The Online Master of Social Work (Online MSW) program prepares graduates to become licensed clinical social workers in the state of California through a comprehensive curriculum centered around culturally appropriate practice while including extensive opportunities for real-world training through required field education and internship hours.
Real-world training is an integral part of the Online MSW program. Practicum placements and hands-on training provide students multiple opportunities to develop and apply professional skills that can help lead to mastery of the professional competencies they will need to position themselves for successful careers. By placing students in actual settings in their own communities under the experienced guidance of staff mentors, students have the opportunity to develop essential competencies in applying social work knowledge and skills while incorporating the rigorous social justice values of Pacific Oaks College. Research demonstrates that students consistently remember their field experience as the most important aspect of their social work education, and a meaningful relationship with their supervisor is essential for their growth as social workers.
The Online MSW program is offered in an accelerated online modality. Therefore, students should have internet access, a computer, and be prepared to engage in online coursework. Students will also need to choose between the full-time two-year (six semester) program or the part-time three-year (nine semester) program by time of admission.
Pacific Oaks College is currently in Pre-Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
Pre-Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has submitted an application to be reviewed for Candidacy. A program that has attained Pre-Candidacy has not yet been reviewed by the Commission on Accreditation or been verified to be in compliance with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The Council on Social Work Education does not publicly disclose whether programs have currently attained Pre-Candidacy Status until they are granted Candidacy.
Students who enter the program while it is still in Pre-Candidacy will not be recognized as attending a program in Candidacy unless the program attains Candidacy in the academic year in which those students enter. The Candidacy Process is typically a three-year process and there is no guarantee that a program in Pre-Candidacy will eventually attain Candidacy or Initial Accreditation. Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program. For more information about social work accreditation, you may contact Accreditation.
This program is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Social Work Practice I – Individuals
Practice I introduces students to knowledge and skills for generalist practice with individuals. Students practice key skills that include engagement, interviewing, assessment, contracting, intervention, recording, and the use of consultation and supervision in the context of social work values and ethics and affirming working relationships.
Social Work Practice II – Families and Groups
This course is the second in a three-part sequence designed to provide foundational generalist social work practice skills. Students are expected to build on skills related to developing professional relationships with clients and relevant others, conducting psychosocial assessments, and implementing empirically based clinical practice. The focus of this course is on selecting and implementing appropriate interventions for work with families and groups.
Social Work Practice III – Organizations and Communities
This is the third generalist practice course within the foundation year of the MSW program. Practice III introduces students to theories and skills required for social work practice in organization and community settings. Using organizations and communities as settings for social work practice and targets of change, and based on social work values and ethics, students learn strategies and skills for assessment and intervention. Conceptual models of macro change are examined, including social planning, community organizing, social action, and community and organization development and change.
- Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
- Completed Application for Admission
- Application fee
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Personal statement
- Official transcripts from all institutions attended
- Two letters of recommendation; one reference must be from a professional source (e.g., supervisor, program or agency director)
- Essay for specialization
- Proof of completion of an undergraduate statistics course. Note: Completion of a statistics course is required with a grade of C or better. A grade of C minus (C-) does not meet this requirement.
- Verify minimum of 500 hours of any paid or unpaid (volunteering or internship) work with a diverse, vulnerable population (e.g., hospitals, mental health centers, advocacy programs, universities, training departments, treatment centers, churches, care facilities, social service agencies, nonprofit organizations, etc.). May be included on resume with a letter of reference from the supervisor.
Students are required to submit the Petition for Degree Completion and fee to the Office of the Registrar the semester before they anticipate completing their degree requirements. Students must submit the application, settle all outstanding fees with the Student Finance Office, satisfy any deficiencies, and be in good standing in their program for the master’s degree to be awarded.
Note: A cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required for graduation.
Field education requirements
The primary goal of the Field Education Program is the development of competent, generalist (MSW) social workers who demonstrate a reflective and self-evaluative practice guided by professional values of human dignity and social justice.
Interning in the field is often referred to as the “heart of social work education.” The purpose of this Field Education Program is to enable students to receive structured preparation in the discipline of social work practice. By placing students in actual settings in their own communities under the experienced guidance of staff mentors, students have the opportunity to develop essential competencies in applying social work knowledge and skills while incorporating the rigorous social justice values of Pacific Oaks College. Research demonstrates that students consistently remember their field experience as the most important aspect of their social work education and a meaningful relationship with their supervisor is essential for their growth as social workers.
At the master’s level, students will complete a minimum total of 900 hours of supervised experience. Students will work with the Field Education Department and specifically the Field Education Director to complete this requirement. Students will be enrolled in a number of field education and internship courses that will support the applied learning and integration of knowledge and skills with theory. Students will take two foundation internship courses and then in their specialized practice year(s) take two advanced internship courses.