Certificate Programs & Specializations

Earn a Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in services to older adults and their families. Through the Ann Nolan Reese Penn Aging Concentration (PAC), you can be a social change agent and a leader in the burgeoning and vital field of gerontological social work.

Learn more about PAC.

The Child Well-Being & Child Welfare Specialization (CW2) educates students to provide clinical and macro social work services in a culturally competent manner to produce positive outcomes for children and families while also ensuring child safety, permanency and well-being.

Learn more about CW2.

The School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) currently addresses one of the nation’s most prominent behavioral health issues – a shortage of critical mental health services for veterans and their families who may be experiencing PTSD, depression, and suicidality – through the Cohen Veterans Network Scholars Program. Students take specialized coursework, engage in rotational field seminars and standardized clinical patient training, and complete a field placement at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Learn more about the Cohen Veterans Network Scholars Program.

The Criminal Justice Specialization educates Master of Social Work (MSW) 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.

Learn more about the Criminal Justice Specialization.

The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported in 2010 that over 2 million Americans are incarcerated. The report also shows that 1 in 32 Americans are in some phase of the criminal justice system (parole, probation, or prison) during this period that some have aptly termed “Mass Incarceration.” Despite the large number of people affected by the criminal justice system, this has remained an invisible epidemic. Through the Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI), students have the opportunity to work with one of the most vulnerable populations—those transitioning from prison. Students begin working with clients while incarcerated to plan for their release, and continue to support them as they transition back to their community. Students also work on a policy/advocacy level to challenge some of the systemic factors that perpetuate the cycle of incarceration.

Learn more about the GRI.

SP2’s Social work in Health Care Specialization (SWIHCS) aims to prepare students for successful careers across healthcare-relevant practice settings and with diverse populations and health conditions. This specialization acknowledges the lasting impact of the biomedical model on healthcare service delivery, yet grounds courses and fieldwork in the tenets of biopsychosocial approaches to social work practice. Academic work and field placements provide students in the specialization with an in-depth study of direct and macro practice work with children, families, the elderly, and communities coping with chronic and terminal illness, palliative and end of life care, in addition to skills towards health care advocacy, policy development and evaluation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Tailored mentoring will support students’ growing capacity to bridge systems of practice, and professional development opportunities will introduce students to interdisciplinary collaboration and leadership skills.

Learn more about the Social Work in Health Care Specialization.

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Studies in Global Human Rights is designed to provide enriched perspectives on human rights. Through this Certificate, students will gain a working knowledge of the core international human rights documents, treaties, and mechanisms.

By taking a cross-disciplinary approach, students are challenged to look at similar topics or questions from different approaches. Access to diverse coursework gives students the opportunity to shape this certificate around their own specific interests within human rights.

This Certificate accords with the United Nations Second Phase of the World Program for Human Rights Education (WPHRE) that began in 2010 and focuses on institutions of higher education.

This interdisciplinary certificate is administered by the School of Arts and Sciences, but is open to students in graduate programs across Penn’s campus.

Learn more about the Global Human Rights Certificate.

In Pennsylvania, school social work is called “Home-School Visitor Certification.” Students seeking the Home and School/Visitor Social Worker Certification (MSW/HSV) provide professional social work services in a variety of K-12 educational institutions.

The Penn MSW/Home-School Visitor Certification program accepts applications from current Penn MSW students and Penn MSW alumni.

Learn more about the MSW/Home-School Visitor Certification.

Students enrolled in the certificate program can earn both a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate in Jewish Communal Services from Gratz College. In preparing for social work careers in Jewish communal services, students have the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas: direct counseling services, planning and administration, group work, fundraising, and community relations.

Graduates can expect to find jobs within the Jewish community in settings such as family services, children’s agencies, day care centers, geriatric services, hospitals, community centers, Federations, immigration services, synagogue program management, Jewish schools, and the Hillel Foundation.

Learn more about the MSW/Certificate in Jewish Communal Service.