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Advance your knowledge of social work and mental health

Serve diverse populations more effectively with an MSW degree

Social Work (Master of Social Work)

Offered by: Social Work

Slippery Rock University's Master of Social Work Degree is a 60-credit program, or 45-credits for advanced standing (Advanced standing students are those with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program). Built on the foundation of SRU's successful Bachelor of Social Work, the program nurtures students’ passion to help others while providing rigorous academic courses that enable them to translate that passion into best practices. 

CSWE Website

The program is designed in response to the growing need for specialized social workers and has met the requirements of the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).  Full-time students typically complete the MSW program in two years. Advanced standing students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program can finish in one calendar year. Individualized paths of study are possible for part-time students who are balancing their employment with their degree. Applicants can apply for a Fall or Summer start.

Why get a master’s degree in social work?

The specialized MSW coursework allows social workers to make a greater difference helping vulnerable people in society. Completing an MSW program allows students to specialize in an area of the broad social work field and can also help those interested in pursuing leadership positions. An advanced degree in social work can also lead to career paths in related fields such as healthcare administration, advocacy work, or policy analysis.

What will you learn?

Students in SRU’s Master of Social Work program learn about social work interventions for helping diverse vulnerable individuals and their communities. SRU offers a clinical concentration in social work that prepares students to properly diagnose and treat mental health problems. Although the program offers clinical practice emphasis to the program, the curriculum addresses the general practice competencies required for all graduate social work programs. 

There is an opportunity to pursue a certificate option in animal-assisted social work and/or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Field Education

Field education serves as the signature pedagogy of social work education. This opportunity allows MSW students to apply theoretical knowledge and practice using social work methods and skills, facilitate the integration of learning in class and in practice, develop appropriate professional uses of self, and further the identification with the social work profession

The Social Work Program works with a variety of human service agencies which provide the students with the opportunity to work with different client systems and in different problem areas. In arranging placements, both the quality of the learning experience and availability of appropriate student supervision are considered. The regular student must enroll in the 6 credit (over 2 semesters) Field  Education I course and the 6 credit (over 2 semesters) Field Education II course. The advanced standing student must enroll in the 6 credit Field Education II course (over 2 semesters). Criteria ensuring the quality of field experiences is developed by the university with input from community agency representation. The following criteria have been developed.

  1. The agency's philosophy of standards and services shall be consistent with the objectives of social work education.
  2. The administrator and staff must show the acceptance of graduate students in their organizations.
  3. The field supervisor must have the appropriate professional credentials for the position held. Field supervisors must have a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

For any questions related to Field Education and/or agency partnerships with the MSW program, please contact the  Director of Field Education, Dr. Kristie Abbs at

Careers in Social Work

An MSW degree prepares students for a variety of roles in the social services field and is the initial step towards becoming a licensed clinical social worker. Specialty areas for social workers with a master’s degree include: 

  • Medical or Clinical Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse 
  • Child or Geriatric Welfare 
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Community Service Management

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow by 22% and the need for counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists will grow by 12% from 2018-2028. In Pennsylvania, the 2019 annual mean wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $47,480.

MSW Program Requirements

To apply for Slippery Rock University Master of Social Work degree, prospective applicants must provide the following materials:

Attention: To apply for admission, please use the following link to apply now.

  • $25 Application Fee
  • Resume 
  • Two Electronic Recommendation Forms
  • Personal Statement: write an essay 1 1/2 - 2 pages describing yourself and the qualities that will make you an effective social worker; your experiences related to social work; your career goals 
  • Official Transcripts - Undergraduate/Graduate (official transcripts must be sent by institution via electronic transcript e-share to or via mail - faxed copies will not be considered official
  • SRU current/Alumni/former students click  here to order your official SRU final transcript and have it sent to

*If you are requesting review of your graduate transcripts for transfer of credit, please complete the  transfer of credit form and submit to the Office of Graduate Admissions with official graduate transcripts. Please review SRU's  transfer of credit policy.

Earn your Master of Social Work degree at SRU!

Slippery Rock’s Master of Social Work program allows students with a BSW degree to take the next step in their career. Learn more about the on-campus/online hybrid format of our MSW program by requesting more information today!