Master’s Degree

Social Work (MSW)

Our single concentration in clinical social work provides students with the full range of skills needed for direct clinical practice in human service organizations.

Social Work Session

Ready to start your MSW this spring? Apply today for a January start.

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Program Overview

Our MSW program follows a trauma-informed, clinical model that promotes a social justice lens. You will learn alongside active practitioners to gain insider knowledge and experience for careers in:

  • School social work
  • Mental health agencies
  • Children and youth services
  • Medical social work
  • Working with people intellectual disabilities
  • Working with people with substance abuse
  • Social work with the elderly

You'll apply theory and practical knowledge learned in the classroom in two field placement settings designed to master the CSWE core competencies. Under direct supervision, you will prepare for advanced practice in social work in a variety of settings.

The Center for Social Work Education is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).


Program Options

View the academic catalog for curriculum and coursework requirements for the on-campus and online program:

Pursue our online MSW and complete your degree from virtually anywhere. In this format, you'll experience a flexible curriculum supported by faculty who prioritize your success.

Learn More About Our Online MSW

Learn more about our dual degree in MSW/MEd in Human Sexuality with the option to complete the MSW degree 100% online at your own convenience.

Certificate in Supporting People with Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Challenging Behaviors

Through this program, students undergo training to work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Students work in an agency three days per week under the supervision of clinical social workers who work with people with developmental disabilities. The field internship is devoted to developing skills for therapeutic services. Faculty members provide a year-long seminar to students doing their internship while in the certificate program.

Certificate in Trauma

This certificate prepares MSW students with the knowledge and skills for work with people who have experienced the effects of trauma. Students receive instruction focused on supports and resources, special training regarding current theory and interventions for trauma victims, and effective strategies for dealing with vicarious traumatization.

Students work in an agency three days per week under the supervision of clinical social workers who work with individuals who have experienced trauma. This field internship is devoted to developing skills for therapeutic services. Faculty members provide a year-long seminar to students doing their internship while in the certificate program.

Certificate in Global Social Work

Through hands-on experience, students learn real-world applications to theories in global social work and the impact that international policies and globalization have on local populations. Field placements include work with refugee/immigrant populations. During one international trip, students get the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the program. Past destinations included China, Netherlands, Great Britain, Thailand, and Japan.

Certificate in Social Work in Gerontology

You will have an opportunity to learn to practice social work with aging populations through an advanced practice year internship. The field education office has field placements that focus on supporting and providing services for the geriatric population. These agencies provide community-based services to address issues related to: mental health, behavioral health, long term care, elder abuse, prisons, immigration services, faith-based services, and family support.

Certificate in Substance Use and Addictions

This certificate focuses on addictions as a major neurobiological health disorder. The certificate covers the history of addictions, stigma associated with addictions, and underlying causes of the use of addictive substances, and approaches for the treatment of individuals and families from a variety of perspectives. The emphasis is to consider addictions as a chronic brain-based disorder with neurobiological and social consequences to individuals, families, and communities. Evidence-based practices will be applied in psychopharmacology treatments and psychosocial treatment modalities. Avenues of certification in addictions will be explored through the coursework.

The goal is to introduce students to a range of theories about substance use disorders, provide an overview of commonly abused substances, and evaluate assessment and treatment strategies employed in work with both individuals and families as well as specific population groups including adolescents, older adults, and women.


The mission of Widener’s master of social work program is to prepare culturally competent social workers who: 

  • Are dedicated to the attainment of social and economic justice for the betterment of poor, vulnerable, and oppressed individuals, families, groups, and communities
  • Demonstrate care and compassion for clients from diverse cultural, social, and economic backgrounds
  • Hold an unwavering belief in client strengths, client empowerment, and the importance of the helping relationship

The department also strives to use self-reflection and critical thinking in creating purposeful interventions informed by theory and evidence through:

  • Creating a supportive and nurturing academic environment that integrates dynamic classroom instruction and scientific inquiry with real-world learning
  • Having diverse faculty members whose social work practice, research, and community service experiences inform their teaching and inspire our students
  • Having students and faculty engage in community-based research and community partnerships that strengthen disadvantaged individuals, families, organizations, and communities while contributing to the knowledge base of the profession. 

