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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 20, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Social Work - Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups Concentration, MSW

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Foundation Requirements

All MSW students must complete the MSW Foundation requirements listed below before being permitted to take concentration skill courses; second-level human behavior and the social environment, social welfare, or research courses; skill electives; and concentration field practicum, unless they are exempted via Advanced Standing credit or examination or an academic plan that is approved by the advisor and the program director.


In addition to the five courses listed above, students must complete 6 credits of Foundation Field Work. Students entering with advanced standing may be exempted from part or all of the Foundation Field Work requirement.

Skill Concentration Curricula

Upon completion of the foundation requirements, students begin course work in either of the two skill concentrations: Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups or Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA). In each skill concentration, students can opt to choose a University of Pittsburgh certificate program, or a School of Social Work certificate program.

Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups

The Direct Practice specialization is designed to develop students’ advanced practice skills to prepare them for autonomous practice, grounded in the values and ethics of the social work profession using a strengths-based, person-in-the-environment perspective. Through course work and field education, students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in direct practice with diverse populations of individuals, families, and small groups. The specialization focuses on evidence-based modalities and provides students with community-based learning opportunities. Consistent with an emphasis on strengths perspective, students become skilled at assisting clients to address their needs and realize their potential.

Direct practice certificates entail a specific array of courses and field placement experiences that permit students to tailor their education and professional preparation.

Five certification programs are available to direct practice students. Direct practice students in the MSW program can elect to pursue a certificate in:

  • Children, Youth and Families Certification (School of Social Work Certificate)
  • Gerontology (University of Pittsburgh Certificate)
  • Home and School Visitor (School of Social Work, School of Education, and PA Department of Education Certificate)
  • Integrated Health Certificate (University of Pittsburgh Certificate)
  • Mental Health Certification (School of Social Work Certificate)

Students are not required to pursue a certificate. Those who choose to do so, must declare their choice of a certificate program no later than the end of the first term of full-time study. Individuals intending to complete the Home and School Visitor certificate must declare their interest in their application for admission to the MSW program. Information about curriculum requirements, specialization, and certificate programs are available on the school’s Web site,


MSW Courses

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