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NOTE: Applicants for the Fall 2021 cohort will be notified of their status by mid-April. Please do not contact the office before April 25th.

Click here for the 2020-2021 MSW HANDBOOK
(updated 12/21/2020)


Master of Social Work

The profession of social work and the Department of Social Work Education are dedicated to meeting the diverse social service needs of special populations of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Because we are a practice-oriented profession, the graduates of our program deal with social concerns that range from societal oppression to people's emotional/behavioral problems. The social work practitioner who is educated in our program is taught to help at-risk populations which typically include the poor and homeless, abused/neglected children and adults, people of color, women, recent refugees, chronically mentally ill, developmentally disabled, physically ill or disabled, substance abusers, criminal offenders and the aged. In focusing on disadvantaged groups, the student is trained to use a range of traditional and non-traditional methods to promote well-being, personal growth, and social justice, e.g., individual client and large system policy advocating, brokering, consulting, individual, family and group counseling/psychotherapy, mediating, researching, supervising and teaching.

The master's degree in social work offered by our department is designed to educate advanced social work practitioners who can meet complex client needs within a diversity of public and private human service settings and who can perform in a variety of roles using multiple social work practice methodologies. This course of study prepares the student learner for autonomous social work practice at multiple levels of intervention as well as for doctoral study in social work and related human service arenas.

The MSW Program Has The Following Requirements:

B.A./B.S. Degree

A bachelor's degree in a non-professional field, from a regionally accredited institution, earned before the start of the graduate program is acceptable.

2.75 Cumulative GPA

  • Applicants who have a cumulative GPA of less than 2.75 must provide a statement in the appropriate area of the Cal State Application in which they explain the circumstances that affected their cumulative GPA, and evidence to demonstrate their potential to successfully complete graduate level course work (e.g., grades received in upper division or graduate level coursework taken since receiving the BA/BS degree).
  • Additional consideration would be demonstrated commitment to the profession as evidenced by a significant number of years (e.g., over 6 years) of employment as a human services professional.
  • For applicants with cumulative GPA less than 2.5 (the minimum required by the university), your application will not be reviewed or considered.

Evidence of a "Liberal Arts" Education

Your undergraduate education must have breadth, i.e., include courses in the sciences, arts and humanities, and social sciences. General education patterns often provide much of this breadth. (This expectation does not require a major in Liberal Studies.)

Meet 3 Prerequisites

Prerequisite Courses

Required for all NON SOCIAL WORK majors

Prerequisite course work must be taken for letter grades (or document that CR means a “C” or better); you must earn a minimum grade of “C” in each course – there are 3 course prerequisites;

  1. Research Methods/Data Analysis,
  2. Human Biological Development
  3. Cultural Diversity (Must be an upper division course) 

NOTE: Three prerequisites (research methods/data analysis, human development over the life span, and cultural diversity) are required for non-social workers.

Please visit our prerequisites web page for more information.


Questions about the MSW program?

faq 5.20.19