A life-altering master's degree for the greater good
Challenging, yet rewarding. The sentiment that often describes the everyday duties of a social worker also describes what it takes to begin or advance a career in social work. CSU Bakersfield Antelope Valley (AV) Master of Social Work (MSW) graduates are prepared to work with individuals, families, and groups - large and small - across a wide swath of professional fields, including mental health, physical health, child and family services, gerontology, corrections, youth services, and more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for social workers will grow by 16 percent - or nearly 110,000 workers - through the year 2026.
The CSUB-AV MSW program uses the advanced-generalist curriculum model, which prepares graduates to perform a variety of roles across micro, mid-level, and macro levels of practice.
The CSUB-AV MSW is a hybrid program, utilizing a mix of online and in-person courses at the AV campus in Lancaster, CA. The MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
At A Glance
Average Completion Time3 years (cohort)
Cost$620 per credit
LocationAntelope Valley Campus
ModalityHybrid: In-person and online
Admission CycleBi-annually: fall semester only
Next Application DeadlineFall 2024: March 1, 2024
- Bachelor's degree with liberal arts foundation
- Undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
In order to successfully complete the CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program and graduate, students must:
- Complete 60 hours of course work according to an approved degree plan.
- Complete 960 hours of field experience (480 hours for advanced-standing students) and associated seminars.
- Complete a culminating experience.
- Maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better, and a grade of "C" or better in all courses taken to satisfy the requirements for the degree as specified in each student's Plan of Study.
- Complete all coursework leading to the MSW degree within 7 years from first enrollment.
- Successfully complete of the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR)
CSUB-AV MSW Coursework:
Foundation Courses (all required)
SW 6000: Professional Social Work Identity (3)
SW 6100: Foundation Policy in Social Work (3)
SW 6200: Foundation Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3)
SW 6300: Foundation Social Work Research (3)
SW 6400: Generalist Social Work Practice (3)
SW 6410: Diagnostic Process in Social Work (3)
SW 6420: Foundation Micro Social Work Practice (3)
SW 6430: Foundation Mezzo Social Work Practice (3)
SW 6440: Foundation Macro Social Work Practice (3)
Advanced Courses (all required)
SW 6160: Advanced Policy in Social Work (3)
SW 6260: Advanced Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3)
SW 6360: Advanced Research in Social Work (3)
SW 6460: Advanced Social Work Practice I (3)
SW 6470: Advanced Social Work Project (3)
Field Experience (960 hours)
SW 6500: Foundation Social Work Field Practicum (3)
SW 6560: Advanced Field Practicum I (3)
SW 6570: Advanced Field Practicum II (3)
Electives (2 courses / 6 units)
Culminating Experience (required)
SW 6590 Culminating Experience
Below is a sampling of the courses available for the CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program, with the number of associated credit hours beside the course name.
Please note: Course availability and descriptions are subject to change. Please refer to the CSU Bakersfield Course Catalog for the most up-to-date information.
SW 6000 Professional Social Work Identity (3)
This course focuses on social work values and ethics as well as California and federal laws related to the practice of social work. It also prepares students to begin work in the field by exploring issues related to professional standards of conduct, personal and professional values, and communication skills.
SW 6100 Foundation Policy in Social Work (3)
This course provides students with an overview of the history, philosophy, and the evolving development of social welfare policy in the US. This knowledge is used as a foundation for developing skills in policy practice and analysis that are grounded in social justice and human rights perspectives.
SW 6160 Advanced Policy in Social Work (3)
This course is the second of a two course sequence in social policy. The course continues the focus on policy analysis developed in the previous course and emphasizes skills necessary to influence organizational policy and social policy to deliver effective social work services and to advance social and economic well-being. Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy.
SW 6200 Foundation Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3)
This foundation course introduces students to the evaluation and application of theories, models, and frameworks that guide social work practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. The course explores the social construction of both explanatory and interventions theories and the role of theory in case formulation. It is the first course in a two-course sequence.
