Mastering Social Work

Cal State Fullerton offers new graduate degree to students who aspire to become social workers

April 2, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

With a director on board and faculty members ready to start teaching,
Cal State Fullerton is preparing to admit its first graduate students in the new Master of Social Work (MSW) program.

Twenty-five students will be accepted as the first cohort in the 60-unit full-time graduate program, which begins in the fall.

“With this degree, I think we’re going to be incredibly successful in filling a great need in the region,” said David A. Cherin, professor of social work and director of the MSW program. “This is a significant opportunity to not only serve the community by providing professionally-trained social workers, but also propelling this university to the forefront of social work practice in the 21st century.”

He said the program will have a strong connection to Orange County’s social service agencies with an emphasis in children and family welfare and community mental health services.

“We are building the program from the outside in,” Cherin said.

“Consumers and constituents are driving how we offer the curriculum.”
The goal is to prepare students for leadership roles in public social service organizations, said Ellen Junn, associate dean of the College of Health and Human Development, adding that the need for social workers throughout the state is “severe.”

“Southern California is especially affected,” she said. “We need at least 3,000 social workers right now.”

Junn said students have been asking for an MSW degree for years.
CSUF’s program, which is undergoing accreditation review by the Council on Social Work Education, aims to prepare students to, among other goals:
-- Enhance the social functioning and interactions of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities by teaching strategies to involve targeted populations in accomplishing goals, developing resources, and preventing and alleviating distress;
-- Become change agents who will work effectively in increasingly complex, culturally and racially diverse communities;
-- Understand the impact of racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression in creating and maintaining barriers to effective participation in American society;
-- Understand the relationship of the economic, political and social system to the maintenance of poverty and oppression in American society.

As part of the MSW program, students will be expected to complete 900 hours of fieldwork in addition to classroom courses.

Junn and Cherin said they expect the new program will be fully accredited by the time the first student cohort graduates in 2009.

“We are very enthusiastic about this opportunity for students,” Junn said.

“Graduates will be helping those in desperate need and they will be licensed social workers able to practice in every state in this country.”
Cherin agreed: “There’s an incredible untapped social service need in our region and I fully expect that we will be filling a vacuum that’s existed for a number of years.”

For more information about the program, visit
Back to Top