Master of Social Work

MSW Program Overview

A master’s degree in social work from PSU will prepare you to challenge systems of oppression, build racial equity and social justice, and embark on a fulfilling career as a social worker. The Portland State University School of Social Work is ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is the only public MSW degree offered in Oregon accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Throughout our 78 credit (46 for advanced standing) curriculum, you will acquire skills to work with individuals, as well as groups. You will also use social theories to analyze how service users, as well as social work practitioners, are empowered, and sometimes constrained by community and organizational structures. Completion of the program prepares MSW social workers to provide advanced practice and leadership in: clinical mental health, communities and/or organizations, healthcare and aging, and services to children and families.

The mission of the Portland State University MSW program is to educate students for advanced leadership and practice that recognizes and dismantles systems of oppression; builds racial equity and social, political, and economic justice; and advances the well-being of diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and tribal nations. We endeavor to deliver a social work education that is critically informed, theoretically driven, empirically supported, reflexive, ethical, vigilant and resistive to colonial, heteropatriarchal, classist, and white supremacist agendas.

Program Options

We are proud to offer social work classes with enough flexibility to make it possible for you to gain your social work degree when and where it’s convenient. The MSW Program is a 78-credit program (Advanced Standing – 46 credits) which can be completed in Portland, Eugene, Salem, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon or Online. The curriculum combines coursework and two 500-hour (16 hr/week) field education placements (Advanced Standing – 1 field placement) in a range of human service organizations.

MSW Specializations

While completing the MSW Portland Program, students have the option of completing a specialization track within the MSW Program, or participating in a certificate program or dual-degree program.

The School Social Work Licensure track offers a course of study that will lead to the Oregon Preliminary School Social Work License. The Preliminary School Social Work License is designed for students who wish to pursue work as a social worker in k–12 schools upon graduation from the MSW program.

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontology is an interdisciplinary course of study offered in collaboration with the Institute on Aging in the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

The Master of Public Health/Master Social Work Dual Degree option offered in collaboration with the OHSU—School of Public Health offers two tracks: Health Management and Policy Track, or Health Promotion Track.


MSW Admissions »

General MSW inquiries »

Cimone Schwoeffermann »
SSW Director of Student Affairs

John Waddingham »
MSW Student Affairs Assistant