MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area including Irvine and Northridge – Campus, Online, and Hybrid

There are nine regionally accredited, non-profit universities in the greater Los Angeles area that offer Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. All nine schools have traditional, campus-based MSW programs, while three schools also offer programs online. For students who graduated from a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program accredited by the Counsel on Social Work Education (CSWE), five schools also offer advanced standing MSW programs that can be completed on-campus (five schools) or online (two schools).

Students who are interested in earning an MSW degree from a university located in the Los Angeles area can choose from a number of specializations, including advanced generalist, community mental health, social and economic justice, military social work, school social work, and direct clinical practice with individuals, children, families, and/or adults. All of the universities listed on this page offer MSW programs that are either fully accredited by the CSWE or have been granted candidacy by the CSWE, as noted in the list below:

  • Azusa Pacific University (Accredited)
  • Brandman University (Granted Candidacy)
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills (Accredited)
  • California State University, Fullerton (Accredited)
  • California State University, Long Beach (Accredited)
  • California State University, Los Angeles (Accredited)
  • California State University, Northridge (Accredited)
  • University of California at Los Angeles (Accredited)
  • University of Southern California (Accredited)

Details on traditional and advanced standing MSW programs offered by the above schools are provided in the sections below.

Traditional MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Nine schools in the Los Angeles area offer traditional or full-length MSW programs. These programs are designed for qualified applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university but who do not have a BSW degree from a program accredited by the CSWE. Traditional MSW programs generally take a minimum of two years of full-time enrollment to complete or three years for students who enroll part-time. Of the nine Los Angeles area schools that offer traditional MSW programs, all nine have on-campus programs, while three have online programs in addition to their campus-based programs.

Campus

Traditional Campus-Based MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Azusa Pacific University offers several options for students who are interested in enrolling in a traditional, campus-based MSW program. Students attending the university’s Azusa campus can choose either a Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families specialization or a Community Leadership and Program Administration specialization, both of which are offered in a two-year, full-time format, and a four-year, part-time format. Azusa Pacific University also offers its Clinical Practice specialization program in a part-time format at its Inland Empire Regional Campus in San Bernardino. Full-time students complete 16 hours per week of field education during each of the program’s four semesters for a total of 960 hours, while students enrolled part time engage in 16 hours of field education per week during their second and fourth years in order to reach 960 hours.

Brandman University offers a hybrid MSW program that combines on-campus and online instruction and which has an advanced generalist curriculum. Brandman gives students the option of taking all of their courses online or mixing online courses with courses that meet in person at one of its over 25 campus locations. The program requires students to engage in a minimum of 1000 field education hours at an approved social work agency and can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment. Students who prefer to enroll on a part-time basis can take three or more years to finish their degree. Brandman University’s MSW program is in the candidacy phase of CSWE accreditation.

California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) has a traditional MSW program with a Community Practice focus that it offers in a two-year, full-time format and a three-year, part-time format at its campus in Carson. Students enrolled in the full-time program can choose from three specialization tracks: Children, Youth, and Families (CYF); Community Mental Health (CMH); and Community Capacity Building (CCB). The part-time program only offers the CMH specialization. Students in both the full-time and part-time programs complete 1028 hours of field education prior to graduating by engaging in fieldwork for 16-20 per week concurrently with coursework while classes are in session. Field education takes place during the first and second years of the program for full-time students and the second and third years for part-time students.

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) offers two traditional or full-length MSW programs: a two-year, full-time program that holds classes at CSUF’s main campus in Fullerton; and a three-year, Flex MSW part-time program at the school’s Irvine Center campus. Both programs have a direct practice (i.e., clinical social work) focus. The full-time Fullerton program offers three concentration options: Child Welfare; Community Mental Health; and Aging. The Flex MSW program does not offer the Aging concentration. Students in these programs are required to engage in a minimum of 16 hours of field education per week for two years for a total of at least 1050 hours. Students in the Fullerton program begin their field education placements in the first year, while students in the Irvine Center Flex program complete field education in the second and third year of the program.

California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) offers a campus-based MSW program through its School of Social Work. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum with specializations in: Child and Family Wellbeing; Adulthood and Aging; and Integrated Health. Students have the option of enrolling full time in the program and graduating in two years or taking three years of part-time enrollment to complete the program. For field education, the School of Social Work at CSULB requires students to complete two 500-hour field placements. In addition, CSULB offers a distance education version of its traditional MSW program at sites in Sonoma County and Ventura County. The distance education program is delivered using teleconferencing, some online instruction, and in-person classes that are held on Saturdays at Santa Rosa Community College and Ventura County Community College.

