Master of Social Welfare

Berkley Social Welfare develops scholars and practitioners who challenge conventional wisdom and discover new paths forward for all members of our society.

With a prestigious faculty and outstanding students committed to public service, Berkeley Social Welfare consistently ranks among the top 10 schools of social work and social welfare in the country. Our fully accredited Master of Social Welfare (MSW) Program prepares multi-level practitioners who are trained to:

  • Integrate multiple disciplinary sources of knowledge
  • Build upon the strongest available empirical and practice-based evidence.
  • Advance the pursuit for social and economic justice through anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices.

In service to this mission our MSW program promotes the development of multi-level practitioners who are focused on service to diverse individuals and communities across the social ecology; social justice and social change to dismantle oppressive systems that hinder the wellbeing of individuals and communities; and evidence-informed practice to produce measurable and replicable improvements in the outcomes of individuals and communities.

Program of Study

The Berkeley Social Welfare MSW Program is a two-year, full-time, on-campus degree program. We do not offer a part-time degree plan option, admission with advanced standing status, or an online MSW degree.

Our professional multi-level practice curriculum and MSW degree requirements include:

  • A sequence of generalist practice courses, taken by all students, focused on engagement and assessment at multiple levels.
  • Additional advanced and elective coursework, chosen by students based on specialized interest area(s), focused on specific intervention strategies that students will have opportunities to apply in social work practicum settings.
  • Two years of social work practicum-based education, including two distinct practicum internships and concurrent practicum integration seminars.
  • A sequence of coursework in social research methods, focused developing an understanding of how to appraise and utilize the best available evidence for practice. All Berkeley MSW students also complete the Berkeley master's degree capstone requirement as part of their training in social research methods.

For current degree requirements, course descriptions and special program options, please see the Berkeley Academic Guide.


The Berkeley Social Welfare MSW Program has been continuously accredited since 1928 by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the sole accrediting agency for professional social work education in the United States. The Berkeley Master of Social Welfare degree is fully equivalent to the master’s in social work (MSW) degree.