Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the application fee for the MSSA program?
    There is no application fee.
  • Is a personal friend a good reference for my admission?
    No. It’s good to have the support of friends, but for admission, professional references from people who have observed your work and who can objectively judge your potential are the most effective.
  • Is the bachelor of social work degree the preferred preparation for MSSA education?
    A bachelor’s degree in another field is acceptable since we have students with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Having a BSW degree allows you to be considered for advanced standing.
  • Will I need a car for field education?
    It would help to have one, but it is not entirely necessary. Field education can sometimes be arranged near school or near your home.
  • What are the various concentrations offered in the MSSA program?
    The concentrations offered in the masters. program are Community and Social Development and Direct Practice. Specializations in the Direct Practice concentration are:Aging; Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse; Children, Youth & Family, Health; and Mental Health.
  • When are applications accepted for the program?
    The application deadline is May 15th. Prospective students are encouraged to apply by February 1 to take advantage of the larger pool of scholarship funds. Please submit as complete an application as possible. The Admissions Committee will review your file with 2 out of 3 reference letters and an unofficial transcript;  however, no final decision will be rendered until your application is complete.  Applicants are responsible for verifying that their applications are complete. The mailing address for applications is: The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
    10900 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7164
  • May I live some distance away and still enroll in the MSSA program?
    Courses in our full-time, on-ground program meet once a week. Field education can be arranged close to the student’s home, so we do our best to accommodate. In some cases, practicum may involve an hour of round-trip drive time, so each situation is different. Depending on your home and family needs, the online program may be more suitable for those that live a distance from campus.
  • How can I learn more about the online option?
    Visit our website at
  • What is the Intensive Weekend Program?
    The Intensive Weekend Program is for people who are currently employed in the field of social work and have been in their current workplace for atleast one year. Students in this program attend classes one weekend every month. They receive their master’s degree in a period of two to three years. Please contact Gerald Strom, Director of the Intensive Weekend program, with specific questions at (216)368-5880 or
  • What are the criteria for being admitted into the Intensive Weekend Program?
    The applicant has to be currently employed in the field of social work on a full-time basis. The applicant needs to do field placement at the place that they work, in an atmosphere different from their existing job, under the supervision of someone other than their current supervisor. Their proposed field instructor should have a LISW. (No other licenses will be approved by our field education office.) When applying, the applicant needs to submit a current job description and the resume of their proposed field instructor.
  • Do you offer evening classes?
    Some of our classes are held in the evening, but it is not possible to complete your degree by taking evening classes only.
  • Is the GRE or MAT score necessary to be admitted into the MSSA program?
    As long as your undergraduate cumulative GPA is above 2.70, test scores are not necessary. It is mandatory for applicants with a GPA below 2.7 to take either one of the tests.
  • How do I find housing?
    There is no graduate housing on campus.  The CWRU Office of Housing and Residence Life compiles an off-campus housing rental information for CWRU students, faculty, and staff:  The Admissions office is willing to meet with you once you consult this website to help you choose a convenient location.
  • What happens if I submit an incomplete application?
    Please remember that the responsibility for checking on the status of your application remains with you and can be accessed through your online application. Please be advised to start your application procedure early (October/November). Remember that letters of reference and transcripts may take longer than you anticipate.
  • What are the dual degrees offered at the Mandel School? How do I apply to these programs?
    The following are the dual degrees offered:

    • MSSA/MPH Program (Master of Public Health)
    • MSSA/JD Program (Juris Doctorate in Law)
    • MSSA/MBA Program (Business Administration)
    • MSSA/MA (Bioethics)
    • MSSA/MNO (Master of Nonprofit Organizations)

    Please note that students need to apply separately to both programs. You can receive information from the following places:


  • What does the abbreviation MSSA mean? Is it different from an MSW degree?
    MSSA is the abbreviation for Master of Science in Social Administration. This degree is a Masters of Social Work. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS), which offers this degree, has been consistently ranked among the top social work schools in the USA. The MSSA is no different than an MSW degree. We are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • May I start classes without being admitted?
    There are a limited number of foundation courses that a student can take as a non-degree student. Applicants will be allowed to register for these courses on a particular day set by the registrar of our School. Applicants are allowed to register after all Mandel School students have registered.
  • May I begin as a part-time student and then finish the MSSA degree as a full-time student?
    Yes. Students can start the program on a part-time basis. Students can register for 2-3 courses for two semesters followed by full-time or near full-time registration for the remainder of their degree. The maximum time frame allowed to finish the part-time program is four years.
  • How large is your Masters Program?
    The Masters Program is approximately 333 students and our classes average 15 students.
  • How much time is required per week for a full-time student?
    A full-time student takes four classes and concurrent field education for a total of 15 credit hours per semester. Preparation for classroom work (reading assignments, writing papers, etc.) is time consuming. Field education requires an average of 20-24 hours per week. Classes meet for two hours, once a week.
  • Is my $100 deposit at the time I am admitted refundable if I should withdraw?
    The deposit is not refundable. However, by paying this fee, we can defer your admission to a maximum of one year.
  • May I work full-time and participate in field education at the same time in the full-time program?
    This is not possible if the student works weekdays. Field education sometimes may not be done on evenings and weekends. A few agencies are able to combine evenings and weekends with at least one weekday in the agency. If you need to continue in your full-time social work position, our Intensive Weekend Program may be a better option.

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