Master of Social Work

California State University Bakersfield

Program Description

Master of Social Work

California State University Bakersfield

Make a difference

The profession of social work is grounded in a commitment to serving vulnerable and oppressed populations and advocating for public policies that promote social justice.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at CSUB prepares students for advanced generalist social work practice. Graduates are prepared to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in fields such as mental health, physical health, child and family services, gerontology, corrections, juvenile justice, youth services, and substance abuse treatment.

CSUB uses advanced-generalist practice as the model for the curriculum. This model prepares graduates to perform a variety of roles across micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. Within the advanced-generalist framework of the curriculum, students may choose an emphasis in Child and Family Services, Mental Health, or Gerontology/ Health Social Work in a full-time, part-time, or advanced standing plan of study. CSU Bakersfield’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Pursuing a degree and career in Social Work is a life-altering experience. If you want an exciting education that gives you the skills you need to create real change in the community, study Social Work at CSUB!


The mission of the California State University, Bakersfield, Department of Social Work, is to prepare students for social work practice and leadership at the advanced generalist level. Graduates possess the knowledge, values, and skills required to competently and ethically work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities using best practices. The Department is committed to improving social conditions in the Central Valley by promoting the culturally responsive practice, social justice, and life-long learning.


The Department of Social Work is committed to the following goals, which are derived from the mission statement. These goals are consistent with the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy, Section 1.1.

  1. To prepare advanced generalist social workers who identify with the social work profession, model the values and ethics of the profession, and are committed to continuing their learning after graduation
  2. To prepare graduates to become aware of their lifelong responsibility to continue their professional growth and development.
  3. To prepare advanced generalist social workers who are competent to engage in autonomous practice within the context of multiple systems and diverse environments, using a multidimensional perspective applicable across the lifespan
  4. To prepare advanced generalist social workers who use research knowledge and skills to evaluate their social work practice
  5. To prepare advanced generalist social workers to advocate for human rights and social and economic justice in the broader social environment
  6. To prepare students for leadership roles in an interprofessional environment within the community

MSW Curriculum

The MSW curriculum at CSUB is built on a model of advanced generalist practice, which prepares graduates to work in a variety of roles across micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. The curriculum addresses two levels of competency: Foundation and Concentration.

Foundation Courses

  • SW 510: Social policy and services (5)
  • SW 520: Foundations of Human Behavior (5)
  • SW 530: Research Methods for Social Work (5)
  • SW 540: Generalist Social Work Practice I (Micro Practice) (5)
  • SW 541: Generalist Social Work Practice II (Mezzo Practice) (5)
  • SW 542: Generalist Social Work Practice III (Macro Practice) (5)
  • SW 543: Assessment and Diagnosis (5)
  • SW 550: Field Practicum I (3)
  • SW 551: Field Practicum II (3)
  • SW 552: Field Practicum III (4)


In the advanced generalist model, concentration courses add depth and breadth to the generalist foundation.

Concentration Courses

  • SW 610: Advanced Social Policy and Services (5)
  • SW 630: Advanced Research Methods for Social Work Practice (5)
  • SW 646: Advanced Practice I (Micro Practice) (5)
  • SW 647: Advanced Practice II (Mezzo Practice) (5)
  • SW 648: Advanced Practice III (Administrative Practice) (5)
  • SW 650: Advanced Field Practicum I (3)
  • SW 651: Advanced Field Practicum II (3)
  • SW 652: Advanced Field Practicum III (4)

Elective coursework

The MSW course of study includes at least 10 units of elective courses approved by the department. Students who receive special funding are required to take electives associated with their special funding.

Culminating Experience

In conjunction with the field practicum, each student completes a "portfolio" paper as a culminating experience.

Advancement to Graduate Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is required prior to initiation of the final year of coursework.

Regular MSW students may be advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the Foundation curriculum, and advanced-standing students may be advanced to candidacy during the second quarter of their studies. Advancement to candidacy is based upon a formal review and recommendation by the faculty and approval by the Dean for Graduate Studies and Research.

Degree Requirements

The University confers the MSW degree upon fulfillment of the following requirements:

  1. Completion of 90 hours of coursework (50 hours for advanced-standing students) according to an approved degree plan.
  2. Completion of 960 hours of field experience (480 hours for advanced-standing students) and associated seminars.
  3. Completion of a culminating experience.
  4. Grade point average of 3.0, and a grade of "C" or better in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree as specified in each student's Plan of Study.
  5. Completion of 64 credits in residence for regular students and 32 for the advanced-standing students.
  6. All coursework leading to the MSW degree must be completed within 7 years from first enrollment.

Life or Work Experience

The Department of social work does not accept course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Cost of Attendance

Cost of Attendance (COA) is a figure calculated annually by financial aid offices that represents an estimate of the total cost (including tuition, fees, books & supplies, room & board, transportation, and misc. personal expenses) for a full-time student to attend their university during the academic year.

Separate COA figures are determined for students living On-Campus, Off-Campus, and With Parents. The COA can help families budget for all the expenses to attend college. It is important to note that only a portion of the total COA is paid directly to the University. Additionally, the COA is a standardized estimate and may be adjusted for students on a case-by-case basis with proper documentation.

The cost of attendance is an important factor in determining student financial aid eligibility. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated from the FAFSA data by the federal processor, represents the amount the student and his or her family are expected to contribute to the COA. The EFC is subtracted from the COA to determine the student's financial Need. Financial aid is then awarded to help offset the student's COA.

If the financial aid is not enough to cover the Need, then the remaining amount is considered Unmet Need. It is important to note that a student is not required to have financial Need to be eligible to receive Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, PLUS loans, or merit-based scholarships.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 17, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
2 - 3 years
Part time
Full time
USA - Bakersfield, California
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
USA - Bakersfield, California
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info