Strategic Focus

Our Strategic Focus

An educational program must prepare professional social workers with the multidisciplinary knowledge, practical skills, and necessary values to provide leadership to address the rapidly growing and increasingly complex challenges impacting the biopsychosocial conditions of children and families. 

By offering three degree programs, the GSSWSR makes it possible for students to experience and explore the full range of theories and skills necessary for today's social work practitioner, researcher, or academic. The program goals and objectives are designed to exceed the multiple expectations placed on social work professionals.

From our Mission Statement:

“The mission of our GSSWSR is to prepare students to work with diverse groups across disciplinary and professional boundaries, and to flexibly apply their knowledge and skills across a wide range of settings for Social Work practice, education, and research.  We value a critical understanding of social responsibility and purposeful, reasoned, and imaginative action in pursuit of a just and democratic world.


The Master of Social Service program is a carefully balanced curriculum, in accordance with Bryn Mawr’s mission to explore the variety of roles open to social workers, in the depth required for professional practice, and with the flexibility needed for continual growth in a changing world.

The M.S.S. program is designed to:

  • Teach social work ethics and frameworks for applying ethical principles to social work practice
  • Promote the use of knowledge, values, and skills for effective social work leaders across areas of social work practice at the foundation and advanced concentration levels.
  • Develop strong relationship, assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills
  • Utilize an integrated perspective on theory, practice, policy, research, and ethics
  • Encourage self-reflection 
  • Advance social and economic justice 
  • Foster a critical awareness of diversity and the social and cultural forces that impact individuals, families, organizations, and communities locally, nationally, and globally
  • Understand and apply knowledge of human behavior in multiple social, cultural, and economic contexts 
  • Emphasize critical and creative thinking skills 
  • Teach strategies to engage in ethical research-informed practice and learn how practice experience can inform research for increased effectiveness of both
  • Develop students' skills for advocacy and policy practice on behalf of clients and client systems 
  • Create a learning community that is both challenging and supportive

Applicants are admitted with the understanding that they must be available for field placements a minimum of eight hours/week during regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and that the availability of a field placement occurring only during evening and/or weekend hours is not guaranteed.

Bryn Mawr's Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research Master of Social Service (M.S.S.) degree is equivalent in both licensure and use to the M.S.W. degree. The M.S.S. program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.