Master of Social Work

This is an archived copy of the 2016-2017 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu. Any changes will appear on our errata page.

MSW Professors and Program Advisors: Hermoso, Lee, Lenz-Rashid, Levy, Redman, Shapiro, and Takahashi

Admission to Program

Applicants must first meet the general university requirements pertaining to the admission of graduate students. In addition, applicants must demonstrate academic and professional commitments to Social Work and the values and philosophical foundations of the School’s mission. To be considered for admission into the MSW Program, all must apply for and be admitted into both Graduate Studies and the School of Social Work. Admission to the MSW Program is highly competitive. Application forms and materials can be accessed online via the School of Social Work website: http://socwork.sfsu.edu/admissions/msw. Applications for the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program are also available on the website and must be submitted in person or mailed to the Title IV-E Coordinator.

School admission decisions are based on several areas, including potential for professional practice as demonstrated by previous employment/volunteer experiences; value congruence to the School’s mission; and knowledge, experience, and relationship of the applicant to oppressed, under-served and under-represented individuals, families, groups, and communities; and academic performance. To qualify for admission to the MSW program, applicants must have attained a GPA of at least 3.0 in an acceptable earned baccalaureate degree, or a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in their last 60 units. The significance of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited undergraduate program in Social Work is recognized, but applicants with a BASW degree are not given advanced standing.

Level One Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different points in a student's program.

The School of Social Work is committed to enhancing all students’ ability to communicate in an effective and professional manner, both orally and in writing. Further, the School promotes efforts to ensure that all forms of communication are culturally sensitive and appropriate.

To prepare practitioners for the challenges and responsibilities of advocacy within professional settings, the School of Social Work pursues a rigorous writing proficiency standard in the BASW and MSW programs. Formal writing assignments are integrated into the structure of classes with the expectation that students progressively expand and refine their mastery of organizing ideas and expressing purposeful thinking. Written communication is a core competency in both the BASW and MSW degree programs.

The School of Social Work MSW Program requires students to complete the GRE Analytical Writing Measure prior to admission, and obtain an expected minimum score of 4.0 or better. Applicants who score less than 4.0 on the Writing Measure may be admitted to the MSW program with "Conditional" status, and will be required to demonstrate Level One Written English Proficiency within the first semester, but no later than the second semester of the first year. There are a variety of ways to meet this requirement, including enrollment in a university writing proficiency course, working one-to-one with a writing tutor, or enrollment in an online social work-specific writing course.

Level Two Written English Proficiency

The culmination of student writing is completed when graduate students write their final culminating experience project for the MSW degree. They choose either a professional practice project or a thesis. The final projects typically include, as a minimum, the following sections:

  • Identification of the issues or problems that are the focus of the project or thesis;
  • Description, foundation, discussion, comprehension, and analysis of the presenting problems or issues;
  • Review of the literature relevant to the project subjects;
  • Application and syntheses of the literature, principles, theories, and practice areas;
  • Assessment;
  • Evaluation;
  • Implications for social work policies, programs, practices.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, the school maintains the following additional requirements:

  • The following which are to be taken in the first year prior to other courses, 4 units of S W 740, and 2 units of S W 741. S W 740 is graded CR/NC only.
    S W 700History and Philosophy of Social Welfare3
    S W 710Human Behavior and the Social Environment3
    S W 720Research Methods in Social Work3
    S W 730Social Work Practice Methods3
    S W 770Ethnic and Cultural Concept and Principles I3
    S W 780Global Poverty3
  • Maintenance of a 3.0 grade point average in graduate study.

Note: The field education coordinator meets and works with all students to help them locate a suitable field internship for the academic year.

Mental Health Stipend Program

Coordinator: Sheila Hembury

The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) has granted stipends to the School of Social Work to support second year graduate students committed to working in public mental health. These stipends are the result of the Mental Health Services Act (funded by Proposition 63) and are part of a workforce development initiative to train qualified social workers who can provide public mental health services. For the one-year academic year stipend of $18,500, the student agrees to "payback" by working in public mental health for one calendar year. This can include positions in public programs or contract agencies funded by Behavioral Health grants.

Students must meet all core MSW Program requirements, and participate in various mental health workshops and trainings during their year in the program. Funding for the stipend program is scheduled to end in 2016. Current information can be obtained from the program’s coordinator, Sheila Hembury, at 415-338-7530 or shehe@sfsu.edu.

The Institute for Multicultural Research and Social Work Practice

The School of Social Work’s Institute for Multicultural Research and Social Work Practice (IMRSWP) was established in 1988 as the Center for Cross Cultural Research and Social Work Practice. In 1992, the name changed to the current name. All SF State social work students and faculty may become members of this institute.

The IMRSWP’s mission states that it "promotes respect for and knowledge of diverse cultures. It seeks to develop effective methods for appropriately working in a complex and multiculturally diverse environment. It disseminates cross-cultural information through research, publication, education, and training. The central focus is on empowerment of individuals, families, and communities. The commitment is to progressive societal changes. Collaborative and cooperative efforts in multiple settings -- from work place to ethnic communities -- are emphasized.”

The IMRSWP’s goals are to:

  1. Conduct research that promotes greater knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures.
  2. Develop methods to enhance effectiveness and appropriateness in working with diverse populations. Use collaborative and participatory methods.
  3. Disseminate research findings and educational information to students, organizations, and the general public via publications, presentations, workshops, and consultations.
  4. Work with social work students interested in multicultural service delivery systems, and provide ongoing resources and support services to enhance their educational experiences.
  5. Conduct evaluations and needs assessments of organizations and communities.
  6. Analyze policies and make recommendations congruent to the Institute’s mission.
  7. Sponsor conferences and workshops that focus on cross-cultural research and social work practice.

