Online MSW Programs in California

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, and San Jose State University also offer online MSW programs with separate requirements.

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.

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Colleges in California with Online MSW Programs

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. 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. 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.
Colleges in California with Online MSW Programs
University Name City Program Structure Program Options
CSU Northridge Northridge, CA 100% Online
  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
CSU San Bernardino San Bernardino, CA 100% Online with
Annual Campus Visits
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time
Humboldt State University Arcata, CA 100% Online with
Annual Campus Visits
  • Traditional or Advanced
  • Part-Time
University of Southern California
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Los Angeles, CA 100% Online
  • Traditional or Advanced
  • Full-Time or Part-Time
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University Name Live Classes Offline Mobile App Field Placement
Services
No Campus Visit Required Learn More
University of Denver
Master of Social Work
yes yes yes yes MSW@Denver
Fordham University
Master of Social Work
yes yes yes yes OnlineMSW@Fordham
Simmons University
Master of Social Work
yes yes yes yes SocialWork@Simmons
Case Western Reserve University
Master of Science in Social Administration
yes yes yes yes Online Social Work at CWRU
University of Southern California (USC)
Master of Social Work
yes yes yes yes MSW@USC
Baylor University
Master of Social Work
yes yes yes yes MSW@Baylor

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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 tweekend 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. They offer a fully online program to California residents as well.
Colleges in California with Hybrid MSW Programs
University Name City Program Structure Program Options
CSU Chico Chico, CA Some Online Coursework
with Face-to-Face Formats
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time
CSU Long Beach Long Beach, CA Some Online Coursework
with Face-to-Face Formats
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time
San Jose State University San Jose, CA Some Online Coursework
with Weekday Evening Classes
  • Traditional
  • Part-Time

Online MSW Programs that Accept Students from California

Online MSW Programs that Accept Students from California
University Name Program Structure Program Options
Adelphi University Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional/Advanced PT
Arizona State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Baylor University
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100% Online Traditional FT & PT
Boise State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Boston University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
California State University, Northridge 100% Online Traditional FT
California State University, San Bernardino Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional PT
Campbellsville University 100% Online Traditional FT, Advanced FT & PT
Capella University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Case Western Reserve University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Columbia University 100% Online Traditional FT & PT, Advanced PT
Delaware State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
Edinboro University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
Florida State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Fordham University
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100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
George Mason University 100% Online Traditional PT
Humboldt State University Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional/Advanced PT
Indiana University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Louisiana State University 100% Online Traditional FT & PT, Advanced FT
Loyola University Chicago 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Metropolitan State University of Denver 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
New Mexico State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
Ohio State University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Ohio University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Our Lady of the Lake University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Portland State University Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional PT, Advanced FT
Rutgers University 100% Online Traditional PT, Advanced FT
Samford University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
San Jose State University Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional PT
Simmons University
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100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Temple University 100% Online Traditional PT
Texas State University - San Marcos 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
The Catholic University of America 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Tulane University 100% Online Traditional FT & PT, Advanced FT
University at Buffalo (SUNY) 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
University of Arkansas 100% Online Advanced FT
University of Central Florida 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
University of Denver
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100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
University of Georgia 100% Online Traditional PT
University of Houston 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
University of Kentucky 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
University of Louisville 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
University of Nevada, Reno 100% Online Traditional 8 Semesters, Advanced 4 Semesters
University of New England (UNE) 100% Online Traditional PT, Advanced Accelerated & PT
University of New Hampshire 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
University of North Dakota Limited Campus Visits Required Traditional/Advanced PT
University of South Florida 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
University of Tennessee at Knoxville 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley 100% Online Advanced FT
West Virginia University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced PT
Western New Mexico University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT
Winthrop University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT
Yeshiva University 100% Online Traditional/Advanced FT & PT

All online MSW programs require field education at a local health services agency. Programs that are 100% online do not require students to visit the campus during the program.

How to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California

Common Steps to Become a LCSW in California

Step 1: Earn a CSWE accredited master’s degree in social work.

For any out-of-state applicants, you must pursue social work coursework on California Law and Professional Ethics, California Cultures and the Social and Psychological Implications of Socioeconomic Position, Child Abuse, and Suicide Rist and Intervention (Starting in January 2021).

Step 2: Ensure you have required additional coursework requirements met.

The following social work coursework should be included for all in-state applicants in undergraduate, graduate, or approved continuing education coursework:

Additional Coursework Requirements
Course Hours
Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting [based on California law] 7 hours
Human sexuality 10 hours
Alcoholism and Other Chemical Substance Dependency 15 Hours
Spousal/Partner Abuse Assessment, Detection and Intervention 15 Hours
Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse 10 Hours
Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention (Requirement in Effect January 1, 2021) 6 Hours Applied Experience or Coursework

Step 3: Register as an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW).

When registering as an ASW, you will need to complete a live scan for fingerprinting, pass a criminal background check and pass the California Law and Ethics Exam.

Step 4: Obtain Supervised Social Work Experience.

For a total of 3,000 hours over a minimum of 104 weeks, ASW accrue supervised social work experience.

Step 5: Pass the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) Clinical Exam.

Step 6: Request and Obtain LCSW License.


For more detailed information on becoming a LCSW in California, visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences. You can also refer to our guides on general requirements for becoming a social worker and how to

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.


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  • DSW@USC prepares experienced professionals to develop practical, applied solutions to large-scale social challenges.

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Information on this page was last updated on 3/31/2020. Please check the university's website for the most current information.

Last updated: September 2020