MSW Degree

MSW Degree Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

About the MSW 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.

Blended delivery style - online and face-to-face

Cal U’s MSW program provides students with instruction through classroom sessions and also through online delivery methods. Students will attend class once every three weeks and then online for the two weeks in between campus sessions. Faculty members will assign online reading, discussions, or small assignments to keep you on task and prepared for the next face-to-face class. Your physical presence is expected and required for our face-to-face classes.

HRSA Program Student Opportunities

Cal U graduate students can apply to receive a $10,000 stipend in support of their clinical field experience in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Counselor Education, and Social Work. The application process is competitive. Click here to learn more.


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.

Curriculum, Admission Requirments and Related Course Content

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

Regular Admission Requirements

  • 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

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Regular Accelerated/Traditional:  Bachelor’s degree with a GPA under 3.00 will be reviewed for a decision
  • Professional Portfolio Statement
  • Resume
  • 3 Letters of Reference

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, 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.

How to Apply:

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

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Mission, Goals and Outcomes
Student Manuals and Forms

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.

M.S.W. Faculty

Ashley Barr
Adjunct Professor

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Ann Bergamasco
MSW/BSW Field Coordinator

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Dr. Sheri Boyle
Associate Professor/BSW Program Director

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Erica Maloney
Adjunct Professor

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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/MSW Program Director

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Dr. Rosalie Smiley

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Dr. Pamela C. Twiss

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