School of Social Work

MSW - Master of Social Work

The MSW Program offers graduate professional education in advanced generalist social work practice from a transcultural multi-systems perspective. It prepares graduates for advanced practice and leadership in one of three fields of practice: aging; children, youth, and families; and health/mental health. The curriculum emphasizes the application of skills in those areas of practice where the need for social workers in the next decade will be the greatest in the State of California. The graduate program has been fully accredited by the national Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education since 1973.

For more information, see the department website at

Admissions Requirements

University Admissions Requirements

All graduate applicants must submit a complete graduate application by applying through the CSU Cal State Apply system at Candidates must meet all university-level admissions requirements. Additional information regarding university graduate admissions requirements may be found on the catalog web page.

Program Admissions Requirements

In addition to these general requirements established by the university, applicants for admission for the Master's of Social Work degree must demonstrate a commitment to social work goals either by having completed undergraduate social work education, or by holding a baccalaureate in a related field and having significant experience, and/or personal involvement with social issues as they relate to various marginalized groups and communities.

To be admitted to the School of Social Work, an applicant must first complete the graduate application for admission to the University through The applicant then submit a separate application to the MSW program which includes:

a. A personal statement describing the applicant's interest in the field and professional goals.

b. Three recommendations from professionals in the field or former professors who can testify to the applicant's ability to succeed in a graduate-level academic program and his or her suitability to meet the challenges of the profession.

c. A description of all social work-related experience (paid, internship and/or volunteer).

d. A sample of the applicant's best writing, i.e., a paper written for an upper-division or graduate-level class, technical report, or other example of academic or professional written work.

Applications to the Master's in Social Work program and all supporting materials must be sent directly to the School of Social Work for review and recommendation by the MSW Program Admissions Committee.

Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirement webpage at GAPE.

Requirements for Conditionally Classified Standing

An applicant who does not meet all requirements for admission in classified standing for the Master's in Social Work may be admitted into the program on a conditionally classified basis. The MSW Program Admissions Committee may consider applicants who possess strong or considerable work experience and who can by additional preparation remedy minor academic deficiencies. Such admissions will be conditional upon completion of specific courses listed by the graduate advisor on the admission notification.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

Students must complete all university requirements for advancement to candidacy for the master's degree as outlined in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. Candidacy includes successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), described in this catalog. For graduate courses that meet the GWAR, refer to the GWAR Course List on the Graduate Studies website.

The student will consult with the MSW graduate advisor to complete a petition for advancement to candidacy. The petition includes an official plan of study listing all courses needed to complete the requirements for the degree. The plan of study must be approved by the MSW Graduate Advisor and then by the Office of Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations (GAPE), which notifies the student of advancement to candidacy.

The student must also demonstrate aptitude for advanced study in social work, as measured by successful completion of the Foundation Year of study, instructor appraisals, and/or evaluation of previous academic work (i.e., applicable transfer units or course substitutions).

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

MSW - Graduation Requirements

The School of Social Work offers an On-Campus MSW Program and an Online/Hybrid MSW Program

On-Campus MSW Program

All students in the Master's of Social Work program must complete a total of 60 semester units of study in social work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 overall. This includes two years (1,200 hours) of field internship in a social agency or community setting selected and approved by the MSW Field Education Committee. The On-Campus MSW Program offers a Two-Year/Full-Time and Three-Year/Part-Time plan of study. The Two-Year Plan requires a full-time commitment to the program. The Three-Year plan is designed for working professionals. It includes two years of field practicum and coursework spread over three academic years, with many courses taught in the evening and on weekends. Both plans have identical course requirements for completing the degree.

To assist matriculated students in progressing more rapidly toward their MSW degree and to increase accessibility to the course curriculum for both Two-Year/Full-Time and Three-Year/Part-Time students, the MSW Program sometimes offers courses during the summer and winter terms when the budget allows for this. The number and type of courses are dependent upon on student interest and faculty resources.

For detailed information on the program, see the School of Social Work "Masters of Social Work (MSW)" webpage:

Culminating Experience: Project (Plan B)

Candidates for the degree complete a capstone project as part of their 60-unit degree requirement. This project is a complete research study on a social work-related topic.

Online/Hybrid MSW Program (Special Session Program)

The Online/Hybrid MSW Program is a two-year program that requires continuous part-time enrollment (i.e., two academic courses and a field education course concurrently through the calendar year). In this program, academic courses are completed online (with asynchronous sessions and synchronous sessions usually on weekday evenings), and field education is completed in-person. Note that the two Online/Hybrid MSW fields of practice are children, youth, and families; and health/mental health. The field of practice covering aging is not currently offered in the Online/Hybrid MSW Program. The Online/Hybrid MSW Program degree requirements and the social work competencies covered are the same as those of the On-Campus MSW Program.

Requirements for Graduation

University Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures.

Program Graduation Requirements

The general requirements for the course completion are as follows. Note that students in their Foundation Year take 4 units of both the SCWK 230 and SCWK 231 field courses. Students in their Advanced Year take 5 units of both the SCWK 232 and SCWK 233 field courses.

Special Session Program Information

Academic Programs offered through Special Session are operated by the College of International and Extended Studies (IES). Registration and enrollment in a Special Session course or program must use the special session application form and will follow special session fee and course schedules. Note that regular session students seeking to enroll simultaneously in a special session course or program will trigger a separate and additional set of fees. This may require an additional enrollment appointment from the Registrar and it may have implications for financial aid status or requirements. Please visit the IES website for more information.

Course Requirements

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). For information on the GWAR, please see
This requirement is satisfied by passing SCWK 212 or 214 (both are required courses).
Requirements of the Masters60
Foundation Core Curriculum32
SCWK 202. Social Policy and Services: History and Values3
SCWK 204. Social Policy Analysis3
SCWK 212. Human Behavior in Social Environment IGWAR3
SCWK 214. Human Behavior in Social Environment IIGWAR3
SCWK 220. Transcultural Generalist Practice I3
SCWK 221. Transcultural Generalist Practice II3
SCWK 230. Social Work Practicum I1-6
SCWK 231. Social Work Practicum II1-6
SCWK 240. Research Methods and Design3
SCWK 242. Research Methods, Data Analysis and Evaluation3
Advanced Year Core Curriculum- Transcultural Multi-Systems- with Fields of Practice22
Fields of Practice6
Select one Field of Practice (FOP) from the following: Aging; Children, Youth, and Families; or Health/Mental Health
SCWK 250. Policy Practice in Aging3
SCWK 251. Social Work with Aging Populations3
Children, Youth and Families
SCWK 260. Policy Practice in Child and Family Welfare3
Complete one course from:
SCWK 222. Transcultural Advanced Generalist Practice I: Family Systems Focus3
SCWK 261. Social Work Practice with Children3
SCWK 262. Social Work Practice with Adolescents3
Health/Mental Health
SCWK 280. Policy Practice in Health/Mental Health3
SCWK 281. Social Work in Health/Mental Health3
Two 200-level coursese selected in consultation with graduate advisor.
SCWK 232. Social Work Practicum III1-6
Students take 5 units of SCWK 232
SCWK 233. Social Work Practicum IV1-6
Students take 5 units of SCWK 233
Culminating Experience: Project (Plan B)6
SCWK 298A. Special Study A3
SCWK 298B. Special Study B3
Comprehensive Examination0

Total Units:60

Elective courses must be planned in consultation with the Graduate Advisor.

The maximum number of upper-division undergraduate units that can be applied toward the master's degree is 15.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved minimum candidacy and SJSU Cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 in order to graduate.