Policy and Services 3
SWK 716  Social Work Research Methodology and Data Analysis  3
SWK 730  First Year Field Practicum 6
SWK 801  Advanced Generalist Practice 3
SWK 803  Differential Assessment 3
SWK 806  Rural Family and Community Policy 3
SWK 808  Advanced Practice Evaluation 3
SWK 812  Practice in Supervision and Administration 3
SWK 829  Advanced Field Practicum I 6
SWK 830  Advanced Field Practicum II 6
SWK Practice Electives* (2)
Total 57
*Practice Electives  
SWK 811  Practice with Aging in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 813  Practice in Health Care and Health Planning in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 814  Practice in Mental Health/Mental Retardation in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 815  Juvenile and Adult Justice System Practice in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 816  Practice with Children and Youth in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 821  Social Work with Substance Abuse/Addictions in Rural and Small Town Environments 3
SWK 840  Electives (varied) 3

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Regular Accelerated/Traditional:  Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.00 or higher (Students with a GPA below 3.00 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Advanced Standing Accelerated/Traditional:  Bachelor of Social Work degree within six years of application to the MSW program with an overall GPA of 3.00 and a 3.25 or higher in the undergraduate social work major.  (Students with a GPA of 3.00 to 3.24 in the undergraduate social work major may still be reviewed for an Advanced Standing decision at the discretion of the department/coordinator.  Students who do not meet the requirements for advanced standing may be considered for regular admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • Professional Portfolio Statement
  • Resume
  • 3 Letters of Reference
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements.  Those admitted conditionally based on missing document/s have up to a maximum of two semesters to satisfy these requirements:
    • Regular Accelerated/Traditional:  Bachelor’s degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Unofficial transcripts
  • Professional Portfolio Statement
  • Resume
  • 3 Letters of Reference

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email ( or fax (724-938-5712)

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Additional Program Information

Mission, Goals and Outcomes
Student Manuals and Forms



M.S.W. Faculty

Ann Bergamasco
MSW/BSW Field Coordinator

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Dr. Sheri Boyle
Department Chair/MSW Program Director/Associate Professor

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Dr. Selina Matis

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Dr. Janice McCall
Assistant Professor

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Dr. Gwendolyn Perry-Burney

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Dr. T. Thao Pham
Associate Professor

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Dr. Rosalie Smiley

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Dr. Pamela C. Twiss

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