Social Work, MSW

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice is one of the oldest and most well-respected social work programs in the country. The program (ranked 5th in the nation by Princeton Review’s Gourman Report and 12th by U.S. News and World Report) is designed to prepare social workers for leadership roles in developing and providing services to individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in the local, national, and global arenas. With a recently redesigned curriculum, Penn’s MSW degree melds cutting-edge innovation with a rich educational tradition rooted in social justice and social change.

Curriculum

A minimum of 16 course units are required for graduation. 

Core Requirements
SWRK 6010History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare1.0
SWRK 6020Human Behavior in the Social Environment1.0
SWRK 6030American Racism and Social Work Practice1.0
SWRK 6040Foundations of Social Work Practice I1.0
SWRK 6140Foundations of Social Work Practice II1.0
SWRK 6150Introduction to Social Work Research1.0
SWRK 7040Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice I1.0
or SWRK 7080 Advanced Macro Social Work Practice I
SWRK 7140Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice II1.0
or SWRK 7180 Advanced Macro Social Work Practice II
SWRK 7130Understanding Social Change: Issues of Race and Gender1.0
Select one 7000 level Policy Elective 11.0
Select one 7000 level Research Option 11.0
Electives
Select one of the following:1.0
Mental Health Diagnostics 1
7000-level Elective for Macro Practice
Select four additional electives4.0
Total Course Units16
1

Must be from approved list.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.


 

Sample Plan of Study

Penn offers four different MSW program options, enabling students to choose the course of study that best fits with their personal circumstances and career goals: the two-year Full-Time program, the three-year Part-Time program, the Advanced Standing program, and the Employed Practitioners program. Additionally, the Penn MSW program accepts students from Pennsylvania’s CWEL program.

While students may customize their schedules due to participation in a dual degree or certificate program, enrollment in an international course or study abroad experience, the needs of their field placement agency, or successfully passing a waiver exam, the grid below outlines the standard schedule and course of study for full-time students.

Sample Plan of Study

Below is the standard schedule and course of study for full-time students.

Joint Lectures

Sequences in the MSW program may schedule sequence-wide lectures for all sections at various points in the semester. These lectures feature experts in the field and are a mandatory component of the course(s).

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCourse Units
Foundation-year field placement begins in September and ends in April.  
SWRK 6010 History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare 1 1.0
SWRK 6020 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (including Joint lectures) 1 1.0
SWRK 6030 American Racism and Social Work Practice (including Joint lectures) 1.0
SWRK 6040 Foundations of Social Work Practice I (including Joint lectures) 2 1.0
 Course Units4.00
Spring
SWRK 6140 Foundations of Social Work Practice II (including Field and Joint Lectures) 2 1.0
SWRK 6150 Introduction to Social Work Research (including Joint lectures) 1 1.0
Select one 7000 level Policy Elective 1.0
Select one of the following: 1.0
Mental Health Diagnostics  
7000 level Elective
 
 Course Units4.00
Second Year
Fall
Advanced-year field placement begins in September and ends in April.  
SWRK 7040
Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice I (including Field and Joint lectures) 2
or Advanced Macro Social Work Practice I
1.0
Select two 7000 level electives 2.0
Select one 7000 level Research Option 1.0
SWRK 7100 Supervision Seminar 3 0.0
 Course Units4.00
Spring
SWRK 7140
Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice II (including Field and Joint lectures) 2
or Advanced Macro Social Work Practice II
1.0
SWRK 7130 Understanding Social Change: Issues of Race and Gender (including Joint lectures) 1.0
Select two 7000 level electives 2.0
SWRK 7100 Supervision Seminar 3 0.0
 Course Units4.00
 Total Course Units16.00
1

Waiver Exams are offered for SWRK 6010 and SWRK 6020 every August, and for SWRK 6150 every October.  Students who score a qualifying grade on a waiver exam may take an elective in place of the required course.

2

Practice classes are a year-long sequence.  Students remain in the same section of SWRK 6040/SWRK 6140 for the entire year, and remain in the same section of SWRK 7040/SWRK 7140 or SWRK 7080/SWRK 7180 for the entire second year.

3

Non-credit/non-tuition course. For students without an MSW field supervisor.