Masters Degree in Social Work

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is an advanced generalist with an emphasis on working in rural and Indigenous communities. The program teaches students how to achieve a disciplined, compassionate presence to a caring, and ethical practice.

The goals of the MSW Program are to:
1.  Prepare students for professional social work practice responsive to the challenges and resources present in rural areas and indigenous communities.
2.  Present local, historical, and contemporary social issues within a global perspective.

The program prepares students for advanced generalist practice which emphasizes multi-system, multi-level approaches in which practitioners and clients work in collaboration to enhance the functioning and resilience within systems through building on existing strengths.  

Students develop a framework for practice guided by personal and professional values and ethics. Cultural humility, compassion, partnership, empowerment, non-expert relational paradigms, critical reflection, and social action for justice are the concepts that form the foundation for learning and developing social work practice at Cal Poly Humboldt. 

The MSW program at Cal Poly Humboldt is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The MSW program is delivered in several formats and offers:

  • Full-time, two-year course of study on campus
  • Full-time Advanced Standing one-year program on campus for candidates with an accredited undergraduate degree in social work
  • Part-time Advanced Standing 2-year Distributed Learning/online program for candidates with an accredited undergraduate degree in social work
  • Part-time 3.5-year Distributed Learning/online program

 Students in the online program must live in the state of California while they are in the social work program.

The Humboldt MSW curriculum meets the California Board of Behavioral Sciences coursework requirements for licensure. The BBS of California LCSW. If you go to the BBS website here: and click on "Social Work Schools in California" you'll see a link for the CSU. Right above the link it says "Additional coursework is not required unless noted." If you then click on "California State University" you'll see HSU/Cal Poly Humboldt listed and it doesn't have any additional courses required. We've previously sent in evidence that our MSW curriculum covers all the areas and the BBS reflects that on its website by not showing additional coursework required.

For more information join an Information Session (held virtually) here or contact us at