Social Work, M.S.W.


Department of Social Work Education

Master of Social Work Degree Requirements

Beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, in the 60-unit program all students are required to take the following courses: SWRK 200, 210, 211, 212, 213, 220, 221, 222, 223, 248, 262, 263, 280I, 281I, 282I, 283I, and 292, in addition to completing a project (298) or a thesis (299), and take one of the three following combinations of classes (SWRK 264 and 265; 274 and 275; 278 and 288) for a total of 54 units. The remaining 6 units may be selected from social work electives. Electives from other departments must be approved by the graduate coordinator.

Admissions Procedures

To apply for graduate study in the Department of Social Work Education, you need to apply to the university and to the department by completing the steps described below. Our deadline for application may differ from the University deadline; visit our MSW website or contact the department office at 559.278.3992 for the current application deadline.

Step 1: Apply to the University
(a) Submit your application online via Cal State Apply at   
(b) Follow all steps on Cal State Apply.         

Step 2: Application to the Department
The MSW application is included in the Cal State Apply application. Again, follow the directions on the Cal State Apply website and it is strongly encouraged to begin the application early. The completed online application is due January 31, 2020 and includes the following:

(a) Department application (included in the Cal State Apply application).
(b) Two recommendation references. References are submitted via the Cal State Apply application.
(c) Personal Statement submitted as part of the Cal State Apply application.

(For more details, visit the department website at and Cal State Apply .

If you have any questions regarding submitting your application, please contact the Graduate Admissions office at Fresno State:    

Graduate-Level Writing Requirement

The graduate writing requirement for the Master of Social Work is satisfied by passing a writing exam administered during the first semester of graduate coursework. The student must pass the writing exam as a prerequisite to advancement to candidacy. For more information about the writing requirement and the appeal process, refer to the Graduate Handbook. The Graduate Handbook is available at the Department of Social Work Education website. (

Master of Social Work

This program is designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice as social work practitioners who are capable of intervening at the individual, family, group, organization, and community levels. Students achieve competence in problem identification, assessment, development of intervention plans, and evaluation of practice. Students build cross-cultural awareness and learn to use empowerment and social justice perspectives when making interventions with client systems of various sizes.

Students complete a total of 60 units of graduate work that includes two years of supervised internship with participating agencies in the community, and completion of a master's project or thesis. The project or thesis can focus on examination of social problems or the development of intervention strategies for the purpose of building upon the profession's knowledge base.

The program prepares students for practice and advancement in the social work profession. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to provide direct services, consultation, training, program development, practice evaluation, and social service research on behalf of clients and community and contribute to the advancement of the profession.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students accepted to the program must maintain an average GPA of 3.0 in all coursework, must file for Advancement to Candidacy after completion of 9 units, and pass the Graduate Writing Requirement. Graduation requires maintaining a 3.0 GPA and submission of the Advancement to Candidacy document. A minimum of a C grade is expected in all courses.

Credential Programs

As part of the MSW, the Department of Social Work Education offers a program that satisfies the requirements for the California Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential with Specializations in School Social Work and Child Welfare and Attendance. This credential authorizes the holder to provide school social work and child welfare and attendance services as an employee of a K-12 public school in the state of California. The PPS program in Social Work at Fresno State is not available as an "add on" program to another degree and is also not available as a post-graduate option for those with an MSW or another master's degree. Students interested in the PPS program will first need to apply and be admitted to the MSW program at Fresno State. Coursework and internship specific to the PPS credential are completed in the second year of the full-time MSW program. The Department of Social Work Education, in conjunction with the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, recommends candidates for a PPS credential who have met all of the requirements of the M.S.W. and PPS credential programs. Advising and admissions information are available through the P.P.S. coordinator in the Department of Social Work Education.



The faculty members of the department represent a wide spectrum of theoretical orientations and approaches to professional social work practice. All have substantive practice experience and many engage in active research programs and social policy interests. In addition to the on-campus facilities of the university, the department uses the San Joaquin Valley’s unique urban-rural configuration of people, social-political institutions, and the accompanying host of social service needs as the setting for field internships.

Numerous public and private social service agencies in our region make their facilities and professional social work staff available for the internship requirements of the programs. Internship experiences are available in the schools, healthcare settings, behavioral health, probation, and social services departments in the counties of Fresno, Kings, Madera, Tulare, and San Luis Obispo. A representative sample of settings include Community Regional Medical Centers of Central California, Valley Children’s Hospital, Fresno Unified School District, Focus Forward, and Kings County Human Services Agency. 

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.
For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.