Mar 28, 2023  
2018-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, M.S.W.

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Shippensburg University jointly offers with Millersville University a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program. An MSW permits graduates to work in a variety of human service programs and agencies in an advanced clinical and/or administrative capacity. The flexibility of the social work degree provides graduates with many options as they pursue their careers in helping fields.


The mission of the MU-SU MSW program is to provide accessible social work graduate education in the south-central region of Pennsylvania in order to prepare students for advanced generalist practice and to provide professional leadership and contribute to the development and dissemination of social work practice knowledge.

Program Goals

The MU-SU MSW program seeks to:

  1. Prepare students for competent advanced generalist practice, with a focus on rural client systems, through the acquisition and demonstration of social work knowledge, skills, and values.
  2. Provide leadership and service for the social welfare systems and the social work profession.
  3. Foster commitment to professional development and the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

Program Structure

The program is designed for students who have no previous social work education and for those who want to build upon their baccalaureate social work education. Students will be admitted full or part time. Courses are offered evenings with some Saturday classes, which are electives. State-of-the-art technology will permit students to acquire social work knowledge, skills, and values through multiple educational methods including teleconferencing and web-based activities. Students will take all courses on the campus where they are enrolled, while benefiting from the quality faculty and resources of both universities.


The MU-SU MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Admissions Classifications

Students may apply for regular or advanced standing admission. Students may apply for advanced standing admission if they graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program within the past eight years and do meet the QPA requirements as described in the admission guidelines. They must also have a reference from the BSW program director.

Regular standing admission is for students who completed a baccalaureate degree with a major other than social work.

Students who graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program within the past eight years, but did not meet the QPA requirements for advanced standing, will be aditted to the Regular program. They may exempt courses as described in the Admission Guidelines.

Admission Guidelines


Candidates may choose to apply through either Millersville or Shippensburg University. If all seats are full at one campus, successful applicants will be given the option to enroll through the other campus, if seats are available. Applicants desiring admission to a specific campus may also be placed on a waiting list if all seats are full.


Applicants for Regular Standing admission must have a minimum cumulative quality point average of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution. In exceptional cases, applicants who lack the required quality point average but whose other qualifications are outstanding may be admitted on a probationary basis. Applicants admitted on probation must earn a 3.0 quality point average by the end of the first 12 credits.

Applicants for Advanced Standing admission must have earned a baccalaureate degree in the last eight years from a CSWE-accredited social work program with an overall QPA of 3.0 in all undergraduate coursework and a major QPA of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Exemption from Foundation (First-Year) Courses

Students who graduated with a baccalaureate degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program who are not eligible for advanced standing may be eligible for exemptions from some first-year foundation courses other than practice and field instruction in which they have earned a grade of B or higher within the past eight years. Exemptions will reduce the total number of credits a student must earn to graduate. The Admissions Committee will send a letter notifying the applicant of the exemptions.


Students may apply for waivers from courses when they have already demonstrated proficiency in the course content at a graduate level with a grade of a B or higher. When requesting consideration for a waiver, a student must submit a Request for Waiver form and course syllabi to the program co-director. A waiver will not reduce the number of required credits for graduation but will allow a student to take a more advanced course or an elective course.

Entrance Examination

Only applicants whose QPA falls below the minimum standard of 2.8 need to take either the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the General Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as part of the admission process. Scores should not be more than five years old at the time of application.

Personal Qualifications

Applicants must present evidence of a combination of professional and personal experiences, qualities, and values that are considered essential for the practice of social work. A current resume is required. Three professional references are required with a minimum of one from faculty and one from a current or recent agency employer or supervisor. The third reference must be from another faculty or employer/supervisor. No personal references or co-worker references will be accepted.

Applicants will complete a written personal statement. Forms are available through the Graduate Admissions Office. The program may request a personal interview or additional information when necessary to make a fully informed admissions decision.

Persons who have criminal records are not eligible to work in many human service fields. Applicants with criminal records should contact the MSW program director for additional information.


Students must demonstrate they have successfully completed coursework in each of the following areas: Human Biology, Economics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and Statistics. Applicants can be admitted with up to two course deficiencies. These course deficiencies must be completed by the end of the foundation year (30 credits) of the MSW program. The program provides information about options for completion of these prerequisites upon admission to the program.


Students may receive up to 9 credits earned at other regionally accredited institutions prior to admission. Graduate credits earned more than five years prior to admission do not qualify for transfer. Students may only transfer credits provided they are in good standing in those schools. Courses must be listed on an official transcript with a B or higher. Condensed one-week graduate courses do not qualify for transfer.

With advance permission of MU-SU MSW program director and the faculty advisor and as part of a planned program, a student may transfer credits from other graduate programs at MU or SU.


The program does not grant academic credit for life or work experience.

Degree Requirements

Students enrolling in the Regular Program must complete 60 credits of graduate study including: 12 credits of field practicum, 9 credits of electives, and 39 credits of required coursework. BSW graduates in the Regular Program may receive exemption for some coursework, as per admission guidelines.

Students enrolled in the Advanced Standing Program must complete 36 credits of graduate study including: 6 credits of field practicum, 12 credits of electives, and 18 credits of required coursework including a summer “bridge” course.

Due to the cohort nature of this program, all courses must be taken in sequence. The Regular Program can be completed in two years full time (four courses per academic semester plus summer courses) or four years part time (two courses a semester). The Advanced Standing Program can be completed in one year, full time or two years, part time. Both programs are year round.


Students enroll in either the regular (60 crs.) or the advanced (36 crs.) program. Students in the regular program take both the required foundation year and the concentration year courses including three elective courses. Students in the advanced program take the required advanced bridge course, the concentration year courses, and four elective courses.

Advanced Standing (Bridge Course)-3 crs.

Concentration Year Courses

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