There are multiple opportunities to study the Master of Social Work in the state of Pennsylvania, but three of them offer an online option. These institutions are Temple University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and Widener University.

Schools in Pennsylvania with online MSW programs include:

  • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania : Online MSW: Family Social Work Practice
  • Temple University : Online MSW: Areas of Specialist Practice: Trauma, Health/Mental Health, Children and Families, Humanitarian Social Work, and Military Social Work
  • Widener University : Online MSW: Advanced Clinical with focus on trauma and its impact on mental health

Pennsylvania CSWE Accredited MSW Programs

There are 13 institutions that offer a Master's degree in social work that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This designates that the program has gone through a rigorous process to have the education necessary for many state licensures across the country. Of those programs, three of them provide online opportunities for students.

Finding an Online Based California MSW Program

Temple University is one of the more popular institutions with this opportunity. They offer a variety of course formats and require a three-day campus visit for field placement preparation. Other programs such as the one offered by Widener University has no on-campus requirements and zero restrictions for prospective students across the country.

Temple University's Online MSW

Students are able to pursue their Master of Social Work online at Temple University, which is offered as a part-time opportunity that is completed in three to four years. There are both synchronous and asynchronous aspects of this program, featuring live lectures and meetings with assignments and class discussion boards that can be completed on the student's own time. If desired, online students can also pursue a dual degree with the Master of Public Health.

On-Campus Residency

Orientation is completed in an online format for students to gain familiarity with the Canvas learning management system. There is also a three-day residency at the Philadelphia campus between the first and second year for students to prepare for their field practicum and complete specific coursework that is not done online.

Program Tracks

Two areas of specialization are available when pursuing the degree: working with children and families, and improving health and mental health for various clients. The specialization chosen is emphasized in the second internship, which is needed to complete the field practice requirement. Examples of courses that students will pursue include Foundations in Social Work Research, Foundation for Transformative Social Work in Social Justice, and Dynamics of Health, Health Care, and Health Systems.

Online Information

Technical requirements include a modern desktop or laptop computer webcam and microphone for virtual interaction with faculty and students. Broadband internet connection is recommended, along with a CD-ROM and printer for courses that require them. It is recommended that students use a Windows or Mac-based operating system with various web browsers, Adobe Reader, Java plug-in, and 2013 Microsoft Office Suite.

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania's Online/Hybrid MSW

The School of Graduate Studies offer the Master of Social Work in an online or hybrid format with traditional or advanced standing placement. Four different terms are spread out in the various seasons, with summer and winter semesters offered exclusively in online and hybrid formats. Students will be prepared to work in various locations, such as rehabilitation centers, schools, and foster homes.

There are various mandatory start times depending on what format is selected. Students that are pursuing the standard program can start in the fall or spring semester, and those in the hybrid format can only begin in the fall. Regardless of format, those with advanced standing must begin their courses in the summer.

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must include the completion of an application with fee, submitting official transcripts, two letters of reference, and professional resume. In addition, a personal statement of up to four pages is needed, describing accomplishments in social work and goals in this program.

Transcripts should verify the completion of a Bachelor's degree with coursework in liberal arts (humanities, social sciences, fine arts, etc.) and a cumulative 2.8 GPA. Students unable to meet this GPA will need to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Those looking at advanced standing must have a 3.0 GPA or higher with a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work.

Widener University's Online Master of Social Work

Students have an ability to complete variations of the MSW at Widener University in an online format. There is regular and advanced standing for the curriculum, which requires 64 credit hours or 41 credit hours to complete, respectively. Students do not have to meet at the campus for residency requirements, and it is open to anyone in the United States.

Program Formats

It takes approximately three years to complete the full MSW program, while that is truncated to approximately two years with advanced standing. Field placement is accomplished with help by the school, and must be approved by faculty. At least 1,100 hours of field work is required in this program.

There is a unique opportunity to pursue a hybrid dual degree that combines the MSW with a Master of Education (MEd) with a concentration in Human Sexuality Studies. This offers social work specialization in working with clients on sensitive topics in human sexuality and developing treatment plans or diagnosing issues. While the core MSW program is completed online, the MEd is completed on-campus during the weekend.

Students can pursue an MSW that is focused on clinical treatment of trauma, and the curriculum can be customized with an advisor in those scenarios. Application requirements include the completion of a Bachelor's degree (CSWE-accredited social work for advanced standing) with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher. Additional submissions include a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

Social Work Careers, Licensure, and Salaries in Pennsylvania

The highest-employed specialization in social work for the state of Pennsylvania is within child, family, and school services. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 21,000 professionals are recognized in this sector, and that carries an average annual salary of $44,870 across the state.

By comparison, the state has over 7,000 employed in health care and mental health, with the latter sector being the third-highest state – only lower than the neighboring state of New York and California. Much of this concentration in mental health services can be found in Altoona, which is the highest nationally when compared to other metropolitan areas.

Pennsylvania Social Work Licensure Requirements

There are licensed social workers and licensed clinical social workers designated in the state of Pennsylvania for professionals that have completed a CSWE-accredited Master’s degree. Clinical status requires 3,000 postgraduate work hours in at least two years, with half of this requirement going toward specializations such as group therapy and psychotherapy. They must also meet with an LCSW supervisor for two hours out of every 40 work hours recorded.

Endorsements and Renewal Requirements

Pennsylvania does not recognize other state licensures, so professionals must submit a new application that shows verification of the licensure and that no violations have been recorded. Renewal of the licensures take place every two years and they must complete 30 credit hours of continuing education. 20 credit hours are eligible to be completed online, and 3 credit hours must be reserved for professional ethics.

Online MSW Programs in Pennsylvania That Are CSWE Accredited

Widener University

  • Program: Online MSW: Advanced Clinical with focus on trauma and its impact on mental health CSWE Accredited
  • Specialized Area: Advanced Clinical with focus on trauma and its impact on mental health
  • Availability: Part Time
  • Advanced Standing Option?
  • Admissions: Open to students anywhere in the United States, as well as service members stationed around the world
  • Status: Fully Online

Temple University

  • Program: Online MSW: Areas of Specialist Practice: Trauma, Health/Mental Health, Children and Families, Humanitarian Social Work, and Military Social Work CSWE Accredited
  • Specialized Area: Areas of Specialist Practice: Trauma, Health/Mental Health, Children and Families, Humanitarian Social Work, and Military Social Work
  • Availability: Part Time
  • Advanced Standing Option?
  • Admissions: Open to students in most states
  • Status: Online with Campus Visit

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Online MSW: Family Social Work Practice CSWE Accredited
  • Specialized Area: Family Social Work Practice
  • Availability: Full Time
  • Advanced Standing Option? Advanced Standing
  • Admissions: Open to students anywhere in the United States
  • Status: Fully Online

Campus-Based Pennsylvania MSW Programs

Bryn Mawr College

  • Program: Master of Social Service (MSS)
  • Campus: Bryn Mawr

Bryn Mawr College

  • Program: Master of Social Service (MSS)
  • Campus: Bryn Mawr

Bryn Mawr College

  • Program: Master of Social Service (MSS)
  • Campus: Bryn Mawr

California University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: California

California University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: California

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Kutztown

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Kutztown

Marywood University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Scranton

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (BSW)
  • Campus: Shippensburg

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (BSW)
  • Campus: Shippensburg

Temple University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Philadelphia

University of Pittsburgh

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Pittsburgh

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: West Chester

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: West Chester

Widener University

  • Program: Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Campus: Chester