The Department of Social Work offers a professional program culminating in a Master's degree in Social Work. Our goal is to prepare students to enter professional, multicultural social work practice. Students learn to practice as professional social workers with persons and groups representing the range of human diversity and with all size systems (individuals, families, groups, communities and institutions). In addition, students are prepared for advanced, specialized practice in concentrations representing Children, Youth and Families or Older Adults and Families.
The MSW program emphasizes ecological and systems perspectives which focus on the fit and interactions of a person or system in relation to the various environments likely to be encountered. Within these perspectives, knowledge, values, and skills are used in a change-oriented process within a multicultural context to help individuals and social systems achieve improved quality of life and social participation, including advocacy for just institutions and equitable access to opportunities and resources.
In addition to the mission noted above, the MSW program provides an educational experience which does the following:
1. Provides knowledge of and experience with ethnic diversity, teaches skill in ethnic-sensitive practice, and provides motivation and skill to combat oppressive policies and discrimination. As such, the program actively offers opportunity for graduate education to students of various ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds who have life experience in bridging cultural gaps;
2. Contributes to the quality of social services delivered in the adjacent communities (Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties) by providing an opportunity for advanced education to students who are already employed in the social services. These students may concurrently maintain employment within the social services and participate in the program to develop advanced skills in their area. Quality of services is also enhanced through close collaboration between the Department of Social Work and community service agencies offering fieldwork experiences and through the labor force of MSW’s educated in a program with multicultural emphasis and specializations which reflect the needs of our adjacent community as well as the needs of urban communities nationally;
3. Prepares social workers for leadership and specialized practice with a specific population group. The program maintains high standards and prepares social workers for the depth and complexity of generalist Social Work practice while being able to practice in a chosen area of concentration. Foundation knowledge, values, and skills required for intervention in a multicultural context are applied and developed through work within the area of specialization. Specialization consists of emphasis on a stage of the life cycle: either children, youth, and families or older adults and families. Specialized education is offered concurrently with basic foundation knowledge from entry into the program. Students are expected to have experience in the social services upon which to draw after entry into the program;
4. Teaches analytic skill necessary for reflective and autonomous practice and necessary for contribution to the advancement of knowledge. Social workers should be capable of integrating knowledge and practice, should be able to apply grounded, scientific principles to practice, should be capable of conceptualizing practice principles on the basis of their experience, and therefore should be able to contribute to the development of new knowledge;
5. Educates students to the values and ethics of the profession. The social worker is expected to be committed to the value that people should have equal access to resources, services, and opportunities. Social workers should be advocates of humane and responsive service, have regard for the worth and dignity of the individual, and conduct themselves in accordance with the professional code of ethics.
The Master of Social Work degree offers opportunity for study in two areas of concentration: Older Adults and Families or Children, Youth and Families. The concentrations reflect two of the major areas of social concern and programs in our society. Child neglect and abuse, single parents, drugs and gangs illustrate the tremendous need for service to children and their families. Interestingly, the other end of the age range also reflects neglect and a need for service. The aged, the fastest growing population segment in our society, often lead healthy productive lives; however, many at risk individuals and their families will require services. For example, older adults in the uppermost age brackets are often frail and, therefore, may have a greater need for social services, income maintenance, housing, health and personal care services.
With both groups, the family is often the mediating source, and the social worker needs to be able to work with the family as well. Both groups are represented by large numbers in Southern California, and programs are developing to serve the need. Professional social workers have a vital part to play in ensuring that these services are adequate and sound.
The Children, Youth and Families Concentration (CYF)
The Children, Youth and Families (CYF) concentration prepares students for practice in a variety of settings. Students are exposed to the full range of practice skills and have one year of direct practice experience and a second year of more intense direct practice or administrative practice experience.
Fieldwork placements are available in a variety of agencies in the surrounding five-county area, including public, private and non-profit agencies. Typical settings include child welfare/protective services, health care, mental health, public social services, schools, community-based outpatient agencies, corrections/juvenile justice, residential treatment, programs for persons with developmental disabilities, substance abuse treatment and other specialized programs.
Required Courses for CYF Concentration
The Children, Youth and Families Concentration is also offered at off-campus locations throughout the state. Current distance education sites include Sonoma State University and CSU Channel Islands. Courses are taught using face-to-face instruction, as well as interactive television and web-based instructional support. The distance education MSW is offered using a 3-year, part-time model. Students attend courses on Saturdays and complete fieldwork requirements during the second and third years of the program.
