The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work is to promote social justice and to advance knowledge for the growth and fulfillment of human potential. The goals of the program are to educate professional social workers, engage in scholarly activities, and provide service to communities. The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work offers three separate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW); a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree; and a doctoral degree in Social Work. All of these programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). That is important as this council’s accreditation has an impact on job opportunities, insurance acceptance and other areas.
The BASW program offered by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work includes both a Social Work major and a Social Work minor. The Minor of Social Work requires students to complete 12 credits within a selected list of social work courses. The Major of Social Work gives students a solid, generalist social work education while preparing them for careers in a variety of entry-level positions in community organizations. BASW students must complete 120 credits in order to graduate, which includes 12 credit hours of field education placement. The Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates is a unique program which is an agreement between the United States Administration for Children and Families, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, and many undergraduate social work programs in Pennsylvania. Under this agreement, social work students are given partial or full financial support in return for an obligation to accept employment in a Pennsylvania Department of Social Services office upon graduation.
Master of Social Work students at the University of Pittsburgh are given many choices in terms of which area to specialize in. The Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups curriculum allow students to be trained on specific therapeutic interventions to be used in a variety of settings such as child and family agencies, substance abuse treatment, juvenile delinquents and adult offenders, and hospitals. Within this curriculum students choose between Children, Youth, and Families and Health Care specializations and Gerontology, School Social Work, Child Welfare, Mental Health, and Human Service Management Certificates. For students who choose the Community Organization and Social Administration curriculum, employment opportunities include positions in nonprofit organizations, community revitalization, policy development, and others. For both currucula, field education is a requirement. Master of Social Work students are required to complete 1080 hours of field placement over the course of the program. The Child Welfare Education for Leadership offers Masters-level education opportunities for employees of public child welfare agencies. This social work program offers financial support to these students in return for an obligation to return to employment with the same agency upon graduation. The Master of Social Work is also offered by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work in conjunction with the following programs, with the potential to earn dual degrees: Divinity, Jewish Communal Services, Public Administration, Public and International Affairs, and Public Health.
The PhD program offered by the University of Pittsburgh aims to give students a solid understanding of social science research, advanced skills in statistics, and advanced knowledge of policy and learning opportunities. Those enrolled in the PhD social work program are required to take core courses in addition to some elective courses as part of a specialization. PhD students are also required to take a comprehensive exam after taking those courses and must complete and dfend a doctoral dissertation. PhD students, like MSW students, have the opportunity to earn dual degrees in two specific programs: Philosophy and Law.