Criminal Justice Specialization

The Criminal Justice Specialization educates master of social work students to provide culturally competent clinical and macro social work services to people involved with and impacted by the criminal justice system by understanding the historic and contemporary context of mass incarceration, criminal justice, and reentry.

Students develop a broader understanding of the uneasy alliance between social work and criminal justice, and the variety of interventions and programs that work to improve the criminal justice system and the lives of the individuals therein.  Students will receive multidisciplinary instruction to better comprehend the intersecting issues connected with mass incarceration. Field placement will focus on skill development to enable students to work effectively with individuals, communities, and systems while developing strategies for productive policy and programmatic change within the criminal justice field.  Students will utilize classroom and field learning opportunities in local, state, and federal courts, corrections, and supervision; non-profit criminal justice service agencies; and criminal justice policy organizations.

The goals of the specialization are to:

  • Integrate macro and clinical social work across the field of criminal justice, including juvenile and adult corrections, courts, reentry, probation/parole, mental health, substance use organizations, social service agencies, and alternatives to incarceration;
  • Train future social workers to become familiar with and maneuver through various sectors of the criminal justice system; and
  • Incorporate social work into a broader, multidisciplinary context focusing on criminal justice.
Faculty

Faculty

Faculty

The faculty work closely with specialization students to mentor and advise them, both academically and professionally.

Learn More
Program Structure

Program Structure

Program Structure

Students in the Criminal Justice Specialization complete a criminal justice focused field placement and take a total of two courses as part of the specialization.

Learn More
Application

Application

Application

The Criminal Justice Specialization is open to MSW students in the full-time, part-time, and Advanced Standing programs.

Learn More

SP2 News

Stephanie R. Fenniri

Student Life

NPL Student Named 2019 New Leaders Council Fellow

Stephanie R. Fenniri, a student in the Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2),...

Image of Jason Miller being filmed

Faculty & Research

New Penn SP2-Wharton Professional Certificate Program

From Direct Practice to Social Work Leadership A new interdisciplinary collaboration between Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and...

Alumni Stories

SP2 Alumni Honored at Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Awards

Two alumni of the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) were selected as winners in their respective categories...

U.S News & World Report

News

Penn School of Social Policy & Practice Ranked Among Best Graduate Schools by U.S News & World Report

The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) has been named among the top 10 schools of...

Discover More