Master of Social Work with Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching Secondary Education Program

The Master of Social Work with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching in Secondary Education (MSW/CAST) combined program is designed to cultivate school-based practitioners that will have a wide range of skills for supporting vulnerable adolescents and families in urban school contexts. The MSW/CAST curriculum design incorporates the person-in-context approach of social work with culturally relevant secondary teaching methods. As such, graduates will be trained to identify, design, and facilitate programmatic responses to the unique needs of children in schools in urban communities, and also to enhance classroom teaching and student learning through their specialized evidence-based expertise.  

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: 2 years over five semesters 
  • Time Commitment: Full time
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall
  • Application Deadline: Rolling; Priority given to applications received by January 15
  • Course Requirements: 73-79 credits (22-25 in Pitt Education, 51-54 in Pitt Social Work)
  • Admissions Requirements: No GRE exam required


Apply Now

Program Details

The program is efficiently designed to be completed in two calendar years (5 semesters) and has two distinct components. First, the teaching certification portion is a two-semester fall-spring full-time program preparing students to be secondary education teachers (grades 7-12) in one of 5 core disciplines: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, or Foreign Language. Then starting in the summer of year two, the 3-semester MSW degree experience prepares students for leadership roles in urban education in high need communities. By combining courses of study in the School of Education and School of Social Work, graduates will: 

  1. Understand the learning environment of students in the urban settings 
  2. Understand schools as organizations in context 
  3. Utilize culturally relevant classroom instruction to promote academic growth of adolescents 
  4. Facilitate intervention programs and student support services that focus on the social and emotional needs of students 

Upon successful completion of this combined program graduates will be awarded a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) from our direct practice concentration, and certifications in secondary school teacher (grades 7-12) and school social work (pending praxis and licensure exams for relevant certifications). 

Degree Requirements

Coursework: In this uniquely rigorous and efficient program, students will meet an adapted set of the core requirements of both schools, whereby a number of pre-approved courses electives in one program count dually toward course requirements in the other. The total number of credits taken will be 22-25 in education and 51-54 in social work. These credits include required field experiences for both programs.

Fieldwork: The Certificate of Advanced Study in Teaching in Secondary Education’s field experiences will consist first of ten hours a week during the fall semester observing and teaching in a grade 7-12 classroom alongside an experienced mentor teacher. In the spring semester, the students will complete a full-time student teaching experience in the same classroom. Then in the summer semester following the first year, students will complete their foundation field placement for the School of Social Work. Finally, the concentration field practicum for social work will occur in the fall and spring semesters of the second year. This field practicum will be in a primary social work role within a school setting.

Certifications

MSW/CAST satisfies the requirements for a Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate Grades 7–12 in the specific content area pending:

  • Completing the Pennsylvania Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430)
  • Demonstrating satisfactory performance in courses and the student teaching
  • Earning a passing score on the national PRAXIS II Exam;
  • Additionally, candidates must obtain all federal and Pennsylvania state clearances before entering schools.

Prerequisites

The MSW/CAST program has the following requirements for all applicants to meet requirements for the School of Education portion of the program. Please see the School of Social Work website for requirements of their school. 

  • Foundations of Special Education course (3 credits)
  • Teaching English Language Learners course (3 credits)
  • 30 hours of experience working with children. Typical experiences include work at summer camps, tutoring, community involvement, or other volunteer or paid work with children
  • Interview with a program faculty member following the submission of your application

In addition, based on the academic subject area, there are the following additional prerequisites for applicants:

English Education
  • 3 credits of Foundations of Special Education
  • 12 credits of English Literature
    • This area requires a minimum of 4 three-credit courses. Courses must include reading, analysis, interpretation, and writing about literatures which reflect a diversity of genders, races, and cultural perspectives. A single course may satisfy more than one of these required foci. Examples include, but are not limited to literature courses such as, American, Women’s, African American, Native American, African, Latino/a, Caribbean, LGBTQ, Asian, World, British, or Adolescent.
  • 3 credits of English Composition
    • This area requires a minimum of 1 three-credit course. This courses must have a composition or writing focus. Examples include, but are not limited to, Fiction Writing, Journalism, Poetry, or Prose.
  • 6 credits of English Electives
    • This area requires a minimum of 2 three-credit courses. Courses should focus on writing, English language, or English-related areas. Examples: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Uses of Literacy, Fiction, Non-fiction, Journalism, Poetry, Media Studies, Theater Arts, Film Studies, Film Production, Film Analysis, or Rhetorical Studies.
Foreign Language Education
  • For Latin Language Students Only:
    The following prerequisites must be fulfilled:
    • ​Latin Area 1
      • Roman Civilization (3 credits)
      • Latin Prose Composition (3 credits)
    • Latin Area 2
      • At least 24 credits above intermediate Latin with a maximum of 144 credits
         
  • For Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish Language Students:
    A total of 30 credits are necessary, with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 credits in each of Area 1 and Area 2
    • Area 1: Languages and Linguistics (12 - 18 credits)
      • Conversation and Advanced Conversation (3 credits)
      • Composition/Writing (3 credits)
      • Stylistics (3 credits)
      • Phonetics (3 credits)
      • Grammar (3 credits)
      • Syntax (3 credits)
      • Structure of the Language (3 credits)
      • Dialects (3 credits)
      • Morphology (3 credits)
      • Listening Comprehension (3 credits)
      • Advanced Reading (not a literature course) (3 credits)
      • Professional Translation (3 credits)History of the Language (3 credits)
      • Introduction to Linguistics (may be taught in English) (3 credits)
         
