Social Work, M.S.

Master of Social Work

About the Degree

The Master of Social Work Program is a joint degree program administered by The University of Akron and Cleveland State University. The Joint MSW Program began in January 1995. The curriculum of the Joint MSW Program is designed to prepare students for advanced level professional practice in Social Work. The program provides a rigorous intellectual base, an opportunity for effective skill development, and an educational perspective that views human diversity as desirable and enriching to society.

  • The MSW program offers a micro concentration (direct practice with individuals, families, and small groups) and a macro concentration (practice with large groups, organizations, and communities).
  • The MSW program can be completed in day or evening format with both part-time and full-time options.
  • High-achieving applications with an undergraduate degree can complete a 36-credit program in 11 months,
  • The MSW program is also available at the UA Lakewood site as a full-time evening format.

Graduates with an MSW are trained to help people cope with and overcome problems in their lives. They are prepared for social work positions in local, state or national government, as well as non-profit and private organizations. A master's degree is often required for supervisory positions within these organizations.

Social workers often provide counseling within a clinical specialty or to a specific community. Social workers may also work as administrators, researchers, policymakers and planners. Policymakers and policy advocates work directly with the local and national government to set up publicly funded programs that address child abuse, poverty, homelessness, violence, mental health and other issues.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2012-13 reports that the job outlook for social workers is very positive. This is due to a projected increase in demand for health care and social services. Employment prospects for professionals in this career field are expected to rise 25 percent by the year 2020. Employment of healthcare social workers is expected to grow by 34 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. As baby boomers age, they and their families will require help from social workers to find care, which will increase demand for healthcare social workers. Employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is expected to grow by 31 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as more people seek treatment for mental illness and addiction. In addition, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than to jail. As a result, use of substance abuse treatment programs is expected to grow, increasing demand for mental health and substance abuse social workers. 

Social workers generally enter this field not for the money, but because they have a desire to help people. As of May 2012, the median annual earnings of child, family and school social workers were $41,530, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salaries vary widely, depending on the type of position, practice setting, level of education, credentials, and expertise of the social worker.

Why Akron?

  • Based on our most recent alumni survey, over 80% of our MSW graduates are employed in the field of social work within six months of graduation. Many of our students already have positions waiting for them prior to graduation, or are hired on at their internship site.
  • In 2014, The University of Akron shared with the University of Toledo the distinction of having the highest percentage of graduates pass the clinical social work exam on their first attempt in the State of Ohio — higher than all other Ohio Master of Social Work programs, both public and private. 
  • UA Master of Social Work students have the option to take advanced courses in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Addiction Treatment. Students are prepared with the most cutting-edge approach to treatment that makes them exceptionally marketable upon graduation.

Contact Information

 Graduate Coordinator:           Dr. Timothy McCarragher

                                               Polsky Building, Room 411


                                               (330) 972-5976

Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                               Polsky Building, Room 467


                                               (330) 972-7664