The master of social work program offers an evidence-based social work program that includes interdisciplinary teamwork and collaboration -- a crucial component in real world practice.  Social Work education is experiential, practice-oriented and self- reflective in a way that transforms students. Every step of the Carlow Master's in social work is trauma-informed -- the question to ask is not "what is wrong with you?" but "what happened to you?"

Work While You Get Your Master's

The Carlow University Master's in Social Work is one of the few in the area that allows students to take classes on a low-residency and part-time basis. You will learn from world-class faculty who are actively practicing and publishing in the discipline. 


One-on-One: The Direct Practice

The direct practice is grounded in the person-in-the-environment framework. The program is trauma-informed where each person is accepted for who they are in their environment. In trauma-informed care, we assess the person through their past and present environments and build on resiliency and strengths. You will learn a range of prevention and intervention methods and advanced cultural competence for their practice and to advocate for human rights, social and economic justice. 

Policy and Society: The Macro Practice

The macro practice is grounded in human and social well being and advocating for human rights and social and economic justice. Students are taught best practices with large systems and frameworks for achieving change. This specialization applies critical thinking and ethical principles in problem solving and leadership in large groups, communities and organizations. 

Field Placements
This is a short list of the types of places -- or, in some cases, the actual places -- students can expect to be placed.

Wesley Family Services (multiple sites)
UPMC (multiple sites)
Allegheny Health Network (Multiple sites)
Allegheny County Department of Human Services (multiple sites)
Jewish Family Services
Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
Mercy Behavioral (multiple sites)
Hill House Association
Rep. Jake Wheatley's Office
Pittsburgh City Council
Allegheny County Council
Age Well Coalition


Bachelor's in Social Work (BSW) students from CSWE accredited programs will qualify for application for Advanced Standing in the Carlow BSW (CSWE is the Council on Social Work Education). Essentially, advanced standing gives you credit for courses taken in your Bachelor's in Social Work program. Students who qualify will have demonstrated an understanding of social work's basic tenets and are ready to move into the more practical applications of those theories. In some ways, it's like transferring into the Master's in Social Work program with a portion of the degree earned.  

  • In person or low residency
  • Part-time or Full-time

Carlow University's Master's in Social Work is currently one of the only such programs in the Pittsburgh area that offers a low-residency option, ideal for adult and non-traditional students with busy lives and busy schedules. The low-residency option is part-time only, as students cannot graduate before accreditation in 2020.


The Master of Social Work is in pre-candidacy for accreditation as of January 2018. Students who enter the program while it is still in Pre-Candidacy will not be recognized as attending a program in Candidacy unless the program attains Candidacy in the academic year in which those students enter.

The Candidacy Process is typically a three-year process and there is no guarantee that a program in Pre-Candidacy will eventually attain Candidacy or Initial Accreditation. Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation.

Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

You can read more on accreditation here, or contact the CSWE.