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 areas of focus: Child Welfare, Community Mental Health, and Aging.  Courses in the two-year MSW program are offered weekdays only.

The MSW Flex program at the Fullerton campus allows students to complete the program in three years.  This program offers two areas of focus: Child Welfare and Community Mental Health.  Courses in the MSW Flex program are offered on weekday evenings.

The Child Welfare (CW) area of focus 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) area of focus prepares students to work with various client populations across the mental health care system, including children, families, adults, and older adults.

The Aging area of focus 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.

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

Units required for the degree

  • 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 Fullerton campus 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 CSUF MSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation.
  • Accreditation of a master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process.  An accredited program has sufficient resources to meet its mission and goals and the Board of Accreditation has verified that it demonstrates compliance with all sections of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. 
  • Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.


  • 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