New Student Resources

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Letter from the Interim Dean

Image of headshot of Sharon Milligan

On behalf of the entire faculty and staff of the Mandel School, I am honored to welcome you to our Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) programs. All of us are committed to helping you achieve success within the program and reach your goals as a professional social worker or nonprofit leader.

Besides us, you also have the support of your fellow students in the Mandel School community. Time after time, we hear from graduates that one of the most rewarding aspects of studying at the Mandel School was the camaraderie of their peers. I encourage you to embrace that collaboration, which will enhance your education as a student and provide a network of social work and nonprofit management colleagues as a future graduate.

You also now have available to you a world-renowned faculty who conduct groundbreaking research, educate in small classes devoted to the student experience, and serve the school’s mission to promote social justice and community empowerment. They will stimulate your critical thinking, challenge your professional growth, and expand your real-world skills.

I am excited for what you will bring to our school, what we can provide to you, and how together we can make this world a better place.

Sharon E. Milligan, PhD, MSW, MPH
Interim Dean, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Contact Phone number Email or website
Richard Sigg, Admissions & Financial Aid questions 216-368-3862
Nicole Parker, Field Education 216-368-4383 
Kimberly McFarlin, Orientation and Student Services 216-368-5879
Scott Wilkes, Academic Advising 216-368-2240
Kimberly McFarlin, International Affairs 216-368-5879
Lori Longs Painter, Intensive Weekend 216-368-0047
Registration 216-368-XXXX
CWRU Bookstore 216-368-2650 Bookstore web page
Harris Library Reference 1-800-944-2290
Harris Library Circulation 216-368-2302


For your reference, we’ve compiled a list of important dates to remember while you’re getting ready to start the MSW, MNO and MSW/MNO Dual Degree program. All new, incoming Mandel School students will complete orientation in two formats: Canvas and In-person/Zoom activities. More information will be shared about orientation programming as details are finalized.

  • Fall 2021 Orientation modules and materials for all new, incoming Mandel School students will be available for completion between Monday, August 2 and Saturday, August 14
  • Orientation for all entering MNO and Dual MSW/MNO Students will be held on the following day: Tuesday, August 10
  • Orientation for entering On-campus Weekly MSW and Dual Degree Students will be held on the following day: Thursday, August 12
  • Orientation for entering all Intensive Weekend MSW Students will be held on the following day: Saturday, August 7

Additional orientation events for International Students

  • Pre-orientation activities during the first two weeks of August and International Student Orientation will be Friday, August 20.
  • Language Assessments will be scheduled individually with an ESL instructor.

The International Student Services web page will give you the information you will need before and after you arrive at the Mandel School. We encourage all international students to arrive in the U.S. no later than July 23, 2021 or 30 days prior to the date your program of study begins. Beginning the week of August 3, 2021, each international student will participate in a series of pre-orientation activities. Each international student will complete a Language Assessment in preparation for a required English and International Student Support Seminar held on Saturday for seven weeks. The seminar provides a curriculum specially designed for the international students to receive language support, instruction and practice with an ESL instructor and academic, social and acculturation support from a Social Work instructor who has experience working with professional and graduate students.

The curriculum begins with a one-week introduction to the field of social work. The introduction is designed to be an immersive experience, know as the Change Agent Intensive (CHAI). The curriculum is then divided into two levels, Generalist and Specialized. Students entering without prior preparation in social work complete the generalist and specialized curriculum; students entering with a BSW may go directly into the specialized curriculum.

Change Agent Intensive

The Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) provides an introduction to the practice and profession of social work. It is an initial, immersive experience for students to engage with faculty and their peers to examine the social issues and social problems central to social work. CHAI introduces the values and ethics that guide the social work profession, and the dilemmas that social work professionals face. This course centers the learning experience within the context of greater Cleveland so that students will begin to value the importance of community as a means of understanding social work practice at all levels - individual, family, group, organization, and community.

All MSW and MSW/MNO students will spend the first week of the Fall semester in CHAI.

On-Campus dates are:

  • August 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th

Intensive Weekend dates are:

  • August 28th, 29th and September 25th, 26th

Generalist Curriculum

The generalist curriculum includes the knowledge, values, and skills essential for the general practice of social work and it is completed prior to beginning advanced courses. It consists of courses in individual theory and practice, family theory and practice, group theory and practice, organizational theory and practice, community theory and practice, theories of human development and human diversity, social policy, evidenced informed practice, field education and organizational theory and practice seminar and two semesters of field education and outcomes-based learning. Most generalist courses are prerequisites for concentration-required courses and specialized electives. Learn more about our concentrations and click on the drop down menu titled Concentrations and Specializations.

Specialized Curriculum

The specialized curriculum builds on the generalist courses and provides advanced knowledge and practice skills in the concentration/specialization chosen by the student. Specialized courses are taken in research, policy, socio-behavioral theory, and practice methods. When integrated with an advanced field education experience, students begin to gain an in-depth understanding of their area of concentration.


