In Alumni, Announcements, School of Social Work

The new Cairn University MSW, launched in Fall 2020, achieved another important milestone: Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation. 

Candidacy status is not only one step closer to accreditation, but it also means that the University’s MSW program is now listed on the CSWE’s website as a candidate for accreditation.

At their February 2021 meeting, the Commission on Accreditation announced Cairn’s MSW program qualified to move from the status of Pre-candidacy to Candidacy. Candidacy for an MSW program indicates that the program has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer-review process. Attaining Candidacy demonstrates a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

Candidacy is typically a three-year process, and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will attain Initial Accreditation. However, it does provide reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.

Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. For the Cairn MSW, this means students currently in the 2020-21 academic year and beyond will qualify for a CSWE-accredited MSW. 

The University is in a good position as it takes further steps toward accreditation. Cairn’s BSW has held up a good standing with the CSWE since it was first accredited in 1974 and then reaffirmed in 2017 with no request for further reports from the Commission on Accreditation. Dr. Lawrence Ressler, MSW program director, has also previously led the charge of other schools’ accreditations. He is confident that at the end of this three-year process, the Cairn University MSW will be granted accreditation and he is pleased that this will extend to the terrific students who began the program in Fall 2020.

For more information about the School of Social Work, visit

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