The Online Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences Is the Country’s No. 9 Best School of Social Work. 1

Become a Social Work Leader at CWRU

We were the country’s first university-based, graduate professional school of social work—and we created a distinctive professional degree program in social work: The Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA).

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences remains at the forefront of social work education, preparing the next generation of social work leaders to answer the needs of their communities. You can join our community of change agents with our online MSSA program, Online Social Work at CWRU.

Our Master of Science in Social Administration

Our MSSA is equivalent to a Master of Social Work and is recognized as such by employers, state licensing boards and other universities. Learn about what sets our MSSA degree apart.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the online MSSA offers the same rigorous hallmark degree in social work as our on-campus social work master's degree program and the intensive weekend social work master's degree programs. Coursework is all online, with no campus visits required.

Online Program Track Options

You can choose from two online program tracks based on your educational background.

Traditional Track

  • Can be completed in as few as two and a half years
  • 60 total credits: 24 credits of general courses and 36 credits of specialized courses
  • Fieldwork requirement

Advanced Standing Track

  • For applicants with a bachelor’s in social work
  • Can be completed in as few as two years
  • Earn up to 24 credits toward your MSSA degree
  • Fieldwork requirement

Fieldwork Placement

You will start leading change long before you complete your master’s in social work program.

The field education experience for the online social work program enables you to immediately apply what you learn in the online classroom to the field, connecting theory with real-life social work. You’ll be able to complete your field experience at a site in or near your community. You also may even be eligible to complete the required fieldwork at your current place of employment.

Join Our Community of Change Agents

Broaden your impact with an MSSA.

Three Paths of Study

At the Mandel School, we prepare and empower students to confidently enact change at every level. Online Social Work at CWRU offers three specializations for you to pursue: Children, Youth and Families; Mental Health with Adults; and Community Practice for Social Change.

Children, Youth and Families (Direct Practice)

Help change someone’s life. Provide a broad range of services to families and individuals of all ages. Courses explore themes such as autism, adoption, child abuse, childhood trauma, transitions to adulthood and LGBTQA youth.

Possible careers:

  • Child and family social worker
  • Child protection specialist
  • Case manager therapist
  • Residential therapist
  • Trauma services manager

Sample courses:

  • Child and Family Policy and Service Delivery
  • Family System Interventions
  • Problem Identification, Screening and Assessment/Diagnosis
  • Trauma-Informed Social Work Practices with Children and Families
  • Social Work with Child Abuse and Family Violence

Mental Health with Adults (Direct Practice)

Help change someone’s thought process. Clinical social workers and therapists address violence, trauma, suicide, and co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. Prepare for community-based mental health practice across a variety of professional settings, such as hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs and mental health centers.

Possible careers:

  • Clinical case manager
  • Crisis response worker
  • Family therapist
  • Mental health counselor
  • Psychotherapist

Sample courses:

  • Mental Health Policy and Service Delivery
  • Social Work Practice in Mental Health: Adults
  • Social Work Intervention in Co-occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorder
  • Cognitive Behavioral Interventions

Community Practice for Social Change (Macro)

Help change someone’s world. For those who want to make systemic improvements across society to create a more just world, this specialization will help you develop an understanding of the broad social challenges facing communities—and how you can change them. Those challenges include cultural diversity, globalization, human rights, inequality, oppression, poverty and women’s issues.

Possible careers:

  • Community organizer
  • Government official
  • Policymaker
  • Program developer
  • Researcher

Sample courses:

  • Assessing, Building and Organizing Community
  • Community Practice Policy: Analyzing and Changing Social Policy
  • Program and Practice Evaluation
  • Planning and Implementing Social Change
  • Nonprofit Revenue Planning and Development

“I am a macro social worker focused on environmental, food and health equity. My brand of social work isn’t traditional, but I believe this field uniquely prepared me to be an important part of the collaborative solution. From fieldwork to class projects, I got to shape what I learned to fit the change I want to be in this world.”

– Emily Jennings, MSSA ’16, Portland, Oregon

Follow Your Passion for Helping Others

Become a social work leader with an MSSA from the Mandel School.

Admissions

Our hallmark social work curriculum is led by some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the field. That’s why our admissions standards are the same across all our MSSA formats: the Online Social Work at CWRU, the on-campus social work master's degree program and the intensive weekend social work master's degree program.

To fit with your professional and personal schedule, we offer three cohort start dates in January, May and August. 

We know that a better world can’t be built until everyone has a voice. Our students represent many diverse cultures and belief systems—their perspectives help shape their cohorts and client interactions. We encourage students from all backgrounds to apply. For more information about applying to our online MSSA program, visit our Admissions page.

Start Your Application

The Mandel School: A Century of Social Work Leadership

When the Mandel School was first chartered in 1915, social work was not yet considered a profession. Much has changed over the last 100 years, but our mission remains the same: a steadfast commitment to advancing leadership in social work and nonprofit education to help change lives and communities.

Our Guiding Principles

At the Mandel School, we prepare social work leaders to:

  • Empower the vulnerable and oppressed
  • Improve the well-being of our society
  • Advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves
  • Enhance the capacity of individuals to address their own needs

Our Faculty

Our faculty members are leading research that shapes public policy, informs social change and transforms lives. Because of our emphasis on interdisciplinary and interprofessional education, they represent many research and clinical backgrounds, creating a truly comprehensive experience. Most important, they are passionate about making our world a better place—and helping the next generation of social work leaders do the same.

The Harris Library

As an Online Social Work at CWRU student, you’ll have access to the Lillian & Milford Harris Library, the oldest social work library in the country and one of only a handful dedicated to social work literature and scholarship. Our dedicated librarians are available online and in person to help you navigate its nearly 45,000 volumes.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Online Social Work at CWRU fulfills the requirements for social work licensure through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

The Master of Science in Social Administration at Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation since 1919, the first year graduate social work education was available.

Upon completion of Online Social Work at CWRU, you will have fulfilled the requirements needed toward obtaining advanced social work licensure.

Meet the Growing Demand

16% Growth

The number of social work jobs is expected to grow 16% between 2016 and 2026.2

8,300+ Alumni

Our alumni are making a lasting impact across industries, from schools and hospitals to financial companies and professional sports teams.

50 States, 41 Countries

You can network with alumni located across the U.S. and around the world to make a difference in a range of communities.

Social Change Starts Here

Over the past 100 years, CWRU’s work has proven one thing: We’re up for the challenge of building a more just world. And we’re looking for change agents like you to help us imagine and influence the future. Request more information about our online master’s in social work program.