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Shippensburg PA 17257
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Department of Social Work and Gerontology

Dr. Deborah Jacobs
Shippensburg University

Dr. David H. "DJ" Johnson
Millersville University

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Shippensburg, PA 17257
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Master of Social Work (MSW)

Graduate Admissions Application  Application Checklist  Required Liberal Arts Courses 
MSW Track Selection Form  Reference Form  Request for Waiver Form 
Advanced Standing Reccomendation  Resume  Academic and Professional Statement 

Millersville and Shippensburg Universities are jointly offering a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program. It is designed for students who want to either further their education in social work or join the social work profession. The program was developed to support both the full-time student and the working professional. State-of-the-art technology permits students to acquire social work knowledge, skills, and values through multiple educational methods, including traditional campus classes, teleconferencing and web-based activities. Because this is a joint program, students benefit from the quality faculty and resources of both universities.

An Advanced Generalist MSW permits graduates to work in a variety of human service programs and agencies in an advanced clinical and/or administrative capacity. The flexibility of the social work degree provides graduates with many options as they pursue their careers in the helping fields.    

The Program


The mission of the joint MU-SU MSW Program is to prepare students to be effective advanced generalist practitioners who demonstrate commitment to the principles and values of the social work profession.

Definition of Advanced Generalist Perspective 

The advanced generalist approach to direct and indirect practice is characterized by the practitioner's ability to address complex situations within multiple roles and levels. This strengths-based orientation is grounded in a liberal arts foundation and guided by a systems approach incorporating core social work values and ethics and respect for diversity. Using research-informed practice, the advanced generalist social worker promotes positive change in the social, political, and economic arenas to alleviate suffering and advance human rights.

Enrollment Tracks and Degree Requirements

The program offers both full-time and part-time enrollment tracks for the regular and advanced standing programs. Applicants are encouraged to select their enrollment track in their MSW Track Selection Form. However, the final decision is made by the MSW Admissions Committee upon review of application documentation.

The Regular Program

The MSW Regular Program requires a total of 60 credits for graduation, including: 15 credit hours of field practicum, 6 credit hours of electives, and 39 credit hours of required coursework. A full-time student can complete the program in two calendar years, starting in summer. Field practicum courses require 400 hours in the foundation year and 500 hours in the concentration year.

A part-time student can complete the program in four calendar years, starting in summer. There are two field practicum courses requiring 400 hours in the second year and 500 hours in the fourth year.

Advanced Standing

Students will be considered for the Advanced Standing program if they have a baccalaureate degree in the last eight (8) years from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited social work program with an overall GPA of 3.0 and a major GPA of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Students who meet the requirements for advanced standing (AS) admission in the program will complete 36 credit hours for graduation, including 9 credit hours of field practicum, 9 credit hours of electives, and 18 credit hours of required coursework. This includes SWK/SOWK 601 - Integrative Seminar to assist the BSW graduate to prepare for the concentration year curriculum.

A full-time student can complete the Advanced Standing Program in one calendar year, starting in summer. This includes a total of 500 hours of field practicum in the fall and spring semesters. Students will go through the program as a cohort.

A part-time student can complete the advanced standing program in two calendar years, starting in summer. The student will complete 500 hours of field practicum during the second year. Students will go through the program as a cohort.

Admission Guidelines

Grade Point Average  

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution. If a student has attended more than one undergraduate institution, all undergraduate GPAs will be used in the calculation of the overall GPA. To calculate your GPA, please click here.

Provisional Admission

In exceptional cases, applicants who lack the required grade point average, but whose other qualifications are outstanding, may be admitted on a provisional basis. Applicants admitted provisionally must earn a 3.0 grade point average by the end of the first 12 credits.


Applicants, whose GPA falls below the minimum standard of 2.8, must provide documentation that they have taken either the Millers Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE-General). Scores should not be more than five years old at the time of the application. The MAT is given at Shippensburg University and more information can be found on the Graduate Admissions webpage.

