Frequently Asked Questions

• What are the career options for MSW-level professionals?
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has comprehensive information about the social work profession and practice fields. It can be viewed at http://careers.socialworkers.org/explore/choose.asp

Social workers work in a broad array of jobs with  government departments, non-profit agencies, private agencies, hospitals, correctional facilities, schools, home health agencies, child welfare departments, counseling agencies, behavioral and mental health departments,  youth programs, substance abuse programs, probation departments, clinics, senior centers etc. They work as  case managers, program coordinators, therapists, managers, directors, outreach workers, medical social workers, school social workers, forensic social workers, research analysts, advocates, educators, consultants etc.

On Any Given Day, Social Workers Help is a five minute video that demonstrates what social workers can do. It is available for viewing at http://www.naswdc.org/pressroom/events/anyGivenDay1007/default.asp.

• How unique is the MSW program at CSU Monterey Bay?
The MSW program focuses on preparing social workers with both clinical and technological skills that are essential to work with multicultural, multilingual, and diverse populations and for practice in dynamic and changing contexts.

• Is there a GPA requirement and is the GRE required?
If the GPA for the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units of your undergraduate courses is above 3.0, the GRE is not required. If the GPA is between 2.99 and 2.75, you will have to take the GRE and submit the score to the MSW program. A score of 3 or above on the Analytical Writing section of the GRE is required. The official website of the GRE offers information about when and where to take the exam: http://www.ets.org/gre/general/register/centers_dates/. Those who need to take the GRE must provide CSUMB's MSW Program with the official test scores by June 2015. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take the GRE test before December 15, 2014. For those whose GPA is too low, we encourage you to continue taking academic classes in order to raise your GPA.

• What are the concentrations of study?
The MSW program offers two concentrations: Behavioral Health (BH) and Children, Youth and Families (CYF). Other interest areas such as aging, corrections, and veterans and families are available through field placement or elective.

• Can I apply to the MSW program before completing the three prerequisites (Human Biology, Elementary Statistics, and Computer Literacy)?
Yes, you can apply while taking courses that satisfy the prerequisite requirements. Priority will be given to those who have a plan to complete all prerequisites by the end of July 2015.  ALL prerequisites must be completed by the end of 2015, with a grade of C or better or Pass, in order to continue in the MSW Program. Please let us know when/how you plan to meet the requirements.  It is the applicant's responsibility to send official transcripts as soon as possible, for any courses taken after submitting the initial application.

Can I apply for spring admission?
The MSW program accepts fall admission only. It is based on a cohort system wherein MSW students enter the program, take courses, advance, and graduate with their peers in three years.

What are the course pathways? What are the courses I need to take? In Fall 2015, the MSW program offers a 3-year evening program only. MSW students will attend 3-4 evening classes per semester (one class each semester will be a designated “hybrid” class with both online and some on-campus sessions).

Students may have the option to take summer or winter classes to reduce their course load during the fall and spring semesters.

In addition to classroom learning, MSW students are required to complete 16 hours of field placement each week of both semesters in the second and third years; students must be able to commit to eight consecutive hours for each of the two days in placement. The specific days of the placement will be negotiated between the agency and the student; this will depend in part upon the needs of the agency, availability of supervision, and learning opportunities for students.

The course load and internship hours sound challenging to those who work full time during the semester. However, the good news is most MSW part-time students successfully complete their degree requirements as planned.

Will the evening program be offered next year?
The 3-year evening program will always be offered. It is the commitment of the MSW program to fulfill the needs of local working professionals and communities.

What are the tuition and fees?
The tuition and fees for Fall 2014 are published in the University catalog. Please check with the University’s Financial Aid Office for updates (http://financialaid.csumb.edu/).

Where can I find financial aid information?
Go to the MSW program’s website at csumb.edu/msw. There is a section on Financing My MSW Education. This section is updated periodically. More information at: http://msw.csumb.edu/financing-my-msw-education

Will I receive course credit for life experience or previous work experience?
The MSW program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience, or in lieu of any course requirements or academic credits. Volunteer or paid work experience related to social work should be included in the Social Work Interest and Background Statement as part of the application materials.

Does the program require prior social work experience?
Prior work experience  or internship experience (at least two years) in social work or related areas is preferred but not required. We recommend that our applicants acquire as much social work-related experience as possible, preferably consisting of face-to-face interactions with clients in a social work setting. Some of the agencies offering internships to our second and third year students have stated that they prefer experienced interns.

Does the program offer advanced standing?
The MSW program at CSUMB does not offer advanced standing at this time.

How many MSW students will be admitted and what is the class size?
In Fall 2015, the MSW program will admit a maximum of 50 students. In the foundation year, MSW students take the same required courses and the class size is between 20 and 25. When students choose their concentration and take concentration-based courses in their advanced years of study, the class size is expected to be smaller.

How is the admission decision made? When will I know if I am accepted to the MSW program?
Admission to the MSW program is based on a holistic evaluation of all completed application materials. After the application period ends, the MSW Admissions Committee will review completed applications by using the Admission Rating Form. The Rating Form is based on the MSW admissions criteria. Each complete application will be reviewed by two committee members. If the two reviewers have different opinions regarding an application, the whole application packet will be presented to the committee for further discussion. The committee’s decision is final.

The MSW Admissions Committee consists of the MSW Program Director, the Field Education Director, the Outreach/Recruitment/Admissions Coordinator, MSW program faculty, and CSUMB employees who have MSW degrees (with at least two years of post-MSW work experience). In cases where there is a conflict of interest, i.e., a committee member knows an applicant professionally or personally, the member shall request to be excused from reviewing the applicant’s materials.

Applicants who submit complete applications postmarked by January 31 will generally be notified by the MSW Program Director of the admission decision (acceptance, conditional admission or denial) no later than March 31. If a second admission period is offered, from Wait list students may be notified up until July 31 if space is available.

Applicants who are not offered admission could consult with the MSW Admissions Coordinator or the MSW Program Director to prepare next year’s application or to discuss whether social work is the right career choice.

• What support services are available for MSW students?
At CSUMB, there are a variety of student support services. The following services are available to social work graduate students:
o Writing Tutoring: Academic Skills Achievement Program (ASAP)
o Financial Aid Services
o The Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library
o Campus Health Center
o Personal Growth and Counseling Center (PGCC)
o Campus Service Center (CSC)
o Migrant Student Support Services (MSSS)
o Otter Sports Center
o Over 60 Program
o Student Disability Resources (SDR)
o Student Housing and Residential Life
o Student Clubs and Organizations
o University Police
o Veteran Services

What will happen to my status in the MSW program if I have a gap in study?
Because the MSW program is based on a cohort system, the required courses (including field) are offered once a year. If a student lapses in coursework, he/she will have to wait until the next year. This will result in delayed graduation.

Is the MSW program accredited?
Yes, the MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the accreditation body for social work education.   

After I graduate from this program, can I apply to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
The initial step to become an LCSW is to register through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) as an associate clinical social worker (ASW) and accumulate 3,200 hours prior to taking the LCSW exam. Usually it takes at least two years to complete the required hours. More information can be found at: http://www.bbs.ca.gov/app-reg/lcs_schools.shtml.