A clinical focus in addiction and mental health

Pioneers in the mental health and addictions field of study, Alvernia University aims to meet the rising need in social services driven by societal issues through its Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate program.

The program was 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 throughout 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 Fransciscan values will allow students to implement and demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

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

Application Instructions
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 Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers doctoral, master's, and post-baccalaureate programs to advance your career or prepare you for a new one.
• Flexible scheduling with evening classes and in-person, hybrid and online formats meet the needs of the busy adult learner.
• Programs 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 growing number of affiliation agreements with other local institutions and industry partners and dedicated advisors to help through every step of the educational journey.

Program Overview


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

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2021 was $50,390.

  • 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
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.