Liberal Arts Foundation Courses

Students must demonstrate that they have successfully completed coursework with substantial content in each of the following areas: Human Biology, Economics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Statistics. Applicants can be admitted with up to two course deficiencies. These course deficiencies must be completed by the end of the foundation year or within the first 12 credits of Advanced Standing. The course deficiencies may be completed by enrolling in undergraduate classes in Shippensburg University or another institution of higher education. Another alternative for some areas are the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Applicants must complete and return the Liberal Arts form.

Advanced Standing Program

Students who apply for the Advanced Standing program need to submit the appropriate advanced standing recommendation form from their BSW program direction indicating their readiness for graduate education in social work.  

Exemption from Foundation (first-year) courses.

Students who graduated with a baccalaureate degree from a CSWE - accredited social work program may be eligible to receive credit for those first-year foundation course equivalents for which they earned a B or higher within the past eight years.

Waiver of Courses 

All students may apply for waivers from courses when they have already demonstrated proficiency in the course content with a grade of B or higher. When requesting consideration for a waiver, a student must submit a Request for Waiver Form and the course syllabus to the program co-director. A waiver will not reduce the number of required credits for graduation but will allow a student to take a more advanced or an elective course.

Life Experience

This program does not grant academic credit for life or work experience.

Personal and Professional Qualities

Applicants must evidence a combination of personal qualities and values that are considered essential for the professional practice of social work. The following documents are required to serve as evidence of this purpose:

  • Three professional references with a minimum of one from a faculty member and one from a social service agency employer/supervisor. The third may be from either a faculty member or an employer/supervisor. No personal colleague references will be accepted. You must use the Reference Form provided.
  • A written Academic and Professional Statement. 
  • A comprehensive resume of work and related volunteer experience. You must use the Resume Form as provided. 

The program may also request a personal interview or additional information about an applicant when necessary to make a fully informed admission decision.

Criminal Record 

Persons who have criminal records are not eligible to work in many human service fields. Applicants with criminal records should contact the MSW program director for additional information.

Admission Procedures

Application Dates

Students will be admitted into the 36-credit Advanced Standing Program and the 60-credit Regular Program during the summer term only. This term begins in mid-May. Applications are accepted beginning in the fall semester. Admission review of completed applications typically begins in January. Applications will be accepted until March 31 or until the program is full.

Transfer Students

Students may transfer a total of nine (9) credit hours. All nine may be from another MSW program, or up to six (6) credits may be from a related field. Graduate credit earned more than five years priror to the date you begin your graduate program does not qualify for transfer. Students may only transfer credits from other accredited schools provided they are in good standing at those institutions. Courses must be listed on an official transcript with a B or higher. Courses transfering must be approved by the program. Condensed one-week gradaute courses do not qualify for transfer.

Campus Selection

Candidates may choose to apply through either Millersville or Shippensburg University. If all seats are full at one campus, successful applicants will be given the option to enroll through the other campus, if seats are available. Applicants desiring admission to a specific campus may also be placed on a waiting list if all seats are full. Once enrolled at a campus students take all required courses through that campus. No travel between campuses is required by students.


The joint MU-SU MSW program was designed in accordance with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation guidelines. At the February 2010 meeting of the Commission on Accreditation of CSWE the MU-SU MSW program was granted full accreditation. It is retroactive to include the students who entered the program since it began in the Fall 2006.