SW 6260 Advanced Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3)
This course focuses on the integration of multitheoretical perspectives as they apply to social work practice. There is an emphasis on in depth critical analysis of theory, developing a conceptual framework for practice, and applying theory to practice settings across all levels. Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy.
SW 6300 Foundation Research in Social Work (3)
This course introduces social work research methods, including quantitative and qualitative designs, as they relate to s ocial work practice evaluation. Students develop skills to use research evidence to inform and to evaluate practice.Students learn to analyze and interpret descriptive statistics, as well as how to design and implement ethical research.
SW 6360 Advanced Research in Social Work (3)
This advanced course focuses on developing skills in evaluating social service programs within the community. It emphasizes the skills necessary to design and implement program evaluation including quantitative and qualitative data analyses and the role of context and ethics. Prerequisite: Completion of SW 6300.
SW 6400 Generalist Social Work Practice (3)
This course is an introduction to social work practice and explores the common elements of the micro, mezzo, and macro spectrum of social work pr actice. Students will investigatethe process of planned change and the common elements of effective social work practice. Specific skills learned include how to establish rapport, gather and analyze information, formulate an assessment, and create a plan of interventionwith the client. The student will explore foundation level social work practice skills and their use across the spectrum of social work practice.
SW 6410 Diagnostic Process in Social Work (3)
The primary focus of this course is on the development of diagnostic skills using a competency-based assessment model. The DSM 5 and ICD 10 are used as an organizing framework to provide a context and a backdrop to explore mental disorders. Strengths and limitations of this framework are examined. The importance of context including the impact of culture, poverty, race/ethnicity, and other factors is emphasized. Ethical issues related to assessment and diagnoses are integrated throughout the course.
SW 6420 Foundation Micro Social Work Practice (3)
This is the foundation course in generalist micro social work practice. The course will examine the assumptions, concepts,
principles, and values of micro generalist social work practice in terms of professional relationships, social work roles, treatment processes, and service delivery models withindividuals. The course will also explore special issues relating to diverse populations. Values and ethics will underlie the materials and analysis of social work problems and decision- making.
SW 6430 Foundation Mezzo Social Work Practice (3)
This foundation mezzo practice course introduces students to the legal, ethical, and practical challenges of social work practice with client systems consisting of two or more individuals. The course focuses primarily on the processes and practices common to social work with all groups and to different kinds of groups.
SW 6440 Foundation Macro Social Work Practice (3)
This is a macro foundation course in generalist social work practice and focuses on communities and organizations as social systems. It examines generalist community andadministrative practice roles, and the perspectives of strengths, empowerment, and evidence-based practice, along with the values of social and economic justice, diversity, and empowerment. Students will analyze the community as a social system and explore evidence-based strategies for bringing about change at the macro level. Specific attention is given to assessing community assets and needs.
SW 6460 Advanced Social Work Practice I (3)
This is the first practice course within the advanced generalist practice concentration, and it builds on the knowledge and skills gained in foundation courses. The focus of this course is on the integration of theories, concepts, and principles in direct service at the micro level. Students are expected to demonstrate increased competency in assessing and strategically intervening with clients. Students will also demonstrate a deeper understanding of the various social work roles, functions, and processes across levels and types of social work practice.
SW 6470 Advanced Social Work Practice II (3)
This is the second course in the advanced generalist practice sequence. It focuses on the knowledge and skill base necessary for effective social work practice with families. The course equips students with advanced skills in engagement, assessment, and intervention with families. There is an emphasis on integrating various theoretical perspectives and evidence-based practice approaches. Throughout the course, students actively engage in skill-building exercises to strengthen practice competencies in work with diverse family systems. Prerequisite: SW 6430.
SW 6500 Foundation Social Work Field Practicum (3)
This is the Foundation Practicum course and includes 20 hours a week with a semester total of 320 hours of supervised practice experience in a community social agency (an internship) and a 2-hour integrative seminar. It also includes a face-to-face liaison visit with the student, the seminar instructor, and the field instructor each term. The course focuses on the application of foundation knowledge, skills, values, and ethics to practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities across the life span. Students develop skills in self-evaluation and effective use of self across multiple roles and in accord with professional values and ethics and with applicable laws and regulations; culturally responsive interviewing, assessment, intervention, and evaluation; written and oral professional communication; effective use of supervision; and critical assessment of agency policy and practice.
