A pioneering program aiming to meet the rising need in social services

Pioneers in the mental health and addictions field of study, Alvernia aims to meet the rising need in social services driven by societal issues through its Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate program, developed with a specialized clinical practice in behavioral health. Topics of mental health and addiction are covered in human behavior, practice, research and policy courses. Fieldwork placements will offer students an opportunity to further their understanding of addiction and mental health through direct practice.


Students will have the opportunity to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities to prepare for immersion in a culturally diverse landscape. A strong focus guided by Franciscan values will allow students to implement and demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
 

Advanced Standing

Estimated Program Length1 year
Credit Hours33
Course Length7-13 weeks
Transfer Credits AcceptedNone
Cost per Credit$516


Traditional

Estimated Program Length2-3 years
Credit Hours60
Course Length7-13 weeks
Transfer Credits AcceptedNone
Cost per Credit$516
Graduate Programs

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Master of Social Work program is available at the following Alvernia University campuses:

Application Instructions

Pathway 1:  Advanced-Standing MSW Admission Requirements

Graduates from CSWE-accredited BSW programs

Along with a completed application accompanied by a $50 non-refundable application fee, graduates from a CSWE accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) will need to provide a few supporting materials.  Because there's lead time required for some items, here's a step-by-step process that seems to work best for candidates:

  • Complete your online application. While you wait for your transcripts to be processed, you can begin your online application, which lets you build, edit and save sections of your application along the way.
  • Order your official transcript(s). Official transcript(s) indicating that the applicant has earned a baccalaureate degree from a CSWE accredited college or university. Official transcripts from all institutions are required. There is an undergraduate statistics course required for acceptance. A grade of "C" or better in both practice and fieldwork courses is required. Students who are completing the baccalaureate degree must forward an official copy of the final transcript for full acceptance into the program. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the BSW baccalaureate degree is required. An applicant whose undergraduate grade point average is below the required 3.0 may be considered for admission contingent on providing an additional statement related to their potential for academic success including recent work experience.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Two letters are required from professors, employers, or supervisors familiar with the applicant’s professional experiences, or from religious or community leaders. An additional recommendation is required from the BSW program chair that should include information on final fieldwork evaluation.
  • Professional Résumé.
  • Personal Statement. A one-page personal statement that summarizes the student's personal value system and goals as related to the profession of social work.
  • Additional evidence of potential for success. Items such as academic or professional awards, special certifications, samples of scholarly or creative work and completion of specialized examinations (not required, but encouraged).
  • Interview with MSW program faculty. After all the required application materials have been received, each applicant will be contacted for a personal interview.

 

Pathway 2:  Traditional MSW Admission Requirements

Post-baccalaureate with any undergraduate degree

Along with a completed application accompanied by a $50 non-refundable application fee, you'll need to provide a few supporting materials. Because there's lead time required for some items, here's a step-by-step process that seems to work best for candidates:

  • Complete your online application. While you wait for your transcripts to be processed, you can begin your online application, which lets you build, edit and save sections of your application along the way.
  • Order your official transcript(s). Official transcript(s) indicating that the applicant has earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Official transcripts from all institutions are required. There is an undergraduate statistics course required for acceptance. Students who are completing the baccalaureate degree must forward an official copy of the final transcript for full acceptance into the program. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the baccalaureate degree is required. An applicant whose undergraduate grade point average is below the required 3.0 may be considered for admission contingent on providing an additional statement related to their potential for academic success including recent work experience.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Letters are accepted from professors, employers, or supervisors familiar with the applicant’s professional experiences, or from religious or community leaders.
  • Professional Résumé.
  • Personal Statement. A one-page personal statement that summarizes the student's personal value system and goals as related to the profession of social work.
  • Additional evidence of potential for success. Items such as academic or professional awards, special certifications, samples of scholarly or creative work and completion of specialized examinations (not required, but encouraged).
  • Interview with MSW program faculty. After all the required application materials have been received, each applicant will be contacted for a personal interview.
Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our financial aid page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email sfs@alvernia.edu.

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Female undergraduate student
Why Choose Alvernia?
• Alvernia University is a nationally recognized comprehensive regional university that offers master’s, doctoral and post-baccalaureate programs needed to advance your career or help you into a new one.
• Many programs at Alvernia feature flexible scheduling: Evening and weekend classes, and in-person, hybrid and online formats are offered at a growing number of convenient locations in Reading, Pottsville, and Philadelphia.
• Alvernia is the ideal choice for graduate students because of a generous credit transfer policy, growing number of transfer agreements with other local institutions and industry partners, and dedicated advisors to help through every step of the educational journey
• Alvernia's rolling admissions policy means that you can apply to a graduate program at any time and many programs offer starts throughout the year. That means we continually accept and review applications to fit your schedule.


Program Overview

Curriculum

Required Interdisciplinary Course (3 credits)

  • COR 520          Ethics and Moral Leadership

 

Required Social Work Courses (30 credits)

  • SW 510            Foundations of Generalist Practice and Perspectives on Behavioral Health
  • SW 610            Advance SW Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
  • SW 615            Advance Research Methods Program Administration and Evaluation
  • SW 620            Advance Theories of Social Work and Addiction Practices
  • SW 625            Advance Social Work Practice Seminar I
  • SW 630            Advance Field Practicum I
  • SW 635            Advance Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities
  • SW 640            Advance Policy and Community Practice
  • SW 645            Advance SW Practice Seminar II
  • SW 650            Advance Field Practicum II
Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Students participate in internships, interprofessional learning opportunities, community service and engagement activities.
  • Phi Alpha Honor Society provides leadership opportunities and service initiatives for the community.
  • Social work clubs in Reading and Philadelphia hold annual initiatives to meet the needs of the underserved.
Accreditation Statements
  • The MSW program is accredited by The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

After earning your Master of Social Work, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Addiction counselor
  • Agency director
  • Caseworker
  • Child or family counselor
  • Child welfare worker
  • Crisis intervention worker
  • Foster care and adoption specialist
  • Criminal justice prevention and rehabilitation
  • Foster care and adoption
  • Department of Public Welfare employee
  • Hospice worker
  • Mental health rehabilitation specialist
  • Nursing home social worker
  • Religious social worker
  • Therapeutic support staff


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2022 was $55,350.

Ann Marie Stout
Graduate returns to pursue MSW
After landing a managerial position at the Salvation Army with the help of her Bachelor of Social Work degree, Ann-Marie Stout returned to Alvernia to pursue an MSW degree.


Get to Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Master of Social Work program contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 610-796-5187 or gradandadult@alvernia.edu. Or reach out directly to Social Work Program Director Michael Hassler at 610-568-1490 or michael.hassler@alvernia.edu.