MSW: Master of Social Work

West Chester University

West Chester Campus

Reynolds Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2664

PASSHE Center City

701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 267-386-3015

Program Overview


Program Concentration

The MSW Program concentration is Direct Practice with Individuals and Families - an approach to social work grounded in human rights and social justice. Graduates of the West Chester University MSW program are trained to work with individuals and families using strengths-based, research-informed and community-oriented assessment, intervention and evaluation skills to enhance resiliency, support recovery and mitigate the effects of trauma to build capacity. Our Recovery, Resiliency and Capacity-Building framework informs all aspects of the program.

Recovery- “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”1

Guiding Principles of Recovery

  • Recovery emerges from hope.

  • Recovery is person-driven.

  • Recovery occurs via many pathways.

  • Recovery is holistic.

  • Recovery is supported by peers and allies.

  • Recovery is supported through relationship and social networks.

  • Recovery is culturally-biased and influenced.

  • Recovery is supported by addressing trauma.

  • Recovery involves individual, family, and community strengths and responsibility.

  • Recovery is based on respect.

Resiliency- “Resilience, as a concept and construct, is the context-specific ability to respond to stress, anxiety, trauma, crisis, or disaster. Resilience develops over time and is the culmination of multiple internal and external factors.”2

Capacity Building- “Capacity refers to the various types and levels of resources available to establish and maintain a community prevention system that can identify and respond to community needs.”3

Students graduate with training in the most cutting-edge, evidence-based practices in social work, including:

Program Goals

The goals of the West Chester University MSW Program are to:

  • Provide a quality Master of Social Work program in accord with the standards of the Council on Social Work Education and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

  • Prepare graduates to practice competently and ethically with individuals and families.

  • Prepare graduates to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage research in the practice of social work.

  • Prepare graduates to practice social work with a commitment to social justice.

Program Mission Statement

The Graduate Social Work Department provides a quality, affordable and accessible Master of Social Work degree in preparation for a career in an evolving, complex, technological, and global society. It prepares graduates who can think critically, communicate effectively, embrace diversity, practice ethically, respond to the needs of vulnerable and oppressed populations, are committed to human rights and social justice, and are competent to practice with individuals and families.



1Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation, 2015-2018. HHS Publication No. (PEP) 14-LEADCHANGE2. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration, 2014.

2 SAMHSA’s Partners for Recovery Initiative. (2013, March 1). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from

3Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014, from