Social Work MSW
About the Program
The School of Social Work is dedicated to the pursuit of societal transformations that eliminate social, political and economic injustices for poor and oppressed populations and advance the quality of life for all through:
- education emphasizing the discovery of knowledge, use of critical inquiry, and application of professional ethics to effect social change among social workers in front-line, supervisory, managerial and leadership positions;
- research and scholarship that advances applied knowledge and generates evidence-based strategies to resolve problems between people and their social environments at the local, state, national and global levels;
- public service that aids in the dissemination of knowledge and evidence-based strategies; and
- collaborations and partnerships with communities, agencies and organizations in response to the needs of constituents.
Flexible programming is offered for the MSW and includes:
Regular Entry — Applicants with a bachelor's degree may apply for the 60-credit MSW degree, which has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE):
- Full-time students pursue a degree (15 credits per term) for 2 years, excluding summers. Admission for full-time study is in the Fall term only.
- Part-time students pursue their degree (6 then 9 credits per term) over a 3-year period, including summers. Admission for part-time study is in the Fall and Spring terms.
Advanced Standing — Applicants must have earned a BSW degree within the last 5 years from a CSWE-accredited school of social work and be selected for advanced standing status:
- Full-time students begin in Summer I and finish in 12 months, taking 4.5 credits during the Summer term and 15 credits, per term, in the Fall and Spring terms.
- Part-time students begin in Summer I and finish in 18 months, taking 6 or 9 credits in their first Fall, Spring, Summer and final Fall terms. Admission is in the Summer term only.
Students who are accepted for Advanced Standing have 25.5 credits from the BSW program applied to the MSW program. They fulfill the requirements for the 60-credit MSW program by completing 34.5 credits in Temple University's CSWE-accredited MSW program.
Time Limit for Degree Completion: 5 years
Campus Location: Main (full- and part-time) and Online (part-time). Most courses are offered in an in-person format for campus-based students, although to increase choice, some courses are offered only in an online format. Online students have limited concentration and elective choices.
Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Course times are structured to offer a broad range of flexible options for students, many of whom are employed while engaged in their program of study at Temple. Students who are employed full-time are strongly advised to pursue the part-time program.
Interdisciplinary Study: The College of Public Health offers a dual master's degree in Social Work and Public Health. The MSW can be undertaken with any of these MPH programs:
- Applied Biostatistics– not currently offered
- Environmental Health– not currently offered
- Health Policy and Management
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Interested applicants complete one application that is reviewed by both Social Work and Public Health faculty for admissions consideration.
In partnership with the Beasley School of Law, the School of Social Work offers a dual degree JD-MSW program. Interested applicants apply to the JD and MSW programs separately. In each application, students note their interest in the dual degree JD-MSW program. The first year of coursework is composed entirely of JD courses. The second through fourth years of coursework include a mixture of JD and MSW classes.
Interested applicants can find additional information at https://www.temple.edu/academics/dual-degree-programs.
Study Abroad: Students are permitted to complete up to 6 credits in elective courses abroad. They should consult with their advisor about the timing of degree requirements.
Ranking: In 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report, Temple University's MSW program ranks 59 out of 262 accredited schools of social work.
Accreditation: The MSW degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Areas of Specialization: Faculty are engaged in a number of research and service projects pertaining to child welfare, family and community violence, gender identity and sexual orientation, HIV-AIDS, homelessness, intimate partner violence (IPV), involvement of fathers in families, mental and physical health, obesity, older adults, people with disabilities, political social work, poverty, racial equity and inclusion, social capital development and substance abuse.
Job Prospects: Graduates of the MSW program find employment in public and private social service agencies, as well as in profit and nonprofit organizations. Their work encompasses a broad range of responsibilities, including community organizing, counseling, management, program design and implementation, supervision and training. Graduates are also employed in many different fields of practice, such as adoption support, aging, child protection, community organizing, criminal justice, developmental disabilities, employment-based social work, HIV/AIDS, hospice care, medical social work, mental health counseling, political social work, school social work and substance abuse.
