Social Work Master’s Degree FAQ

Yes, the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA; equivalent to an MSW) is accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). We have been accredited since 1919, the first year graduate Social Work accreditation was available.
Yes, the Master of Science of Social Administration (MSSA) is equivalent to a Master of Social Work (MSW).
Yes, the MSSA degree fulfills part of the requirements for social work licensure in 50 states in the U.S. To become licensed in any state, you must also complete the licensure exam and complete supervised hours (post-masters). For an explanation of the various licensing requirements for social workers, please visit the website of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
When our school was first chartered by Western Reserve University back in 1915, social work was not considered to be a profession. Consequently, the MSW was not considered to be a professional degree program at that time. This led to the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) being designated as the first professional degree program in social work at a university in the United States. In its nearly 100-year history, the Mandel School has been a leader in professional social work training.
Yes, we award up to 24 credit hours of advanced standing credit to applicants that have a BSW from a CSWE-accredited institution. Advanced Standing students complete the program in as few as 36 credits. Advanced standing is available to all program formats: Traditional On Campus, Intensive Weekend, and Online.
Yes, we welcome applicants from all academic backgrounds. In fact, about 70% of our students have a major other than social work.
Yes, we offer the MSSA program in 3 formats: The On-Campus Weekly Program, Intensive Weekend Program, and Online.
The Intensive Weekend Program is for people who are currently employed in the field of social work and have been in their current workplace for at least one year. Students in this program attend classes one weekend every month. They receive their master’s degree in a period of two to three years.
All formats require 60 credit hours to complete the MSSA (36 credit hours for advanced standing). The traditional 60 credits can be broken down into 48 academic credits and 12 field education credits. The Advanced Standing program can be broken down into 27 academic credits and 9 field education credits.
Some of our classes are held in the evening, but it is not possible to complete your degree by taking evening classes only.
Unfortunately, this is not possible if the student works weekdays. Field education sometimes may not be done on evenings and weekends. A few agencies are able to combine evenings and weekends with at least one weekday in the agency. If you would like to continue in your full-time social work position, our Intensive Weekend Program would be a great option.
It would help to have one, but it is not entirely necessary. Field education can sometimes be arranged near school or near your home.
There are a limited number of foundation courses that a student can take as a non-degree student. You may apply as a non-degree student through the Mandel School online application system.
Yes. Students can start the program on a part-time basis. Students can register for 2-3 courses for two semesters followed by full-time or near full-time registration for the remainder of their degree. The maximum time frame allowed to finish the part-time program is four years.
Yes, students who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in social work may waive the foundation courses in policy, socio-behavioral theory, and research courses by passing a proficiency examination. Proficiency exams are offered during incoming student orientation. Such waivers do not reduce the credit hour requirements for the degree, but enable students to take advanced elective courses to replace the credit hours. There is no fee for these examinations.
A full-time student takes four classes and concurrent field education for a total of 15 credit hours per semester. Field education requires an average of 20-24 hours per week. Classes meet for two hours, once a week.
The Mandel School has approximately 350 MSSA students, and our class size averages 15 students. Our student/faculty ratio is 8:1, one of the lowest in the nation among schools of social work.