Apr 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Social Work M.S.W.

View information for the Department of Social Work .

A Master of Social Work (MSW) prepares professional social workers to advance social justice and to meet the growing human service needs of the university’s service area. The curriculum emphasizes social work practice in public social services, health, mental health, corrections, and schools. Graduates are prepared to practice, with sensitivity and competence, with economically and culturally diverse populations. Students are prepared for advanced social work practice skills sufficient for self-critical, accountable, and ultimately autonomous practice.

This program is a sixty (60) unit curriculum, accomplished in either four semesters or six semesters. The first year courses provide the professional foundation. Four semesters of supervised field practicum in a social work agency is part of the core curriculum. No academic credit is given for life experience or previous work experience.

The field of Social Work is very broad, incorporating many approaches to addressing psycho-social ills in many health, mental health, and social welfare agency settings. The MSW is thus one of the most versatile master’s degrees among the human service professions.

MSWs provide counseling services to individuals, groups, couples, and families, or work as supervisors or administrators of human service programs and agencies. Social workers also work as program developers, community organizers, planners, evaluators, policy makers or researchers.

The MSW degree satisfies the academic preparation requirements for the state regulated social work license (LCSW). Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or tax payer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from program coordinator.

Specific questions regarding the MSW Program or curriculum should be directed to the department chair or staff. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Mission Statement

The Master of Social Work program at California State University, Stanislaus prepares social workers to advance social justice. This education is committed to social change based on an analysis of social, political, and economic structures and their impact. This teaching and learning environment enables faculty, students and graduates to collaborate with others to transform the conditions which contribute to privilege and oppression.  Graduates are prepared to use an advanced integrative practice approach to work with individuals, families and communities to promote personal and collective liberation.


  1. Prepare professional social workers to engage with diverse populations in a process of critical reflection and action to address oppression and promote social justice.
  2. Prepare professional social workers to engage in the struggle to understand and transform their biases.
  3. Prepare social workers to use an integrative practice framework for multi-system interventions guided by ethics and informed by research.
  4. Prepare professional social workers to assume leadership roles in meeting the social service needs of the region.
  5. Create a learning environment based on principles of social justice where faculty and students participate in the development of knowledge that contributes to improving the social conditions of the region.
  6. Create partnerships with community constituents based on principles of social justice that allow faculty and students to participate, both as leaders and learners, in the development of social work knowledge and service delivery systems.

Two-Year Program

The two-year program consists of four semesters of course work leading to the M.S.W. Degree. This option is for students who can devote their time and attention to intensive study. Most classes taken by two-year students are in the daytime (i.e., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.), but may be scheduled during evening hours as well. Elective courses are often at night. Field practicum (sixteen hours per week each semester) is undertaken concurrently with a full load of classroom courses. No credit is given for life experience or previous work experience. Courses must be taken in the following prescribed sequence:

Three-Year Program

The three-year program is intended for students who need to spread their graduate studies over a longer period of time to accommodate other responsibilities. It must be emphasized, however, that the MSW Program is very demanding of time and energy, even when undertaken over the three year time period. Most classes are scheduled in the evenings after 4:00 p.m. It is also extremely important for students to arrange for flexibility in their work hours whenever possible. Field practicum (16 hours per week each semester) is undertaken concurrently with classes. Students are expected to be in their placements during the agency’s normal hours of operation. No credit is given for life experience or previous work experience. Courses must be taken in the following prescribed squence: