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MSW Distance Option Overview

The MSW Distance Option (MSW DO) is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program was established in the fall of 1997 at four off campus sites with the goal of enhancing access to advanced social work education and providing services to communities across the state of Oregon. Three years later, more than 70 professional social workers graduated from the first cohorts and went on to serve individuals and families in communities across Oregon. 

Over nearly two decades, the MSW DO has evolved as a high quality social work education program which serves students from the mid-Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon, the coast and Central Oregon.  Approximately 160 students are enrolled in the DO program each year. Program sites are located in Ashland, Bend, Eugene, and Salem.  Each location has a site coordinator, who is experienced social worker with an MSW and provides advising and academic support to students.

From the beginning, the DO program has devoted concerted effort to build substantial collaborations with individuals, local organizations, and statewide social agencies by focusing on the workforce needs and community input. The program delivers a three-year curriculum consistent with CSWE accreditation standards while also reflecting the emerging issues in the field and local region. Instruction includes a combination of classroom teaching and two years of field placement. Students complete their field requirements in or near their home communities’ whenever possible. Field is considered the signature pedagogy of social work education and as a result, DO students complete two years of field placement for a total of 1000 field hours. While year one is course work only, year two students add a 500 hour generalist field placement and in year three they complete 500 hours in a Clinical Social Work Practice placement. 

The majority of the coursework is taught by Portland State University, School of Social Work faculty who travel to the sites. Additionally local social workers and clinicians offer adjunct instruction and enhance student understanding of regional, pertinent social work. 

The foundation curriculum courses are delivered during the first and second year of the program and provide content in: Human Behavior; Social Welfare History and Policy; Social Work Research and Evaluation; Advocacy and Empowerment; Societal, Community and Organization Structures and Processes; and Skills for helping Individuals, Families and Groups. Click here to view the Foundation Curriculum grid.


MSW Distance Option Admissions and Class Schedules

The MSW DO site in Salem will begin its new cohort in fall of 2014.  MSW DO in Ashland and Eugene will begin a new cohort in fall 2015 and admissions materials will be available in October 2014, due in winter of 2015. The Bend Site will begin a new cohort in fall 2016 and admissions materials will be available in October 2015 and due in winter of 2016. The sites in Salem and Eugene admit a new cohort every other year. The sites in Ashland and Bend accept new students every three years. Visit MSW Admissions to learn how to apply.

First year classes for the Salem and Eugene sites are held on the main campus of Portland State University in Portland four times a term during intensive weekends; Friday from 1-9 pm and Saturday from 9 am-5 pm. During the second year and third year, Salem and Eugene classes are held every Friday at their respective sites. The sites in Ashland and Bend hold their classes every Friday at their sites all three years.

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