    • Area 2: Literature and Culture (12 - 18 credits)
      • Civilization I (3 credits)
      • Civilization II (3 credits)
      • Major Cultural Periods (3 credits)
      • Cultural Heritage Courses (3 credits)
      • Literature Surveys (3 credits)
      • Author Courses (3 credits)
      • Genre Courses (3 credits)
      • Literary Period Courses (3 credits)
      • Cultural Period Courses (3 credits)
      • Thematically-based Literature Courses (3 credits)
Mathematics Education
  • A major in mathematics or a mathematics-related field (e.g. physics, engineering, economics)  
  • Completion of the college-level Calculus Sequence (Calculus 1,2 & 3, or its equivalent) 
  • College-level experience in Abstract Algebra, Number Theory, Linear Algebra, Geometry, probability, Statistics, and the History of Mathematics (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents)  will be required to make a case for approval).  
Science Education

The Science Education program has different requirements based upon different subject matters.

Biology Applicants

  • ​A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Biology or related fields (e.g., Biochemistry, Environmental Science, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships; 
  • Foundations of Biology I and II (with labs); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry I (with lab); Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total) 
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Molecular or Cellular Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Environmental Biology or Ecology (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval)

Chemistry Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Chemistry or related fields (e.g., Biochemistry, Geochemistry, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • Foundations of Biology I (with lab); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry I and II (with labs); Introduction to Physics I; Calculus I and II (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Analytic Chemistry or Instrumental Analysis; Physical Chemistry; Biochemistry, Environmental Science, or Geochemistry;  (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).

Earth and Space Science Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Earth and Space Science or related fields (e.g., Physics, Geochemistry, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Introduction to Physics I (with lab); Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Astronomy; Physical Geology; Historical Geology; Oceanography; Earth Systems Science or Meteorology; Environmental Science; and Geological Laboratory Techniques;  (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).

General Science Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in the natural sciences and/or mathematics (at least 9 credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships
  • Foundations of Biology I and II (with labs);
  • General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Organic Chemistry; Introduction to Physics I and II; Physics Lab; Calculus I (not included in 38 credit total)
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Molecular or Cellular Biology, Environmental Biology or Ecology, Geology, and Astronomy (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).  

Physics Applicants

  • A minimum of 38 credits of college-level coursework in Physics or related fields (e.g., Biophysics, Mathematics, etc.) with at least 9 of these credits at the upper level (junior/senior) and/or research internships;
  • Introduction to Physics I and II (with labs); General Chemistry I and II (with labs); Calculus I, II, and III (not included in 38 credit total);
  • Evidence of coursework (or equivalent academic or professional experiences) in Mechanics (above introductory level); Electricity and Magnetism (above introductory level); Optics; Wave Motion; Ethical, Human, and/or Environmental Applications of Contemporary Physics; (single courses may satisfy multiple areas; a portion of a course that substantially addresses one of the areas may also be accepted. In either of these cases, further information (e.g. syllabi, course documents) will be required to make a case for approval).​​
Social Studies Education

Area 1: Content Prerequisites (15 - 18 credits)

This area requires a minimum of 5 three-credit courses. Courses must directly address content in the following topic areas. A single course may satisfy more than one of these required foci. If regional, period, and/or topic specific courses are used to meet these prerequisites, up to 3 additional credits will be required in order to meet content expectations. 

  • U.S. History; 
  • Western European History; 
  • World History (non-Western); 
  • Ancient History; 
  • Geography; and 
  • World Cultures 

Area 2: Civics (3 credits)

The course must focus on general themes of political science, particularly those related to democracy, civic engagement, American political systems, or related topics. 

Area 3: Economics (3 credits)

A course in basic or advanced Economics is required.

Area 4: Sociology and Social Foundations (3 credits)

This prerequisite may be satisfied by a course in either the humanities, social sciences, or education that examines how socially constructed categories create advantages and disadvantages in social or educational institutions. 

Examples include courses that explore the history, nature, or implications of: 

  • classism and capitalism; ​
  • heterosexism, homophobia, genderism, and sexism; 
  • racism, xenophobia, and ethnocentrism; 
  • religious oppression; 
  • ableism; and/or  
  • other, interrelated forms of subordination 

Application Requirements

Interested candidates should apply to the School of Social Work MSW program and the School of Education program separately, indicating their interest in the MSW/CAST program where asked in the respective application materials.

Applicant qualifications for each school will be reflective of the general standards of each individual program. Candidates who are accepted to both programs will be accepted to the combined program, and will be notified and welcomed to the upcoming cohort.

Career Pathways

MSW/CAST students will be well equipped to work as either a teacher or School Social Worker at both the middle schools or high school level. 

To the teaching profession, graduates bring therapeutic, person-in-context, and family-relations perspectives that will uniquely equip them to build positive relations and supports for students in particularly challenging contexts.

Conversely, a school social worker with teacher training will have enhanced skills to support teachers in identifying effective interventions to address psychosocial issues in the classroom.