Navigating the myriad options for Master of Social Work (MSW) programs can be daunting, especially considering the diverse range of offerings across different states. Pennsylvania stands as a beacon in this landscape, boasting a rich array of MSW programs that cater to the needs and aspirations of aspiring social work professionals. From esteemed universities nestled in bustling urban centers to institutions rooted in the tranquility of rural landscapes, Pennsylvania’s MSW programs offer a tapestry of opportunities for individuals passionate about effecting positive change in their communities. In this article, we delve into the diverse offerings of MSW programs in Pennsylvania, exploring their unique features, strengths, and contributions to the ever-evolving field of social work.

2024 - Best MSW Programs in Pennsylvania

Discover's rankings of the leading MSW programs in Pennsylvania, meticulously crafted to highlight the finest institutions. Our methodology assesses completion rates, cost of living, institutional competitiveness, program diversity, and faculty expertise, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation. Delve further into our ranking process on our methodology page for a thorough understanding.


University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Explore the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). With specializations in clinical social work and social work & social justice, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. Flexible online and on-campus options available to suit diverse needs.


West Chester University

West Chester, PA

West Chester University's Graduate Program in Social Work offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. With a focus on clinical and macro practice, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. With WCU's blended format, students benefit from small class sizes and personalized mentorship. Prepare for impactful careers in social work with WCU's comprehensive curriculum.


Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville, PA

Millersville University's Master of Social Work (MSW) program is designed to prepare students for impactful careers in social work. With a focus on advanced clinical practice and macro social work, students engage in hands-on field experiences and research opportunities. Benefit from small class sizes and personalized mentorship.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

To become a social worker, students who don’t already have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) will need to undergo a traditional MSW program, which takes two years to complete and requires the completion of 60 credits. To start applying, you’ll need to fulfill the following general requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology or a related area, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Resume or CV outlining relevant experience
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as psychology, sociology, or human services)
  • GRE scores (some programs may waive this requirement)
  • Interview (some programs may require an interview as part of the application process)
  • Background check and/or fingerprinting

Pennsylvania Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

An advanced-standing Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is an accelerated program for those who already hold a BSW degree. Entry requirements routinely include:

  • BSW degree from an accredited institution is typically awarded no longer than five years prior
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • All other requirements from the Traditional MSW above

The Advanced Standing MSW typically requires around 38 credits and takes approximately one year to complete. Examples of Advanced-Standing MSW programs in Pennsylvania include:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Pennsylvania MSW Program Tuition and Costs

Pennsylvania MSW programs rank slightly above average in terms of cost, but you can expect to save money on your education if you’ve already established residency in Pennsylvania. On average, you’ll likely spend around $774 to $839 per credit as a non-resident or around $516 per credit as a resident. Here are a few examples of tuition costs in the state:

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Pennsylvania$839.2564$53,712
Kutztown University$516 (Residents)
$774 (Non-resident)
60$30,960 (Residents)
$46,440 (Non-resident)
Millertown University$77460$46,440

Are Online MSW Programs in Pennsylvania as Good as Campus-Based?

Pennsylvania students are becoming increasingly likely to enroll in online MSW programs rather than a campus-based MSW program, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if this type of program is right for you. Both online MSW programs and campus-based options offer high-quality coursework delivered by experienced faculty. Check out some of the pros and cons below to see what format fits your needs.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Pennsylvania

Traditional MSW ProgramsOnline MSW Programs
FormatIn-person classesOnline classes with some in-person requirements
FlexibilityLimited scheduling optionsMore flexibility in scheduling, often part-time options
LocationGeographically limitedAccessible from anywhere with internet connectivity
Learning EnvironmentClassroom-basedVirtual classroom, discussion boards, and online resources
NetworkingLocal networking opportunitiesNetworking with students and professionals from diverse locations
CostTuition, commuting, and relocation expensesGenerally lower tuition and flexibility to continue working
Hands-on ExperienceField placements and internshipsVirtual or field placements and internships arranged in the student's local area

Whether you choose a campus-based or online MSW program in Pennsylvania, you'll want to ensure that your degree program is properly accredited by a trusted agency such as the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learn more about Social Work Degree options:

Getting Your Pennsylvania Social Work License

To get licensed, you’ll need to ensure you’ve met all of the state-specific requirements. Each state’s licensing requirements and process is different, so it’s important to make sure you understand Pennsylvania’s rules. Learn more in our Guide to Social Work Licensing.

Popular Social Work Careers

Discover the specializations available to you within social work. These social work careers can help you work with diverse populations in a variety of environments.

Female social worker talking with elderly female woman

School Social Worker

School social workers provide counseling, support, and advocacy for students facing social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop student success strategies, provide crisis intervention, and facilitate support groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers assess patients' social, emotional, and practical needs. They provide counseling and support, coordinate care with healthcare providers, advocate for patients' rights, and connect patients and their families with community resources to ensure holistic and comprehensive care.

Court Social Worker

Court social workers assess the needs of individuals involved in court cases. They develop intervention plans, provide counseling and support, monitor progress in court-ordered programs, collaborate with legal professionals, and advocate for clients' best interests in legal proceedings.

List of MSW Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, PA

Master's Programs
1200 Main St
Bethlehem, PA 18018-6650
(610) 861-1360

Bloomsburg, PA

Master's Programs
400 E Second St
Bloomsburg, PA 17815
(570) 389-4000

Greensburg, PA

Master's ProgramsPhD Programs
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601-5860
(724) 837-7040

Kutztown, PA

Master's Programs
15200 Kutztown Rd
Kutztown, PA 19530-0730
(610) 683-4000

Millersville, PA

Master's Programs
1 South George Street, Lyle Hall
Millersville, PA 17551-0302
(717) 871-4636

Philadelphia, PA

Master's Programs
1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6096
(215) 204-7000

34th & Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6303
(215) 898-5000

Shippensburg, PA

Master's Programs
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299
(717) 477-7447

Slippery Rock, PA

1 Morrow Way
Slippery Rock, PA 16057-1383
(724) 738-9000

West Chester, PA

Master's Programs
University Avenue and High Street
West Chester, PA 19383
(610) 436-1000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Tara Moretti, LMHC
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