Students in the traditional full time (2 year) or part time (3-4 years) program may choose to pursue one of two concentrations: Community Practice for Social Change or Direct Practice. Specializations within Direct Practice include Aging; Health; Mental Health (Child or Adult); Substance Use Disorders and Recovery; Children, Youth, and Families; and School Social Work. Students choose one primary concentration but may also choose a focus area in another concentration/specialization area.

Current descriptions for all Mandel School required and elective courses can be found on the Mandel School course schedules and descriptions page

Students meeting BSW criteria are admitted with Advanced Standing. Both concentrations and all specializations are available to students with advanced standing. Students who earned B- or below in any undergraduate required course must retake the course at the Mandel School.
Students enrolling in Intensive Weekend may choose to pursue Children, Youth and Families; Adult Mental Health; or Substance Use Disorders and Recovery.

Students planning to complete a Dual Degree Program are required to be admitted to both degree programs (public health, bioethics, law, or management). Traditional students may apply to the second degree program during the first year at the Mandel School. Please reach out to Richard Sigg to discuss your options.

The Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO) Program is a 39-hour degree program comprising 24 credit hours of required coursework and 15 credit hours of electives. The full-time program is completed in 3 semesters over 11 months. Part-time, the program can be completed in 6-8 semesters. Required courses are taught in the evening or in a weekend format suitable for individuals with part-time work or family commitments.

Required coursework includes nonprofit revenue planning and development; strategic planning; data-based decision making; financial management; law; ethics and professionalism; organization and management; and dialogues in leadership. As an elective, students may select SASS 501 (200-hour Practicum) in order to gain professional experience to complement what they are learning in the classroom. Students interested in the Practicum elective will meet with a Field Practicum Advisor to initiate the process for selecting an appropriate placement site.

Current descriptions for all Mandel School required and elective courses can be found on the Mandel School course schedules and descriptions page.

The Mandel School was a founding member of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), the sole body for institutions granting degrees in nonprofit management. NACC also accredited the Mandel School's MNO program in 2019, one of the first ten programs to be accredited.

Field education is an integral component of our degree curriculum at the Mandel School. Students collaborate with a wide range of community organizations to complete field placement requirements while simultaneously completing degree coursework. We refer to field education as the “bridge” between classroom and practice—the context through which students actively apply classroom knowledge and theory to social work practice.

The field placement setting provides students with opportunities to develop competency and skills in a supportive learning environment while also gaining a deeper understanding of a variety of areas of social work practice. Year after year; Mandel School students also make significant contributions to field placement organizations; bringing enthusiasm, knowledge and ideas that contribute to shared learning experiences and enriched practice environments.

Obtaining a Field Placement

Over the summer, incoming students will engage in the field placement interview process. The details of this process are outlined within our Field Education Welcome Letter, which was emailed to all students. Each student will be assigned a Mandel School field placement advisor, who will work closely with you to identify potential placement options and to prepare for the placement interview process. Although COVID-19 social distancing precautions may preclude us from meeting with you in-person this summer, each member of the Field Education Department is well equipped to work with our students via phone and video conferencing. We are committed to your success in field education and will work in partnership with you and our placement sites to facilitate the interview process.

The Mandel School has a well-established network of community partnerships, featuring field placement opportunities in community and direct practice, child welfare, healthcare, community development, behavioral health, schools, government and a variety of other settings. The Field Education Department has been working closely with our network of placement sites to develop increased opportunities for virtual interviews in response to COVID-19 and to best accommodate students residing outside of the state or country.

Field Education Requirements

On-Campus students enrolled in our weekly program format will complete an average of 12-15 hours of field placement each week during the fall semester, and then an average of 18-20 hours per week during each subsequent semester. Students with Advanced Standing will complete an average of 20-22 hours per week during both the fall and spring semesters. Intensive Weekend students complete field practicum hours at a modified pace of approximately 8-12 hours per week throughout the program to accommodate the responsibilities of full-time employment.

The Mandel School Field Education Department is working diligently to develop plans to ensure the success of all students in field education during the upcoming year while prioritizing health and safety. We understand that you may have many questions regarding how COVID-19 may impact field placement. Our plan for the upcoming academic year is for students to be physically within their field placement sites.  If questions should arise regarding placement conditions our field faculty are available to assist you and to answer your questions.

New students are sent course registration information in late June via email, and enroll themselves for fall semester. If entering students are advanced standing and have an elective to choose for fall semester, you will receive a list of open electives from the Registrar. An advisor will meet with you no later than orientation to secure your choice. Students receive registration confirmations by email detailing specific information about the courses.

Students are responsible for registering themselves for all future courses. Registration information is sent via Case email and outlines the upcoming course schedule as well as detailed instructions on how to register for courses.

New students are sent course registration information in late June via email, and enroll themselves for fall semester. If entering students are advanced standing and have an elective to choose for fall semester, you will receive a list of open electives from the Registrar. An advisor will meet with you no later than orientation to secure your choice. Students receive registration confirmations by email detailing specific information about the courses.

