Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work program is a 60-unit program that prepares students for advanced, autonomous social work practice. The curriculum is composed of two semesters (full-time) or four semesters (part-time) of professional foundation and two semesters (part-time or full-time) of a specialization curriculum. In the foundation part of the program, all students take a core of courses designed to provide them with the knowledge and skills expected of all professional social workers. The advanced curriculum prepares for multi-level practice with vulnerable life conditions. It consists of required advanced courses in social work practice and policy, and advanced electives. Through the use of two specialty multi-level practice (6 units), one advanced policy course (3 units), and three elective courses (9 units), the graduates will become advanced generalists in the areas of behavioral health, children and families, and health and aging.

Degree Requirements

The graduate program in Social Work consists of 28 units of professional foundation common courses that all students must take and 32 units of the specialization curriculum which consists of advanced contents and electives. Students must take all required courses in a prescribed, sequential order, and must maintain a GPA of 3.0 to advance to the next level of courses. Students must have completed an Advancement to Candidacy form, and petitioned for Graduate Classification through the Office of Graduate Studies.

For ethical responsibilities, the faculty in the Division of Social Work may require a student to leave under specified terms, terminate a student's enrollment, or decline to award a degree if the Chair of the Division, upon the recommendation of the faculty, determines that the action is in the best interest of the Division or the Community which it serves or that a student is not qualified for admission to the social work profession because of factors other than academic standing. Determination about factors other than academic standing are made in accordance with the National Association on Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics and the interpersonal qualities requisite for a professional social worker. The 60 units required to graduate from California State University, Sacramento, with the Master’s Degree in Social Work are listed below.

Part-time and Weekend Intensive students usually take classes in the evening (6:30 pm or later) and on weekend (Saturday thru Sunday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm). The degree completion requirements are:

I. Professional Foundation (28 units)

All professional social work programs are required to provide foundation content that consists of the knowledge, values, and skills that are basic for practice in any setting situation, and which prepare one for more advanced, specialized learning. Six areas of study are introduced in the foundation: social work research, social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policy, multicultural theory and practice and field instruction. Courses which make up the professional foundation are:

SWRK 202 (3 units) Social Work with Diverse Populations
SWRK 204A (3 units) Social Work Practice I (Corequisite: SWRK 295A)
SWRK 204B (3 units) Social Work Practice II (Prerequisite: SWRK 204A & SWRK

295A; Corequisite: SWRK 295B)
SWRK 210 (3 units) Methods of Social Research (Prerequisite: Undergraduate Social

SWRK 235A (3 units) Theoretical Bases of Social Behavior
SWRK 235B (3 units) Theoretical Bases of Social Behavior (Prerequisite: SWRK 235A)
SWRK 250 (3 units) Social Welfare Policy & Services
SWRK 295A (3 units) First Year Field Instruction (Prerequisite: Classified Social Work

graduate; Co-requisite: SWRK 204A)
SWRK 295B (4 units) First Year Field Instruction (Prerequisite: SWRK 295A, classified

Social Work graduate; Co-requisite: SWRK 204B)

II. Specialized Practice Requirements:  

In the second year (two-year program), or third year (three-year program), students are required to declare an area of specialization. The three areas of specialization are: (1) Behavioral Health; (2) Children & Families; and (3) Health and Aging. The course list for each of the concentration are listed below.

Behavioral Health

Social Workers are one of the principal providers of mental health services in the United States. There is an increasing need for advanced competencies to practice in mental health centers, psychiatric rehabilitation facilities, emergency services, hospitals, housing and residential recovery programs serving homeless, as well as dual diagnosed clients. The focus is to train graduate level practitioners to conduct complex assessments, be competent in differential diagnosis, using DSM 5, be able to perform time limited psycho-therapeutic supports, clinical case management, be able to fully integrate autonomous practice with full respect for advanced ethics and mental health law and be a liaison with the courts and other forensic services.


Fall Semester:

SWRK 206A Multi-level Practice Behavioral Health

SWRK 296A Field Instruction Behavioral Health

SWRK 500 (Thesis/Project) or 501 (Advanced Research)


Spring Semester:

SWRK 206B Multi-level Practice Behavioral Health

SWRK 252 Advance Policy Behavioral Health

SWRK 296B Field Instruction Behavioral Health

SWRK 500 (Thesis/Project or 502 (Advanced Research)

Specialized Electives

Behavioral Health specialization students must take one class (3 units) from the following specialized elective courses:

SWRK 223 DSM 5 Psycho diagnosis

SWRK 224 Advanced Mental Health Practice

SWRK 262 Social Work Practice and Rehabilitation

SWRK 228 Clinic Inter Sexual Abuse Policy SWRK



Children & Families

 Child, Adolescent & Family is designed for the advanced second year student who is committed to improving the lives of children adolescents through psychosocial interventions. A major focus is to help students build a framework for social work interventions using normative developmental supports and case planning. Another focus is to prepare students to understand developmental stresses, disruption and challenges and to identify research informed social work interventions that include individual children, their caregivers and community settings that provide primary and supportive school, community, behavioral and mental health services.


