Master of Social Work

Also offered through the College of Extended Learning

Requirements (90 units)

Program Code: SWM_

The School of Social Work offers courses leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and is designed to provide for the education of advanced social work practitioners. The program is based upon the requirements of the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for social work programs.

The MSW program is structured into two models: Model (1) offers six quarters of course work leading to the MSW degree within two academic years. This option is intended for students who can devote their time and attention to full-time, intensive study. Model (2) offers the same course work over three academic years. It must be emphasized that an MSW program is very demanding of time and energy and requires 1080 hours of supervised placement in an agency Monday through Friday in the daytime over two academic years. Model (2) is not designed for students who must work 40 hours per week. It is necessary for these students to reduce their hours of employment.

The MSW program comprises a Generalist and Advanced Generalist curriculum. Students must complete all Generalist and Advanced Generalist classes. Both the Generalist and Advanced Generalist curriculum is divided into micro and macro social work practice. The micro practice sequence of courses prepares students to work with individuals, families and groups. The macro practice sequence of courses prepares students to work with organizations and communities with an integrated focus on policy practice.

Admission to the Program

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better in all course work;
  3. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better in the last 90 quarter units or last 60 semester units;
  4. An academic background in the liberal arts;
  5. Completion of the graduate entrance writing requirement;
  6. A year of full-time paid experience, one year internship in a social agency, or relevant volunteer service (this requirement may be waived);
  7. Evidence of personal qualifications, motivation and potential that give promise of a successful social worker; an autobiographical statement, three letters of reference from individuals who are familiar with the student's academic work potential and level of maturity;
  8. The following courses or their equivalents:
    SOC 307Social Research I5
    SOC 339Socialization4
    A course in biology or health science, which would give the student an understanding of basic human physiology.

Course Waivers

Students are permitted to satisfy course requirements in the foundation year curriculum by passing a challenge assessment in each required course. Courses which are successfully challenged must be substituted with an approved elective so that a total of 90 units is completed for the master's degree. Field work courses are not subject to waiver.

Students with BSW degrees from universities or colleges with accredited BSW programs are required to meet with their faculty advisor prior to beginning course work to determine whether any foundation year MSW courses are redundant with their undergraduate preparation. Such determination may be based on course syllabi, texts, informal evaluation or formal examination. Each course waived for the qualified BSW applicant must be substituted with an approved elective so that a total of 90 units is completed for the master's degree.

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, a student must have:

  1. Achieved classified status;
  2. Satisfied the general university requirements for advancement to candidacy;
  3. Selected a thesis committee and gained approval of the thesis topic by the thesis committee if a thesis is chosen;
  4. Completed with a grade point average of 3.0 ("B"), at least 48 quarter units of course work;
  5. Demonstrated academic and professional competence in field and classroom.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 90 quarter units of designated graduate courses as approved on the petition for advancement to candidacy. Seventy-seven of the quarter units must be completed at this university (with the exception of MSW course work from an accredited program);
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B");
  3. Completion of a culminating research project or a thesis;
  4. Up to one half of the course work (45 quarter units) may be transferred from an accredited MSW program. Only grades of "B" (3.0) or better will be accepted and students must first be accepted for admission. Courses not in keeping with program requirements may not be acceptable;
  5. Completion of all MSW coursework within a four year period;
  6. Completion of SW 625A and SW 625B, which will fulfill the graduation writing requirement;
  7. Any additional requirements not cited above and listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.


In lieu of taking all electives in the social work curriculum, students may elect to take up to four units of relevant 500- or 600-level electives from other disciplines with the approval of their advisor.


The program has held full accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education since February, 1992. Questions regarding accreditation should be directed to the director of the School of Social Work.


The student must carry an academic workload of a minimum of eight units of 500- or 600-level course work for three consecutive quarters to achieve the residency requirement of full-time graduate status as defined by the university.

Degree Requirements (90 units)

Required courses leading to the MSW degree cover five curricular areas: Micro Practice, Macro Practice, Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE), Research and Field Work. Courses within each category must be completed in sequence, as they are listed below, and all foundation courses in a category must be completed before registering in the advanced courses in the same category.

Foundation Courses (52)
Foundation Micro Practice:
SW 602AFoundation Micro Practice I4
SW 602BFoundation Micro Practice II4
SW 602CFoundation Micro Practice III2
Foundation Macro Practice:
SW 606AFoundation Macro Practice I4
SW 606BFoundation Macro Practice II4
SW 606CFoundation Macro Practice III2
SW 604AHuman Behavior in the Social Environment I4
SW 604BHuman Behavior in the Social Environment II4
SW 612Social Work Research I4
SW 613Social Work Research II4
SW 608AField Work4
SW 608BField Work4
SW 608CField Work4
Four units of electives, approved by advisor if taken outside the school.4
Advanced Year (38)
SW 625AResearch Project I2
SW 625BResearch Project II2
SW 608DField Work4
SW 608EField Work4
SW 608FField Work4
Advanced Practice Courses:
Micro Practice:
SW 645Social Work Advanced Micro Practice I4
SW 646Social Work Advanced Micro Practice II4
SW 647Social Work Advanced Micro Practice III2
Macro Practice:
SW 655Social Work Advanced Macro Practice I4
SW 656Social Work Advanced Macro Practice II4
SW 657Social Work Advanced Macro Practice III2
Integrative Seminar:
SW 660Advanced Practice Integrative Seminar2
Total Units90

Note: The research project represents the culminating graduate experience. A thesis may be done as an expansion of the research project but is optional. The research project is developed in SW 613 and is carried out in the field setting. It must be on a social work practice topic, must use objective analysis and will be presented to faculty and field personnel orally and in writing.