Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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

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Social Work, M.S.W. Program

Program Description

The Department of Social Work offers graduate study leading to the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.). This program trains social workers for leadership and direct practice positions in social work and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program has a multicultural focus, preparing graduates to work in both non-profit and public agencies and to be proficient in serving diverse populations in urban communities.

The mission of the California State University, East Bay Master of Social Work program is to graduate culturally responsive urban social workers in the areas of Children, Youth, and Families and Community Mental Health. Social work graduates are prepared to address individual, family, group, and community needs caused by inequalities of class and identity including race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, immigration status, religion, caste, and other forms of social injustice. Advocacy and social change around these injustices form the core of the MSW program.

Our vision is to create a cadre of diverse leaders to be catalysts for social change and transform oppressive systems in partnership with the communities we serve.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the M.S.W. program are prepared to work with individuals, families, groups, and organizations in both public and non-profit practice. The State of California is experiencing a shortage of individuals prepared for leadership roles in social work practice. The State also has a critical shortage of social workers trained at the master’s level, and the demand is expected to increase. Social Workers are needed to work with a variety of populations, including individuals with serious health and behavioral health issues, children and families involved in the child welfare system, older adults, individuals with disabilities, children and youth in schools, and people living in poverty.

Admission Requirements

The M.S.W. degree program is open to students planning a career in social work who have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and who have earned an overall grade point average of 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale). Students with a GPA below 2.8 may be admitted based on an evaluation of their student profile, including work experience, resume, letters of recommendation, and personal statement (see below).

In addition to the online university application at CALSTATE Apply, all applicants should submit:

  1. A completed departmental application form;
  2. A personal statement (3 pages) with their application stating their reasons for pursuing the M.S.W. degree, describing their relevant work experience, and explaining their past academic performance;
  3. Three letters of recommendation (letters from prior instructors and/or supervisors preferred); and
  4. A resume. Successful experience in social work or social work-related positions will be considered in evaluating applications.
  5. Admission to the university and admission to the M.S.W. degree program are separate steps. It is suggested that application for admission to the university be filed together with the form for entry into the degree program.

Student Standing and Progress Toward the Degree

There are three categories of student status that reflect student progress toward the degree:

  1. Students are in “Conditionally Classified Graduate” status when they have been admitted to the M.S.W. degree program, but have not yet completed the prerequisites for the “Classified Graduate” status in the M.S.W. degree program.
  2. Students achieve “Classified Graduate” status when they have satisfactorily completed all the prerequisites for the M.S.W. degree program. 
  3. Students are “Advanced to Candidacy” when they have completed the core courses with a “C” or better in all courses.

Please note that a minimum of 42 units must be completed in residence after admission to the program.

Note: If the student fails to maintain progress by falling below a 3.0 GPA in the graduate courses for two or more consecutive semesters, it will lead to academic disqualification from the university.

Cause for Dismissal from Program

Students may be dismissed from the program at any time “for cause.” “For cause” includes, but is not limited to, poor academic or fieldwork performance, as well as behavior that is destructive to students or faculty, and/or interferes with the educational environment, and/or represents a threat to potential clients. “For cause” also includes student behaviors that are inconsistent with the legal, ethical, and/or personal responsibilities of professional social workers.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Values and Ethics: Demonstrate ethical decision making and behavior guided by the NASW Code of Ethics and other relevant codes.
  2. Professional Use of Self: Apply use of self as an autonomous professional tool of engagement and collaboration, demonstrated by self-awareness, bias-reduction, sound judgment, the ability to integrate supervisory feedback, and a commitment to ongoing learning.
  3. Critical Thinking: Critically analyze and synthesize information related to evidence-informed social work intervention, prevention, assessment, planning, policies, evaluation and research.
  4. Applying Theory: Apply theoretical material to urban social work practice, grounded in a strength-based, empowering, and ecological systems perspective.
  5. Advocacy: Advocate for sustainable well-being, build capacity and advance social justice for clients and communities, and create innovative solutions in complex social contexts.
  6. Diversity: Engage with diverse populations from positions of cultural humility and respect for identity, embracing a commitment to culturally competent and responsive services.
  7. Communication: Demonstrate effective written and oral communication across diverse client and social service systems.

Community Mental Health Concentration

Other Graduate & Post-Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the University requirements for graduation as described throughout this catalog. These include the 70% unit residence requirement; the five-year rule on currency of subject matter; the minimum number of units in 600-level courses; the “C” minimum grade for each graduate course; and the 3.00 cumulative grade point average.

Department Courses Listed by Course Type

Social Work Courses

Department of Social Work

Go to information for this department.


Social Work: Graduate


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