SW 6560 Advanced Social Work Field Practicum I (3)
This is the first advanced supervised practicum course, which includes a 2-hour field seminar and 20 hours of supervised field experience for 16 weeks each term (for a total of 320 hours per semester). It also includes a face-to-face liaison visit with the student, the seminar instructor, and the field instructor each term. The seminar and field experience are designed to engage students in supervised application of the knowledge and skills acquired in other courses. The goal is to produce a professionally reflective, self-evaluating, knowledgeable, and developing social worker who can flexibly apply a variety of knowledge and skills with diverse populations that interrelate with multiple systems across the life span in accord with professional values and ethics and applicable laws and regulations. The supervised field experience may extend beyond the limits of a typical semester. Prerequisites: Successful completion of SW 6500 Foundation Field Practicum, successful advancement to candidacy and either concurrent enrollment or completion of SW 6460, Advanced Practice I
SW 6570 Advanced Social Work Field Practicum II (3)
This is the second advanced supervised practicum course, which includes a 2-hour field seminar and 20 hours of supervised field experience for 16 weeks each term (for a total of 320 hours per semester). It also includes a face-to-face liaison visit with the student, the seminar instructor, and the field instructor each term. The seminar and field experience are designed to engage students in supervised application of the knowledge and skills acquired in other courses. The goal is to produce a professionally reflective, self-evaluating, knowledgeable, and developing social worker who can flexibly apply a variety of knowledge and skills with diverse populations that interrelate with multiple systems across the life span in accord with professional values and ethics and applicable laws and regulations. The supervised field experience may extend beyond the limits of a typical semester. Prerequisites: Successful completion of SW 6500 Foundation Field Practicum, SW 6560, Advanced Social Work Field Practicum I, successful advancement to candidacy and either concurrent enrollment or completion of SW 6470, Advanced Practice II.
SW 6590 Culmination Social Work Project (3)
This course provides students the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to integrate different elements of the social work curriculum and synthesize learning into a project of value to the community. The student will provide documentation of the project, but the documentation is not necessarily the primary product by which the project will be evaluated. Prerequisite: Completion of SW 6360 and 6460.
SW 6610 Social Work Practice in Child Welfare I (3)
This is the first course in a two-course elective series in child welfare. It provides students with an overview of the legal and ethical issues in public child welfare and characteristics and service needs of children and families in the child welfare system. It also focuses on incorporating advanced generalist practice knowledge, skills, and values in the assessment of child abuse and neglect and the initial phase of working with individual and families affected by child maltreatment.
SW 6620 Social Work Practice in Child Welfare II (3)
This is the second course in a two-course elective series in child welfare. It builds on information in the first course regarding the assessment of child abuse and neglect, legal and ethical issues in child welfare, and the initial phase of working with individual and families affected by child maltreatment and continues into service planning, intervening, monitoring and revising service plans, and transition of services. The course emphasizes incorporation of advanced generalist practice knowledge, skills, and values in the practice of child welfare. Prerequisite: Completion of SW 6610.
SW 6630 Social Work Substance Abuse (3)
This course examines the incidence and etiology of substance abuse and co-occurring disorders (COD) and their impact on individuals, families, and society. A brief history of psychoactive substance use will be presented as well as the impact of current policy on service delivery. Additionally, the course will present an advanced overview of the pharmacological properties, physiological, psychosocial, and cultural aspects of psychoactive substances. Issues regarding identification and assessment will be offered using the DSM- IV-TR criteria for diagnosis with an emphasis on a Biopsychosocial-spiritual model and strengths perspective.
