Online Master's in Social Work (MSW) in California

Nov 06, 2019

There are many online programs in California where students can earn a Master of Social Work (MSW), although it's important to note that while these programs offer online classes, students will also be required to attend on-campus classes and real-world internships. This article will explore various California-based online MSW programs, including coursework, internship, and entrance requirements.

Online MSW Programs in California

San Jose State University

San Jose State University offers an online MSW for California residents that is designed to be attended part-time and can be completed in about 2 years. In this 60-hour program, you could take online 10-week classes in such subjects as social policy, human behavior in a social environment, and research methods. You are also able to choose a field of practice in children, youth and families or health/mental health. Internships in your local area are required as well. Last, you must complete a capstone experience that consists of an independent research project.

University of Southern California

In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California has two pathways for earning an online MSW degree, including a 60-credit traditional track and a 37-credit advanced track for those who have earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree. This online program allows you to choose a specialization in social change and innovation, children, youth and families, or adult mental health and wellness. There are also two further optional tracks in military social work and school social work. Along with online coursework, you are required to complete field training, which includes virtual field practicums that allow you to practice social work in a virtual setting with an actor and real-world community-based field placements.

California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge has a full-time online MSW program that is designed to be completed on 2 years. In this 60-unit program, you could take online classes that center on multicultural contexts of social work, social work theory, family crisis and trauma, and urban social policy. There is also 1-hour, synchronous class on field work that you must attend each week. You will be required to complete 16 hours a week of field practicum over the course of the program. A final graduate project is required as well.

California State University, San Bernardino

California State University, San Bernardino offers an online 90-unit, generalist perspective MSW degree program that can be completed in 3 years. At the beginning of the program, you must attend on-campus, 2-day distance learning orientation. Then, over the course of this program, you take online courses that could include classes in micro and macro social work practice, and your field work placements will occur in your local community. A research project also makes up part of this online program's curriculum.

Humboldt State University

Humboldt State University, which is located in Arcata, has an online full MSW and advanced standing MSW degree program that is designed to be attended part-time. The online full MSW can be completed in about 3.5 years with online coursework and 960 total hours of field placements. The online advanced standing MSW can be completed in 2 years also with online classes and 480 total hours of field placements. You are also required to visit campus for a 4-day intensive program and complete a master's project.

Entrance Information for Online MSW Programs in California

Applicants are required to hold a bachelor's degree, ideally with a GPA of at least 3.0. However, to apply to an advanced standing program, applicants must have earned a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)-accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree within the last 5 years. Some MSW programs require prerequisite coursework in the biological and social sciences. Further application materials, such as an application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and, for some programs, experience related to social work, are required as well.

Online MSW programs in California typically feature coursework that can be completed online as well as real-world field placements and internships that give you social work experience. It's important to know that there are two types of online MSW programs: an advanced track program for those with a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a traditional or full track for those with a bachelor's degree not in social work.

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