Loyola University Chicago

Schools Specialization

Loyola University’s School of Social Work is implementing a curriculum change this fall 2021 which will include students who began the program in spring 2021 or later. Spring 2021 admits can expect to receive additional communications about these changes. Continuing students that began the program in summer 2020 or earlier will not be impacted by the curriculum change, and should follow their advising template as planned, with the following exceptions:


  • Students that have not completed SOWK 507 by summer 2021, will need to take the new SOWK 509 course in fall 2021 or later. The new SOWK 509 course will include enhanced social welfare content and will now be called Social Welfare Policy and Community Advocacy.  
  • Students that do not have SOWK 509 completed by summer 2021 will need to take a required special topics course –SOWK 634 - Strategies for Community Intervention, which will include the original SOWK 509 content. It will be offered in the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters only. To not interfere with your class schedule, it will be run as an asynchronous online course.


School social work is defined as an area of specialization by a number of national and local organizations. Illinois, along with several other states, requires individuals to be licensed (PEL) to practice as a School Social Worker. In order to qualify for licensure, individuals must receive their training through accredited institutions of higher learning. Loyola University Chicago and its School of Social Work in collaboration with the School of Education provide the required training.

State of Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)—School Social Worker Endorsement—Requirements

Students interested in pursuing the PEL (formerly Type 73 certification), which will enable them to be a social worker in a public school in Illinois, must meet the requirements of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Loyola School of Social Work (SSW).

ISBE Requirements

ISBE rules require that a student earn a grade of “C” or better in all program classes. The internship grade of “P” (Pass) meets the ISBE requirement.

Please follow the directions on the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) website for information on test registration and test dates and location.

Loyola School of Social Work Requirements

Loyola’s School of Social Work (SSW) has five specializations from which students may choose for their second or advanced level of study. Loyola’s School of Social Work (SSW) has four clinical specializations and one administrative domain from which students may choose for their second or advanced level of study.

Specializations are declared by November 1 of their first year with their second level field application. Students will be accepted into the schools specialization and will meet with program staff to plan strategies for meeting ISBE requirements and program deadlines, including internship search and course completion.

Students will also interview and complete an internship in a traditional Illinois Public school (non-charter, non-therapeutic and/or non-alternative). Students must complete an internship (which is the entire academic year of the school they are placed in). They will also take five required courses and four electives (specific course requirements are listed below).

Students are required to successfully complete the ISBE content exam, while in the program to be eligible for PEL entitlement post-conferral. 

Post-MSW Applicants

Details can be found at: Post-MSW PEL with School Social Worker Endorsement

BSW Five-Year Students

Students will make application for Schools specialization by Dec. 1 of their senior year. They will follow the deadlines applicable to the MSW fall applicants above. Students will be formally accepted into the Schools specialization before they are eligible for a school internship.

Applying for Licensure

Once students have completed the required ISBE tests, coursework, and internship and degree conferral has been completed, candidates may proceed to the School Entitlement Form for next steps to receive the Professional Educator License: School Social Worker Endorsement.

Elective Recommendations

  • SOWK 603: Seminar in Brief Treatment
  • SOWK 605: Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction
  • SOWK 608: Social Work and the Law
  • SOWK 616: Psychotherapy with Adults
  • SOWK 617: Principles & Interventions in Clinical Social Work
  • SOWK 656: Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations
  • SOWK 670: Bridging Psychodynamic Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Practice
  • SOWK 722: Introduction to Alcohol and Other Drug Disorders