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Department of Social Work

Department of Social Work

MSW Billboard 2016

Welcome to the Master of Social Work program at California State University San Marcos. The MSW program at CSUSM began in 2013 and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at CSUSM is designed to develop culturally informed, ethical, and effective professionals for direct social work practice with diverse populations. The MSW program prepares students for direct practice in a variety of settings including public, private, and nonprofit agencies and organizations, in social services, child welfare services, human services, healthcare, and mental/behavioral health.

The MSW degree requires the completion of 60 graduate units, and may be completed in one, two, or three years: 

  • 1 year hybrid - only eligible for individuals who have received a Bachelor of Social Work degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education within the last 5 years.
  • 2 year hybrid - most classes are in person at the CSUSM main campus in San Marcos.
  • 3 year online - regionally focused online program

Our program specialization is advanced generalist, which prepares students for a broad scope of practice in a variety of settings. Program emphases are also available in children, youth, and family, and behavioral health. The first half (30 units) of the MSW program addresses foundation or generalist practice, the second half focuses on our area of specialization, advanced generalist practice.

Definition of Generalist Practice

Generalist practice is grounded in the liberal arts and the person-in-environment framework. To promote human and social well-being, generalist practitioners use a range of prevention and intervention methods in their practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities based on scientific inquiry and best practices. The generalist practitioner identifies with the social work profession and applies ethical principles and critical thinking in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Generalist practitioners engage diversity in their practice and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. They recognize, support, and build on the strengths and resiliency of all human beings. They engage in research-informed practice and are proactive in responding to the impact of context on professional practice (EPAS 2015, p. 11). Generalist practice incorporates all of the social work competencies.

Social Work Competencies

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  3. Engage in Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice
  4. Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities 

CSUSM Definition of Advanced Generalist Practice

Advanced generalist practice at CSUSM builds on the generalist foundation and increases the depth and breadth of knowledge, skills, and values for effective practice from a multi-level and theoretically sound perspective.  Striving for a deep understanding and application of social work that embraces diversity and social justice, the advanced generalist approach prepares students for self-aware, self-directed and autonomous practice through:

  1. Advanced knowledge and skills in assessment and evidence-supported intervention methods within a generalist framework.
  2. Readiness for interdisciplinary collaboration and leadership in a variety of arenas and practice settings, including program development, coordination, administration and supervision.
  3. Social action knowledge and skills in policy analysis and development, legislative action, and advocacy.
  4. Integrated research knowledge and skills that prepare students to evaluate practice, programs, and the evidence supporting specific interventions at all system levels.
  5. Advanced knowledge and skills in specific areas of practice (through elective content), such as children, youth and families, behavioral health, and school social work.

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