PSU School of Social Work launches new online master’s program

Written by | October 15, 2013

  • Ann Curry-Stevens (Left) and Sarah Bradley (Right) are running the new online MSW program.

    Ann Curry-Stevens (Left) and Sarah Bradley (Right) are running the new online MSW program.

Scheduled to begin in fall 2014, the Portland State School of Social Work has announced that they will offer an online version of their Master of Social Work degree program. Already the only school in Oregon with an accredited graduate social work program, PSU’s new online MSW program will also be the first in the Pacific Northwest.

The new program is constructed specifically for the nontraditional student.
“Many people who work in social services struggle to get to campus for classes while balancing work and family,” program coordinator Sarah Bradley said. “This new program will really impact access.”

The conception of this new degree is in part thanks to PSU’s recent effort to offer more online programs.  Open to students everywhere, the program strives to embody the definition of a more flexible academic schedule. For example, most lectures will be recorded and posted for students to view on their own time.

Focusing on community and organizational leadership practice, the new program will help prepare students for careers in human services, policy advocacy and community practice.  It also targets students already working in the field who are interested in improving their leadership skills or want to learn more about community practice.
Students in the new program will follow a dictated course sequence, taking six to nine credits each term (fall, winter, spring and summer), and graduate after three years.

Students will only need to visit the PSU campus once at the beginning of each year for a three day intensive informational session in which they will meet the faculty and other students, as well as participate in some face-to-face instructional time.  While on campus, students will also have an orientation for Desire2Learn, the learning management system that will be used for the courses.

Entirely online, the courses will require that students stay engaged and be self-directed. Time management skills are a must for those who wish to succeed in this program.

Bradley believes that “some students will discover that this style of learning may actually be more appealing and help keep them accountable.”  Those who are unsure if online learning would be a good fit for them can take a five minute assessment to help gauge their learning style.

Applications for the online MSW Program at PSU are due Feb. 3.  The school will admit
40 students for the first year of the program.

For more information on and to take the online assessment visit

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