A Clinical Focus in Addiction & Mental Health


The rising need in social services for individuals, families and communities has increased demand for community and social service professionals, including social workers. As a pioneer in the mental health and addictions field of study, Alvernia is determined to meet this serious need driven by societal issues through its Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate program. Social workers have been identified as among the preferred professionals to address the many issues of the multi-faceted addictions crisis. Alvernia’s MSW program has been developed with a clear area of specialized clinical practice in behavioral health which is infused throughout the curriculum. Topics of mental health and addiction are covered in human behavior, practice, research and policy courses. With two program offerings, for those who already possess a BSW and those who do not, fieldwork placements will offer students an opportunity to further their understanding of addiction and mental health throughout direct practice.


Students will receive specialized instruction to meet the needs of advancing human rights and socio-economic and environmental justice through practice-informed research and research-informed 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.


This program will be offered in a blended format at both Alvernia's main campus in Reading and at the Philadelphia Center in Melrose Park, PA. 

Program Goals

  • Demonstrate the social work knowledge, values, ethics and skills for critical analysis of theory, policy, practice and research to become advanced practice professionals, enhancing social functioning and alleviating poverty, oppression and injustice within the individual, organizational and community contexts.
  • Demonstrate the values of ethical leaders with moral courage, capable of assuming scholarly and professional roles and prepared to facilitate positive social change both locally and globally through direct practice, advocacy, social actions and community empowerment in diverse social, cultural, political and organizational contexts.
  • Demonstrate the appropriate knowledge and skills for practice with culturally diverse colleagues and various client systems including:  veterans; LGBTWQ populations; people from diverse economic, religious and racial backgrounds; and victims of human trafficking.
  • Contribute to the ongoing development of professional social work knowledge and practice through research and scholarly inquiry that employ state-of-the-art technology.
  • Understand the importance of ongoing professional development, supervision and consultation in advancing their knowledge and skills of self-awareness and self-reflection to promote competent, responsible and ethical social work practice. (189)


Career Opportunities 

  • Medical Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Child Welfare Case Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Clinical Mental Health Social Worker
  • Human Services Administrator
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Geriatric Social Worker
  • Adoption Placement Specialist



Alvernia University's Master of Social Work program is accredited by The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

All programs offered by Alvernia University are approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


Please note, no life experience or work experience credits are accepted for this program.

For more information about social work accreditation, you may contact info@cswe.org



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