Fall Semester:

SWRK 207A Multi-level Practice Children & Families

SWRK 297A Field Instruction Children & Families

SWRK 500 (Thesis/Project) or 501 (Advanced Research)


Spring Semester:

 SWRK 207B Multi-level Practice Children & Families

SWRK 253 Advance Policy Children & Families

SWRK 297B Field Instruction Children & Families

SWRK 500 (Thesis/Project) or 502  (Advanced Research)


Specialized Electives

 Children & Families specialization  students must take one class (3 units) from the following specialized elective courses:

SWRK 213 Public Child Welfare Practice

SWRK 226 Family Interventions



Health & Aging

The constant growth, demands and changes in health care have had a serious impact on the viability and need for social workers in all areas and settings of health care. Social workers are present in public health, acute and chronic care settings providing a range of services including health education, crisis intervention, a wide range of individual, family and group supportive counseling and case management. Health care social workers are increasingly trained to provide interventions to prepare for and respond to traumatic events and disasters. The health care system in the United States is complex and multidisciplinary in nature and may include a network of services such as diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, health maintenance and prevention provided to individuals of all ages with a range of needs.


Fall Semester:

SWRK 208A Multi-level Practice Health & Aging

SWRK 298 Field Instruction Health & Aging

SWRK 500 (Thesis/Project) or 501 (Advanced Research)


Spring Semester:

SWRK 208B Multi-level Practice Health & Aging

SWRK 254 Advance Policy Health & Aging

SWRK 298B Field Instruction Health & Aging

SWRK  500 (Thesis/Project) or 502 (Advanced Research)

 Specialized Electives

Health & Aging specialization students must take one class (3 units) from the following specialized elective courses: 

SWRK 219 Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings

SWRK 245 Death, Grief and Growth

SWRK 268 Advanced Clinical social work with Older Adults

SWRK 296A  Advanced social work with Developmental Disability


III. Elective Courses for all three areas of Specialization:

While taking the foundation courses, students are required to take two elective courses (6 units) listed below that are open for all three areas of specialization. From time to time, there are new and revised elective courses offered for the fall and spring semester. Students are welcome to take any of those elective courses as well.

SWRK 218 Chemical Dependency (3 units)

SWRK 232 Spirituality in Social Work (3 units)

SWRK 261 Grant Writing and Resource Development (3units)

SWRK 259 International Social Work (3 units)

SWRK 215 Mediation & Restorative Justice (3 units)

SWRK 298 SWRK with LGBTQ (3 units)

SWRK 296D Advanced SWRK with Developmental Disability (3 units)

*In the specialization, students must take their third elective (usually in the fall) course.


IV. Field Instruction

Part-time students do not begin their Field Education until the third semester (second year of their program). Full-time students and second year part-time students must enroll to Field Education concurrently with their social work practice classes, begins with SWRK 204A (Social Work Practice I) and SWRK 295A (Field Instruction). Students that enroll to Field Education are assigned to a social service agency for two days a week (8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursday & Friday). In the final year, they are assigned to an agency for three days a week (8:00 to 5:00 pm, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday).

These field instruction requirements may only be fulfilled during regular working hours. Provisions for alternative scheduling are minimal. Students are responsible for their own transportation to field instruction sites and for professional liability insurance. Field agencies are located in a broad area around the greater Sacramento region frequently requiring students to travel up to 50 miles one way.

V. Thesis/Project

As a partial requirements for the Master’s degree in social work, students are required to complete one of three options: (a) Thesis (SWRK 500-Thesis), (b) Project (SWRK 500-Project, or (c) Advanced Research (SWRK 501 and SWRK 502). All three options required in-depth understanding and applications of research processes and must demonstrate social work relevance, academic rigor, independence, and social validity and utility. Students must follow the Human Subjects Protection policies and procedures set forth by Sacramento State’s Committee for Protection of Human Subjects. A Thesis or a Project is a decision you will make with your thesis/project advisor. A Thesis required two advisors. A Project required one advisor.