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MSW CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

Penn Aging Certificate

Earn an additional Certificate of Specialization in Geriatric Social Work along with your MSW degree. Through the Penn Aging Certificate (PAC) Program, you can be a social change agent and a leader in the significant field of gerontological social work.

The Documented Need for Geriatric Social Workers

  • 60,000 to 70,000 geriatric social workers will be needed by 2020, yet less than 10% of that projected number is now available.
  • The demand for geriatric social workers will increase by 45% by 2015.
  • Geriatric social work ranks as one of the top 20 careers in terms of growth potential.

An Institute on Medicine 2008 Report concluded that the supply of health care providers, including social workers, is inadequate for meeting the health and psychosocial needs of future older adults.

Dramatic Demographic Changes

  • By the year 2050, one out of every seven people in the world will be 65 years old or older.
  • Significant to issues of social justice, the number of those over age 85—elders with the highest rates of chronic illness, poverty, and living alone—is expected to quintuple to more than 19 million by 2050.
  • The older population is becoming more ethnically and racially diverse. The percentage of minority elders will grow from the current 17% to 33% by 2050.
  • Aging is a normal process that affects all of us.
  • Issues of aging and older adults are linked with all the fields of social work practice— mental health, substance use, health care, child welfare (e.g., grandparents are primary caregivers to grandchildren), or corrections (e.g., the graying of the inmate population).

The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), in collaboration with a consortium of community field agencies in Southeastern Pennsylvania, offers Master of Social Work (MSW) students the opportunity to earn a certificate in gerontology. The program trains students for clinical and macro practice and leadership in social work services. This program, known as the Penn Aging Certificate or “PAC,” is the only social work certificate of its kind in the tristate area.

PAC is part of the Specialized Geriatric Social Work Initiative funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation. The program was developed as a critical response to the aging boom and the dearth of social workers specially trained to respond to older adults’ needs. PAC aims to:

  • Increase the number of MSW students electing to go into the field of gerontology.
  • Increase the number of competent social work practitioners and leaders in the field of gerontological-social work in the United States.

“By combining clinical research and education with programmatic solutions, SP2 ensures that our graduates are equipped to redefine the possibilities for the clients they serve.”

– Ann Nolan Reese, CW’74, Sponsor of The Ann Nolan Reese Penn Aging Certificate (PAC) Program

COURSE OF STUDY

Course of Study

Foundation Year

In the foundation year of the MSW program, all students, including those who are interested in PAC, will complete the foundation MSW curriculum. In addition to the regular MSW curriculum, PAC provides seminars on aging-related issues, which are open to foundation year students and the wider community audience.

Advanced Year

In the advanced year, the PAC MSW students will enroll in a specialized curriculum with in-depth content on gerontology and services for older persons. The PAC curriculum includes two required courses: SWRK 7940: Practice with Older Adults and SWRK 7690: Aging: The Intersection of Policy & Practice.

Sample Curriculum

Advanced Year – Fall Semester

  • SWRK 7040 or SWRK 7080: Advanced Clinical or Macro Social Work Practice I
  • SWRK 7xxx: Research Option: (choose one that is offered)
    • SWRK 7440: Direct Practice Research
    • SWRK 7430: Action Research
    • SWRK 7450: Policy Research
    • SWRK 7740: Program Evaluation
    • SWRK 7810: Qualitative Research
  • SWRK 7940: Practice with Older Adults (Clinical Practice Elective)*
  • SWRK 7xxx: Elective of student’s choice

Advanced Year – Spring Semester

  • SWRK 7040 or SWRK 7080: Advanced Clinical or Macro Social Work Practice I
  • SWRK 7xxx: Research Option: (choose one that is offered)
    • SWRK 7440: Direct Practice Research
    • SWRK 7430: Action Research
    • SWRK 7450: Policy Research
    • SWRK 7740: Program Evaluation
    • SWRK 7810: Qualitative Research
  • SWRK 7940: Practice with Older Adults (Clinical Practice Elective)*
  • SWRK 7xxx: Elective of student’s choice

The following courses are not required for PAC students, but students in the PAC program may be interested in these courses due to their content and its relevance to practice with older adults:

  • SWRK 7020: Social Work Practice in Healthcare
  • SWRK 7260: Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention
  • SWRK 7380: Anxiety and Depression
  • SWRK 7570: Loss through the Lifecycle
  • SWRK 7710: Social Work Values and Ethics
  • SWRK 7770: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • SWRK 7860: Social Work Practice and Trauma
  • SWRK 7980: Evidence-Based Problem Solving Therapy

*Note: SWRK 7940: Practice with Older Adults and SWRK 7690: Aging: The Intersection of Policy & Practice are required courses for all students in the PAC program.

TRAINING & SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Trainings & Special Programs

JoyAge Research Project

Telehealth Cardiac Rehab Programs

“Standardized Patient Training” Penn School of Medicine Standardized Interprofessional Team Training

The Penn Geriatric Social Work Fellows have the opportunity to participate in a high-quality Standardized Patient (SP) clinical training at the Perelman School of Medicine, which is designed to test student learners at various stages in their clinical education.

The SP Program offers PAC fellows the opportunity to interact and test their skills with standardized patients and interprofessional teams with the following clinical experiences:

  • A controlled environment where they develop their unique approach to patient care with nonjudgmental feedback from a diverse group of simulated patients;
  • Reliable, valid clinical scenarios using trained SPs and rigorous quality assurance to grade learners on their progress and/or prepare them for State licensing exams; and
  • Training to portray a patient scenario for the instruction, practice, and assessment of the examining, diagnostic, and interpersonal skills of the students.

Graduate students who have been accepted into the MSW program are encouraged to apply. The program is open to students in the full-time and advanced standing programs.

APPLICATION

Application

To be considered for the Penn Aging Certificate, you must be in satisfactory academic standing in the MSW program. By applying, you give us permission to contact your references, access your student file, and share information about you with PAC staff and potential Field Instructors.

Advanced Standing MSW and PAC

Part-time Students and PAC

Please contact the PAC staff to discuss the requirements for admission into the PAC concentration.

Contact Us

Zvi D. Gellis, PhD

Director, Ann Nolan Reese Penn Aging Certificate

215 746 5487

PAC@sp2.upenn.edu