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Master of Social Work


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Master of Social Work

West Chester Campus

Reynolds Hall
650 Reynolds Alley
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2664

PASSHE Center City

701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone: 267-436-2664

logo 20 years master of social work program WCU The West Chester University MSW Program is a leader in social work, offering the highest quality education for the best value in the greater Philadelphia area. With small class sizes, students receive individual attention from experienced faculty members whose passions for social justice, human rights, and issues of diversity are nationally recognized.

Students receiving their MSWs from West Chester are trained in direct practice with individuals and families, with a keen understanding of the impact of trauma and social determinants of health. The MSW Program is designed to provide students with a highly versatile set of advanced skills to pursue a wide range of career opportunities to meet the 21st century's growing demands for social work services. The MSW curriculum immerses students in the study and application of evidence-based practices grounded in the concepts of Recovery, Resiliency and Capacity Building.

What are others saying about the MSW Program at WCU?

"I am thrilled that the MSW Program at West Chester University is embracing recovery and resilience as basic tenets throughout the program. This effort positions the department on the leading edge of the field and will greatly enhance the skills of graduates in the emerging healthcare environment."

-Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD., Commissioner, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services

"West Chester's program is different because it really takes a strong interest in us out in the field. The faculty support us the best they can, and I think the curriculum is helpful in helping students get their first jobs in social work."

-Ronald L. Ferraro, LCSW, QSCW, BCD, Associate Director of Quality Management, COMHAR Inc.

How long will it take to receive an admissions decision?

Students typically receive admissions decisions within eight weeks of submitting a completed application. This includes receipt of all transcripts and recommendations.

Will my application be considered if I am a career changer without any social work experience?

Absolutely. Career changers often find that social work is exactly what they have been looking for in a professional experience.

As a career changer you have three admissions options:

  1. Apply to the program and clearly articulate in your personal statement why a switch to social work is right for you at this point in your career, noting how your personal and work experience informs this decision.
  2. Enroll in one or two of our electives as a non-matriculated student and get a sense of social work before applying. Should you apply and be accepted into the program, these credits would count toward your degree.
  3. You can wait to apply while you gain volunteer or work experience in social/human services.

Because we review each application on an individual basis, we cannot tell you which of these options would be best. If you have questions, feel free to contact MSW Recruiter Kyle Murray.

Will I be able to work if I attend school full-time?

Many of our students work in addition to attending graduate school. We recommend that full-time students, along with part-time students in their second and third years, limit work to 20 hours per week to allow sufficient time for field work and course assignments.

Will I be prepared to take the social work licensing exam after graduation?

Yes. Students graduating from the MSW Program feel that the coursework prepared them well for the licensing exam. We also offer exam preparation seminars during the semester before graduation.

How do I apply to get licensed?

  1. Wait until your final semester of the MSW Program.
  2. Go to the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors website and print out the "APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL WORK.”
  3. Fill out the application. Have two licensed social workers sign your form. They can be faculty or social workers at your field placement. Get the form back and send it in with your application.
  4. Drop off or send the "Verification of Social Work Education” form to Dr. Page Buck. She will sign it and send it in for you.
  5. Receive your notice of eligibility and register to take the exam. Many people like to do it early, but this isn't necessary. You can wait until summer. See the ASWB website for locations.
  6. Study for the exam with a study group and/or in a licensure prep course. WCU will offer one in March. Stay tuned for details.
  7. After passing the ASWB Masters exam, have your test score sent to the Pennsylvania licensing board.
  8. After graduation, send your final transcript to ASWB. If you graduate in May, this may not be until early August.

The ASWB website has study tools to help prepare you for the exam.

The National Association of Social Workers offers one-day exam preparation courses. You can find days and locations for these courses at the website for the National Association of Social Workers - Pennsylvania chapter.

Other companies offer in-person and online exam preparation courses. The MSW Program at WCU does not vouch for the quality of these programs.

How do I receive a license to practice social work at the LSW level?

  1. After passing the ASWB Masters Exam, have ASWB send your test score to the social work board of the state where you wish to be licensed.
  2. Once the state board has verified that you have graduated from a CSWE-accredited MSW program and passed the ASWB Masters exam, you will be issued a license at the LSW level.
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