Students can choose to add a specialization to their MSW degree in one of two burgeoning fields: gerontology or school social work. Those who already hold a master’s degree can earn a post-graduate certificate in gerontology or the professional licensure endorsed in school social work.


The Graduate School of Social Work is among the 16 accredited social work programs in the United States to receive a grant from the Council of Social Work Education to implement a gerontology certificate program to prepare the professionals needed to address the concerns, challenges and complex needs of aging adults. The certificate program is available to both MSW students as part of their studies and as a post-master's certificate for those who already hold the MSW. Gerontology is the multidisciplinary study of the biological, physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual and economic aspects of aging. The gerontology program produces social workers professionally trained to provide services to the older adult population. Post-MSW professional social workers may be admitted as externs to the Gerontology Graduate Certificate program. Both current MSW students and externs take four 3-credit courses and complete a two-semester internship. This program can be done on a full-time or part-time basis.

MSW students interested in gerontology can apply for specific scholarships:
Scholarship in Gerontology
Kott’s Scholarship

Learn more about the gerontology certificate program.

School Social Work Licensure

Our Professional Educator License Endorsed in School Social Work program (formerly Type 73) is designed to help qualified individuals gain the endorsement needed for social work positions in Illinois K-12 public schools. Applicants must be currently enrolled in our MSW program or have already earned an MSW from another CSWE-accredited program. MSW students and post-MSW candidates both take required courses and work in schools for their internships. The Department of Professional Regulation in Illinois issues the license upon completion of required paperwork.

Learn more about becoming a licensed school social worker.