Certificate in Jewish Communal Service

The Master of Social Work (MSW)/Certificate in Jewish Communal Service is a unique program designed to prepare students for careers in Jewish communal service. Students enrolled in the certificate program can earn both a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and a Certificate in Jewish Communal Services from Gratz College. In preparing for social work careers in Jewish communal services, students have the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas: direct counseling services, planning and administration, group work, fundraising, and community relations. Graduates are uniquely prepared to find jobs within the Jewish community in settings such as family services, children’s agencies, day care centers, geriatric services, hospitals, community centers, Federations, immigration services, synagogue program management, Jewish schools, and the Hillel Foundation. The MSW/Certificate in Jewish Communal Service is open to students in both the clinical and macro concentrations of the MSW program.

Course of Study

On its own, the MSW is a 16-course degree program, consisting of 11 required courses and 5 electives. On its own, the Certificate in Jewish Communal Service is a six-course certificate program. When students complete the MSW/Certificate in Jewish Communal Service certificate program, two Gratz courses are applied to the MSW program as electives, allowing students to complete the MSW and certificate program together in twenty courses. The MSW/Certificate program may be completed in two years and one summer. It is recommended that students begin the certificate program at Gratz College during the summer prior to the first semester at SP2. Students must notify their academic advisors at both SP2 and Gratz that they are completing this program so that their course of study can be planned accordingly.


Students are required to take their 14 Penn courses within SP2. Because two Gratz courses are being applied to the MSW degree, MSW/Certificate students are not eligible to take up to two electives in other schools or departments at the University of Pennsylvania. Gratz courses may be completed online or on-campus.

Field Placement

Students in the MSW/Certificate program complete a foundation year field placement and an advanced year (clinical or macro) field placement. Students are in classes two days a week at SP2 and in field placement three days a week. SP2 offers a wide range of field placements uniquely suited to students studying Jewish Communal Services. Examples of these placements include Jewish Federations, Hillels, Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Jewish geriatric centers, and Jewish community centers. Students in the certificate program are guaranteed a Jewish communal placement in their advanced year and may also request a Jewish communal placement in their foundation year.