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 degrees/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.

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 practicum education hours;
  6. Meet all other Department of Social Work standards as outlined in the current MSW Student Handbook and Practicum Manual;
  7. Complete all course work with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.

Applying for the Degree

Students eligible to apply for graduation will receive an email from the Office of Graduate Studies with information regarding how to complete the online graduation application. To be eligible, students must be classified and completed 18 units OR be classified and be in progress of completing 18 units. This application will initiate a graduation evaluation—which advises students of existing requirements for their degree. Graduate students are required to be enrolled the semester in which their degree is to be awarded.

Graduation Application Deadlines

How to Apply for Graduation Online

CSUN’s Application for Graduation is now available online. To be eligible to apply, graduates will need to have completed/be in progress of completing 18 units. Students should apply one year in advance of their intended graduation date. Students that are eligible to apply will receive an email from Graduate Studies. A $47 fee is required.

Online Graduation How to Guide (.pdf)

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.

Technical Requirements

Please carefully review the technical requirements for this program.

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.


Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to open and read some of the linked documents on this page. Download a free copy of Adobe Reader.