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Portland State University Online Master of Social Work, Oregon

Why Portland State University?

The online Master of Social Work at Portland State University is the only such program offered by a public college in the state. Portland State, a large public research university in Portland, Oregon, expects applicants to demonstrate the attainment of a liberal arts perspective as undergraduates. They define this as the student having successfully completed course work from each of the following three curricular areas: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Humanities and Fine or Performing Arts. 

Standardized test scores are not required, and a minimum undergraduate GPA of none  is expected.  

Program Snapshot

University Name Portland State University
Location Portland
State Oregon
Niche.com Grade B-
Name of Degree Master of Social Work
School or Department Administering Program School of Social Work
Credits 78
Cost per credit $741.00
Tuition for Entire Program $57,798
Test Requirements No
Minimum GPA none
Prerequisite Courses and Skills Applicants must demonstrate attainment of a liberal arts perspective by having successfully completed course work from each of the following three curricular areas: Social and Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Humanities and Fine Performing Arts.
Campus Visit Required? One Visit Required Per Year
Typical Time to Complete 3 years
When Can Students Start the Program? Fall
Program Concentrations Advanced Generalist
Synchronous Classes No
Required Courses
  • Social Justice in Social Work
  • Social Welfare History and Policy
  • Advocacy and Empowerment
  • Societal, Community and Organizational Structures and Processes
  • Social Work Research and Evaluation I and II
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families I and II
  • Skills for the Helping Process
  • Field Placement and Seminar
  • Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations OR Advanced Clinical Practice
Does the Program Include a Capstone? No
Does the Program Include a Practicum or Internship? Yes
Other Features that Make the Program Unique Expertise in working with medically underserved and/or rural populations; electives in  SW 555 Perspectives on Mental Health Disorders SW 525 Poverty and Policies SW 553 Research for Racial Justice SW 522 Trauma Informed Care SW 516 Motivational Interviewing; Oregon’s only public college with an MSW program; School Social Work Licensure; Graduate Certificate in Gerontology; Master of Public Health/MSW Dual Degree; Child Welfare Education; Behavioral Health Integration Project
Program Objectives (quoted directly from the program) Graduate students will have advanced knowledge as appropriate to their intended field of study; They will understand and be able to apply appropriate advanced analysis methods, both quantitative and qualitative; Graduate students will be equipped to perform both independent and collaborative research according to ethical standards; Graduate students will be able to teach their subject; Graduate students will have advanced communication skills in scholarly settings across all methods of communication; Graduate students will behave as professionals, including in career or internship placements
Program Description This 78-credit program offers a comprehensive training in the theory and practice of social work. With faculty expertise in gerontology and trauma-informed care, Portland State offers a program with greater flexibility in course choice than some others. A capstone is not required but all students must complete a practicum.  

What will I Learn?

In accordance with general objectives for all graduate education at Portland State University, students in the online Master of Social Work will graduate with have advanced knowledge in Social Work. They will understand and be able to apply appropriate advanced analysis methods, both quantitative and qualitative, Graduate students will be equipped to perform both independent and collaborative research according to ethical standards and will have advanced communication skills in scholarly settings across all methods of communication; Graduate students will behave as professionals, including in career or internship placements.

Required courses in the program include Social Justice in Social Work, Social Welfare History and Policy and Advocacy and Empowerment. Theories of social development are covered in Societal, Community and Organizational Structures and Processes. Students gain core skills in Social Work Research and Evaluation I and II, Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families I and II, and Skills for the Helping Process. They learn to apply these skills in Field Placement and Seminar. Students have a choice between Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations or a course in Advanced Clinical Practice. Electives include Perspectives on Mental Health Disorders,  Poverty and Policies, Research for Racial Justice, Trauma Informed Care and Motivational Interviewing.

In addition to the core program, students can pursue a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and/or Master of Public Health/MSW Dual Degree. 

How much will the program cost?

Students finish their degree within  and pay $741.00 per credit for a total of 78 credits, or $57,798 in total.

How does the program fit into my life?

All classes are asynchronous, meaning that students can complete each week’s work, including video lectures, on their own schedule. One visit to the Portland campus is required per year. Students can enter the program every Fall. 

Summary

The Portland State University program offers a greater variety of elective courses and specialized opportunities than programs at smaller colleges, and this may make it attractive to applicants who know they want to pursue a certain area of social work. The program is more expensive than some options, but the type of education it offers may be worth the money for many applicants. Of particular interest are the available graduate certificate in Gerontology and/or the dual degree in Social Work and Public Health offered by the school. Applicants may also be interested to explore research and training opportunities through Portland State’s Behavioral Health Integration Project and through faculty research on Child Welfare Education.