Distance Education Model
The Older Adults and Families Concentration (OAF)
The Older Adults and Families (OAF) concentration prepares students for practice in the delivery of social services to older adults and their families, in the planning and evaluation of social services and in administration of services and policy development. Students experience one year of placement in a direct practice setting and may select either a direct practice or administrative practice setting for their second year.
Fieldwork placements are available in a variety of agencies in the surrounding five-county area including public and private nonprofit agencies. Typical settings include health care, adult protective services, mental health, community-based outpatient agencies, rehabilitation, programs for the developmentally disabled, substance abuse treatment, senior programs and other specialty services.
Required Courses for OAF Concentration
Admission to MSW Advanced Standing Program
Students who have a 3.0 GPA and a BSW degree may be conditionally accepted to the MSW Advanced Standing Program. Upon successful completion of an intensive Summer Bridge Module (see below), the core content from the 1st year of the traditional MSW program (or 30 units) will be waived and students will be Advanced to Candidacy to begin year two of the traditional MSW program curriculum.
Admissions Criteria for Advanced Standing
In addition to the Department’s basic admissions application procedures as well as University application procedures, the following are requirements for all Advanced Standing applicants:
Waiver of the First Year Core: Common Body of Knowledge
The Master’s in Social Work degree is based upon a common body of knowledge. Students with a Bachelor’s degree in social work from this University, or from other CSWE accredited undergraduate social work programs, within the last five years, will have met much of the First Year Core requirements. Students’ transcripts are reviewed for completion of the necessary coursework for mastery of the common body of knowledge. A 3.0 GPA in the undergraduate social work courses, with no grades below a "C", and 2.5 overall GPA are required to meet the criteria.
Waivers of the First Year Core (30 units) are based upon previous educational background at the undergraduate level and upon completion of Summer Bridge courses and field placement in this social work department. Summer Bridge courses will include modules from each of the program sequences: research, practice, human behavior and social policy. Summer Bridge fieldwork placement will include 160 hours (16 hours per week). Students, therefore, have a provisional admission to the department until they have successfully completed the summer program. When they successfully complete the Summer Bridge courses and field placement, they receive the Waiver of the First Year Core and enter the second year of the MSW program in the Fall semester. Students are immediately Advanced to Candidacy upon receiving a Waiver of the First Year Core. The courses that are waived as the First Year Core are: SW 500, 503A, 505, 594B, 596A, 560 or 561, 592, 594A, 596B and 503B.
Students, for whom the First Year Core is waived, are not eligible for the Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium, Inter-University Consortium CalSWEC Child Welfare or the PPSC Credential Program.
Admission to MSW Program
Students interested in full and part-time study are admitted to the MSW program for the fall or summer semester each year. Prospective students should apply directly to the Department of Social Work as well as to the University. International students must also apply to the Center for International Education (562) 985-5476. The Center accepts applications for the fall term from October 1st - November 30th. Review of applications by the Department begins the first week of September.
The Advanced Standing and Summer Block program application dealine is March 1 for the following fall semester. The full-time and part-time program application deadline is the second Friday in April for the following fall semester. The University application deadline for graduate programs is the second Friday in April for the following fall semester.
To be admitted on a full-time or part-time basis to the Master of Social Work program, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Applications that do not contain the above materials are considered to be incomplete, and will not be assessed for admissions decisions. Moreover, applications must be fully packaged by the applicant when submitted.
The fieldwork sequence has an integral role in the MSW curriculum. The experience offers an opportunity for students to integrate and apply theoretical knowledge and social work practice and intervention skills in a community agency setting under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. A variety of agencies within the surrounding counties are utilized, reflecting the diverse settings in which social workers are employed. University field faculty select the most appropriate field placement site for students.
Each student has two fieldwork placements and concurrent enrollment in practice courses during the course of study. Each placement involves 500 hours of fieldwork in a community agency setting and attendance and participation in a fieldwork seminar that meets weekly on campus. The fieldwork sequence encompasses a total of 1000 hours, for which 12 units of academic credit are given. Academic year and summer block models of fieldwork placement are available. The academic year schedule, begins in September and continues through mid May. Students take concurrent coursework and a field seminar while enrolled in fieldwork and are currently in fieldwork two or three days (16 hours) per week. This must include either two 8-hour week days or one 8-hour weekday and two 4-hour blocks. A very limited number of agencies include evening hours, and no weekend placements are available. The summer block model of fieldwork occurs during the late spring and summer months, with students completing 36 hours per week in fieldwork while concurrently taking coursework and a field seminar on the remaining work day.
