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Master of Social Work

Cleveland State University's Master of Social Work program provides a rigorous intellectual base, an opportunity for specialized skill development, and an educational perspective that views human diversity as desirable and enriching to society. Students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values that prepare them to support at-risk or vulnerable populations.  

This program uniquely couples the conceptual base of professional social work, the broad-based research strategies of the field, and the various social work roles and intervention strategies. Receive hands-on field experience and work toward becoming a licensed clinical social worker. Student graduate from this program ready to engage entire communities in one of the nation's fastest growing occupations.


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college of liberal arts and social sciences

School of Social Work
Phone: 216.687.4560

Admission Requirements

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Minimum 3.0 Undergraduate GPA with minimum 3.0 GPA in English courses
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • At a minimum, two of the references must be the student's professor, field supervisor, work supervisor, or academic advisor.
  • Writing Sample
    • An essay of three to five typed pages (1.5 spacing) explaining: a. Why the student wants to be a social worker; b. Why a graduate degree is felt to be necessary to fulfill the applicant's personal or professional objectives; c. The applicant's views regarding diversity in society;  d. A situation in which the student was the recipient/provider of help, emotionally, socially, or economically; and e. A description of the applicant's previous social work/human service work experience.

-International students are required to have met at least one of the following English language proficiency requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based): 78 (including at least 20 in reading, 21 in listening, 17 in writing, and 20 in speaking)
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based): 550
  • IELTS: 6.0 and at least 5.0 in each section
  • PTE (Pearson’s Test of English): 50
  • iTEP: 5.0

Admission Deadlines

All applications must be submitted and complete on the following application deadline dates:

  • Domestic Students
    • Rolling
  • International Students
    • Fall Semester – February 28th


Program Requirements

  • SWK 501 - Ethical Decision Making for Social Work Practice
  • SWK 502 - History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare
  • SWK 503 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SWK 504 - Generalist Practicum I
  • SWK 505 - Generalist Practice with Individuals and Families
  • SWK 506 - Generalist Practicum II
  • SWK 507 - Generalist Practice with Groups, Communities, and Organizations
  • SWK 508 - Disparities, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • SWK 509 - Fundamentals of Research
  • SWK 510 - Social Welfare Policy
  • All generalist classes must be successfully completed before a student can enroll in specialization classes. Specialization classes taken prior to completing generalist classes may not be counted toward the MSW degree.
  • Each student must select either the clinical or advanced generalist specialization and complete the courses listed as part of that specialization.
  • SWK 620 - Advanced Generalist Group Work Practice
  • SWK 621 - Advanced Generalist Practicum I
  • SWK 624 - The Social Worker as Leader and Manager
  • SWK 625 - Advanced Generalist Practice with Individuals and Families
  • SWK 628 - Advanced Generalist Practicum II
  • SWK 627 - Program Evaluation
  • SWK 626 - Advanced Generalist Practice with Communities
  • Practice in Context (3 credits from a list of department approved courses)
  • Elective (3 credits from a list of department approved courses)
  • SWK 610 - Psychopathology
  • SWK 612 - Clinical Practicum I
  • SWK 613 - Core Competencies for Clinical Social Work Practice
  • SWK 614 - Trauma and Recovery or SWK 619 - Core Concepts in Trauma Informed Child Welfare Practice 
  • SWK 615 - Clinical Social Work Practice with Groups
  • SWK 616 - Interventions for Clinical Social Work Practice
  • SWK 617 - Evaluation of Clinical Practice
  • SWK 618 - Clinical Practicum II
  • Practice in Context (3 credits from a list of department approved courses)
  • Elective (3 credits from a list of department approved courses)
  • CNS 501 - Chemical Dependency: Assessment, Treatment, Prevention (4 credits)
  • CNS 502 - Pharmacology of Addiction (1 credit)
  • CNS 503 - Legal & Ethical Issues in Treating Drug Dependence (1 credit)
  • Clinical courses may be taken by an Advanced Generalist student as an elective.
  • Advanced Generalist courses may be taken by the clinical students as an elective.
  • Any practice in context course can be taken as an elective.
  • Special topics elective courses may be offered. A copy of department-approved electives will be available to students annually.
  • SWK 693 - Special Topics in SWK for the following topics:
    • Clinical Supervision
    • Social Work and the Law
Did You Know?

Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Bureau of Labor Statistics


Career Outcomes

  • Social workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, community development companies, settlement houses, mental health clinics, schools, and child welfare programs. 
  • These are some of the local companies that are hiring CSU grads: University Hospitals, Care Source, Cleveland Clinic, Legacy Health Services, Eliza Bryant Village, and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.