Social Work Master’s Programs 

Earning a master’s in social work will help you prepare to practice across social work contexts and to help your community thrive.

Most social work graduate degrees are recognized as a Master of Social Work (MSW). Case Western Reserve University offers a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA), while other schools offer a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW). Though the naming conventions differ, all of these programs are recognized as equivalent to an MSW by employers, state licensing boards, accrediting bodies and other universities.

So, what’s the difference between Case Western Reserve University’s MSSA and an MSW? Explore the components of the two graduate social work degree options below.

Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA)

Pioneered by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, the MSSA was designated as the first professional degree program in social work in 1915. Over the last 100 years, our program has developed a reputation as a social work degree that educates leaders in social work who are prepared to answer the needs of their communities by driving lasting, systemic change.

Our hallmark MSSA is offered through an on-campus program, an intensive weekend program and in an innovative online format, Online Social Work at CWRU, so you can join our community of change agents who imagine and influence the future—no matter where you live.

CSWE Accreditation

Our MSSA program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1919, the first year that accreditation was available for social work professional degree programs. By earning your MSSA online at CWRU, you will have fulfilled the academic requirements needed to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)—and developed the skills to be a leader in the field.

MSSA Field Education Requirement

As a student, you will complete a field education requirement at a site in or near your community. You will be supervised by an experienced professional and gain hands-on experience that will help you start driving change long before graduation. 

To learn about updates to our field placement requirements during COVID-19, visit our curriculum page.

MSSA Specializations

To help you tailor your degree to your career goals, we offer three paths of study for you to pursue:

  • Children, Youth and Families (Direct Practice)
  • Mental Health with Adults (Direct Practice)
  • Community Practice for Social Change (Macro)

MSSA Completion Time

The program can be completed entirely online in as few as eight semesters. We also offer to students with a BSW an advanced standing track that can be completed in only five semesters.

Take the Next Step

Request information about the Mandel School’s online Master of Science in Social Administration program today.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

As with any master’s degree program, MSW programs vary by university. However, most MSW programs share a similar structure. Whether you are pursuing an on-campus or online MSW program, here are some things to consider.

CSWE Accreditation

The Council on Social Work Education is the organization that accredits social work programs. CSWE accreditation validates that your selected program is proper preparation for a social work career. To pursue licensure, you must earn your social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program.

MSW Field Education Requirement 

An essential component of a social work graduate program, field education allows you to apply what you are learning in the classroom directly to real-world situations. You will complete your field education in or near your community and be supervised by an experienced practitioner. 

MSW Specializations

Most social work master’s programs offer a variety of focus areas that provide you with specialized knowledge in your area of interest, including:

  • Child and Family
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Organizations and Communities
  • Policy Practice and Advocacy

MSW Completion Time

Most MSW programs can be completed in as little as two to three years. If you have earned a BSW, you may be eligible for an advanced standing program that enables you to complete your degree on an accelerated timeline.

Not only are the MSW degree and MSSA degree recognized as equivalent by employers and state licensing boards, but they also share many of the same components—from accreditation and field placement to specializations and curriculum.

Earn Your Master’s in Social Work at CWRU

Take the next step toward making a difference—and leading others to do the same—and request information about our online MSSA program today.