The School of Social Work offers a professional program culminating in a Master's degree in Social Work. Our goal is to prepare students to enter professional, multicultural social work practice. Students learn to practice as professional social workers with persons and groups representing the range of human diversity and with all size systems (individuals, families, groups, communities and institutions). In addition, students are prepared for advanced, specialized practice in concentrations representing Children, Youth and Families or Older Adults and Families.
The MSW Program emphasizes ecological and systems perspectives which focus on the fit and interactions of a person or system in relation to the various environments likely to be encountered. Within these perspectives, knowledge, values, and skills are used in a change-oriented process within a multicultural context to help individuals and social systems achieve improved quality of life and social participation, including advocacy for just institutions and equitable access to opportunities and resources.
In addition to the mission noted above, the MSW Program provides an educational experience which does the following:
1. Provides knowledge of and experience with ethnic diversity, teaches skill in ethnic-sensitive practice, and provides motivation and skill to combat oppressive policies and discrimination. As such, the program actively offers opportunity for graduate education to students of various ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds who have life experience in bridging cultural gaps;
2. Contributes to the quality of social services delivered in the adjacent communities (Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties) by providing an opportunity for advanced education to students who are already employed in the social services. These students may concurrently maintain employment within the social services and participate in the program to develop advanced skills in their area. Quality of services is also enhanced through close collaboration between the School of Social Work and community service agencies offering fieldwork experiences and through the labor force of MSWs educated in a program with multicultural emphasis and specializations which reflect the needs of our adjacent community as well as the needs of urban communities nationally;
3. Prepares social workers for leadership and specialized practice with a specific population group. The program maintains high standards and prepares social workers for the depth and complexity of generalist social work practice while being able to practice in a chosen area of concentration. Foundation knowledge, values, and skills required for intervention in a multicultural context are applied and developed through work within the area of specialization. Specialization consists of emphasis on a stage of the life cycle: either children, youth, and families or older adults and families. Specialized education is offered concurrently with basic foundation knowledge from entry into the program. Students are expected to have experience in the social services upon which to draw after entry into the program;
4. Teaches analytic skills necessary for reflective and autonomous practice and necessary for contribution to the advancement of knowledge. Social workers should be capable of integrating knowledge and practice, should be able to apply grounded, scientific principles to practice, should be capable of conceptualizing practice principles on the basis of their experience, and therefore should be able to contribute to the development of new knowledge;
5. Educates students to the values and ethics of the profession. The social worker is expected to be committed to the value that people should have equal access to resources, services, and opportunities. Social workers should be advocates of humane and responsive service, have regard for the worth and dignity of the individual, and conduct themselves in accordance with the professional code of ethics.
Students interested in 2-year and 3-year programs are admitted by University Enrollment Services to the MSW Program for the fall semester each year. Prospective students should apply directly to the University and then to the School of Social Work. International students must also apply to the Center for International Education (562) 985-5476. Review of applications by the School begins the first week of October.
The School of Social Work MSW application deadline is February 1 for the following fall semester. The University application deadline is February 1 for the following fall semester.
To be admitted to the MSW Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
1. Hold a Bachelor's degree that is grounded in liberal arts, from a university or college of recognized standing and be eligible for admission to graduate status at CSULB.
2. Demonstrate satisfactory academic achievement as evidenced by a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.8 or above on a 4.0 scale.
3. Completion of a prerequisite course in elementary statistics with a "C" or better.
4. Completion of the School's application which requires inclusion of:
Applications that do not contain the above materials are considered to be incomplete, and will not be assessed for admissions decisions. Moreover, applications must be fully packaged by the applicant when submitted.
5. Preadmission interviews may be required by the School faculty.
Students who have a 3.0 GPA and a BASW degree may be conditionally accepted to the MSW Advanced Standing Program. Upon successful completion of an intensive Summer Bridge Module (see below), the core content from the 1st year of the traditional MSW Program (or 30 units) will be waived and students will be Advanced to Candidacy to begin year two of the traditional MSW Program curriculum.
In addition to the School's basic application procedures as well as University application procedures, the following are requirements for all Advanced Standing applicants:
The Master of Social Work degree is based upon a common body of knowledge. Students with a Bachelor's degree in social work from this University, or from other CSWE accredited undergraduate social work programs, within the last five years, will have met much of the First Year Core requirements. Students' transcripts are reviewed for completion of the necessary coursework for mastery of the common body of knowledge. A 3.0 GPA in the undergraduate social work courses is required.
Waivers of the First Year Core (30 units) are based upon previous educational background at the undergraduate level and upon completion of Summer Bridge courses and field placement in this School of Social Work. Summer Bridge courses will include modules from each of the program sequences: research, practice, human behavior and social policy. Summer Bridge fieldwork placement will include 160 hours (16 hours per week). Students, therefore, have a provisional admission to the School until they have successfully completed the summer program. When they successfully complete the Summer Bridge courses and field placement, they receive the Waiver of the First Year Core and enter the second year of the MSW Program in the Fall semester. Students are immediately Advanced to Candidacy upon receiving a Waiver of the First Year Core. The courses that are waived as the First Year Core are: SW 500, 503A, 503B, 505, 560 or 561, 592, 594A, 594B, 596A, and 596B.
Students, for whom the First Year Core is waived, are not eligible to apply for the Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium or Inter-University Consortium stipend.
A conditionally classified or fully classified student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all courses taken subsequent to admission. In addition, a GPA of 3.0 must be maintained in all courses required for the degree. A student will be eligible for advancement to candidacy for the degree after successfully completing 6 units of graduate level courses in Social Work.
All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills. Students must attempt to fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in the first semester of residence in the MSW Program or score at least a "4" on the GRE Writing Assessment. Either the GWAR or the GRE Writing Assessment must be passed to advance to candidacy.
The California State University, Long Beach requirement for full-time status as a graduate student is 9 weighted units. Students in the three-year MSW Program must take at least 4 semesters of at least 3 courses or 9 units. Students who wish to complete the MSW degree in 2 years must take an overload of 6 units for 4 semesters or 15 units a semester.
The Master of Social Work program requires the completion of 60 semester units. Fifty-four units of required courses and 6 units of scheduled School electives must be taken to complete a concentration. For IUC, CalSWEC and PPS credential students, 3 of these 6 units will be a specific required elective (refer to those sections for more information).
The MSW Program is taken in one of the four following sequences:
Plan A: (two years)
Plan B: Advanced Standing
Summer Bridge Module includes:
Second Year Coursework:
Plan C: (three years)
Distance Education CYF Plan: (three years)
The Master of Social Work degree offers opportunity for study in two areas of concentration: Children, Youth and Families or Older Adults and Families. The concentrations reflect two major areas of social concern and programs in our society.
The Children, Youth and Families (CYF) concentration prepares students for practice in a variety of settings. Students experience one year of placement in a generalist direct practice setting and may select either a direct practice or administrative practice setting for their second year.
Fieldwork placements are available in a variety of agencies in the surrounding five-county area, including public, private and non-profit agencies. Typical settings include child welfare/protective services, health care, mental health, public social services, schools, community-based outpatient agencies, corrections/juvenile justice, residential treatment, programs for persons with developmental disabilities, substance abuse treatment and other specialized programs.
The Children, Youth and Families Concentration (CYF) is also offered at off-campus locations throughout the state. Current distance education sites are in the Sonoma County and Ventura County areas. Courses are taught using face-to-face instruction, as well as interactive television and web-based instructional support. The distance education MSW is offered using a 3-year model. Students attend courses on Saturdays and complete fieldwork requirements during the second and third years of the program.
The Older Adults and Families (OAF) concentration prepares students for practice in the delivery of social services to older adults and their families, in the planning and evaluation of social services and in administration of services and policy development. Students experience one year of placement in a generalist direct practice setting and may select either a direct practice or administrative practice setting for their second year.
Fieldwork placements are available in a variety of agencies in the surrounding five-county area including public, private and non-profit agencies. Typical settings include health care, adult protective services, mental health, community-based outpatient agencies, rehabilitation, programs for the developmentally disabled, substance abuse treatment, senior programs and other specialty services.
The goal of the Community Mental Health Specialization is to help decrease statewide workforce shortages and meet the State of California's need for competent mental health graduate-level social workers who are trained to work with diverse client systems at every service level. Participants in this Community Mental Health Specialization will be qualified for direct practice and/or administrative positions in community mental health agencies and organizations in the public mental health sector, thus strengthening their career possibilities.
This specialization is available to students in both the Children, Youth and Families (CYF) and Older Adults and Families (OAF) concentrations and is specifically designed for graduate social work (MSW) students within these established concentrations as it offers advanced training in multicultural practice with mental health issues and practice (micro, mezzo and macro) across the lifespan. The Community Mental Health Specialization draws from the existing curriculum and expands it to include the 2nd year field internship experience in a community mental health setting, the Thesis/Project with a mental/health focus, and a requirement that both electives have a mental health focus as well as additional skill building workshops.
Students in this specialization will be required to: (a) take SW 677 "Social Work Practice in Mental Health" as this course covers the Recovery Paradigm as it applies to community mental health services and consumer-driven/focused services as required by the California Mental Health Services Act (MHSA); (b) take a second mental health-focused elective of their choice; (c) have a mental health focus in their thesis or project; (d) complete a mental health field internship in their second year of field work, and (e) attend additional skill building workshops where they can further develop specific mental health practice competencies.
The fieldwork sequence has an integral role in the MSW curriculum. The experience offers an opportunity for students to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and social work practice and intervention skills in a community agency setting under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. A variety of agencies within the surrounding counties are utilized, reflecting the diverse settings in which social workers are employed. University field faculty select the most appropriate field placement site for students.
