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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: 267-386-3015

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 WCU Master of Social Work program?

"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 (DBHIDS)

How long will it take to receive an admissions decision?

Students typically receive admissions decisions within six to 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. You can 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. You can 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 towards 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. However, 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 for sufficient time to complete 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.

Qualifications to take the ASWB Master's Examination

  1. First go to the PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists and Professional Counselors website and print out the: "APPLICATION FOR A LICENSE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL WORK" form.
  2. To be eligible for the ASWB Master's examination, the applicant must be in the final semester or hold a Master's Degree or a Doctoral Degree in social work or social welfare from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  3. If the applicant is in his/her final semester, have the CSWE-accredited school dean or registrar or department chair complete the section: Verification of Social Work Education for Applicants Enrolled in Their Final Semester. The form must be sent directly from the educational institution to the Board in an official sealed school envelope. **In order for a license to be issued, after graduation, an official transcript showing a Master's degree in social work or social welfare must be sent directly from the educational institution to the Board in an official sealed school envelope.**
  4. For an applicant that has graduated and received a Master's degree, request an official transcript showing a Master's degree in social work or social welfare to be sent directly from the educational institution to the Board.
  5. The applicant will then receive notification from the PA Board of Social Workers that their application to take the examination has been approved. The applicant can then go to the Association of Social Work Boards website to register for the exam at a place and time that is convenient to them. There are hundreds of testing sites across the country. All states (except California) and all U.S. territories accept the ASWB Master's Level Exam as evidence of competence to be licensed at the first level of licensure (in PA: LSW or Licensed Social Worker).
  6. Preparing for the exam:
    • The ASWB website, at which you register for the exam, has a number of study tools to help prepare you for the exam. You can enroll in an online preparatory course and even take a sample online exam. You can also order a hard copy study guide.
    • You can also take a day long preparatory course from the National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter. You can find information about when and where licensure prep courses are being offered by going to the National Association of Social Workers Pennsylvania Chapter website. There is a fee for the course.
    • There are also other preparatory courses offered online or in person via other, commercial organizations. The WCU, MSW Program does not vouch for the quality of these other programs.

Qualifications to then receive a license to practice Social Work at the LSW level in PA

  1. Once you have taken and passed the ASWB Master's Exam, have ASWB send your test score to the PA State Board of Social Workers (or whatever state board you wish to be licensed by).
  2. Once the state board has verified that you have graduated from a CSWE-accredited MSW Program and have passed the ASWB Master's Level Exam, you will be issued a license at the LSW level.
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