Master of Social Work

Program Requirements


Classification Status

Students who do not meet all admissions requirements may be accepted as “Conditionally Classified” students. In most programs, students must achieve full “Classified” standing prior to completing more than 12 units of graduate course work. Students cannot graduate from the university until/unless they achieve full Classified standing in addition to meeting all other degree/program/department requirements.

Once a Conditionally Classified student has met all of the requirements to achieve full Classified standing, it is the responsibility of the student to notify their department’s graduate coordinator. The coordinator must in turn notify Graduate Evaluation Services within the Office of Research and Graduate Studies by filing the “Request for Classification” Form. This process should be completed as soon as possible within the student’s first year of graduate studies.

Students accepted into the Master of Social Work program are Conditionally Classified if they are admitted to the university with an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 – 2.99 and/or if they have not already satisfied the California State University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at a CSU campus.

Conditionally Classified students with an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.5 – 2.99 are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and earn a score at or above the 50th percentile on any one of the three sections. Students should visit the GRE website for more information and to register for the exam. Students must request that ETS electronically submit exam scores to CSUN using Institution Code 4707. Students are responsible for all exam fees. The Master of Social Work program waives this requirement for students accepted into the program with an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, or if the student earned an acceptable post-baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Conditionally Classified students who have not already satisfied the California State University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) at a CSU campus must either:

  1. Pass CSUN’s Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) with a minimum score of 8, or
  2. Submit a valid GRE test report that shows a score of 3.0 or higher on the Analytical Writing section. Request that ETS electronically submit GRE exam scores to CSUN using Institution Code 4707.

Students who need to satisfy this requirement should visit the UDWPE website for more information or the GRE website for more information. Students are responsible for all exam fees. Online students are responsible for making their own arrangements to take the UDWPE via proctor if they are unable to take the exam on the CSUN campus.

Transfer Credit

Students may transfer up to nine hours of foundation credits from other Council on Social Work Education accredited graduate programs in social work. Only “A” and “B” grades are granted credit at California State University, Northridge. The MSW Chair must approve all transfer credit. If the student is transferring elective credit, the MSW Chair must approve the elective. Under unusual circumstances, upon approval from the Department Chair and Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies more than nine hours of credit may be transferred.

Reinstatement to the MSW Program

Academic Leave (Leave of Absence) Graduate Policy

Graduate students in good standing may take a two-semester leave of absence. Though no formal approval is required, it is suggested that students seek academic advisement. Graduate students should contact their Departments before the end of the second semester of leave of absence. Students who do not enroll by the third semester of leave of absence must reapply for admission.

The University will automatically place qualified resident and nonresident students on a Leave of Absence if they were matriculated students in the semester immediately prior to the beginning of the leave, and/or were not disqualified at the end of the semester. Foreign students with J or F visas are eligible for leave, but must request the prior approval of their International Student Advisor and apply for a leave of absence.

Tseng College Cohort Policy

The Academic Leave (Leave of Absence) Graduate Policy applies to all graduate students enrolled through The Tseng College. Additionally, students who withdraw from one cohort may be admitted to different cohort for a future date/term upon approval by the Department. The returning student will be assessed the same tuition and non-refundable fees that apply to all other students in the new cohort. Note: All cohorts, once begun, will be taught out through to completion. However, there is no guarantee that new cohorts will follow in a specific area or within a specific amount of time.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a Master of Social Work from CSUN, students must:

  1. Achieve fully Classified status;
  2. Apply to graduate;
  3. File a Project Planning Form;
  4. Complete the minimum number of semester units of approved graduate courses as outlined in the MSW program/cohort schedule;
  5. Complete the minimum number of required field education hours (i.e., practicum hours);
  6. Meet all other Department of Social Work standards as outlined in the current MSW Student Handbook and Field Manual;
  7. Complete all course work with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.

Applying to Graduate

Students must apply for graduation by the deadlines set and posted by the Office of Graduate Studies. Deadlines can be found on the Office of Graduate Studies’ Apply to Graduate webpage. Note: Applying after the filing period deadline for the semester in which the student intends to graduate may delay receipt of the student’s graduation evaluation and could affect the student’s participation in the commencement ceremony.

To apply for graduation, students must download, complete, and submit the Application for Master's Degree and Diploma form with the required fee to the Office of Admissions and Records. Submission of this form initiates a Master’s Degree Graduation Evaluation. This form tells students what requirements they still need to complete, or what paperwork they must submit for their file.

