Students in California have several options when it comes to online Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. California State University’s (CSU) system offers online MSW programs and hybrid MSW programs in several locations and online: CSU Chico, CSU Long Beach, CSU Northridge and CSU San Bernardino. Humboldt State University, San Jose State University and the University of Southern California also offer online MSW programs with separate requirements. If you are considering MSW programs in the San Diego metro area, there is an on-campus option at San Diego State University.
On OnlineMSWPrograms.com, we classify any program that requires two or fewer campus visits per year as an online MSW program. There are four online MSW programs in California accepting students across the US: CSU Northridge, CSU San Bernardino, Humboldt State University and the University of Southern California.
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Earn your Master of Social Work online from the University of Southern California
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Features virtual and in-person field education in or near students’ own communities
If you live in California and wish to keep local but online, there are some options for your MSW program. Online MSW programs around Los Angeles are plentiful. Northwest of LA you have CSU Northridge or to the far east, you’ll find CSU San Bernardino, nestled in the mountains. Right in the middle of it all, just southwest of downtown Los Angeles, you’ll find the University of Southern California. Northern California is home to the online MSW program at Humboldt State University.
CSU Northridge offers a 100% online MSW program open to students all over the US with 24/7 access to classwork.
CSU San Bernardino is a fully online part-time MSW program with a 3-day on-campus visit each summer. CSUSB’s primary mission is student enrollment in Southern California’s inland areas but the program is open to students from any state in which California has an agreement with.
Humboldt State University offers a part-time online MSW program with an advanced standing option for students who received their bachelor’s in social work (BSW). Humboldt State’s online MSW program requires annual extended weekend visits to its campus and emphasizes work with indigenous and rural communities.
University of Southern California - The MSW@USC is the online Master of Social Work from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The program offers full-time and part-time options as well as an Advanced Standing track, which can be completed in as little as one year. The CSWE-accredited program prepares students for social work practice through virtual and in-person field education, and students focus on either adult mental health, children and families, or social change. The MSW@USC is a sponsored online MSW program.
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Colleges in California with Hybrid MSW Programs
North of Sacramento, you’ll find the northern California hybrid MSW program at CSU Chico. But if you’re still craving the city life, CSU Long Beach’s hybrid online MSW program can be found just south of Los Angeles surrounded by many southern California cities such as Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Anaheim and Torrance. Interested in the bay area? San Jose State University - just outside of San Francisco, offers their hybrid part-time MSW program.
CSU Chico offers a distributed learning MSW program which is primarily online. The program requires field practicum placement within one of the 18 designated northern California counties with two to three weekend intensive visits to Chico each semester. Because of these on-campus requirements, CSU Chico’s program is classified as hybrid.
CSU Long Beach offers a part-time hybrid MSW program with in-person visits by faculty and classes on Saturdays offered at Santa Rosa Junior College and Ventura County Community College campuses.
San Jose State University (SJSU) offers a part-time online/hybrid MSW program but is only open to residents of California.
Does California Have Social Work License Reciprocity?
The California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) does not offer licensure reciprocity with any other state’s licensing board. All out-of-state applicants will need to adhere to the requirements set forth by the BBS to be issued their LCSW license. For more information on out-of-state LCSW requirements, refer to the BBS’ Guide to LCSW Out-of-State Applicant Requirements.
Information on this page was last updated on 7/7/19. Please check the university's website for the most current information.
Eligibility restrictions are subject to change; therefore, students should contact an admissions officer before applying to ensure that the program accepts online students from their state of residence.
Please take a minute and read our disclaimers page as licensing requirements for social workers vary by state. Prospective students should check with their state’s social work licensing board and speak with an admissions counselor about state specific requirements before applying to a program.