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

The MSW Student Policy Manual is a valuable resource for students, providing a comprehensive overview of the general policies related to academic affairs processes, attendance, requirements for graduation, grading, academic integrity, academic programs, as well as curriculum ladders and field placement policies. It also provides vital forms in the appendices.

Admissions Requirements

  • Complete online application
  • Application fee of $35
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Advanced standing requires at least one field practicum supervisor or field practicum director and at least one other academic source (e.g., professor, advisor)
  • All undergraduate transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Current resume
  • Interview

To apply to our online MSW, please visit our online graduate program admissions requirements.

  • MSW part-time spring start term - December 30
  • Advanced Standing summer start - March 25
  • MSW full-time summer or fall start term - May 1
  • MSW part-time fall start term - July 1

If you are selected to interview for the program, we will contact you to arrange an appointment. Campus interviews are generally held on Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m. and Fridays at 11:00 a.m. Special accommodations for phone interviews can be made if needed.

As an incoming MSW student, you are eligible to receive a program-specific scholarship upon your acceptance. Scholarship amounts are awarded based on full or part-time study to students who have achieved a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in their bachelor's degree. No need to fill out a scholarship application; if you have been chosen for a scholarship, it will appear in your acceptance letter.

Program Highlights

Our trauma-informed model prepares you for a career as a highly competent clinician.

Top 10

Pennsylvania college for social work


Widener's online master's in social work ranks second nationwide.

100% Online

Ready to advance your career by taking a convenient yet impactful online program? This program is available FULLY online. 

Client First Philosophy

Widener trains you to intervene effectively using a trauma-informed lens with clients and to advocate for universal human rights. Upon graduation, you will be able to demonstrate care and compassion for clients from diverse cultural, social, and economic backgrounds and hold an unwavering belief in client strengths and client empowerment.

MSW Field Education

In your field placement settings, you'll have the opportunity to apply classroom learning with agency-based social work practice opportunities. This learning takes place under the direction and supervision of a trained field instructor who is employed by the agency and skilled in working with students.

Community Involvement

Immerse yourself in the Widener community as an intern with Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS).


Our Center for Social Work Education faculty are practicing clinicians who are committed to providing mentorship, feedback, and support to you in the classroom and field placement settings.

Margo M. Campbell
Assistant Professor

"I strive to create an engaging, dynamic, and responsive learning environment. By encouraging self-reflection and co-created learning spaces, I aim for students to finish the course with confidence in the material, a sense of leadership in their own learning, and an understanding of the link between their work and social justice."

Brent A. Satterly

"My approach to teaching is best described as embracing an existentialist and social reconstructivist perspective, emphasizing respect for what each student brings to the classroom and students’ responsibility for their own learning. In my teaching at Widener, these methods have resulted in positive outcomes as measured by student course evaluations and verbal feedback."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Upon graduation, you will be prepared to enter the workforce as a clinical social worker and agent of social change. Uniquely located between three states, Widener's community relationships can connect you to agencies, schools, and hospitals in the tri-state area and beyond.

Recent Employers & Industry Connections

  • Department of Human Services
  • Children and Youth Services (CYS)
  • Crozer Hospital
  • Veterans Administration Programs

Outlook & Outcomes

Industry Growth

Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster average for all occupations.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Avg. Salary


Average annual salary of a social worker with a MSW.

Take the Next Steps

Join the Widener Pride and take the inside track to a career in social work.

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Financial Aid

Learn how available graduate assistantships, scholarships and work-study options can help make financing your degree a reality.

Next steps to apply

You can complete your application simply and easily on your own time using our mobile friendly web-based application. Rolling admissions means not having to rush; you can revisit your application as many times as you need.

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