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

Professional Social Work

Our nationally ranked Master of Social Work program offers students the opportunity to receive a quality education at an exceptionally affordable rate. Within a public university renowned for its commitment to student-centered education, the MSW Program at West Chester University combines unmatched personal attention with the accessibility of interdisciplinary resources.


Students considering a graduate education in social work often will ask faculty in MSW programs and practicing social workers why they should choose social work over other helping professions, such as professional counseling, clinical psychology, psychiatric nursing, or marriage and family therapy. Perhaps one of the best reasons is the incredible versatility of the MSW degree. Social workers are found in a wide array of settings, far beyond the public social service agencies that immediately come to mind when thinking about the term "social worker."

Diverse Opportunities

A graduate degree in social work provides students with a wide array of career opportunities.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, professional social workers are the nation's largest group of mental health services providers. There are more clinically trained social workers -- more than 200,000 -- than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined.

Social workers are also found in schools, medical facilities, substance abuse treatment centers, hospices, the military, disaster and trauma services, small businesses, large corporations, prisons, immigration and refugee services, senior centers, community development, and government.

A Growing Profession

Social work is a profession with expanding career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for social workers will grow because of an increase in demand for health care and social services. Evidence suggests that social work employment will outpace most other occupations, increasing 25 percent by 2020.

In 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked several social work-related careers in its list of The 100 Best Jobs.

A True Helping Profession

A unique aspect of the social work profession is the emphasis on hope that is engendered by fostering and supporting individual, family, community, and societal strengths. A basic tenet of the social work profession is to first instill hope. In the words of the National Association of Social Workers, those who enter the profession "believe that there are no limits to human potential and use their talents to help others create better lives for themselves and their families."

Suggested Reading

Book cover: Days in the Lives of Social Workers

Students who would like to know more about the many different opportunities available to Master's level social workers may want to consult Linda Grobman's book Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 50 Professionals Tell "Real-Life" Stories from Social Work Practice, 2nd Edition

Additional Reading