Graduate students are required to be enrolled the semester in which the degree is to be awarded.

Students who do not complete their final requirements by the end of the term for which they applied to graduate will need to change their graduation date to the actual semester of completion by submitting a Master's Graduation and Diploma Date Change form with the required fee to the Office of Admissions and Records. The student must be fully Classified and then enroll in any remaining program course requirements or XEDU 980 Culminating Experience if additional time is needed to complete their Capstone project. This is a non-credit course that is not eligible for financial aid and enrollment is subject to the two-year time limit for completion of the thesis/project and Department approval.

 

Filing a Project Planning Form

Students in the MSW program take SWRK 698 Capstone Project instead of a Comprehensive Exam and therefore must file a Project Planning Form after enrollment in the course and prior to their preliminary format check. Project Planning Form deadlines can be found on the Electronic Thesis Dissertation (ETD) system. The Project Planning Form must be signed off by the student’s Capstone Advisor and Department Chair.

Graduation with Distinction (Graduate Policy)

A student may receive the Master’s degree with distinction by maintaining a 3.885 or higher grade point average (GPA) on all formal Master’s degree program coursework. The notation “With Distinction’’ is posted with the degree on the transcript, and also will appear on the diploma.

Commencement and Diploma

Students will be invited to the commencement ceremony for the academic year in which they graduate. Students who decide to participate in the annual commencement ceremony should follow the instructions in the Commencement Handbook. Information about the commencement ceremony can be found on the commencement website. Note: Participation in the ceremony does not mean that a student has officially graduated from CSUN. All degree requirements must be completed before the degree can be awarded.

The diploma and letter of congratulations will be mailed to the student three to six weeks after official graduation is posted. There are three official graduation dates each calendar year—the final day of the Fall semester, the final day of the Spring semester and the final day of Summer term. These are the only dates on CSUN diplomas.

Minimum Required Computer Skills for Online Students

Because of the nature of a fully online program, participants must have a least a basic level of knowledge of, and the ability to use, common computer programs including email, word processing and Microsoft Excel. Staff from The Tseng College can initially orient participants to use the online learning management system (LMS), Moodle, for the course work in the program. However, participants must understand that there is an expectation that they have acquired at least basic computer skills prior to starting this program. Students should at least have:

  • An ability to create, send and receive emails with or without attachments
  • An ability to use a document scanner to scan documents for sharing or submission
  • An ability to create, send and receive documents in a variety of standard formats like Word, pdf, html, etc.
  • An ability to access and review a variety of pdf's
  • An ability to review online resources such as internet websites, online articles and journals
  • Students using or needing assistive technology devices should be sure they acquire the latest updates and software prior to the beginning of the program.

Minimum Technical Requirements for Online Students

  • High-speed Internet connection (e.g. Cable or DSL; Internet Provider should have live customer support)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista, or 7 operating system, or Mac OS X operating system (version 10.7 or later)
  • Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 or 2013 for Windows (or 2008 or 2011 for Mac)
  • Internet Explorer and/or Mozilla Firefox web browser
  • Most current version of Flash Player
  • Most current version of Acrobat Reader
  • Up-to-date anti-virus software
  • 1.6 GHz Processor
  • 1 GB RAM for XP or Vista Home Basic, or Mac OS X
  • 2 GB RAM for Vista Home Premium/Business/Ultimate or Windows 7
  • 128 MB of graphics memory for Vista Home Premium/Business/Ultimate or Windows 7
  • Screen resolution set to 1024x768 or higher
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • USB or Firewire Web Cam (Logitech recommended) or built-in Web Cam
  • USB headset (Logitech recommended)
  • Accessible USB ports to plug in USB flash drive, webcam, headset, etc.
  • Scanner (with compatible software to save scanned documents to PDF, JPG or GIF format)

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MAC USERS: In the event a text book include supplemental materials on disk that are supported by Windows OS only, access to a PC may be necessary. Mac users also have the option to run Windows on a Mac natively with Boot Camp (recommended), or virtually with applications such as Parallels, or VMware Fusion.

Program Policies

Please carefully review the full list of Program Policies, including Academic Honesty and Integrity Requirement, Time Limitations for Earning Degrees and Certificates, Temporary Disruption of Attendance, Withdrawal Policy and Refund Policy.

 

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