Master of Social Work

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

About the Master of Social Work

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 graduate 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 of at-risk 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.


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

Of M.S.W. students come from Saudi Arabia. Other students' home countries include Nigeria, Russia and China.
Of M.S.W. graduates are employed at graduation.
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Degree Benefits

Cal U's M.S.W. graduate 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 Examples
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Juvenile and Adult Justice System Practice in Rural and Small Town Environments
  • Practice in Health Care and Health Planning in Rural and Small Town Environments
  • Practice in Supervision and Administration
  • Rural Family and Community Policy
  • Social Welfare Policy, Services and Program Design
  • Social Work Research Methodology and Data Analysis

View Course Sequence

View admissions requirements

View the Mission and Goals of the MSW Social Work Program

View the Assessment of Learning Outcomes

View the MSW Field Manual

View the MSW Student Manual

M.S.W. Faculty

Ann Bergamasco
MSW/BSW Field Coordinator

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

Dr. Selina Matis

Dr. Gwendolyn Perry-Burney

Dr. T. Thao Pham
Assistant Professor

Dr. Rosalie Smiley

Dr. Pamela C. Twiss