Students are responsible for registering themselves for all future courses. Registration information is sent via Case email and outlines the upcoming course schedule as well as detailed instructions on how to register for courses.

Each student is assigned an academic advisor responsible for assisting students in planning their academic program with the Pattern of Enrollment (POE). The Pattern of Enrollment includes a semester-by-semester layout of coursework required for the MSW as approved by the faculty in the student’s concentration/specialization. Each student is also assigned a field faculty advisor responsible for assisting with field placement. The names of both advisors are found in the lower right corner of your Student Information System (SIS) page.

The POE is prepared with the assistance of the academic advisor early in the first semester. At this time, students review the generalist curriculum and courses and tentatively review the selection of courses offered in the specialized curriculum. Students do not need to declare their concentration or specialization at this time. At the start of the student’s second year, students will again meet with their academic advisor to officially declare a concentration/specialization and select their schedule of courses. Advanced Standing students will need to declare their concentration/specialization at the start of the first semester. 

All courses in the campus-based MSW program will be housed on the Canvas Learning Management System. Please bookmark or set this site as a favorite link on your web browser for easy access.

To log into Canvas

  1. Go to the Canvas web page
  2. This opens the Single Sign-On page.
  3. Enter your CWRU Network ID and Password.
  4. Upon successful login, you will be taken to the Canvas homepage.

From there you will be able to access syllabi and readings for each of your courses. Instructors post course materials on Canvas several weeks in advance of the start of the course.

Your CWRU technology account gives you access to dozens of resources. The CWRU Network ID (also known as your account, username, or login) is used to access secure resources. Anytime you need to use services such as the Student Information System (SIS), My Financial Aid, email, the eStore, Software Center, and Launchpad Portal, the system will prompt you for your CWRU Network ID and password. Your ID will never change and will remain yours for the rest of your life.

Activating Your CWRU Network ID

Your CWRU Network ID is created for you as soon as you are accepted to CWRU.

To activate your Network ID:

  1. Start by visiting the activation page
  2. Enter your last name (also sometimes called your family name).
  3. Enter your 7-digit PeopleSoft ID number (included in the body of your Welcome email).
  4. Enter your date of birth.
  5. Click the “Activate Account” button at the bottom of the page.

During the activation process, you will create your passphrase and supply a security question and answer. Once complete, the system will show you your Network ID and email address, which will be ready to use within an hour.

CWRU passphrase requirements are as follows

  • May not reuse current or previous 4 passphrases
  • Minimum acceptable character length of 12
  • Maximum acceptable character length of 32
  • Minimum complexity is required to ensure passphrases will be strong, as indicated by a “green” score on the passphrase meter display during the creation of a passphrase

If you have questions about your CWRU ID, email, or any other technology, contact the [U]Tech help desk by calling 216.238.HELP (4357) or visiting the Help page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Barnes & Noble University Bookstore is CWRU's exclusive buyer and seller of required and/or recommended course materials and supplies including books, coursepacks and university educational materials published, distributed electronically or sold over the Internet. As the official Case Western Reserve University bookstore, Barnes & Noble offers an array of textbook options at different price points—used, new and digital—as well as a flexible pricing rental program.

Students also can purchase snacks and beverages; laptops and other technology-related products; trade books; school supplies; and reference and other educational materials to enhance and aid student learning. There also is a full-service cafe on site.

Prospective graduates will find caps and gowns and commencement invitations for rent/sale there as well. In addition, there is an expansive assortment of CWRU-branded merchandise, such as apparel, class rings and gift items.

Visit the Case Western Reserve University Bookstore at 11451 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, or online. For more information, contact the bookstore at 216.368.2650 or email Ann Rossi-Smerglia.

Office of Disability Resources
Educational Services for Students (ESS)
470 Sears Building

Case Western Reserve University is committed to providing all students with opportunities to take full advantage of the University’s educational programs. We recognize that students with documented disabilities may need assistance or accommodations in order to achieve this objective.

Click on the above link for the Case Disability Services Handbook. This document outlines the policies and procedures used in determining a student’s eligibility for disability services. These procedures are applicable to Mandel School students.

Student Handbook

In depth information regarding the policies and procedures at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences can be found in the Student Handbook.

All students are responsible for reading the Student Handbook prior to class start. It is imperative to your success in the program that you understand the policies and procedures associated with the MSW program.

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Housing Resources

Read about Housing at Case. There is also a private Facebook group that can be joined to learn more about housing opportunities.

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Student Organizations

There are many student organizations, including the Mandel Council

The Mandel Council is an officially recognized student organization with membership open to any interested student; it is the primary channel through which students participate in the affairs of the School. The Council identifies students to serve on five standing School committees.

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Harris Library

Founded in 1916, the Lillian & Milford Harris Library is one of only a few professional social work libraries administered by a school of social work. The collection of the Harris Library supports the curriculum and research interests within the Mandel School.

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