Students who are employed in social service agencies may request that their agency be evaluated as a site for the second year fieldwork only. The agency must be able to meet all criteria established by the Department of Social Work to insure the educational focus of fieldwork and provide a significantly different experience. Evaluation of fieldwork sites and approval to utilize an agency of employment as a fieldwork site will be completed by the fieldwork faculty.
The Department of Social Work will reject an applicant or disqualify an enrolled student whose record of academic achievement or performance in field instruction does not meet the minimum standards of the profession.
The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded a 3 year grant to support the development of geriatric field practicum sites. The grant funded an alliance of all of the social work graduate schools and four geriatric service providers in the greater Los Angeles area. This consortium was created and sponsored by the Partners in Care Foundation with the goal of enhancing the quality of life for the elderly.
The program continues with new funding and stipends are provided to MSW students in the Older Adults and Families concentration. Information regarding this program is presented to students in the field orientation and applications are made available.
The IUC (Inter-University Consortium) is one of the specialized training programs in public child welfare available in the MSW program. The Inter-University Consortium/ Department of Children and Family Services (IUC/DCFS) Training Project is a collaborative endeavor between the Los Angeles County DCFS and the graduate programs of social work at CSULB, UCLA, USC, CSULA, CSUN and CSUDH. The overall goal of this collaborative project is to increase the professional skills and knowledge of Los Angeles County public child welfare workers.
The IUC project at CSULB is designed to prepare social work student interns in the most innovative and current programs at Lakewood DCFS Office. It is our intention at CSULB, to prepare future leaders in public child welfare. Our approach is founded on the Social Ecology Model, the California Redesign and the objectives of AB636. Students will experience (parallel process with their assigned cases) moving from entry to exit through child welfare services. CSULB’s innovative project emphasizes the front end of child welfare services, working effectively with children and families in their communities to achieve safety, well-being and families to last a lifetime. CSULB’s IUC/DCFS Project also offers student interns a unique and valuable opportunity to learn and practice the Kinship Caregiver’s Model and to co-lead a children’s group in a community public school as part of our emphasis in working with children and families in their community.
Title IV-E stipends are available for (1) year for students enrolled in the full-time 2 year or part-time, other than summer block, or advanced standing model of the MSW Program. Students may apply for either the first or second year of field placement.
Students who work at DCFS or are currently (or have been) CalSWEC students are not eligible. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
Students accepted into the program must:
Students are responsible for payback of the stipend if they are unable to successfully complete any of the requirements of the program.
The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) is a partnership between the schools of social work, public human service agencies, and other related professional organizations that facilitates the integration of education and practice to assure effective, culturally competent service delivery to the people of California.
CalSWEC Child Welfare
The CalSWEC Child Welfare program is for graduate students who are interested in pursuing a social work career in the child welfare field. This program is only available to students admitted into the Children, Youth and Family Concentration of the MSW program. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
Full-Time CalSWEC Program
The IV-E stipends provide for two (2) years of support for students enrolled in the full-time model of the MSW program. The student signs a contract to secure full-time employment in a public child welfare agency for two (2) years post graduation but is expected to remain in public child welfare employment for longer than this minimum period.
Once accepted into the program students must undergo pre-screening for county employment including fingerprinting and participation in the criminal clearance process.
Part-Time CalSWEC Program
Students eligible to apply for the part-time CalSWEC reimbursement program must be employees of the State or County Social Services department that provides the child welfare or assistance benefits eligibility functions. All part-time applicants must provide a letter of support from their agency administrator/director. Financial support for admitted students will include: full tuition and fees, book costs and a travel allowance.
Students participating in the program sign a contract to render one year of full-time employment in their home public child welfare agency for each year of IV-E education support.
Students participating in the program must meet all of the following criteria:
CalSWEC Mental Health Program
The CalSWEC Mental Health stipend program is for graduate students who are interested in pursuing a social work career in the mental health field and are willing to make a commitment to work full-time in a California county mental health agency or a county contracted agency after they have received their MSW degrees. Interested candidates must complete an application process.
