On this page

Back to top

Top MSW Programs in California for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Launch or advance your social work career by earning an accredited Master of Social Work degree online or on-campus from one of the top MSW programs in California.

Search hundreds of schools for the degree you want...

I want my
Focusing on
Image shown is a blue outline of the state of California.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work, social science, or a liberal arts major and are considering pursuing or advancing a social work career in California, this guide is for you. It includes a list of the top on-campus and online MSW programs in California that can assist you in achieving your goals. Additionally, you will learn why factors such as flexibility, affordability, and accreditation are crucial considerations to weigh when selecting your program.

Keep reading to find the right program for you, get details on the different types of MSW programs available (and schools that offer them), learn how to get help paying for your degree, and much more.

Best MSW Programs in California for 2024: CSWE Accredited

We selected the following outstanding California MSW programs based on critical factors such as accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education, affordability, program options and study flexibility, curriculum comprehensiveness, and access to student support services. When it comes to MSW programs in California, these three programs distinguish themselves from the others in 2024.


California State University Northridge

CSUN’s Master of Social Work degree program takes a generalist academic approach that prepares graduates to work in any urban environment with individuals, families, groups, and communities.. The degree program is currently offered both on-campus and online in two-year full-time and three-year part-time formats. All courses in the on-campus programs are attended on the school’s main campus in Northridge, while all coursework in the online programs is accessed and completed 100% online. All online classes are asynchronous with the exception of one live (synchronous) weeknight session each week. In addition to these classes, all MSW students complete substantial field practicum experiences with social welfare agencies typically located within a short distance of the student’s local area. Concurrent enrollment in both classes and field placements is required, and students must be available during regular business hours Monday through Friday to participate in their field placements.

CSUN’s MSW program is a “traditional” program, meaning that students must complete approximately 60 credit hours of coursework to graduate. Admission into the program requires completion of a baccalaureate degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The program is competitive, with the most competitive applicants having earned their undergraduate degree in a social sciences-related field with a 3.0 or better GPA and possessing some social work-related experience.


  • Online
  • On-Campus


  • Generalist

Program Options:

  • Traditional
  • Full-Time
  • Part-Time
  • No-GRE


San Diego State University