Licensure/Certification: States vary in their requirements for a license to practice social work, with many also offering different levels of licensing. Certain jobs in the field of social work require licensing. Graduates should contact their local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for information on the specific requirements for licensing in their state.
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) administers a licensure examination that is required to practice as a licensed social worker with an MSW in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. For more information about state licensure, visit https://www.aswb.org/licenses/how-to-get-a-license/.
Because Temple University’s Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), completion of Temple University’s MSW program qualifies students to sit for the ASWB licensure examination.
Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Students must apply for admission to the MSW program and be offered the non-matriculated student option. This option is for students who are ultimately seeking the MSW but do not fully meet the admissions requirements.
Financing Opportunities: The School of Social Work awards some aid each year to assist meritorious applicants and continuing students in meeting the cost of their educational program. Awards include partial scholarships and stipends provided by local public and voluntary agencies. Awards are made on the basis of academic merit and the overall promise shown by an applicant for contributing to the School and to the profession. Additional considerations include interest in particular areas of practice and the School's commitment to maintaining diversity in the student body. Some awards are granted at program admission, while others are designed to support our advanced year, continuing students.
Awards made by the School of Social Work ordinarily meet only part of the student's total educational expenses. All students are, therefore, expected to make use of available family and other resources as well as federal grant, loan and work-study assistance to help meet the cost of their education. Temple University's Office of Student Financial Services provides assistance with the federal grant/loan/work-study application process.
Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Fall Regular Entry Admission: March 1
Early application is encouraged. The School of Social Work has a limited number of scholarships to award, and these scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis.
Spring Regular Entry Admission: November 1
Summer Advanced Standing Admission: April 1
Early application is encouraged. The School of Social Work has a limited number of scholarships to award, and these scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis. Students who are completing BSW coursework are encouraged to apply in January after their Fall grades have posted to their transcript.
All applicants to the MSW program must apply via the Sophas Express System at https://sophasexpress.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/. Admission to Temple's MSW program is competitive, so applicants are advised to apply early and to ensure that all supporting documents are received by the Sophas Express System before the deadline.
Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3, with submission made at SOPHAS Express
From Whom: For regular entry, letters of recommendation should be obtained from faculty and professionals familiar with the applicant's academic competence and/or professional work experience. Applicants who have graduated from college within the last five years should submit at least one reference from a professor or an official of the degree-granting institution. Those with employment experience in the social services or a related field should submit at least one reference from a supervisor or administrator at their place of employment.
If seeking advanced standing, applicants should obtain three references, one of which should be prepared by the BSW Program Director, Senior Practice Seminar Course Instructor, Field Instructor or Field Coordinator. The letter should indicate the applicant's readiness for advanced standing.
Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Social Work education draws heavily from the rich and broad foundation provided by a liberal arts curriculum. All applicants are expected to have completed an undergraduate course of study reflecting this liberal arts foundation.
Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of an accredited baccalaureate degree. The minimum acceptable undergraduate GPA for regular entry applicants is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or 3.5 in the last 2 years of study (i.e., 60 credits of the bachelor's degree). In addition, an applicant who has completed at least 9 credits of graduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 may be considered for admission.
A bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW) is required for Advanced Standing applicants. Applicants for advanced standing must have achieved an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 in all undergraduate coursework and at least 3.25 in their junior/senior years. For detailed information, visit https://cph.temple.edu/ssa/degrees-offered-master-social-work/msw-admissions.
Statement of Goals: A statement of professional plans and goals is an important component of the admissions application in Social Work. It provides an opportunity for applicants to show their motivation for pursuing graduate study in the field of Social Work, relevant personal and professional experiences, and knowledge of diversity and social justice. This essay is evaluated on the basis of the applicant's ability to reflect on and summarize significant and relevant experiences, to conceptualize and think critically, and to write proficiently. Please respond to the specific question prompts listed on Sophas Express. All applicants should submit their essay at SOPHAS Express.
Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:
- TOEFL iBT: 79
- IELTS Academic: 6.5
- PTE Academic: 53
- Duolingo: 110
Resume: Current professional resume required.
Laptop: Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming students in the College of Public Health are required to have a laptop. Academic programs in the college are technology intensive. They incorporate statistical and database analyses; utilize specialized tools for athletic training, kinesiology and physical therapy; stream audio and video for communication sciences; facilitate online interactive counseling for social work; and foster clinical experiences and online assessments. The laptop requirement enables the College of Public Health to improve opportunities for active learning and provide greater access to specialized software and required tools in and out of the classroom, better preparing students for the workforce. Learn more about device specifications and suggested vendors. Students can use excess financial aid (i.e., funds that are reimbursed after all tuition and fees are paid) to meet student needs, including the purchase of a laptop. Scholarships may also provide funding.
Advanced Standing: Applicants from a BSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) may be eligible for advanced standing. This enables students, after a required summer critical thinking course that begins in June, to start the second year of study at the advanced curriculum level. To be considered for advanced standing, students must, in addition to meeting minimum requirements, have:
- earned the BSW no more than five years prior to applying;
- achieved an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.25, in addition to a 3.25 GPA in their junior and senior years; and
- received no more than one "C" grade in Social Work courses; that is, all other Social Work grades must be "B" or better.
Applicants for advanced standing must also submit:
- Three references, preferably one from the Senior Practice Seminar Course Instructor, one from the applicant's Field Instructor for the senior practicum, and the third from the BSW Program Director or another academic source.
- A copy of the Field Instructor’s evaluation form from the undergraduate placement.
Students who have completed their foundation year at another graduate school of social work may also be eligible to transfer in their foundation year credits if they meet the criteria.
Clearances: The Social Work MSW program requires students to complete clinical/field education experiences at facilities both on and off Temple University’s campuses. These placements require criminal background checks, Act 33/34 clearances, and perhaps a drug screen. Placements may also require the student to maintain personal health insurance. The results of these requirements may limit and potentially eliminate placement options for the student, thus resulting in her/his/their inability to meet graduation requirements. Additionally, conviction of a misdemeanor, felony, or felonious or illegal act may prevent the student from becoming credentialed and/or licensed to practice social work.
General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 60, including 30 in foundation coursework and 30 in advanced-level study
Students are exposed to multiple methods of intervention through foundation coursework. The courses are generalist in nature, allowing students to become familiar with the breadth of social work. Courses cover content in social justice, social welfare policy, research methods, human behavior in the social environment, and social work practice.
Students then select from a range of advanced-level coursework that allows them to examine in greater depth a practice modality, i.e., a concentration. Each concentration requires 9 credits of practice/program evaluation courses and an advanced field placement. Two concentrations are offered:
- Clinical Practice
- Macro Practice
|Foundation Courses 1|
|HRPR 5001||Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 2||0|
|SSWG 5003||Foundations in Social Work Research||3|
|SSWG 5005||Social Welfare Policies and Services I||3|
|SSWG 5006||Social Welfare Policies and Services II||3|
|SSWG 5007||Deconstructing White Supremacy in Social Work||3|
|SSWG 5101||Theory-Informed Direct Practice I: Individuals, Families, and Groups||3|
|SSWG 5102||Theory-Informed Direct Practice II: Individuals, Families, and Groups||3|
|SSWG 5103||Theory-Informed Macro Practice I: Groups, Organizations, and Communities||3|
|SSWG 5104||Theory-Informed Macro Practice II: Groups, Organizations, and Communities||3|
|SSWG 5187||Foundation Field Practicum I||3|
|SSWG 5188||Foundation Field Practicum II||3|
|Advanced Courses 3|
|SSWG 8505||Advanced Social Justice: Anti-Oppressive Social Work||3|
|Select one advanced policy course from the following: 4||3|
|Health/Mental Health Policy|
|Policy on Families and Children|
|Advanced Policy - Gender and Sexuality|
|Select courses for one concentration from the following:||9|
Clinical Practice Concentration, which requires these three 3-credit courses:
|Clinical Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups I|
|Clinical Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups II|
|Evaluation of Clinical Practice|
Macro Concentration, which requires these two 3-credit courses and a choice of three 1-credit practice courses:
|Macro Practice in Organizational, Community and Policy Arenas|
|Social Work Research: Communities and Policy Arenas and Management/Planning|
Choose three of the following 1-credit Macro practice courses:
|Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship|
|Coalitions and Partnerships|
|Resource and Grant Development for Human Services|
|Supervision, Staff Management, and Staff Development in Human Service Organizations|
|Leadership in Human Service and Social Change Organizations|
|Grassroots Mobilization: In the US and Internationally|
|SSWG 8187||Advanced Field Practicum I||3|
|SSWG 8188||Advanced Field Practicum II||3|
|Total Credit Hours||60|
During the first week of the term of their initial entry into the MSW program, all incoming regular entry students have the opportunity to complete a test-out exam for the following courses: SSWG 5003, SSWG 5005, and SSWG 5006. Students who earn a score of 80% or higher on a test-out exam are not required to complete the associated required course, but are required to successfully complete 3 credits of electives in place of each required course. That is to say, all regular entry MSW students are required to successfully complete 60 credits of coursework, even if they test out of any required course(s), to earn the degree.
This common College Core course is required of all incoming graduate students in the College of Public Health. It is available completely online and designed such that students can complete the modules at their own pace over the course of their degree program.
Unless transfer credits fulfill them, 30 credits of advanced-level courses are required. A portion of these 30 credits are earned in the advanced field practicum experiences described under "Internship" below.
With advanced review and approval from the MSW Program Director, students may take an advanced policy course outside of the School of Social Work.
With advanced review and approval from the MSW Program Director, students may take electives outside of the School of Social Work and/or independent study courses to fulfill the electives requirement.
Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-
Two internships are required in the form of a field practicum, which is an essential part of Social Work studies and is deliberately linked in an integral way with classroom learning. The practicum occurs concurrently with Social Work practice courses or can be taken as a block placement in the Summer sessions. (At this time, block placements are available only to campus-based students, not online students.) In order to ensure a quality learning experience for students, the Office of Field Education is responsible for working with students to arrange and oversee field practica. Students employed in social service settings may undertake their practica at their place of employment, but field placement activities must be substantially different than job duties. Because of accreditation and MSW curriculum requirements, students must have appropriate learning experiences and supervision; therefore, they should plan on allocating at least one full day during the regular work week to the practica.
The first field practicum, taken as part of the foundation curriculum, focuses on developing proficiency in generalist practice/basic Social Work skills. This includes learning to engage and assess a range of clients, including individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Students learn to identify issues, needs, resources and strengths. They also acquire skills in planning, communication, supervision and consultation as well as intervention, cultural competence, evidence-based practice and evaluation. This two-term practicum requires a minimum of 450 hours (usually 2.5 days per week).
With the second field practicum, taken as part of the advanced curriculum, students develop expertise in their chosen concentration. This practicum allows for in-depth development of skills and application of theory and concepts, exploration of ethical challenges, and continued cultural competency. This two-term practicum requires a minimum of 600 hours (usually three days per week).
Program Web Address:
School of Social Work Information:
School of Social Work
Ritter Hall Annex, 5th Floor
1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6005
Submission Address for Application Materials:
Recruitment and Admissions:
CPH Office of Admissions
Field Education Coordinator:
Valarie Clemmons, MSW
MSW Program Director:
Ashley E. Stewart, PhD
Assistant Professor of Instruction
Coordinator of Online MSW Program:
Ashley E. Stewart, PhD
Assistant Professor of Instruction