California State University, Sacramento

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Division of Social Work College of Health & Human Services

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The MSW Program

The MSW program at California State University, Sacramento, was established in 1964. We prepare graduates to become social work professionals who can both lead and serve our region, the State, and beyond in a host of professional settings, ranging from health, mental health, aging, and child welfare to nonprofit and government agencies, diverse communities, and forensics.

The MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. It is designed prepare graduates to be globally-conscious and locally responsive, have a lifelong passion for learning and excellence, and to commit their practice for social justice, health and mental health equity, and sustainable human and societal development in order to address the challenges of our society.

We offer three degree paths to complete the MSW in order to accommodate the diverse needs and lifestyles of our students: Two-Year Full-Time, Advanced Standing, and Three-Year Weekend or Part-Time.

Program Paths

Two-Year Full-Time

This full-time program is a traditional graduate program that combines classroom learning and applied experiential fieldwork. Courses are formatted in a linear and stepwise structure, beginning exclusively in the fall semester and continuing for two years. MSW students in the full-time program take four courses per semester, which cover social welfare history, policy, multi-level practice, social theories, research, and specialized content, along with electives.

Advanced Standing

This one-year program is designed for those students with a baccalaureate degree in social work (BASW/BSW) from a CSWE-accredited institution. Email for more information.

Three-Year Weekend or Part-Time

The three-year weekend program is designed for those students who are currently working full-time in county child protective services so as to expand their knowledge, skills, and employability while working towards earning an MSW. Classes are held on Saturdays and Sundays in order that working students do not have to leave their current employment. The program is highly competitive and only offered once every three years. The Part-Time program admits a limited number of students each year. The first year is just course work; then across the second and third years, there is a combination of fieldwork and coursework. Both programs are only offered as part of the Title IV-E stipend program.

Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) in School Social Work

School social work is a challenging yet rewarding profession, and it is in high demand in California. In schools, social workers often serve as the liaison between parents/guardians, the school administration, and the community. School social workers collaborate with other school officials to support students in reaching their academic and personal potential. Completion of the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) allows school social workers to serve as a resource to teachers for behavior and classroom management skills and to gain the tools needed to address challenges and promote student success.

At Sac State, the PPSC is offered in partnership with the College of Continuing Education. Post-MSW professionals can complete the program, as well as current MSW students (after the first year of the program). For more information, please visit the PPSC homepage:

Program Format, Coursework, and Field Work

The first year of the MSW program is considered the foundation year and is designed to provide the knowledge and skills for generalist social work practice. The foundation year prepares students for entry-level social work practice in a variety of settings, working with individuals, groups, families, communities, and organizations. Courses cover multi-level practice, social welfare history, policy, ethics, research, and social theories.

In the second year, students enter a chosen specialization and follow an advanced curriculum. The specializations are Behavioral Health, Children & Families, and Health & Aging. The advanced curriculum builds specialized knowledge across practice methods, policy, theories, and electives applicable to a variety of settings and populations. In addition, second year students complete a Culminating Experience, that is, an independent thesis or classroom-based research project. Graduates are prepared to enter advanced professional practice, fortified with specialized knowledge and skills, to engage in leadership, apply effective interventions, and to advance social work for social justice across a variety of populations and with communities.

In the first year, students are in the classroom for three days per week (Monday through Wednesday), and in the field for two days (Thursday, Friday), completing 512 hours in total. In the advanced year, students are in classes Thursdays and Fridays, and in the field Monday through Wednesday, completing 768 hours total. It should be noted that the process for obtaining a field placement begins typically in early summer (e.g., May); students who accept admission will be contacted about the field orientations and protocol for entering into their first placement. See Field Practicum for information about what to consider about field requirements.

The following is a sample schedule for the traditional and extended degree options. The courses and schedules are subject to change. Also, electives vary year to year and they are designed to augment the core curriculum so that students develop even more specialized knowledge and skills. Please note 206, 252, 296 refer to Behavioral Health; 207, 253, 297 refer to Children & Families; and, 208, 254, 298 refer to Health & Aging.

Full-Time Coursework

YEAR ONE (Generalist) for Two-Year Full-Time
Fall Semester Spring Semester
SWRK 202 Diversity and Social Justice SWRK 204B Practice II
SWRK 204A Practice I SWRK 210 Research
SWRK 235A Human Behavior & Social Environment I SWRK 235B Human Behavior & Social Environment II
SWRK 250 Policy SWRK ### Elective
SWRK 295A Field I SWRK 295B Field II
SECOND YEAR (Specialized) for Two-Year Full-Time and Advanced Standing
Fall Semester Spring Semester
SWRK 206/7/8A Specialized Practice I SWRK 206/7/8B Specialized Practice II
SWRK 296/7/8A Specialized Field I SWRK 296/7/8B Specialized Field II
SWRK 252/3/4 Specialized Advanced Policy SWRK ### Elective
SWRK ### Elective SWRK 500/02 Culminating Experience
SWRK 500/01 Culminating Experience  

Weekend or Part-Time Coursework

First Year (MSW 0) for Weekend or Part-Time
Fall Semester Spring Semester
SWRK 235A Human Behavior & Social Environment I SWRK 235B Human Behavior & Social Environment II
SWRK 250 Policy SWRK ### Elective
Second Year (MSW I) for Weekend or Part-Time
Fall Semester Spring Semester
SWRK 202 Diversity and Social Justice SWRK 204B Practice II
SWRK 204A Practice I SWRK 210 Research
SWRK 295A Field I SWRK 295B Field II
SWRK ### Elective  
Third Year (MSW II) for Weekend or Part-Time
Fall Semester Spring Semester
SWRK 207A Specialized Practice I SWRK 207B Specialized Practice II
SWRK 297A Specialized Field I SWRK 297B Specialized Field II
SWRK 253 Specialized Advanced Policy SWRK ### Elective 
SWRK 500/01 Culminating Experience SWRK 500/02 Culminating Experience