Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area including San Jose, Berkeley, and San Francisco – Campus and Online

Four of California’s state universities located in the San Francisco Bay Area currently offer Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, including three California State University (CSU) system schools and the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley). All four of these schools have campus-based and/or hybrid programs that require students to attend a significant number of campus-based classes, while San Jose State University (SJSU) also offers an online program.

Two schools in the San Francisco Bay Area also offer MSW programs with an advanced standing track for qualified students who hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Students who are interested in earning an MSW degree from a school located in the San Francisco Bay Area can choose from programs that provide training in clinical, macro, and advanced generalist practice social work, including programs with specializations in: Children, Youth, and Families; Community Mental Health; Individuals, Families, and Groups; School Social Work; and Health and Wellbeing Across the Lifespan.

All four of the schools located in the San Francisco Bay Area that offer MSW programs are fully accredited by the CSWE and include:

  • California State University, East Bay (Accredited)
  • San Francisco State University (Accredited)
  • San Jose State University (Accredited)
  • University of California at Berkeley (Accredited)

Programs offered by the schools listed above are grouped into the following categories:

Traditional MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

There are four San Francisco Bay Area schools that offer traditional MSW programs. These are full-length master’s programs that do not require an undergraduate degree in social work, and which are designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any subject (and who also meet other admissions requirements). All four schools have programs that are offered on-campus or in a hybrid format, combining online and campus-based instruction. Currently, only San Jose State University (SJSU) offers a traditional online MSW program.

Traditional MSW programs generally consist of four academic semesters of coursework and can be completed in two years of full-time enrollment. However, many programs have part-time enrollment plans that allow students to spread the program’s required coursework out over six or more semesters, or three or more years. In addition to didactic coursework, traditional MSW programs generally incorporate a minimum of 900 hours of field education that students must complete in person at social work agencies and other appropriate sites approved by the program.

Campus

Traditional Campus-Based MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) offers a traditional, full-length MSW program through its Department of Social Work in a hybrid format that combines face-to-face campus learning with online instruction. The program has two options for specialization: Children, Youth, and Families (clinical practice); and Community Mental Health (macro practice). CSUEB’s traditional MSW program is designed to be completed in four semesters over two years of full-time enrollment, during which students attend classes two days per week and engage in field education for two or three days. The program requires students to complete 1080 hours of field education, as well as a graduate research paper, yearlong research project, or master’s thesis for their final graduation requirement.

San Francisco State University (SF State) offers a two-year, full-time MSW program with a clinical social work focus and a specialization in Individuals, Families, and Groups (IFG). This campus-based program also gives students the option of further specializing in child welfare and/or school social work through California’s Title IV-E Child Welfare Program, which prepares students for child welfare work at the state and county levels, and a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential track. Offered through the university’s School of Social Work, SF State’s MSW program requires students to complete 1200 hours of field education.

San Jose State University (SJSU) offers a traditional, campus-based MSW program through its School of Social Work. The program has an advanced generalist curriculum with a focus on the Transcultural Multi-Systems Generalist Perspective of social work and the practice of social work with Latinx populations and other minority groups, specifically communities, families, and individuals who are disenfranchised, oppressed, and/or marginalized. Students can further specialize in public child welfare services, mental health services, pupil personnel services, and/or gerontology. The program has a two-year, full-time completion plan and a three-year, part-time completion plan, both of which require students to engage in a minimum of 1200 hours of field education.

The University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) offers a campus-based Master of Social Welfare (MSW) program through its School of Social Welfare. The program is essentially the same as a traditional Master of Social Work (MSW) program and it is fully accredited by the CSWE. Students in the program can choose from three optional areas of specialization: Advancing Health and Well-Being Across the Adult Lifespan; Strengthening Children, Youth and Families; and Strengthening Organizations and Communities. The program has a full-time enrollment plan that leads to graduating in two years. In addition, UC Berkeley has a FlexMSW Extended Program that is offered in a three-year, part-time format. The FlexMSW offers the same three specializations as the full-time programs. Students in both programs are required to complete 1120 hours of field education.

Online

Traditional Online MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Jose State University (SJSU) is currently the only school in the San Francisco Bay Area that offers a traditional MSW program online. SJSU calls its program an “Online/Hybrid” program, but the program offers all of its didactic coursework online, typically during evening sessions, and only requires students to attend one in-person campus-based orientation session. The program, which has the same Transcultural Multi-Systems Generalist Perspective curriculum as SJSU’s campus-based MSW program, provides advanced generalist training in clinical and macro practice social work. Students in the program are required to complete 1120 hours of field education placements at a program-approved site or sites.

Note: SJSU’s program is classified as an online program on MasterofSocialWork.com as it only requires one campus visit. However, students must still complete their field education hours in-person at a local health services agency approved by the program.

Advanced Standing MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

Two of the four San Francisco Bay Area schools that have an MSW program currently offer an advanced standing track for qualified students. To be eligible for an MSW program’s advanced standing track, a student must hold a BSW degree from an undergraduate program that is accredited by the CSWE. Graduates from CSWE-accredited BSW programs have typically completed all or most of their foundational training in social work as well as at least 400 hours of field education. As a result, advanced standing programs have fewer course requirements and take less time to complete than traditional full-length programs.

Due to their prior BSW-level training, students of advanced standing MSW programs generally skip the foundational coursework and generalist field training that comprises the first year of a full-length program and begin with the specialization courses and field placements that are part of a traditional MSW program’s second year. They are thus able to complete an advanced standing program in one year of full-time enrollment or two years of part-time enrollment. It is, however, important to note that admission to most advanced standing MSW programs is competitive and acceptance into an advanced standing program is not automatic. Programs commonly require advanced standing students to have earned their BSW within the past five to seven years and have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (e.g., some programs require a GPA greater than 3.5) on a four-point scale.

Campus

Advanced Standing Campus-Based MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Jose State University (SJSU) has a campus-based MSW program with an advanced standing track that accepts applications from students who have earned a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program within the past seven years and who have 400 hours of postbaccalaureate social work-related experience. The program has an advanced generalist focus with a Transcultural Multi-Systems Generalist Perspective specialization and an optional Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential track for students who are interested in pursuing a career in school social work. SJSU’s advanced standing track requires 700 hours of field education and is designed to be completed in one year of full-time enrollment.

The University of California at Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) Master of Social Welfare (MSW) program (which is accredited by the CSWE and equivalent to a Master of Social Work program) has a campus-based FlexMSW Advanced Standing program that accepts applications from BSW graduates who earned their degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the past five years. The Flex MSW Advanced Standing program has a Strengthening Children, Youth, and Families specialization and requires 720 hours of field education. It is a full-time program with a one-year completion plan. UC Berkeley’s FlexMSW curriculum is designed for students who are already working in the field of social work and who intend to maintain full-time employment while earning their degree. Thus, most classes are offered in the evening and students are encouraged to complete field education hours at their place of employment.

Online

Advanced Standing Online MSW Programs in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Jose State University (SJSU) offers its Transcultural Multi-Systems Generalist Perspective MSW program in an online format with an advanced standing track for qualified applicants. To qualify for the program, applicants must hold a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program that was conferred within the past seven years. Applicants must also have 400 hours of postbaccalaureate internship or work experience in a social or human services field in order to qualify for the advanced standing track. The program, which has an advanced generalist curriculum that requires 700 hours of field education, can be completed in one year of full-time enrollment.

All Master of Social Work Programs in the San Francisco Bay 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, East Bay

(Hayward)
Department: Department of Social Work
CSWE Accreditation Status: Fully Accredited
Programs:

San Francisco State University

(San Francisco)