Each student has two fieldwork placements and concurrent enrollment in practice courses during the course of study. Each placement involves 500 hours of fieldwork in a community agency setting and attendance and participation in a fieldwork seminar that meets weekly on campus. The fieldwork sequence encompasses a total of 1000 hours, for which 12 units of academic credit are given. The academic year schedule begins in September and continues through mid May. Fieldwork includes attendance in a field seminar as well as internship in the community. Students complete 16 hours per week. This must include either two 8-hour weekdays or one 8-hour weekday and two 4-hour weekday blocks. No weekend placements are available. Students admitted to the Advanced Standing program complete one fieldwork placement for a total of 660 hours.
Students who are employed in social service agencies may request that their agency be evaluated as a site for the second year fieldwork only. The agency must be able to meet all criteria established by the School of Social Work to ensure the educational focus of fieldwork and provide a significantly different experience. Evaluation of fieldwork sites and approval to utilize an agency of employment as a fieldwork site will be completed by the fieldwork faculty.
The School of Social Work will reject an applicant or disqualify an enrolled student whose record of academic achievement or performance in field instruction does not meet the minimum standards of the profession.
The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) is a partnership between the schools of social work, public human service agencies, and other related professional organizations that facilitates the integration of education and practice to assure effective, culturally competent service delivery to the people of California.
The CalSWEC Child Welfare program is for graduate students who are interested in pursuing a social work career in the child welfare field. This program is only available to students admitted into the Children, Youth and Families Concentration of the MSW Program. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
The stipends provide for two years of support for students enrolled in the full-time model of the MSW Program. The student signs a contract to secure full-time employment in a public child welfare agency for two years post graduation but is expected to remain in public child welfare employment for longer than this minimum period.
Once accepted into the program, students must undergo pre-screening for county employment including fingerprinting, as well as psychological and/or medical exams and participation in the criminal clearance process.
Students eligible to apply for the part-time CalSWEC reimbursement program must be employees of the State or County Social Services department that provides the child welfare or assistance benefits eligibility functions. All part-time applicants must provide a letter of support from their agency administrator/director. Financial support for admitted students will include: tuition and fees, book costs and a travel allowance.
Students participating in the program sign a contract to render two years of full-time employment in their home public child welfare agency after graduation.
Requirements for CalSWEC Child Welfare Stipend Program (Full-time and Part-time)
Students participating in the program must meet all of the following criteria:
Students must reimburse CalSWEC if they are unable to successfully complete any of the program requirements.
The CalSWEC Mental Health stipend program is for graduate students who are interested in pursuing a social work career in the mental health field and are willing to make a commitment to work full-time in a California county mental health agency or a county contracted agency after they have received their MSW degrees. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
Students participating in the program must meet all of the following criteria:
Students must reimburse CalSWEC if they are unable to successfully complete any of the program requirements.
The Inter-University Consortium (IUC) is a specialized training program in public child welfare available in the MSW Program. The Inter-University Consortium/ Department of Children and Family Services (IUC/DCFS) Training Project is a collaborative endeavor between the Los Angeles County DCFS and the graduate programs of social work at CSULB, UCLA, USC, CSULA, CSUN and CSUDH. The overall goal of this collaborative project is to increase the professional skills and knowledge of Los Angeles County public child welfare workers.
The IUC project at CSULB is designed to prepare social work student interns in the most innovative and current programs at the South County DCFS Office. It is our intention at CSULB, to prepare future leaders in public child welfare. Our approach is founded on the Social Ecology Model, the California Redesign and the objectives of AB636. Students will experience (parallel process with their assigned cases) moving from entry to exit through child welfare services. CSULB's innovative project emphasizes the front end of child welfare services, working effectively with children and families in their communities to achieve safety, well-being and families to last a lifetime. CSULB's IUC/DCFS Project also offers student interns a unique and valuable opportunity to learn and practice the Kinship Caregiver's Model and to co-lead a children's group in a community public school as part of our emphasis in working with children and families in their community.
The stipends are available for one year for students enrolled in the two-year or three-year MSW Program. Students may apply for either the first or second year of field placement. This program is only available to students admitted into the Children, Youth and Families Concentration. Students who work at DCFS or are currently (or have been) CalSWEC students are not eligible. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
Students accepted into the program must:
1. SW 643 – Social Work Practice within Child Welfare Services (3)
2. SW 698A/699A – MSW Thesis or Project (6)
(IUC Students' theses must focus on a child welfare population, issue area, or service delivery systems)
The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded a 3 year grant to support the development of geriatric field practicum sites. The grant funded an alliance of all of the social work graduate schools and four geriatric service providers in the greater Los Angeles area. This consortium was created and sponsored by the Partners in Care Foundation with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for the elderly.
The program continues with new funding and stipends are provided to MSW students in the Older Adults and Families concentration. Information regarding this program is presented to students in the field orientation and applications are made available.