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Frequently Asked Questions

MSW Program

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.

The Field of Social Work

Is there an Advanced Standing option?
What is the typical weekly schedule?

You can refer to MSW Curriculum for Sample Schedules for all MSW Program Options.

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.

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

MSW classes have 28 students or less.

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.

Can I work and still access this degree?

Many students complete this program in 3 years while working. In order to successfully complete the MSW program while being employed, employment hours cannot conflict with student’s ability to 1) Put in the 16 hours per week (during their foundation year) and 20 hours per week (during their advanced year) that a field placement requires, 2) Attending classes and maintaining required GPA while in the program, and 3) Participate in required trainings, events, and Field Seminar.

Can I transfer in any of my coursework or experience?

Please refer to the current MSW Student Handbook under Policies on transfer credit and waivers.

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.

How much inter-student interaction is there?

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

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.

Are career services available?

Students receive the following while in the MSW Program: field training, career development coaching, resources to current employment postings, and networking opportunities that connect students to future employers.

The CSUSB Career Center is also a resource for students


Applying to the Program

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. Admissions Requirements

Do I have to have a baccalaureate degree before applying?

You may be conditionally admitted into the MSW program if you have not received your bachelorette degree.  However, a baccalaureate degree must be earned prior to the start of the MSW program.

When will I be notified of acceptance or denial?

Letters of notification regarding admission into the Social Work program are emailed in early Spring and until slots are full. All applicants will receive a letter of notification stating whether their application was accepted or denied.

Where can I find the application?

The application is available via CalState Apply. More information on applying to the program can be found on our Apply page.

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

Applicants can email MSW Admissions at for questions regarding their application.

Do you provide advising for those interested in applying?

Most questions can be answered by reading through the information presented on the website and attending an MSW Information Session where you will connect directly with Admission Faculty and Staff.   If applicants would like to set up an appointment, requests can be sent to

Can I apply to the Title IV-E Stipend Program available and Advanced Standing Program?

Yes. The criteria includes they must have completed the Title IV-E Stipend Program when obtaining their BASW degree, or been employed with a Public Child Welfare Agency and must have completed Core Training.  Students accepted into the Advanced Standing Program and Title IV-E will be required to attend additional seminars during the summer. 

Advanced Standing Applicants:  What if I graduated and unable to secure a reference from my instructor or liaison? 

If applicants cannot meet the criteria for Advanced Standing, applicants are able to apply to other MSW program options at CSUSB.

Advanced Standing Applicants:  Would my field direct supervisor qualify as a Field Instructor for the recommendation requirement? 

Yes.  An applicant’s direct field supervisor or field preceptor would meet the criteria.

Can I apply for MSW Advanced Standing and MSW/MPA Concurrent degrees program as a first option? 

No.  There is no MSW/MPA Concurrent Advanced Standing option for students.  The MSW/MPA Concurrent degree program can be a 2nd option.



How do I know if I have met my prerequisites?

The Prerequisite Course Summary can assist you in determining if courses you have already taken or courses you plan to take meet the prerequisite educational domains for admission.

Can I still be accepted in the program if prerequisites have not been met?

You may be conditionally admitted into the MSW program if you have not met these prerequisites yet, but they must be met BEFORE classes in the MSW program begins in mid-August. These prerequisites can be met by taking a class at any accredited junior college, community college or university including those that are online.


Cost of the Program

How much does the MSW program cost?

CSUSB is one of the most affordable options for pursuing an MSW degree in the state of California.  Costs of the program will vary depending on program option.  

Please note that cost may vary and subject to change. For up-to-date information regarding tuition and fees, please consult Student Financial Services.

Current tuition (as of Fall 2023):

a)  1 year program (MSW Advanced Standing Program – on campus):

Includes Summer tuition and 1 Academic Year  10,876.70

b) 2 year program (on campus option)  Approximately $18,225.94  

c) 3 year program (on campus option) / Approximately $27,338.91

d) 3 year program - MSW Online – Pathway Distance Education Program  / $39,000

The online program is cost per unit @ $650 per unit.

e) MSW/MPA  / The costs associated with the MSW/MPA concurrent degree program will depend on the MSW program option selected; 2 year, 3 year or online.  You can use the costs above to assist you in determining cost. You will want to incorporate any required costs from the School of Public Administration.   




What program gives you a stipend?

The School of Social Work participates in the statewide CalSWEC Title IV-E Stipend Program. Students interested in a career in public child welfare may apply for CSUSB School of Social Title IV-E Stipend Program. Selected students receive financial support.

Are there additional MSW exam fees, lab fees, or other fees?

There are no additional fees.