Master of Social Work with a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate


The Master of Social Work with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching in Secondary Education (MSW/CAST) combined program is designed to cultivate teachers that will have a rich understanding of working with vulnerable adolescents and families. Graduates will be trained not only to design and administer creative programmatic responses to the changing needs of children in schools in urban communities, but also to enhance classroom teaching and student learning through their specialized expertise. The curriculum design incorporates the theoretically driven framework for appropriate socio-cultural assessments and evidence based learning methods for urban education.  Integrating the theoretically driven evidence based practice aspects of each degree into a cohesive educational and professional program is what we desire for our students.

The program is efficiently designed to be completed in two calendar years (including summers, totaling 5-6 semesters), and has two distinct components. First, the teaching certification portion is a one year full-time program preparing students to be secondary education content area teachers in grades 7-12 in the disciplines of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Foreign Language. Then starting in the summer of year two, the MSW degree experience prepares students for leadership roles in urban education in high need communities. By combining courses of study in the School of Education and School of Social Work, graduates will:

1)   Understand the learning environment of students in the urban context

2)   Be prepared to implement subject-specific research-based instruction to promote academic growth of adolescents

3)   Understand schools as organizations; and

4)   Know how to direct intervention programs and student support services that focus on the social and emotional development of students.

Upon successful completion of this combined program graduates will be awarded a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) from our direct practice concentration, and will also be eligible for state certifications as both a secondary school teacher (grades 7-12) and as a home school visitor (the credential typically required for school social work positions in the State of Pennsylvania).

Admissions and Prerequisites

Applicants will apply to each program simultaneously but separately. Applicant qualifications for each program will be reflective of the general standards of each individual program at the School of Social Work and the School of Education.

Candidates for this combined program will need to enter having completed a discipline-specific baccalaureate degree (or higher) in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies or Foreign Language.  Also, six education credits across two courses are required by the start of the first fall semester of year 1 (Foundations of Special Education; Teaching English Language Learners).  These credits can be from having previously completed these courses, or alternatively they can be completed here in the summer prior to the first fall semester.

Program Requirements

Coursework. In this uniquely rigorous and efficient program, students will meet an adapted set of the core requirements of both schools, whereby a number of pre-approved courses electives in one program count dually toward course requirements in the other. The total number of credits taken will be 51-54 in Social Work and 22-25 in Education. These credits include required field experiences for both programs.

Fieldwork. The Professional Year (year 1) School of Education field experiences will consist first of ten hours a week during the fall semester observing and teaching in a grade 7-12 classroom alongside an experienced mentor teacher.  In the spring semester, the students will complete a full-time student teaching experience in the same classroom.   Then in the summer semester following year 1, students will complete their foundation field placement for the School of Social Work. Finally, the concentration field practicum for social work will occur in the fall and spring semesters of year two.  This field practicum will be in a primary social work role within a school setting.


Students will pay the tuition of whichever school they are enrolled in for the majority of their credits that term.  Specifically, summer (as needed), fall spring Year 1 students will pay School of Education tuition, and the remainder of the program will be paid to the School of Social Work.


This MSW degree and secondary education teaching certification combined program is one-of-a-kind nationally. Upon graduation, students will be well prepared and certified to serve as both a School Social Worker and a Classroom Teacher. To the teaching profession, graduates bring therapeutic and family-relations perspectives that will uniquely equip them to build positive relations and supports for students in particularly challenging contexts.   Conversely, a school social worker with teacher training will have enhanced skills to support teachers in identifying effective interventions to address psychosocial issues in the classroom.  More broadly, a social work with teacher training will be able to construct and deliver instruction more effectively to impact change and understanding amongst his/her clients, colleagues, and staff.

In sum, graduates of this program are uniquely qualified for, although not limited to, work in high need urban educational environments. Ultimately, this degree is a rare and powerful distinction for individuals looking for enhance their preparation and employability in secondary schools in Greater Pittsburgh and beyond. 

Contact Us

James Huguley
Assistant Professor

2217G Cathedral of Learning