May 30, 2024  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work, Community Mental Health Concentration, M.S.W.

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(60 UNITS)

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work is the only program in Orange County offered by a public university. It offers foundation and advanced curricula emphasizing a direct service methodology from a multicultural perspective. This approach provides students with foundational social work practice skills for working with client populations from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds, as well as advanced social work practice skills for leadership roles in public, non-profit and voluntary social service agencies.

Admission Requirements

Students must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information. In addition, requirements for admission to conditionally classified standing in the program include:

  • Commitment to a two- or three-year course of study for completion of the M.S.W. program
  • Have earned a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units or last 90 quarter units as documented by official transcript(s) from all higher education institutions attended
  • A strong liberal arts undergraduate foundation that is similar to the undergraduate graduation requirements from the California State University or University of California systems
  • Evidence of language skills and/or cultural experiences appropriate to the diverse communities to be served
  • One year of paid or volunteer experience in a human service context or related area
  • Submission of a personal statement self-assessment essay. Students must respond to essay questions explaining why they would be good candidates for the program, including a description of their experience and/or commitment to social work, evidence of personal qualifications, motivation and potential that shows promise of becoming a successful social worker
  • Submission of three letters of reference, including professional references and those from academic instructors
  • Completion of an interview
  • Submission of two applications - a CSUmentor (Cal State Apply) application and the Department of Social Work application submitted online to the department
  • For international students from countries where English is not the official language, a score of 575 on the paper exam is required. A student scoring between 555-574 on the paper exam or 83-88 on the Internet-based TOEFL may be admitted conditionally depending upon an evaluation of the entire application file
  • Accessibility Issues - Special accommodations for disabled students will be made on an individual student, as-needed basis in compliance with the CSUF Catalog
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) may be submitted as an optional form of documentation, but is not required


Upon admission to the program, each student is assigned to a faculty adviser. Advisers provide academic assistance, help students develop official study plans and monitor their progress throughout the duration of enrollment. Students must consult their adviser on a regular basis.

Classification and Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to classified standing and candidacy requires the student to maintain continued good academic standing in all coursework and field experiences. In the case of unsatisfactory academic performance, the chair of the Social Work Department, with the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies, shall recommend remediation or dismissal of a student.

Under special circumstances, a graduate student may be approved for a one-semester leave of absence or, with approval of the Social Work Department, for a two-semester leave. For such consideration, the student must be in good academic standing. (See the Graduate Regulations section of this catalog for additional details concerning advancement to classified standing or candidacy.)

Students will be required to meet with their faculty adviser and declare a concentration during their first semester of study.

Community Mental Health Concentration (6 units)

The Community Mental Health (CMH) concentration prepares students for practice in a variety of mental health settings, including psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment, county mental health clinics, correctional institutions, substance abuse treatment and other specialized programs.

The program is also offered through Extension and International Programs  at a higher tuition rate.

Total (60 units)

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