Master of Social Work — Minimum 60 units

Core Requirements (Minimum 33 units)

S W 700History and Philosophy of Social Welfare3
S W 701Social Policy Analysis3
S W 710Human Behavior and the Social Environment3
S W 720Research Methods in Social Work3
S W 721Seminar: Evaluative Research in Social Work3
or S W 820 Seminar: Advanced Research Methodology in Social Work
S W 730Social Work Practice Methods3
S W 740Fieldwork Instruction2
S W 740Fieldwork Instruction2
S W 741Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 11
S W 741Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 11
S W 770Ethnic and Cultural Concept and Principles I3
S W 895Research Projects in Social Work3
or S W 898 Master's Thesis

Program Emphasis (27 units)

(One area chosen from the emphases listed below)

Each student is admitted into the Individuals, Families and Groups (IFG) emphasis, and may elect to simultaneously apply to the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program.

Individuals, Families, and Groups Program (IFG)

Social work practice with individuals, families, and groups is grounded in a bio-psychosocial approach to direct service. The social worker functions as a multi-role practitioner including the following: caseworker, case manager, leader, facilitator, broker, advocate, counselor, educator, or resource specialist. The practice methods emphasize the importance of promoting the strengths of individuals, rather than focusing on deficits or pathology. The goal of IFG practice is to ameliorate stressors within a life course context of human development and functioning. The practitioner’s attention is directed toward enhancing the coping abilities of individuals, families, and groups in dealing with aspects of their interpersonal environment through empowering processes. Recognition of issues of diversity is fundamental to culturally competent IFG practice.

S W 810Health, Illness, and Disordered Behavior3
S W 740Fieldwork Instruction3
S W 740Fieldwork Instruction3
S W 741Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 11
S W 741Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 11
S W 830Seminar: Social Casework3
S W 832Seminar: Social Group Work3
S W 831Seminar: Advanced Social Casework3
Select 7 units in electives on advisement7

Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program

Coordinator: Gabriela Fischer

The School of Social Work is part of a consortium of graduate social work programs in California to administer the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program. This program, administered by the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC), was created to prepare MSW students for careers in public child welfare service. The full-time program provides a number of student stipends ($18,500 per year) for two years of graduate school. In return for receiving a stipend, students must work in public child welfare for at least two years after they graduate.

The Title IV-E Program is driven by child welfare competencies that were developed by universities and county welfare directors. These competencies are integrated throughout the curriculum and are further enhanced by special workshops on current topics relate to the field. Title IV-E students are expected to complete all core components of the MSW Program and are required to complete the first year field placement in a county child welfare department or non-profit program serving Title IV-E eligible children and families. The second year placement must be in a county child welfare department. In addition, Title IV-E students are required to complete two child welfare focused courses: S W 843, in the spring semester of the first year, and S W 701 (Child Welfare-specific section), the fall semester of the second year of the MSW program. Students are also required to participate in child welfare trainings and workshops as directed by the Title IV-E coordinator.

Students who apply to the MSW program are also provided the opportunity apply for the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program simultaneously. Applicants will go through a selection process that includes an in-person interview. Priority is given to applicants who are current employees of county child welfare agencies and applicants who reflect the diversity of clients served by California’s public child welfare agencies. Students who receive the Title IV-E stipend award must attest that they have never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime or any crime involving harm to children that would disqualify them from service in a county public child welfare services agency. All students must submit to Live Scan and criminal background checks via the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) for second year placement. Continuation of this program is subject to funding availability.

Pupil Personnel Services Credential: School Social Work Designation

PPSC Coordinator: Christina Feliciana

The School offers a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) program to graduate social work students who are simultaneously pursuing their MSW degree. This additional program is available only if resources permit. If offered, students in the PPSC Program are required to enroll in all courses in the Individual, Families, and Groups (IFG) emphasis and do a field placement in a public school (K - 12), supervised by an individual with a PPSC credential. The PPSC field placement and specialized course work are designed to be completed in the second year of MSW preparation and are taken in the following order.

Plan of Study Grid
Second Year
First SemesterUnits
S W 740 Fieldwork Instruction 3
S W 741 Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 1
S W 865 Social Work Practice in School Settings 3
 Units7
Second Semester
S W 740 Fieldwork Instruction 3
S W 741 Graduate Fieldwork Seminar 1
S W 760 Social Work and the Law 3
 Units7
 Total Units14
Post Masters PPSC Program

The School of Social Work offers a Post Masters PPSC Program for persons who possess an MSW from an accredited social work institution. 2 Each student’s portfolio of prior classes and experiences are assessed to determine what must be completed to meet the requirements for a Post Masters PPSC.

This program is offered during the summer through the College of Extended Learning, and students are able to complete all requirements in one summer. For details, one may contact the Post Masters PPSC Coordinator, Christina Feliciana, at 415-405-0942 or cfeli@sfsu.edu.

Mental Health Stipend Program

Coordinator: Sheila Hembury

The California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) has granted stipends to the School of Social Work to support second year graduate students committed to working in public mental health. These stipends are the result of the Mental Health Services Act (funded by Proposition 63) and are part of a workforce development initiative to train qualified social workers who can provide public mental health services. For the one-year academic year stipend of $18,500, the student agrees to "payback" by working in public mental health for one calendar year. This can include positions in public programs or contract agencies funded by Behavioral Health grants.

Students must meet all core MSW Program requirements, and participate in various mental health workshops and trainings during their year in the program. Funding for the stipend program is scheduled to end in 2016. Current information can be obtained from the program’s coordinator, Sheila Hembury, at (415) 338-7530 or shehe@sfsu.edu.


1.

 S W 741 is taken concurrently with S W 740 and is required each semester that the student is in field.

2.

 Post Masters PPSC students do not take S W 740 and S W 741 concurrently.