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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 taught in a blended format of on-campus and online classes.  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. 

The program is designed in response to the growing need for specialized social workers and will meet 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 either a Fall or Spring term start.

Note:  Spring term starts may cause a delay in completing the program in a timely manner due to course sequencing.

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. 

Students select one concentration, Crisis Intervention or Forensic Social Work. Part of the Crisis Intervention concentration as well as the program’s introductory coursework is online. There is also the opportunity to pursue a certification option in animal-assisted social work. The animal-assisted social work courses complement both the crisis intervention and forensic specializations.

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:

  • Online Application
  • Graduate Application Fee
  • Official Transcripts (undergraduate transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution with a GPA of a 3.00 or higher. Students with a GPA below 3.0 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Two Electronic Reference Forms (students are responsible for forwarding this link to evaluator)
  • Resume' (submit to graduate.admissions@sru.edu )
  • Reference Release form
  • 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 (submit to graduate.admissions@sru.edu )
  • Prior to beginning the program, applicants must complete one of the following:  an introductory course in statistics that included using Statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) within the last five years  OR  SRU's SOWK 319 Statistical Methods or an equivalent course

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!