California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) offers a campus-based MSW program with an urban generalist or advanced generalist curriculum that provides training and instruction in clinical and macro practice social work. The program has two enrollment options for traditional MSW students: two years as a full-time student taking courses that meet two times per week during the day; or three years as a part-time student attending courses that are held in the evenings and on Saturdays. In addition to campus-based courses, students in the program are required to complete a minimum of 1000 hours of field education over two nine-month field placements.

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers a traditional, campus-based MSW program with an advanced generalist curriculum that focuses on working with urban families. The program has a full-time track that takes two years to complete and which requires students to attend campus classes twice per week when school is in session and to complete 450 hours of field education in the first year of the program and 600 hours in the program’s second year (for a total of 1050 hours). Alternately, students may opt for a three-year, part-time track which holds classes in evenings two days per week and on some Saturdays. The part-time track requires two 500-hour field education placements.

The University of California at Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs offers a campus-based Master of Social Welfare program that is accredited by the CSWE and has an advanced generalist curriculum. The Luskin program, which is equivalent to an MSW program, has three concentration options: Health and Mental Health Across the Life Span; Social and Economic Justice; and Child and Family Well-Being. The program has a full-time enrollment plan that takes two years to complete and which includes 1100 hours of field education. Students can also complete the Child and Family Well-Being concentration in a part-time format that takes three years to complete.

The University of Southern California (USC) offers two campus-based MSW programs through the Susan Dworak-Peck School of Social Work: a traditional, on-campus program that has a two- and a three-year completion plan for students who are able to take classes during the day; and a Working Professionals MSW program that takes seven semesters of continuous enrollment (2.5 years) to complete and which has evening classes. The traditional, on-campus program allows students to choose from three broad focus areas: Adult Mental Health and Wellness; Children, Youth and Families; and Social Change and Innovation. In addition, the program has tracks in Military Social Work and School Social Work. Only the Adult Mental Health and Wellness and the Children, Youth and Families concentrations are offered as part of the Working Professionals MSW program. Students in both programs are required to complete two field education internships for a total of at least 1000 hours of supervised work experience.

Online

Traditional Online MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Brandman University offers a traditional online MSW program with an advanced generalist curriculum. The program does not require any campus visits, but it does require students to complete a minimum of 1000 in-person field education hours at a social work agency approved by the program. Students who enroll in the program on a full-time basis can graduate in roughly two years. Students who prefer to enroll part-time can take three or more years to graduate from the program. Brandman’s MSW program is in the candidacy phase of CSWE accreditation.

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) offers an online MSW program for traditional students who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-social work field through its Tseng College for Graduate, International, and Midcareer Education. The program, which is offered in collaboration with the Department of Social Work in CSUN’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, is similar in focus and structure to CSUN’s campus-based MSW program. It has an advanced generalist curriculum with a focus on working with urban families, and it gives students the option of completing their degree in two years of full-time enrollment or three years of part-time enrollment. Students in the program are required to complete two field education practicums for a minimum of 1000 hours of field education at sites approved by the program.

The University of Southern California’s (USC) Susan Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a fully online MSW program that does not require any campus visits. The program has a two-year, full-time completion option and a three-year, part-time option. Students in the program choose from three areas of study: Adult Mental Health and Wellness; Children, Youth and Families; and Social Change and Innovation. The program also has tracks in military social work and school social work. While all of the program’s didactic coursework is offered via online instruction, students are required to complete a minimum of 1000 hours of in-person field education at program approved sites. As part of the 1000 hours of field education, students in the program complete a portion of those hours (210 hours) through a virtual field practicum, in which they engage in simulations with trained actors under the supervision of faculty and instructors.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Five of the schools in the Los Angeles area that have traditional MSW programs also offer advanced standing programs for students who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a program that is accredited by the CSWE. Four of the five schools have campus-based programs, while two universities offer online advanced standing MSW programs. Advanced standing MSW programs credit students with the foundational coursework in social work and field education they completed as part of their BSW degree program, and thus omit all or most of what is typically the first year of a traditional, full-time MSW program. As a result, students who are eligible for an advanced standing MSW program can typically earn their master’s degree in one year of full-time enrollment or two years of part-time enrollment.

