Students at West Virginia University and West Virginia State University will soon be able to earn a master’s degree in social work through a new collaboration between the two institutions. The program will begin accepting students in August 2016.

Helen Hartnett, interim director of WVU’s School of Social Work, called the collaboration “a win-win”.

“This is one of the first truly collaborative degree programs in social work in the United States,” she said. “Partnering with another major land-grant institution will only benefit the state and region, and will increase the ability to train skilled social workers.”

WVSU offers an accredited undergraduate degree, but not a graduate degree. WVU, through its location at the Health Sciences Center Charleston Division, is able to offer a part-time evening graduate degree program, but this partnership will provide the opportunity to offer a full-time day time option as well.

“This agreement will allow both institutions to recruit students we did not have access to in the past,” Hartnett said.

This partnership expands the education possibilities for both colleges, including shared resources of faculty, staff, classrooms and access to the WVSU campus.

“Over the years, WVU School of Social Work has educated hundreds of social workers, who have gone on to improve the lives of people in West Virginia and strengthen their communities,” said Maryanne Reed, interim dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a wonderful opportunity to expand that opportunity to students across the state and provide high-quality professional support in the areas of mental health, child welfare, aging services and community development.”

WVU President Gordon Gee praised the partnership.

“This partnership with our sister West Virginia land-grant institution exemplifies how West Virginia University is working collaboratively with other institutions of higher education in the state,” Gee said. “In this day of limited resources, we have to all work together to meet the educational needs of our students, regardless of where they live.”

As part of the agreement, WVSU will follow all of WVU’s admissions policies. Students will apply to and pay tuition to WVU. The agreement will run through Spring 2019, with an option to renew for another three-year term.

For more information about the collaboration, please contact Debra Young (, program coordinator for the Charleston/Beckley area.

This story was originally published at WVUtoday.