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Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if my application is complete and ready for review?

It is your responsibility to contact MSW Admissions and check if your application is ready for review by MSW faculty. It is the responsibility of the applicant to follow up with the three individuals completing their Letter of Reference forms to make sure their completed forms were uploaded to Cal State Apply in a timely manner to ensure priority review.  Your MSW Program application cannot be evaluated by our faculty until all three letter of reference forms have been completed.

What is the typical weekly schedule?

Please see the Sample Schedule Two Year MSW Program Plan & Sample Schedule Three Year MSW Program Plan. Basically, you have classes 2 days a week.  You are in field practicum on the other 2 days per week in your foundation year and 2.5 days per week in your advanced year.

What fieldwork/internship opportunities are offered?

The CSUSB, School of Social Work is well known for the large number of internship opportunities including being placed in schools, non-profit sector, public sector, hospitals, correctional facilities, etc.  Please consult our Field Education page for details about the field practicum.

How can I meet the prerequisites for admission?

ALL MSW Admission Requirements need to be successfully completed BEFORE you begin the MSW program in the Fall term. The MSW Prerequisite Course Summary and Prerequisite Course Worksheet can help you determine if you have met the prerequisites for admission. There are several courses of action you can take to meet the requirements for admission:

  • Take a course at an accredited University or Community College. This especially applies to Human Physiology and Human Behavior requirements.
  • Take a course available from an accredited online University or College.
  • Take a course at CSUSB through the OPEN University Program.
  • Take an online course through the Kent School of Social Work. The University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work has developed inexpensive prerequisite courses for master level coursework in a self-guided online format. These courses will meet the CSUSB School of Social Work MSW prerequisites for Human Physiology and Social Research Methods. Please consult their website.
Are there additional MSW exam fees, lab fees, or other fees?

There are no additional fees.

How much inter-student interaction is there?

There is usually a significant amount of inter-student interaction such as work groups in and out of the classroom.  Most interactions are initiated by students for support so the amount would differ per student. Our student organizations are very active within the program, university, and community.

How many hours of non-class time is typical for the average student?

On the days that you are not in class, you will be attending your field practicum. The practicum is 16 hours/week in the foundation year, and 20 hours per week in the advanced year. In regards to other non-class time, time varies considerably as it would depend on your level of involvement with campus activities/organizations and time spent studying, research, and homework.

How much one-on-one time is available?

Faculty and staff are available during regular office hours for one-on-one advising and at times outside of their office hours. The amount of time depends on the needs and availability of the student.

What is the School's national MSW program ranking? ranks our MSW Pathway Distance Education Program 9th in the nation and #1 in California. U.S. News & World Report ranks our overall MSW Program 128th in the nation.

What can I do with this degree?

The Masters in Social Work is internationally recognized. There are MSWs working all over the nation and the globe. This is not the case with many other Masters degrees in counseling that vary from state to state. The MSW has 'quality assurance' in that the Council on Social Work Education accredits all programs. This means that employers know they hire a quality professional whose classroom and field curriculum have standards assuring professional competence.

Social workers are the #1 provider of mental health services in the country, in both public and private organizations. They are the dominant professional in public child welfare-social services to children and families facing multiple challenges. They work in hospitals, services to older and aging adults, school settings, and even in industry-with employee assistance programs. Some work in private practice, however, many do both private practice and agency work. They work as direct practitioners, supervisors, consultants, policy analysts, administrators, and part-time teachers in college settings.

When will I be notified of acceptance or denial?

A letter regarding the MSW Program’s decision on whether or not to offer you admission into the program is mailed to candidates starting in early Spring.

Can I come in and be advised by a professor?

We do not offer one-on-one consultations, but we do offer information sessions that are held in the fall. Most questions can be answered by reading through this website or by office personnel.

What is this program that gives money?

We participate in the statewide Title IV-E Stipend Program. Students interested in public child welfare may apply and selected students receive a yearly stipend. As part of their course of study, they do field placement in child welfare agencies. And, at graduation, they agree to render 1 year of full-time employment in a public child welfare agency for each year they receive the stipend.

Can I transfer in any of my coursework or experience?

Our MSW curriculum calls for one elective. If you have taken a graduate elective relevant to social work within the last seven years, that course may be transferable. BSW applicants may be able to waive certain foundation courses. Although experience is desirable to be a competitive applicant, experience cannot be used in place of field hours.

Can I work and still access this degree?

Yes. You can complete this program in 3 years while working. However, your employer must allow you to shorten your work week hours so that you can 1) Put in the 16 hours (first field year) and 20 hours (second field year) that a field placement requires and 2) Be able to attend classes that begin at 5pm two days a week.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences?

It is preferred.  However, the requirement is a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

What is the average student: teacher ratio across all MSW classes?

MSW classes have 28 students or less.

Are career services available?

The CSUSB Career Center provides assistance with finding employment to all students. The School of Social Work does offer a formal job placement program. Our faculty and staff may also provide several resources including job leads.

How much does it cost?

CSUSB is one of the most affordable options for pursuing your MSW degree in the state of California.  For up-to-date information regarding tuition and fees, please consult Student Financial Services. Our 2-year program model is estimated to cost around $18,000.  Our 3-year, on-campus program model is estimated to cost between $25,000 and $28,000.  Our 3-year, Pathway Distance Education Program model is $36,000.

Does the school have a clinical track and if so in which areas?

Our MSW program curriculum follows an advanced generalist model.  Building on the generalist model in the foundation year, students move on to consideration of advanced practice in the second year. Students choose their specialization in a social issue, client population, or field of practice, and apply advanced class assignments and their research project to this chosen specialization.