The MSW programs offer foundation and advanced curricula emphasizing a direct service methodology from a multicultural perspective. This approach is designed to provide 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.


Foundation Curriculum

The foundation curriculum introduces students to critical thinking within a social work context, as well as an understanding of the values, ethical standards, and principles of the social work profession. The foundation curriculum teaches students how to apply generalist social work practice skills across systems of all sizes, including individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. The foundation curriculum provides students with knowledge of the history of the social work profession and the policies and programs that comprise the American welfare state. Lastly, the foundation curriculum provides students with the knowledge and skills to effectively evaluate social work practice and services.

The multicultural perspective is a key component of the MSW programs at Cal State Fullerton. The goal is to prepare students to practice social work effectively in an increasingly complex and diverse multicultural society. All courses in the MSW program, therefore, incorporate the multicultural perspective with the intention of increasing sensitivity to the needs of all disadvantaged, marginalized, and vulnerable groups in our society.

All courses in the foundation curriculum are three semester units. The specific courses offered in the foundation curriculum are:

MSW 501: Social Work Perspectives on Human Behavior I
MSW 502: Social Work Perspectives on Human Behavior II
MSW 510: Social Work Practice I
MSW 511: Social Work Practice II
MSW 520: Social Welfare Policy and Services I
MSW 521: Social Welfare Policy and Services II
MSW 530: Applied Social Work Research Methods I
MSW 540: Social Work Field Instruction I
MSW 541: Social Work Field Instruction II
MSW 550: Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations


Advanced Curriculum

The advanced curriculum builds upon the foundation curriculum, preparing students for autonomous professional social work practice. The advanced curriculum provides students with the knowledge to clinically evaluate the health and well-being of clients, as well as identify the appropriate interventions necessary to effectively return clients to optimal social functioning. The advanced curriculum introduces students to management and planning dynamics evidenced in many social service agencies and organizations. The advanced curriculum also provides students an opportunity to explore individual areas of interest in the form of various social work elective courses.

As a culminating experience for graduate students, the advanced curriculum includes a two-semester research sequence designed for students to complete a capstone master’s project. This project is intended for students to apply knowledge and skills learned throughout their graduate education in research that is relevant to the field of social work. Students are mentored through the capstone master’s project by a social work faculty member. The advanced policy and practice curricula include courses specific to the students’ concentrations.

All courses in the advanced curriculum are three semester units. The required courses offered in the advanced curriculum are:

MSW 503: Social Work Perspectives on Human Behavior III
MSW 542: Advanced Social Work Field Instruction I
MSW 543: Advanced Social Work Field Instruction II
MSW 564: Professional Issues in Social Work
MSW 596: Master’s Project Development
MSW 597: Master’s Project

Child Welfare Concentration

MSW 512: Child Welfare: Advanced Practice
MSW 522: Child Welfare Policy and Social Work

Community Mental Health Concentration

MSW 514: Community Mental Health: Advanced Practice
MSW 523: Mental Health Policy and Social Work

Aging Concentration

MSW 516: Aging: Multigenerational Perspectives: Advanced Social Work Practice
MSW 524: Aging, A Multi-Generational Perspective: Policy Practice and Social Work


All students have the opportunity to supplement their MSW education with two social work elective courses. One must be a practice-specific course. Social work elective courses include, but are not limited to:

MSW 570: Social Work Practice with Addiction Disorders
MSW 571: Social Work Perspectives on Developmental Psychopathology and Family Context*
MSW 572: Spirituality, Religion, and Social Work
MSW 573: Trauma-Focused Social Work Practice
MSW 574: Death and Dying: Social Work Practice and End-of-Life Care
MSW 575: International Social Work

*Does not meet the criteria for an advanced practice elective