    Foundation courses - all regular admit students - 30 credits
    •  SWK/SOWK501: Principles & Philosophies of Social Work
    •  SWK/SOWK505: Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations
    •  SWK/SOWK510: Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
    •  SWK/SOWK511: Human Behavior in the Social Environment II
    •  SWK/SOWK515: Social Welfare Policy
    •  SWK/SOWK520: Micro/Mezzo Social Work Practice
    •  SWK/SOWK521: Macro Social Work Practice
    •  SWK/SOWK525: Research Methods
    •  SWK/SOWK530: Field Practicum I
    •  SWK/SOWK531: Field Practicum II
    Advanced Standing (Bridge Course) – 3 credits
    •  SWK/SOWK601: Integrative Seminar
    Advanced Courses – all students including Advanced Standing – 24 credits
    •  SWK/SOWK610: Advanced Human Behavior in the Social Environment
    •  SWK/SOWK615: Advanced Social Welfare Policy
    •  SWK/SOWK625: Advanced Research Methods
    •  SWK/SOWK620: Advanced Micro/Mezzo Social Work Practice
    •  SWK/SOWK621: Advanced Macro Social Practice
    •  SWK/SOWK630: Advanced Field Practicum I
    •  SWK/SOWK631: Advanced Field Practicum II
    Electives - 6-9 credits required
    •  SWK/SOWK602: Behavioral Health
    •  SWK/SOWK603: Gender Issues
    •  SWK/SOWK604: Health Care
    •  SWK/SOWK605: Child Welfare
    •  SWK/SOWK606: School Social Work
    •  SWK/SOWK607: Emergency Mental Health and Trauma
    •  SWK/SOWK608: Social Work Administration and Supervision
    •  SWK/SOWK609: Introduction to Art Therapy
    •  SWK/SOWK612: Social Work and the Law

MU-SU MSW Faculty

Sam Benbow, M.S., Shippensburg University of PA; Ed.D., Indiana University of PA

Joyous Bethel, MSW, University of Oklahoma; Ph.D., Barry University, FL

Dara Bourassa, MSW, University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D., University of Maryland

Jennifer Clements, MSW & Ph.D., University of Maryland

Andrew Dunlap, MSW, University of Kansas; Ph.D. Candidate, Smith College, MA

Elizabeth Fisher, MSW & Ph.D., University of Maryland

Leonora Foels, MSW, Simmons College; Ph.D. Barry University, FL

Marita Flagler, MSW & Ph.D., Colorado State University

Heather Girvin, MSS & Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, PA

Kathryn A. Gregoire, MSSW, University of Tennessee; Ph.D., University of Maryland

Deborah F. Jacobs, MSW, University of Michigan; Ph.D., Brandeis University, MA

David Johnson, MSW University of Southern Mississippi; Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin

Dorlisa Minnick, MSW, SUNY-Stonybrook; Ph.D., Catholic University, Washington D.C.

Michael Lyman, MSW & Ph.D., University of Utah

Karen Rice, MSW, Temple; Ph.D. Candidate, University of Maryland 

Katherine Walsh, MSW & Ph.D., University of Maryland

About Millersville University  

Innovation in education is the philosophy of Millersville. Established in 1855 as the first normal school in Pennsylvania, the University has provided graduate education for the Commonwealth since the mid-20th century, and formally began offering master’s degree programs in 1959. Today, more than 1,300 graduate students are enrolled in master’s degree, supervisory certification, post-baccalaureate and research fellowship programs within three schools: Education, Humanities & Social Sciences, and Science & Mathematics.

Located on 250 acres in the heart of Lancaster County, Millersville University offers excellent undergraduate and graduate academic programs led by faculty dedicated to learning, 95 percent of whom have earned the highest academic degree in their fields. Almost 8,000 students attend Millersville, including those enrolled in the Corporate University, and adult and continuing education programs. The University maintains strong relationships with the community and partners with regional employers to meet the needs of the local economy.

About Shippensburg University  

Shippensburg University is a public comprehensive university offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Human Services. There are approximately 1,300 graduate students enrolled at Shippensburg University. Undergraduate enrollment is more than 7,200.

The 200-acre campus is located in Cumberland County, forty miles southwest of Harrisburg. It is readily accessible from the Carlisle and Blue Mountain interchanges of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and from exits 24 and 29 of Interstate 81. Shippensburg University is one of fourteen universities of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Founded in 1871 as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School, it graduated its first class in 1874.

Shippensburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, AACSB International, ABET Inc., American Chemical Society, Council on Social Work Education, Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, International Association of Counseling Services, Council for Exceptional Children and by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teachers.

For More Information 

Dr. Marita Flagler
Shippensburg University
Department of Social Work and Gerontology
Shippen Hall 331

Dr. Kathryn Gregoire
Millersville University
Department of Social Work