Master of Social Work

Welcome! 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. The MSW Program will prepare you to become a professional social worker with the knowledge, values, and skills needed to serve individuals and families, transform communities, influence social policy, and promote social and economic justice.

MSW Program Mission 
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. (Approved on 1/26/2017)

MSW Program Goals
The MSW Program mission is realized through the goals of the program that prepare master's social workers for practice and leadership with diverse individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. The goals of the program are to:

  • Provide a statewide program that prepares social workers for advanced practice and leadership in healthcare and aging; clinical mental health; services to children, youth and families; communities; and/or organizations.
  • Prepare social workers who can practice effectively with individuals, groups, families and communities to improve their wellbeing.
  • Prepare social workers who demonstrate a professional use of self and a commitment to practice within social values and ethics.
  • Prepare social workers to engage in critically informed, non-discriminatory, collaborative practice that addresses/challenges oppression and reflects respect, knowledge, and skills related to race, color, ethnicity, culture, social and economic class, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, family structure, language, national origin, age, disability, and religion. 
  • Prepare social workers to use knowledge of systemic oppression and privilege, community and organizational change processes, and practice skills to advance social and economic justice.
  • Prepare social workers to analyze, formulate, and influence policies to improve practice and advance social and economic justice.
  • Prepare social workers to use practice experience, empirical evidence, and theory to guide practice.
  • Prepare social workers to engage in continued professional development, learning, and growth to enhance their social work skills and to contribute to the social work profession's efforts to advance social justice.

Required Field Placements

Students will complete two 500-hour (16 hr/week) field placements in a range of human service organizations, preparing students to work effectively with our increasingly diverse communities. See Field FAQs for more info.

Program Options

The MSW Program is a 78-credit program which can be completed in Portland, Eugene, Salem, Central Oregon, Southern Oregon or Online. The curriculum combines coursework and field education in a range of human service organizations, preparing students to work effectively with our increasingly diverse communities.  

Portland Option:

  • Complete the MSW program in 2, 3 or 4 years.
  • Select an Advanced Year concentration in one of the following: Clinical Social Work Practice, Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations, Social Work with Children, Youth, and Families or Health Across the Lifespan.
  • Two 500-hour field placements
  • Have the opportunity to complete a dual degree, certificate program or a specialization track.
  • Classes meet once weekly, with day and evening sections of required courses available.

Online Option:

  • Complete the MSW Online Option in 3 years following a prescribed curriculum and cohort model.
  • Study either the Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations concentration or the Health Across the Lifespan concentration.
  • Classes completely online, including periodic face-to-face meetings with faculty using technology.
  • Come to the Portland campus for 2 days of community building and instruction before each academic year.
  • Complete your field placement in or near your community of residence.

Distance Option:

  • Complete in 3 years following a prescribed curriculum and cohort model.
  • Distance sites located in Southern Oregon (Medford), Central Oregon (Bend), Eugene and Salem.
  • Study the Clinical Social Work Practice advanced concentration. 
  • Field placements in year two and three in your local community.
  • Local Site Coordinators provide faculty advising, field placement and individual support.

Advanced Standing Option: