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Master's Degree Programs in Social Work in Philadelphia, PA

Five universities in Philadelphia offer master's degree programs in social work. Keep reading for more information on the curricula and admissions requirements for these schools.

West Chester University

West Chester's Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers both a regular- and an advanced-standing track. The regular-standing track takes three to four years to complete and covers both fundamental and advanced topics in social work, while the advanced-standing program is intended for students with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and skips the more basic concepts, which lets candidates finish in just one to two years.

Temple University

Temple's flexible MSW program caters to the needs of busy working professionals and offers full-time, part-time, and even online study plans that can be made to fit even the most hectic schedules. Students in the program can choose a specialization and concentration, permitting them to focus on certain social welfare areas such as mental health, policy, or children and families.

The University of Pennsylvania

The MSW at the University of Pennsylvania begins with the foundation portion of the curriculum, which covers introductory topics like human behavior and the history of social welfare, before moving on to the advanced portion, where students choose a clinical or macro practice and spend a year focusing on their chosen concentration. Coursework in this program is divided into several 'content areas,' such as social policy, social change, research, and behavior in the social environment.

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr's Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research offers a Master of Social Service (M.S.S.) degree that contains the same licensure outcomes as an MSW degree. The degree covers the same concepts in social welfare and employs an integrated approach that introduces students to both theory and practice in the field. An advanced-standing option is available for those who have recently earned a BSW.

Widener University

Widener offers an MSW program that has a specialization in clinical social work, and students with an interest in gender studies can also pursue a dual MSW/MEd degree in human sexuality. This versatile program prepares graduates for work with mental health agencies, youth services, schools, and medical institutions.

School Name Degree Offered Tuition (2019-20)*
West Chester University Master of Social Work $9,288 (in-state), $13,932 (out-of-state)
Temple University Master of Social Work $16,956 (in-state), $23,346 (out-of-state)
University of Pennsylvania Master of Social Work $36,254
Bryn Mawr College Master of Social Service $45,240
Widener University Master of Social Work, MSW/MEd in Human Sexuality $23,830

*Source: NCES

Master's Degree Programs in Social Work in Philadelphia Courses

Courses in social work programs consider the field from historical, legal, philosophical, and ethical perspectives. Candidates will learn about the history of the field and review important legal policies that shape the current state of the American social welfare environment. They will also learn to provide care to individuals and families, as well as larger communities and groups.

Social Welfare Policy

This course serves as an introduction to the American social work system and teaches students how to understand and navigate the many regulations and policies that they can expect to encounter in their careers. Common course concepts include the ethics and values of the social work profession as well as the various human service programs available in the country. Students will also consider topics such as social change, discrimination, and economic justice.

Social Work Research

In this course, students will acquire the techniques and skills needed to conduct research in the social work field. Students will learn quantitative and qualitative research skills as they explore topics related to scientific inquiry. The course also focuses on building critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Children and Families

Students in this course will explore the social and cultural factors that influence family dynamics as well as the role of social workers in the preservation and protection of families. The course also analyzes how external community factors (such as schools or local organizations) can influence and impact families.

Policy

This course examines the history of the current state of mental health policy in the American healthcare system. Students will observe how policy is crafted and enacted and explore the effects these policies have had on the system both in the past and in the present day. This course features an examination of key policy issues such as access, cost, financing, and resource allocation, and may also cover such topics as social change or policy's impact on certain groups, such as minorities.

How to Apply to MSW Programs in Philadelphia

All applicants will need a bachelor's degree in order to be eligible to apply for MSW programs in the Philadelphia area and may need to have taken undergraduate coursework in the humanities and social science. Candidates who wish to pursue an advanced-standing track need to have a degree in social work.

Prospective students will also need to submit letters of recommendation from professors or professional supervisors. Other common application items include a resume, personal statement, and an interview with the admissions committee.

A handful of schools in Philadelphia offer master's degree programs in social work. These programs feature coursework in foundational and advanced topics and prepare graduates for the rigors of a career as a social worker.