Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)

  • Leading social work program in Northeast Pennsylvania
  • Full and part-time programs with evening and weekend classes
  • Four locations: Scranton, Poconos, Lehigh Valley, Central PA
  • Convenient, flexible field placements
  • Dual degree programs

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Since opening its doors in 1969, Marywood's School of Social Work has educated more than 4,000 social workers, making it the leading provider of social work education in Northeast Pennsylvania. Our Master of Social Work (MSW) program is perfect for both those entering the social work field and current practitioners looking for advanced education.

Convenient Full and Part-time Programs

Our MSW program is convenient and flexible. Full-time, part-time, and weekend programs are available at four locations in Pennsylvania:

  • Scranton (Marywood University)
  • Poconos (East Stroudsburg University)
  • Lehigh Valley (DeSales University)
  • Central Pennsylvania (Bloomsburg University)

Field Placements

Our MSW program pairs traditional classroom courses with hands-on field placements to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist diverse populations of people. Students are placed in a variety of social service agencies throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

We will assist you in selecting an appropriate and convenient field placement. If you work at a social service agency, you may be able to complete your field work there.

Dual Degree Programs

We also offer dual degree programs for those interested in both advanced social work training and expertise in administration and management. You can earn two master's degrees in less time than it would take to complete them separately, by pairing the MSW with one of the follow related degrees:

  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA)
  • Master of Science (MS) in Gerontology
  • Master of Art (MA) in Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Divinity

More About This Degree

Dr. B. Lynn Hutchings
Assistant Professor

Ms. Lea Dougherty
Pro-Rata Instructor; Coordinator of the Scranton MSW Program

Dr. Phyllis Black
Professor; Director of the Lehigh Valley MSW Program

Dr. Christine Kessen
Associate Professor

Our MSW program is designed for those just entering the social work field and current practitioners alike. If you're new to the field of social work, an MSW degree will prepare you for advanced social work practice in a variety of settings:

  • Social service agencies
  • Hospitals and treatment centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Nonprofit organizations

If you are a practicing social worker, an MSW degree will make you more qualified for supervisory and administrative positions.

Specific Program Requirements

Before registering for field work, students must obtain a criminal background check, FBI clearance, and child abuse clearance. In addition, agencies may require a medical exam, drug test, or immunizations.

Graduate Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • “B” average during undergraduate study or demonstrated potential for graduate work
  • Completed application
  • Essay
  • Official, sealed transcripts
  • Two or three letters of recommendation

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Course of Instruction

The courses of the M.S.W. degree curriculum may be classified generally into two categories: those in the foundation curriculum and those that provide opportunity for advanced study. Listed below are the course descriptions for the foundation curriculum and information about elective courses. The School of Social Work reserves the right to modify or change the courses of instruction.

500 number courses are in Social Work Practice and include field education.
600 number courses are in the area of Human Behavior and the Social Environment.
700 number courses are in the Social Work Research curriculum area.
800 number courses are in Social Welfare Policy and Services.
900 number courses are in areas of practice or fields of practice or indicate courses that are interdisciplinary.

Foundation Curriculum

SW 500 Professional Foundations: Educating for Tomorrow’s Practice 3
SW 501 Practice I: Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families
SW 502 Practice II: Social Work Practice with Groups
SW 503 Practice III: Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations 3
SW 591 Field Education I: Foundation Field
SW 592 Field Education II: Foundation Field
SW 601 Human Behavior I
SW 621 Social Work Perspectives on Psychopathology
SW 701 Research I
SW 702 Research II
SW 801 Social Justice, Welfare Policy, and Professional Legacy
SW 971 Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice

Advanced Curriculum

As students move to more advanced levels of their studies, more specialized courses are offered to assist in the acquisition of knowledge and skills in greater depth.

In addition, students may elect a specialization in Behavioral Health, Child and Family Studies, or Administration by choosing specific electives and completing a field placement offering experience in that practice area.

SW 504 Practice IV: Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families 3
SW 505 Practice V: Administration in Social Work 3
SW 506 Practice VI: Culminating Integrative Seminar 3
SW 595 Field Education III: Advanced Practice 3
SW 596 Field Education IV: Advanced Practice 3
SW 802 Social Policy Advocacy 3


Electives allow study of a particular intervention methodology or area of significance for social work and usually follow completion of foundation coursework. The M.S.W. Program offers a range of elective choices to respond flexibly to priority concerns and emerging issues in social welfare, in accord with faculty resources and student interests.

SW 535 Child Welfare Practice and Services
SW 536 Social Work Practice with Children
SW 561 Family Focused Social Work Practice
SW 571 Supervision in Social Work Practice
SW 625 Critical Issues in Chemical Dependence
SW 705 Social Work Thesis
SW 900 Social Work Perspectives on Trauma 3
SW 908 Women’s Issues in the Practice of Social Work
SW 920 Spiritual and Religious Dimensions of Social Work Practice
SW 925 Critical Issues in Ethnic and Racial Experience
SW 941 Concepts and Issues in Gerontology
SW 950 Independent Study
SW 950I International Independent Study
SW 965 Human Sexuality: Issues for Social Work
SW 989 Global Perspectives on Social & Administrative Practice 3