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PLU launches new Master of Social Work (MSW) degree

PLU launches new Master of Social Work (MSW) degree

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Image: (PLU Photo / Sy Bean)

September 13, 2023
By MacKenzie Hines
PLU Marketing & Communications

PLU has added a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to its offerings and is now accepting applicants for the fall of 2024. Rooted in PLU’s tradition of academic excellence and community engagement, the new MSW program will equip aspiring social work professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to create lasting impacts on individuals, families and communities.

“The launch of the MSW program at PLU signifies our bold commitment to expanding well-being, opportunity and justice” said PLU President Allan Belton. “As the program sets its sights on empowering the next generation of social work leaders, PLU remains steadfast in its dedication to creating a more just and equitable society.”

PLU’s MSW degree is ideal for those dedicated to tackling modern social issues through education and practice. The program will prepare students to become Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers for careers related to physical and behavioral health. With a comprehensive curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and a diverse range of specializations, the program shapes compassionate leaders who are well-versed in the complexities of social work.

The demand for social workers, especially those with master’s-level qualifications, is on the rise, especially in health and behavioral healthcare settings, where they serve individuals, families and communities. According to the Washington State Department of Health (2021), there are projections of even greater demands for mental health services, putting additional pressure on an already stretched system. The necessity for well-trained MSW-level social workers is evident. This need is a driving force behind the launch of the MSW program at PLU.

“At PLU, we have a long history of undergraduate social work students who have become a powerful force for good in our world,” said Dean of Health Professions David Ward. “Our MSW program is designed to nurture compassionate leaders equipped with the necessary skills and grounded in a strong ethical framework. We’re excited to provide a platform for our students to make tangible, positive changes in the lives of those they serve.”

Diverse Learning Pathways and Global Focus

The curriculum will immerse students in social work theory, practice, and ethics with practical applications. To accommodate working students, courses will be offered on a hybrid schedule, with some in-person classes in late afternoons and evenings and some components of each course delivered online, either synchronously or asynchronously. The MSW will also feature two pathways: a regular standing track, a 28-month program for those who do not have an undergrad degree in social work and an advanced standing track, a 14-month program for those with an undergraduate degree in social work.

Guided by expert faculty, students will gain practical skills through supervised field experiences. The program will also include a comparative global focus on health and behavioral health. Students will be encouraged to complete a January term study away to travel abroad and locally to learn and compare other health models.

Application and Information Sessions

The application process is now open for fall 2024. Visit MSW admission for detailed admission requirements and application deadlines.

For those seeking more information, PLU will host informative sessions where faculty members will introduce the program and its curriculum and answer queries. All dates and details for these sessions are on the MSW website.