Students participating in the program must meet all of the following criteria:
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing issues the Pupil Personnel Services (PPSC) Credential. The Department of Social Work, College of Health and Human Services, offers the combined School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance Specializations of the PPS Credential within the context of the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
The PPS Credential in School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance authorizes the holder to be employed in the State of California as a School Social Worker and/or a Child Welfare and Attendance Specialist. The credential covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in public and other schools requiring the credential. Individuals with the credential in School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance are pupil advocates and provide prevention and intervention strategies that remove barriers to learning. These professionals, in partnership with other educators, parents and the community, maintain high expectations for all pupils, facilitate pupils reaching their highest potential, foster optimum teaching and learning conditions, and prevent school failure. School Social Work is defined as the application of social work principals and objectives to help fulfill the major purpose of the education system: to provide a setting for teaching and learning in which all children can prepare themselves for the world they now live in, and the world they will face in the future.
Child Welfare and Attendance Specialists provide assessment and intervention around issues of attendance for pupils.
1. Successful completion of all of the requirements for the 60 unit Master of Social Work (MSW) degree within the Children, Youth and Families Concentration. Required coursework will be completed in the following sequence areas: Fieldwork, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Social Work Policy, Social Work Practice, and Social Work Research;
2. Completion of SW 665, School Social Work as one of the required electives within the 60 unit MSW program, taken either prior to or concurrently with school social work fieldwork placement;
3. Successful completion of required School Social Work PPSC Seminar series presenting specialized topics;
4. Demonstrated knowledge in the following areas of pupil personnel services, as defined in the Commission on Teacher Credentialing Standards: Knowledge of techniques for facilitating individual growth and development to achieve academic success; Knowledge of the wide variety of socio-cultural influences that affect pupils in a school setting; Knowledge of human assessment; Knowledge of problem prevention and early intervention; Knowledge of consultation services; Knowledge of learning theory and psychological education; Knowledge of coordination and development of services; Knowledge of legal enablements and constraints; Knowledge of referral and utilization of services; Knowledge of human assessment as direct services to pupils, Knowledge of social interventions; Knowledge of consultation coordination and development of services; Knowledge of referral, utilization, involvement and use of community resources; Knowledge of social research and services based on research; Knowledge of the code of professional ethics; Knowledge of attendance laws and the rights of minors; and Knowledge of skills using attendance laws and assessment skills.
5. Successful completion of 600 clock hours of field practice in the second year of field, demonstrating all of the required skills and knowledge areas, in an approved PPSC site, under the supervision of an experienced MSW level practitioner who holds a PPS Credential in school social work. Supervised hours of field practice will include at least 100 hours in each of two settings (elementary, middle and/or high school), and experience in service delivery with populations representing ethnic diversity and will cover both school social work and child welfare and attendance competencies and standards.
6. Completion of required application and forms from California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, including fingerprints, and a Certificate of Clearance;
7. Completion of required health screenings;
8. Successful performance on C-BEST Examination;
9. Certification of program completion and demonstrated competence by the PPSC Program Coordinator, Department of Social Work.
10. Completion of all required forms and procedures of the Credential Processing Center, CSULB.
Advancement to Candidacy
A conditionally classified or fully classified student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all courses taken subsequent to admission. In addition, a GPA of 3.0 must be maintained in all courses required for the degree. A student will be eligible for advancement to candidacy for the degree after successfully completing 6 units of graduate level courses in Social Work.
All students must demonstrate competency in writing skills. Students must attempt to fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) in the first semester of residence in the MSW program or score at least a “4” on the GRE Writing Assessment. Either the GWAR or the GRE Writing Assessment must be passed to advance to candidacy.
The California State University, Long Beach requirement for full-time status as a graduate student is 9 weighted units. Part-time students pursuing the M.S.W. degree must take at least 4 semesters of at least 3 courses or 9 units. Students who wish to complete the M.S.W. degree in 2 years must take an overload of 6 units for 4 semesters or 15 units a semester.
The Master of Social Work program requires the completion of 60 semester units. Fifty-four units of required courses and 6 units of scheduled departmental electives must be taken to complete a concentration. In the CYF concentration, 57 units of required courses and 3 units of scheduled departmental electives must be taken by IUC, Cal SWEC and PPS credential students. The program is taken in one of the four following sequences.
Plan A: (two years)
Plan B: Advanced Standing
Summer Bridge Module includes:
Second Year Coursework
Plan C: (three years)