The  Master of Arts program, continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and its predecessor organizations since 1919, prepares students for advanced professional practice.

The School of Social Service Administration’s master’s degree program aims to provide a sophisticated understanding of the person-in-environment and to develop competencies and practice behaviors to effect change. Individual distress is seen in a social context, influenced by biological, economic, familial, political, psychological, and social factors. This perspective recognizes that economic, organizational, political, and social factors shape the work of social welfare professionals. Effective helping requires a broad understanding of possible responses, ranging from short-term strategies for gaining new resources and skills to long-term social and psychological interventions. The professional must be aware of and able to act within the web of relationships that link individual well-being with wider social and political forces to achieve social and economic justice.

To achieve these goals, students develop the following core competencies:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  2. Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.


To facilitate the development of these core competencies and the knowledge and behavior to practice at an advanced level, the School’s program is organized into a core curriculum and an elective concentration in either clinical practice or social administration. No academic credit is awarded for life or work experience.

To apply, please visit the admissions page.

Alexandra Frenn, AM ’16

Alexandra Frenn, AM ’16

“Upon attending the admitted students event before committing to SSA, it was clear that I would be a part of a diverse, brilliant, rigorous, innovative, well-rounded, specialized community of individuals. I was inspired by SSA’s attention to career development and expansive options for their students.”