Social Work

  • GU Possibilities
    • Ninety-eight percent of Gannon social work graduates apply and are accepted into graduate schools of social work, many of them top ten schools. In the past five years, graduates have been accepted to Columbia University, Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Science, the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, University of Michigan School of Social Work, New York University Silver School of Social Work and the University of Geneva. 
    • Students who graduate with a 3.0 GPA in the social work concentration can achieve advance standing upon acceptance into a graduate school of social work. Most students can earn their graduate degree in 12-18 months.
    • Social work students have the opportunity each year to apply for and acquire paid internships.
    • The Social Work Club hosts one of the largest single-day Christmas celebrations for the underserved and homeless residents of Erie, serving a hot Christmas dinner to 500-600 guests, while also providing gifts for children and clothing for individuals and families.

    You Will Learn

    The practice of professional social work requires an array of skills and knowledge that permits one to help individuals with personal or family issues, organize and empower community groups and affect local, state and federal policy. Students in our program, which is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, are prepared to work competently in multicultural systems, to assess and evaluate organizations and communities and to conceptualize the interdependence and interrelationship of our global community. Students are encouraged to become community leaders, to passionately pursue excellence in the allocation and provision of needed services and to diligently and deliberately become advocates for the disadvantaged and clients in their ecologies.

    You Will Experience

    Field education has been designated by the Council on Social Work Education as the signature pedagogy within undergraduate social work curricula. Gannon’s urban location facilitates internship opportunities with a variety of health and human services agencies, many of them within walking distance of campus.  A growing number of our field education sites now offer paid internships. Internships are available for social work students at the following locations:

    • Erie Community Correction Center 
    • Erie County Office of Children & Youth
    • Erie County Office of Mental Health & Intellectual Disabilities
    • Erie Family Center for Child Development
    • Erie School District
    • Gaudenzia Erie
    • L’Arche
    • local government
    • Martin Luther King Center
    • Mental Health Association of NW PA
    • Shriner’s Hospital for Children
    • United Way of Erie County 
    • UPMC Hamot
    • YMCA

    You Will Achieve

    The social work program provides a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and critical thinking that prepares our graduates to work in various career areas. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:


    • child and family development organizations
    • child welfare organizations
    • criminal justice
    • forensic social work
    • geriatric social work
    • international social work
    • medical and public health
    • mental health organizations
    • neighborhood revitalization and sustainability initiatives
    • organizations for the developmentally disabled
    • rehabilitation and recovery from alcohol and other drugs
    • school-based social work
    • substance abuse intervention

    You will Study

    The social work program directs special attention toward preparing students to engage in international social work practice and policy, and to conceptualize the interrelationship and interdependence of our global community. Social work majors take various core and elective courses including:

    SCWK 230:  Human Diversity 

    In this course, students participate in a homeless simulation in downtown Erie. Dressed as homeless individuals, students develop increased empathy as they gain a firsthand experience with homelessness and pauperism.

    SCWK 362: Generalist Practice with Families/Groups 

    In this course, students work directly in classroom settings with clients who are HIV-positive, identified substance abusers and parents with troubled adolescents or children with developmental disabilities.

    SCWK 364: Social Welfare Policy, Programs and Issues 

    This course includes visits from guest lecturers, including the mayor of the City of Erie, state senators, the county executive of Erie County, Pa., members of Erie City and County Councils, the director of United Way of Erie County and local executives of for-profit and nonprofit agencies.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • Starting salary: $33,000
    • Mid-career salary: $46,600