SW 6640 Social Work Practice with Older Adult (3)
This course provides an overview of social work practice with older adults and their families. It builds upon and expands foundation coursework theories about human development, personality, and the social environment as it relates to an ethnically diverse, aging society. Social work practice with older adults at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels will be a focus. Special topics to be covered will include the interaction between and among: poverty, gender issues, ethnicity, caregiving, elder abuse, long term care, religion and spirituality, legal issues, mental health, health care, and advocacy. Prerequisite: SW 6200 or instructor permission.
SW 6650 Social Work Practice in Health Care (3)
This course prepares students for advanced practice within
an evolving health care system. There is a focus on knowledge, practice theory, and skills related to physical and behavioral health, health care delivery systems, and the roles and responsibilities of social workers in those settings. Values and ethics and cultural and linguistic competency are also infused throughout the course. Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy
The CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program is delivered in hybrid format - that is, through a combination of online and in-person classes. In-person class meetings take place on Saturdays only at the CSUB Antelope Valley campus in Lancaster, California.
The program is administered through CSU Bakersfield, taught by CSUB faculty and instructors, and, upon completing the program, students receive their degree from CSUB.
The CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program consists of 60 credit units of instruction.
Typical costs are as follows:
Instruction: $37,200 (60 units at $620 per unit)
Miscellaneous supplies: $500
Application for graduation: $70
Approximate total cost of program: $40,770*
*Cost does approximate and does not include required insurance that must be carried when completing field work. The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, the CSU must reserve the right, even after fees are initially charged or initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees. All listed fees, other than mandatory systemwide fees, are subject to change without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, or the Presidents, as appropriate. Changes in mandatory systemwide fees will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act (Sections 66028 -66028.6 of the Education Code).
The CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program is eligible for financial aid. The CSUB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships administers a number of financial aid programs that may include grants, loans, and scholarships. The information on this page is for general use and not intended as financial aid advising. Students planning to apply for financial aid should visit the CSUB’s Financial Aid & Scholarships website - www.csub.edu/finaid.
CSU Bakersfield’s federal school code is 007993.
General financial aid tips and information:
Priority date for filing for financial aid is March 2nd. Financial aid applications are typically available October 1st.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Late applications are accepted after the priority date, but awards to late applicants depend upon the availability of remaining funds. Processing of the FAFSA by electronic submission is 7-14 days faster than submitting a paper application.
The schools listed on your FAFSA will receive electronic copies of your student aid report (SAR) and is used for financial aid eligibility calculations. Once your award is determined, you will receive a financial aid award letter via e-mail. Review it carefully, and follow the instructions included with the award letter.
Your fees will be deducted from your financial aid disbursement once your award is verified by CSU Bakersfield Extended Education. Should your financial aid not disburse, you will be financially responsible for all fees.
Keep in touch with the financial aid office.
Maintain your own file of all financial records, and copies of all documents that you send to complete your financial aid file.
Students must be admitted to the university to be eligible for financial aid.
How to Apply & Upcoming Deadlines
The CSUB-AV Master of Social Work admissions committee takes a holistic approach to admission decisions. Acceptance into the CSUB-AV MSW program is based on the candidate’s potential for academic and professional success, as determined by the committee.
Application to the CSUB-AV Master of Social Work program requires the following:
Complete application (paper based - available here)
One official hard-copy (unopened) or digital transcript from all colleges attended. Digital transcripts must be sent directly from the college attended to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any transcript from a college / university outside of the United States will require a course-by-course analysis from a transcript evaluation services such as World Education Services (WES). See WES website for more details. Note: If you received your bachelor's degree from CSU Bakersfield, skip this step. You'll be contacted if any further transcripts are required.
Three professional references (see application for more details)
Current professional resume
Statement of purpose
Signed MSW Technology Contract (included with application)
$70 application / evaluation fee
All materials should be submitted to:
CSU Bakersfield Extended Education
9001 Stockdale Highway – 30 BDC
Bakersfield, CA 93311-1022
Fall 2024 Admission:
March 1, 2024
Note: This is a three-year cohort-based program. Applications are only accepted for the fall semester of even academic years (2022, 2024, 2026, etc.).
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