Berkeley Social Welfare MSW
Berkeley Social Welfare’s MSW Program develops future leaders of the profession who are deeply prepared for multi-level social work in specific areas of practice. We provide an education built on the strongest available evidence, oriented to advancing social justice, and responsive to the changing needs of local and global communities.
With a prestigious faculty and excellent students committed to public service, Berkeley Social Welfare consistently ranks among the top 10 schools of social work and social welfare in the country. Since 1944, we have prepared over 11,000 social work professionals, dedicated to serving the most vulnerable members of society, for leadership positions in the public and nonprofit human service sectors.
- We train social workers for a range of leadership and advanced practice roles in the profession.
- We create a spirit of critical inquiry and emphasize the use of tested knowledge and theory in developing and applying intervention methods.
- We prepare students for professional responsibility in the field of social welfare and the institutional systems that comprise it.
- We educate students to advance social justice.
The Berkeley MSW Program educates students for a range of social work leadership and practice roles. Students are prepared to practice with specialized skills at specific intervention levels, and are thoroughly grounded in social science knowledge, social welfare policies, and social service organizations.
Our MSW program goals are focused on three central themes of leadership development:
Leadership for Service
- Develop visionary thought and practice leaders who are responsive to communities and individuals, draw upon the best available evidence to continuously improve social work practice and policies, and who are able to change with shifting contexts of social work.
- Develop leaders who can flexibly and competently practice social work across multiple ecological levels.
- Develop leaders who can engage effectively in collaboration with diverse communities; articulate social problems; and promote innovation in social welfare practices, programs and policies.
Leadership for Social Justice and Social Change
- Develop leaders with an understanding of concepts of equality and social justice.
- Develop leaders with the skills to promote meaningful and productive change with and in underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
Leadership for Evidenced-informed and Competency-based Practice
- Develop leaders with the capacity to utilize research to support practice, and practice to support research, and translate the best available evidence into practice principles.
- Develop leaders with skills to work collaboratively with numerous community partners to gather and analyze evidence that reflects the changing needs of our communities.
The Berkeley MSW Program is a two-year, full-time program. All master’s students follow a prescribed, full-time (minimum 12 units per semester) program of work preparing them for both generalist practice and specialized practice.
Berkeley does not offer part-time or advanced standing MSW programs, or offer advanced standing status to students with a BSW degree. All students, regardless of the baccalaureate degree(s) they hold are expected to complete the regular two-year, full time program of study. Students entering the MSW program with considerable course background in the social work field, either from BSW programs or other undergraduate majors, may request exemption from one or more of the foundation curriculum academic requirements.
To be eligible for degree conferral students must complete a minimum of 54 units, which includes 25 units of field education.
- To learn more about the curriculum structure and its sequence, view/download the MSW Curriculum At-a-Glance [pdf].
- To learn more about courses offered, please see the Berkeley Academic Guide to Social Welfare.
Berkeley's MSW curriculum is organized around five areas of specialized practice, also known as concentrations. MSW students select their concentration at the time of application to the MSW program and are admitted into their chosen area. Click on any link below to learn more about each concentration:
- Direct Practice in Aging
- Direct Practice in Child and Family Services
- Direct Practice in Community Mental Health
- Direct Practice in Health
- Management and Planning (MAP)
The Berkeley Social Welfare MSW Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.
Program Assessment Outcomes Survey
In addition to the MSW degree, Berkeley Social Welfare offers several special program options. Click on any link below for more information on any of these certificate programs or combined degree options:
Berkeley Social Welfare offers a curriculum in school social work practice, leading to eligibility for a recommendation for the Pupil Personnel Services Credentials (PPSC) issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). The PPS credential is usually a requirement for employment as a school social worker in California K-12 public schools.
Berkeley Social Welfare’s fully accredited School Social Work Program educates master’s-level social workers to assist public schools in achieving their educational and developmental missions. Current MSW students are eligible to apply for and complete the PPSC Program requirements as part of their MSW degree studies at Berkeley. A Post-Master's PPSC Program option is available for social work professionals who already hold the Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
The Social Work with Latinos Certificate (SWLC) Program offers a learning environment and professional network to enhance the skills of social work graduate students in culturally competent practices that improve the lives of Latino individuals, families, and communities.
Combined Masters Degree Programs
Berkeley Social Welfare and the School of Public Health offer one degree plan option for interdisciplinary preparation in the fields of social welfare and public health, leading to the Master of Social Welfare (MSW) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees.
Berkeley Social Welfare and the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) offer a Concurrent Degree program option that blends the substantive focus and professional social work training of the Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) with the rigorous methodological tools and policy breadth of the Masters in Public Policy (MPP).