Department Overview


Program Overview

Founded in 2007, the Department of Social Work at Cal State Fullerton is the only MSW program in Orange County that is offered by a public university.  The Department of Social Work offers two MSW programs: Two-year program and Three-year program.  Both programs require 60 semester units to complete.

The two-year MSW program at the Fullerton campus offers students three concentration  options: Child Welfare, Community Mental Health, and Aging.  Courses in the two-year MSW program are offered weekdays only.

The MSW Flex program at the Irvine Center allows students to complete the program in three years.  This program offers two concentration options: Child Welfare and Community Mental Health.  Courses in the MSW Flex program are offered on weekday evenings.

The Child Welfare (CW) concentration prepares students to promote and empower children and their families safety, permanency and their well-being in public and private child welfare agencies settings including 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, domestic violence shelters and other specialized programs.

The Community Mental Health (CMH) concentration prepares students to work with various client populations across the mental health care system, including children, families, adults, and older adults.

The Aging concentration prepares students to become Gerontological social workers, helping older adults and their families maintain well-being, overcome problems and achieve maximum potential during later life. A key function of a gerontological social worker is to promote independence, dignity, and autonomy.

Both MSW programs provide two years of field education, typically completed in four consecutive semesters (Fall and Spring terms). The Director of Field Education places students in field agencies intended to optimize the development of both the students’ professional interests and social work practice skills.

Presently, the Department of Social Work does not offer advanced standing in either MSW program.


  • Fall admission only
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • An educational foundation in Liberal Arts/Social Sciences. If you have a bachelor’s degree from either the University of California or the California State University systems, you meet the liberal arts requirement. 
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units
  • Graduate Record Examination (optional)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Paid, volunteer, or internship experience relevant to social welfare
  • Personal statement
  • Interview with admissions committee
  • To Apply, visit the   Admission Page

Instructional Modes

  • Application of ecological systems and strengths-based models
  • Focus on cultural competency, advocacy, and social justice
  • Concentrations in child welfare, community mental health, and aging
  • International social work service-learning program
  • Courses in direct practice, community (macro) practice, social welfare policy, human behavior and the social environment, and research, and fieldwork

Length of Program

  • 60 units

Class Schedules

  • Students in the two-year program at the Fullerton campus spend two/three days per week in class and two full days per week in a field education experience. Classes for first year students take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with Tuesday and Thursday spent in a field education experience. Classes for second year students take place on Tuesday and Thursday, with Monday, Wednesday, and Friday open for a field education experience, based on agency need.
  • The class schedules for students in the flex program at the Irvine Center are offered three weekday evenings per week. The field education experience takes place during normal agency hours, typically two weekdays per week, during the second and third years of the program.


  • The MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).


  • Once students complete the MSW program they are eligible to begin accruing hours toward their Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) licensure.

Typical Social Work Settings

  • County social services agencies
  • County health care agencies
  • Child welfare agencies
  • Child protective services
  • Adult protective services
  • Hospice Agencies
  • Community mental health agencies
  • Family service agencies (domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters)
  • Medical facilities
  • Psychiatric facilities
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Refugee resettlement
  • Social welfare research and policy analysis organizations