MSW/Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MSW/MFA dual degree program trains students as professional studio artists and social work practitioners, with a focus on the integration of art and social justice. It is open to students who have been admitted to both the School of Design’s MFA program and SP2’s MSW program. The MSW/MFA curriculum addresses the needs of two sets of students: 1) those in social work who are seeking to integrate the arts into their practice as MSW-credentialed service providers, and 2) those in the arts who are looking for professional credentialing and a career in social justice that utilizes their MFA training.

Application Information

Applicants for this program must apply to both the School of Social Policy & Practice and the School of Design. A separate application (and all related components) is required for each School. Application inquiries for the School of Design should be directed to PennDesign at admissions@design.upenn.edu or at 215.898.6520.

MFA/MSW General Course of Study

This dual degree program allows students to complete both the Master of Social Work and Master of Fine Arts degrees in three years. On its own, the MSW is a 16 CU degree, consisting of 11 required courses and five electives. The MFA is a 19 CU program, consisting of 8 credit units of Graduate Studio and eleven credit units of required and elective coursework. When students complete the MSW/MFA dual-degree, up to 5 courses are cross-counted between the two degrees.

Students work with their academic advisors in the MSW and MFA programs to individualize their course of study, but the following three courses have been pre-approved for cross-counting and represent the standard course of study:

  • SWRK 603: American Racism and Social Work Practice (fulfills an MFA elective)
  • SWRK 713: Understanding Social Change: Issues of Race and Gender (fulfills an MFA general elective)
  • SWRK 717: Art and Social Work: Art and the Ecology of Justice (fulfills an MSW elective and an MFA elective)
  • Two semesters of MSW Field Placement at an approved art-focused agency may be used to waive two credits of FNAR studio. Students who have been approved to have their field placement count towards the MFA studio requirements will be provided additional supervision by an MFA faculty advisor.

MSW students are permitted to take a maximum of three courses outside the MSW program towards their degree. If students count more than two Design courses towards their MSW degree, the remaining 13 CUs for their MSW degree must be courses at SP2.

Students complete the following 26 courses (28 CUs): (1) SWRK 601, (2) SWRK 602, (3) SWRK 603, (4) SWRK 604, (5) SWRK 614, (6) SWRK 615, (7) SWRK 7xx: Policy Option, (8) SWRK 760 (clinical students) or SWRK 7xx: Macro Practice elective (macro students); (9) SWRK 7xx: Research Option, (10) SWRK 704 or 708; (11) SWRK 714 or 718; (12) SWRK 713; (13) SWRK 7xx: Elective at SP2;  (14) FNAR 616; (15) FNAR 501: Graduate Studio (2 CUs); (16) FNAR 502 (2 CUs); (17) FNAR 601 (1 CU; 2nd CU waived for art-based field placement); (18) FNAR 602 (1 CU; 2nd CU waived for art-based field placement); (19) FNAR 701; (20) FNAR 702; (21) FNAR 801; (22) FNAR 802; (23) FNAR 804; (24 – 26) three FNAR or ARTH electives.

Field Placement and Fine Arts Studio Requirements

Two semesters of MSW Field Placement may be used to waive one credit of Fine Arts Studio in each the Fall and Spring semesters of the advanced year. Students who have been approved to have their field placement fulfill the MFA studio requirements will be provided additional supervision for their placement by an MFA faculty advisor. In their advanced practice year, students will enroll in FNAR 601 in the Fall and FNAR 602 in the Spring, but each of these studios will be weighted at 1 CU (instead of 2 CUs).

The program is structured so that students begin their coursework in the Fall semester by taking the foundation social work courses. However, students who begin work in the MFA may be able to take the MSW foundation courses in the second year. The general structure of the program is as follows:

MSW/MFA Curriculum

YearFallSpring
OneSWRK 601SWRK 614
SWRK 602SWRK 615
SWRK 603 (fulfills MFA Elective #1)SWRK 7xx (Policy Option)
SWRK 604SWRK 760 (clinical concentration) or SWRK 7xx: macro elective (macro concentration) [MSW Elective #1)
TwoFNAR 501FNAR 502
FNAR 701FNAR 702
FNAR Elective or ARTH Elective (MSW Elective #2/MFA Elective #2)FNAR Elective or ARTH Elective (MSW Elective #3/MFA Elective #2)
FNAR 801FNAR 802
ThreeSWRK 704/708 + Art based Field PlacementSWRK 714/718 + Art based Field Placement
FNAR 601 (1 CU)FNAR 602 (1 CU)
SWRK 7xx: Research OptionSWRK 7xx (MSW Elective #4)
FNAR Elective #4SWRK 713 (Fulfills MFA Elective #5)
FNAR Elective (or FNAR 803)FNAR 616 (fulfills MSW Elective #5)

Contacts for Prospective Students

SP2 Admissions Office
apply@sp2.upenn.edu
215.746.1934

School of Design Admissions Office
admissions@design.upenn.edu
215.898.6520

Contacts for Students Currently Enrolled at Penn

School of Social Policy & Practice
Emily McCully, MSW
Associate Director of Academic Affairs & Global Programs
215.746.4301
emccully@sp2.upenn.edu

School of Design
Andrea Porter, MLA
Director of Student Services/Registrar
215.898.6210
anporter@design.upenn.edu

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