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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the Pathway Distance Education Program?

Instructions on applying to the MSW Program can be found HERE.

Can I take a leave of absence from the program?

To be eligible to take a leave of absence (L.O.A.), a student must be in extenuating, personal or health circumstances. If this is so and the LOA is approved, then the student’s academic advisor meets with the student’s instructors regarding the appropriate grade for each course that the student is enrolled in. If the instructor is comfortable with giving an Incomplete “I” grade, then the student completes the LOA paperwork and submits it to the Director of the Schools of Social Work and the Office of Graduate Studies. The student will re-enroll in one  year, after submitting return from LOA paperwork to the Office of the Registrar/Records, to complete the course incomplete grades and continue in the program.  If the instructors do not feel comfortable with the student receiving an incomplete grade, then the student will need to be dropped from the program.

For 100% Refund (less a $25 administrative charge): Course withdraws must be received before the start of the semester. For 65% Refund: Course withdraws received after the start date of the course but before the designated census deadline (3 weeks into the semester).No refund will be issued after the designated census deadline for a particular semester

What are the Requirements for Admissions?

How is Field Education organized and delivered?

MSW: There are six sequential field practicum courses that run concurrently with classes (600ABC – foundation year and 600DEF – advanced year). Each student has two different field placements at two different agencies during the three year course of study. Field experiences are designed to build upon one another in developing a competent practitioner. In the foundation year of field, the focus is on learning generalist practice. This includes having a broad range of assignments directed at helping the student develop competencies in engagement, assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, termination and follow-up at both the micro and macro practice levels. In the advanced year, the students are expected to provide intervention methods involving more complex situations and advanced practice skills at both the micro and macro levels. The advanced social work practice is operationalized in terms of three roles: change agent, interdisciplinary/interagency social worker, and social work leader.

MSW: In addition to working at a field agency, students are required to attend monthly seminar, which is held online. Seminar is designed to walk students through their field experience, assist students in making the connection between field practice and classroom learning, provide a safe place to discuss field experience through discussion boards, and to encourage peer discussions so each student can learn from one another. Each month students are required to login and complete assigned readings, read material presented by the field liaison, and complete required discussion board entries. There will also be opportunities for webcam meetings with their assigned field liaison as needed.

What is the purpose of the Field Practicum?

The Field Practicum is an essential element of the curriculum in which students apply and deepen their knowledge, skills and values through practice. It also offers the opportunity for evaluation of the student’s ability to apply social work knowledge, skills and values by an experienced social work professional.

CSUSB has selected a model of Field Education that is not the final phase of formal learning, but rather is ongoing and concurrent with classroom experience. We believe that learning in the field and in the classroom will be enhanced by the opportunity to immediately observe knowledge taught in the classroom and to immediately apply skills mastered in the classroom. Conversely, observations from the field will reinforce theory, knowledge and skills from the classroom setting.  Click the links below for more information:

Are there other sources of funding?

Graduate and undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in public child welfare may be eligible for financial assistance under our Title IV-E Program.  This program is offered to on-campus and online distance education students alike. 

When and where are distance education courses offered?

All of the MSW Pathway courses are offered online.  Some courses may require synchronous, “face-to-face” sessions via webcam.  All other courses are asynchronous with weekly deadlines. For more information on BASW Distance Education courses, contact Paolo Serrano-Montes ( / 909.537.5565).

How much does the Pathway Distance Education Program cost?

The Pathway Distance Education Program costs $650 per unit @ 60 semester units, for a total of $39,000 for the entire program.

Which courses do I need to take, and how are they sequenced?

How many people do you accept each year?

The Pathway Distance Education Program accepts 30 students each year.

When should I apply for the Pathway Distance Education Program?

Click HERE for MSW application dates.

What does the Field Instructor do?

The Field Instructor is the student's teacher and supervisor in the placement site. The Field Instructor provides ongoing feedback, supervises, teaches, and assesses student acquisition of knowledge, skills, and values.

What does the Field Liaison do?

The Faculty Liaison, also referred to as the Field Liaison, holds an MSW from an accredited program of social work. He or she is the faculty member who serves as an educational consultant to the Field Instructor at the agency where the student is assigned to complete their Field Practicum. The Faculty Liaison approves the Learning Plan Agreement/Comprehensive Skills Evaluation for the student, holds quarterly conferences with both the student and Field Instructor, via webcam or in person, facilitates the Integrative Field Seminar, evaluates the student’s learning, and assigns a grade of credit/no credit.

Who do I contact for further information?

Students interested in the Pathway Distance Education Program should send an email message to You will receive a response within 48 hours.

Is the Pathway Distance Education Program offered to students who live outside the USA?

Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to offer the program internationally. We are a new program and we are still building and improving our curriculum as well as developing our support services. At this time, we do not have the capacity to serve students who live outside of the USA. Our aim is to be able to offer the program internationally in the future and we are working towards that goal. So please check our web site every so often to stay in touch with our progress on this.

Do I need a student ID card?

Even though you may rarely come to campus, it might be a good idea to get a CSUSB student ID. This is called a Coyote One Card.

How do I access the library?

When you enroll at CSUSB you will be given a student ID number. You will then use this number not only to enroll, but to access campus services such as the library. Click here for the library web site.

Is there a Field Practicum?


What kind of computer and internet connection will I need?

Computer Hardware & Operating System:  Students enrolled in the Pathway Distance Education Program will need to be running recent (no more than three years old) computer hardware and a current Windows or Mac operating system still being supported by the software developer.

Internet Connection:  Students enrolled in the Pathway Distance Education Program will need to have a fast, reliable broadband connection that is capable of handling webcam meetings with up to a dozen people.  Because broadband speeds and packages vary so greatly from one provider to the next, we can’t make any official recommendation, but we can say from firsthand experience, it is highly unlikely that the cheapest broadband package offered by any provider is capable of handling this.  Broadband is one area where online students definitely don’t want to skimp on price.

Who teaches the courses?

Many of the same CSUSB School of Social Work faculty members who teach the on-campus classes teach our distance education classes.

What if I start the program but cannot finish on time, can I finish later?

Yes, however, courses are offered in sequence and so if you cannot complete a course, it is most likely that you will not be able to return and resume your program in the proper sequence for at least a year. Also, we have a four year limit on taking a break from your program. If you exceed the four year limit, you will need to reapply to the program. To avoid this, PLEASE get advising from the Director of the Social Work Pathway Distance education program before making any decisions.

Can I get financial aid?

Yes.  All distance education students are eligible for financial aid.  Please contact the Financial Aid office here for more information.

Can I complete my Field Practicum by working at my current place of employment?


How many hours are required for Field Practicum?

BASW & MSW foundation-year students are expected to be in their field practicum a minimum of 160 hours per quarter (16 hours per week), or 480 hours for the academic year.

MSW advanced-year students are expected to complete a minimum of 200 hours per quarter (20 hours per week), or 600 hours for the academic year.

At the completion of their respective programs, BASW students will have accumulated a minimum of 480 hours of field experience, and MSW students will have accumulated a minimum of 1,080 hours of field experience.