Campus

Advanced Standing Campus-Based MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Azusa Pacific University offers its campus-based MSW program in an advanced standing format that gives eligible students the option of earning their degree in ten months of full-time enrollment or in two years of part-time enrollment. The advanced standing curriculum consists of two bridge courses that students complete in lieu of foundational MSW coursework, followed by specialization courses in either Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families or Community Leadership and Program Administration. In addition, students must complete a minimum of 600 hours of site-based field education within their area of specialization.

Brandman University offers an advanced standing MSW program in a fully online format and in a hybrid format that allows students to take some of their courses at one of Brandman’s campus sites while completing the rest of the program’s required coursework online. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum that provides training in both clinical and macro practice social work and gives students the option of taking electives in areas like military social work, crisis intervention, substance abuse, and child welfare. Advanced standing students are required to complete 600 hours of field education in addition to didactic coursework and can complete their degree in one year of full-time enrollment. As noted above, Brandman University’s MSW program has been granted candidacy by the CSWE as it goes through the accreditation process.

California State University, Long Beach’s (CSULB) School of Social Work offers a campus-based MSW program with an advanced standing track. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum with three specializations: Child and Family Wellbeing; Adulthood and Aging; and Integrated Health. The advanced standing track allows qualified students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program to earn their MSW degree in 12 months, during which students complete coursework and 660 hours of field education.

California State University, Los Angeles’ (Cal State LA) School of Social Work has a campus-based MSW Advanced Standing Program (ASP) that allows qualified students who hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program to graduate in 11 months of full-time enrollment. Students in the program attend classes at the school’s Downtown Los Angeles Campus on Mondays and Tuesdays while spending the rest of the week engaged in field education in order to complete a minimum of 600 hours of field work. The ASP program has an advanced generalist curriculum with a focus on clinical and macro practice social work in urban areas.

The University of Southern California (USC) offers a campus-based advanced standing MSW program that allows qualified students to bypass the foundational year of MSW coursework and earn their degree in just 12 months, or three semesters of full-time enrollment. The advanced standing program gives students a choice between two focus areas: Adult Mental Health and Wellness; and Children, Youth and Families. In addition to attending campus-based classes, students in the program must complete 550 hours of site-based field education. The USC program is offered through the Susan Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Online

Advanced Standing Online MSW Programs in the Los Angeles Area

Brandman University, which is in the candidacy phase of CSWE accreditation, has an advanced standing MSW program that is offered in a fully online format. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum and can be completed in one year of full-time enrollment by BSW program graduates who qualify for the advanced standing track. Advanced standing students take advanced generalist core requirement courses as well as four elective courses, and complete 600 hours of field education in order to earn their degree. Brandman’s MSW program electives include courses in military social work, crisis intervention, substance abuse, and child welfare.

The University of Southern California (USC) has an online advanced standing MSW program that is offered through USC’s Susan Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The online program allows eligible candidates who hold a BSW degree from an undergraduate program that is accredited by the CSWE to earn their MSW degree in three semesters (one year) of full-time enrollment or five semesters (1.5 years) of part-time enrollment. Students in the program can choose from three designated concentrations: Adult Mental Health and Wellness; Children, Youth and Families; and Social Change and Innovation. The program also has optional specialization tracks in military social work and school social work. Advanced standing students are required to complete 790 hours of field education at a site approved by the program.

All Master of Social Work Programs in the Los Angeles Area

The following icons are used to help students easily identify program types and delivery methods. Traditional programs are indicated with a T, while Advanced Standing programs have an . Campus programs are defined as programs that predominantly use face-to-face instruction, while Hybrid programs combine campus and online instruction. Hybrid-Online programs are mainly online programs but require 3 to ~6 campus visits per year. Online programs are defined as programs that are either fully online or only require 1-2 campus visits per year.
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California State University, Dominguez Hills

(Carson)

California State University, Los Angeles

(Los Angeles)
Department: School of Social Work
CSWE Accreditation Status: Fully Accredited
Programs:

California State University, Northridge

(Northridge)

University of California at Los Angeles

(Los Angeles)
Department: Department of Social Welfare
CSWE Accreditation Status: Fully Accredited
Programs: